Original transfer, audio restoration and mastering by Patrick W. Engel at TEMPLE OF DISHARMONY in December 2019.
WHITE HEAT: Recollections From Days Gone By...
Paul Armfield, vocals on ‘Ride To Hell’ and ‘Missing You’
“So then [after previous band Renegade had split up, and having fronted a recording session for Red"> I went on to join White Heat. What happened was, I answered an advert in Melody Maker. The drummer, Kevin Cassidy, came from Clapham and the lead guitarist, Jon ‘J.J.’ Cox was from Southport but had moved down south as his previous band, JJ’s Powerhouse, had split up. He put an advert in the paper looking for a lead vocalist so I rang them up. White Heat was a four-piece rock band – just drums, bass, lead guitar and vocals – and they were based in Dulwich. Well, Jon Cox was actually living with Kevin Cassidy in Clapham in a big Victorian place. I didn’t live too far away, and I got the job. We were very much into Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin. I spoke to Jon Cox and he said ‘yeah, I love Ian Gillan, I love Deep Purple’. He really loved Ritchie Blackmore, too. He was his idol. And me, Ian Gillan was my idol. I said to Jon, ‘I like Deep Purple’ and he said ‘good; you’re in!’ I think that was pretty much my audition! The bassist was John Tucker; he was a really nice guy.
“Jon told me they wanted to do a demo and then get some gigs in Holland. So we went into the studios, we did two tracks called ‘Missing You’ and ‘Ride To Hell’ – I think this would have been in 1983 – and then we went straight over to Amsterdam within two weeks. We took the demo tapes around and played quite a few gigs there. I was working at the time for the local council and I went sick for a while so we could play in Holland. ‘I’ve got the flu, I’ll be back in a couple of months!’ So we’re out there in Holland playing and the van blew up. We weren’t earning much so I was the only one with money – the others were just relying on the money from the gigs which wasn’t an awful lot. So I had to go back home and send them some money to get the van fixed, and then had to stay with my job at the council. They wanted me to go back and carry on, but I couldn’t really take any more time off so they decided to get another vocalist and that was the end of that.”
John Tucker, bass
“...White Heat were formed a little over a year ago and after a few changes of vocalists have evolved into the line-up on the single sleeve. Because of problems getting gigs in Britain, most of our work has been in Holland and Germany. At the present time we are arranging a few dates in Britain, before our next European tour in May...
“I shan’t make any attempt to describe our music or influences, as different people see things in different ways so I’ll let you make up your own mind. We do try to put on a stage show, although we use aggression more than flash bombs...”
Personal correspondence, March 1985
J.J. Cox, guitars
“White Heat was formed in the early Eighties. It was the third line-up of the band that recorded the first and only 7” single, ‘Soldier Of Fortune’ b/w ‘Love Maker’. ‘Made it, Ma! Top of the world!’ is the line from the 1949 James Cagney film of the same name, ‘White Heat’. The cover of the single depicted the now iconic chemical plant scene at the end of the film as all hell was released.
“The vocals were by John Dunning and reminded me of some early AC/DC tracks with regard to vocal range and dynamics. The single was recorded at a studio owned by Ray Dorset (of Mungo Jerry fame) and was engineered by him too. As ‘Soldier Of Fortune’ comes to an end the army chant of ‘left, right’ can be heard. This chant was actually the words ‘hep, hype’ as this was deemed a superior way of chanting left, right from a production point of view! Another thing I do remember from that day was the Blackmore-esque guitar string slide backwards and forwards on Mr Dorset’s mixing console, Sorry, Mr Dorset, but you had to suffer for my art!
“A thousand copies of the single were produced and were either sold or given away in Holland as that is where the band played most of their concerts. Great days, great memories...”
John ‘not the bassist’ Tucker