The original band consisted of Howard Werth on nylon-strung electric acoustic guitar and vocals, Keith Gemmell on tenor sax, flute and clarinet, bass guitarist and vocalist Trevor Williams, and drummer/vocalist Tony Connor.
Audience rose from the ashes of a semi-professional soul band named Lloyd Alexander Real Estate, which had included all the Audience members with the exception of Connor, who had unsuccessfully auditioned for the earlier band. However, when Werth, Williams, and Gemmell decided to form their new band, it was Connor who came to mind as the right man to complete the line-up.
Within weeks of starting rehearsals, Audience had acquired management, a publishing contract, a residency at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, and a recording contract with Polydor, with whom they recorded their first album Audience. The band, however, was less than pleased with the record company’s promotional approach, and went into hiding in Switzerland to avoid getting involved with banal publicity stunts.
By the end of the year, the band was drawing public and journalistic acclaim for their songs, arrangements, and stage act. They had also been commissioned to write the score for Bronco Bullfrog, an East End skinhead film directed by Barney Platts-Mills, which established a genre subsequently taken up by Mike Leigh.
None of this was wasted on Tony Stratton-Smith, Director of Charisma Records, who spotted the band supporting Led Zeppelin and signed them up to his label immediately. Audience recorded three albums with Charisma, the members producing and designing the first Friends Friends Friend themselves before bringing in legendary producer Gus Dudgeon and top record sleeve designers Hipgnosis to get the best from their follow-up albums House on the Hill and Lunch.
Dudgeon’s first 45rpm production for the band, “Indian Summer”, took the band into the lower reaches of the U.S. charts, but by this time they were exhausted and fractious, having worked virtually non-stop for three years. A U.S. tour with Rod Stewart and The Faces, although successful, brought things to a head, resulting in Gemmell leaving the band.
The unfinished Lunch album was completed with the help of The Rolling Stones brass section, Jim Price and Bobby Keys, following which they went straight back on the road with new members Pat Charles Neuberg on alto and soprano sax and Nick Judd on electric piano.
The new line-up never really worked well together, and Williams, the band’s main lyricist, resigned eight months later. When Nick Judd received an offer to join Juicy Lucy, the band folded. Judd later went on to join Alan Bown, The Andy Fraser Band, Brian Eno, and Sharks, most recently emerging in a Madness spin-off band.
By this time, Keith Gemmell had joined Stackridge, later to join Sammy, whose sole album was produced by Ian Gillan of Deep Purple, then on to The Roy Young Band. During this time he was simultaneously carving out a healthy career in session work and arranging, often in association with film soundtrack writer John Altman, before joining the Pasadena Roof Orchestra for fourteen years.
Trevor Williams joined 1960s hitmakers The Nashville Teens, a version driven by Len Tuckey, who left shortly after to help his girlfriend, Suzie Quatro launch a career with Mickie Most. Tony Connor also ended up with Most. After a stint with Jackson Heights, a spin-off from The Nice, he joined one of Most’s stable, Hot Chocolate, with whom he has remained.
Williams moved on to Jonathan Kelly’s Outside, recording one single, Outside, and an album Waiting On You with a band fronted by the twin guitars of Snowy White and Chas Jankel plus ex-Graham Bond drummer Dave Sheen. But growing increasingly disenchanted with the music business, he drifted back to The Nashville Teens, this time in the company of friend Rob Hendry – ex-Renaissance guitarist – in a misconceived project to revitalise the band’s image and fortunes. When this foundered, Williams left the business entirely.
Howard Werth was in the throes of his first solo album at this time, still with Charisma and produced by Dudgeon. Called King Brilliant, his band, containing members of Hookfoot and with Mike Moran on keyboards, was dubbed Howard Werth and The Moonbeams, and came close to having a major hit with Lucinda. However, it wasn’t to be, and when he was headhunted by The Doors (Audience stable-mates on the U.S. Elektra record label) to replace the late Jim Morrison, Werth left for the USA. In any event, The Doors did not reform, and Werth found himself engaged in numerous short term projects with Doors’ keyboard man Ray Manzarek and musicians from Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band before returning to the UK in the early 1980s. Although appearing live only occasionally, Werth subsequently recorded two more solo albums, 6 of 1 and Half a Dozen of the Other on Demon Records and The Evolution Myth Explodes for his own Luminous Music label.
