To anyone who took the trouble to look beyond the omnipresent talent
of the Gibb Brothers and took time to consult the dark haired lead
guitarist with the open smile and the friendly disposition, it would
have been obvious that being a Bee Gee was not going to provide Vince
Melouney with the degree of satisfaction the inner musical man demanded
Vince’s ideas were never those of the Bee Gees, thought he admires
them and is grateful for the influences they have had on him, and no
great perception would have been required to realise that Vince would
eventually want to go his own way.
To appreciate the musical frustrations that have been coming to the
boil inside him – and to understand why he has chosen out of the Bee
Gees – you have to spend a few minutes with the 23 year old Australian
and find yourself sharing his excitement as he looks towards the future
and his new found musical freedom.
A few weeks ago – on the day he broke the news of his impending
departure to group manager Robert Stigwood – Vince admitted to me that
he was never able to consider himself one hundred per cent a Bee Gee.
“In the Bee Gees I felt that the talent I had didn’t come up to
the talent of the Gibb Brothers” said Vince. “Within the content of
what they are doing I realised that my ideas didn’t augment their
“I learned one thing in Australia” he went on to say, “and that
was that if I was in a group that didn’t appear to be progressing I
always left it even if they were earning big money.
“Because I would feel I was letting myself down as a musician”
And that to him is sufficient reason to turn his back on a future as
secure as any in this business can be.
His new colleagues in the new group he plans to join are Tony Ashton,
piano, organ and vibes, Kim Gardner, bass, and Roy Dyke on drums. The
three are experienced and respected musicians and have been working
together under the name Ashton, Gardner and Dyke for just a few months.
Vince met them through Tony, heard them working together, paid for
them to make some demos, got excited, wanted to produce their records
and then decided he would like to join the, on lead guitar.
“They had a really individual thing going for them” sand Vince.
“They are technically brilliant musicians and because of this they can
overcome the blatantly commercial and they can play commercial music but
with a brilliant feel and use of a lot of unconventional styling.”
He describes their music as a cross between jazz and blues, turning
to the modern jazz side. I watched them at work in a Soho studio when
they were cutting their first single and could appreciate Vince’s
enthusiasm and excitement.
Tony Ashton, a 22 year old extrovert Northerner with a big friendly
face, was born in Blackpool and played in a number of jazz/pop groups
before finding his way into Liverpool’s Remo Four.
There he teamed up with Roy Dyke, 23, who is a Liverpudlian by birth
and an only child. Roy’s father was a musician in a dance band and
still plays round the Pool. It was through his father’s records and
going with him to clubs that Roy first became interested in music and
more particularly in jazz.
He turned professional and joined the Remo, long before Tony did, and
went off with the group to play USAF bases in France. While they were
away the Liverpool boom was happening and when they came back most of
their contemporaries were already in the charts.
“We had completely missed out” says Roy with no trace of
bitterness “and we were one of the top groups in Liverpool at the time”
the Remo went on to back various artists – Gene Pitney, Tommy Roe,
Tommy Quickly and Billy J Kramer among them – and towards the end Tony
and Roy were able to indulge in some jazz work, but finally quit because
the scope was too narrow.
Bass man Kim Gardener at 20 is the youngster of the group, dark
haired, quiet and good looking. He had a different background from the
other two and is a Londoner born south of the Thames in Dulwich.
Kim started his professional career with the Birds, staying with them
for four years as they moved through the R&B scene to Tamala Motown.
He quit to join Creation who had a minor hit with ‘Painter Man’ here
“It had been bugging me for the past two years that I wanted to
play more of a jazz thing” says Kim “but I couldn’t leave and have
he heard of Tony and Roy leaving Remo, went to see Tony and both were
knocked out by each others ideas. There and then Kim decided to quit.
Initially they were dubious about Vince going in with them, seeing
little in common between them and the Bee Gees. They were, however, to
discover that Vince’s ideas were not those of the Bee Gees and were in
fact close to their own.
So, like a latter day Gulliver pinned down by musical ideas at odds
with his own and with no the professional release for the frustrations
that have been mounting inside him, the musical time bomb that has been
Vince Melouney is about to explode?