Despite a few minor projects together, the original Audience band members were not to re-emerge as a working entity until 33 years after their first incarnation. In 2004, Howard Werth, Keith Gemmell and Trevor Williams went back on the road, gigging in Germany, Italy, Canada and the UK, replacing Tony Connor with drummer/vocalist John Fisher and recording a new, live album alive&kickin’&screamin’&shoutin for Eclectic Records. Werth and Fisher also occasionally appear live billed as Howard Werth and his Performing Monkey.
1969 Audience Vinyl LP Polydor 583 055
1995 The First Audience Album
1999 Audience [Bonus Tracks] CD LCD 003
2002 Audience [Bonus Tracks] CD Disconforme DISC 1941 CD
2006 Audience CD AIRAC-11852007 Audience…Plus [Bonus Tracks], [Reissue] Vinyl LP Akarma
1970 Friend’s Friend’s Friend Vinyl LP Charisma CAS 1012
1992 Friend’s Friend’s Friend CD Virgin CASCD 1012
1971 The House on the Hill [Gatefold] Vinyl LP Charisma 9124 055
1971 The House on the Hill [33 rpm] Vinyl LP Elektra EKS-74100
1971 The House on the Hill [Gatefold] Vinyl LP Charisma CAS 1032
1991 The House on the Hill CD Caroline 1815-2
1991 The House on the Hill [Digipak] CD Charisma CASCD 1032
1972 Lunch [Alternate Cover] Vinyl LP Elektra EKS-750261972 Lunch Vinyl LP Elektra EKS-75026
1972 Lunch Vinyl LP Charisma CAS 1054
1990 Lunch CD Virgin CASCD 1054
Lunch [33 rpm], [Gatefold] Vinyl LP Philips 6369 918
2005 Alive & Kickin’ & Screamin’ & Shoutin’ [Live] CD Eclectic Discs ECLCD1030
1970 Belladonna Moonshine / The Big Spell 7” Vinyl Charisma CB 126
1971 Belladonna Moonshine / The Big Spell 7” Vinyl 6073 300
1971 Indian Summer / It Brings a Tear / Priestess 7” Vinyl Charisma CB 141
1971 You’re Not Smiling / Eye to Eye 7” Vinyl Charisma CB 156
1972 Stand By the Door / Thunder and Lightnin’ 7” Vinyl Charisma CB 185
1972 Raviole / Hard Cruel World 7” Vinyl Charisma CB 196
1970 Way In to the 70’s [33 rpm] Vinyl LP Polydor 218006
1971 Elektra Records July Releases (LP, Comp, Promo) Elektra EK-PROMO-5
1973 You Can’t Beat ‘Em Vinyl LP Charisma CS 7
1973 Charisma Disturbance (2xLP, Comp) Charisma TSS1
1973 One More Chance (LP, Comp) Charisma CLASS 3
1974 Nostalge Charisma 9299 735
1992 Unchained (VU-Virgin) CDVM9007
2005 Folk Is Not a Four Letter Word CD Delay 68 CDDELAY01
2008 Spirit of Joy: Tales From the Polydor Underground 1967-1974 [Box Set] CD Polydor
The Best Of Reflection (LP, Comp) Fontana 6436 111
FILM - CD Bronco Bullfrog - Soundtrack 2003 RPM 511
Other bands called Audience:
1) A spanish indie-rock band, from the Basque Country. They made an experimental blend of indie-rock, post-hardcore and blues/folk-rock, trying this way to melt roots with newer trends of modern rock.
2) An ambient/electronic band out of St. Louis. A side project of Since 1902, they make Broken Social Scene/Tortoise-esque jams that combine elements live and electronic instrumentation to create a, sometimes raucous, collage of sound and music.
Edited by nickholmes53 on 3 Feb 2011, 12:17
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