Last week Drafthouse Film’s creative director Evan Husney contacted me about “co-presenting” this great new idea he’d had for a website that would be called My Dad Was In A Band.
Naturally I immediately clicked on the link and well, proceeded to laugh my ass off, not only at the astonishing Harry and the Hendersons-looking “inverted Mohawk” of the fellow above—he’s from a band called “Hot Ice”(!)—or just the hilarious concept in general, but for the fact that I personally know one of the “dads” who was initially submitted to My Dad Was In A Band.
That’s right, one of the dads who was in a band, Brian Chatton, is the father of one of my oldest friends, Charlotte Chatton. I’ve seen Brian at Thanksgiving dinners and parties going back the the mid-1990s. Now, I knew that he was a musician, and that he’d had a “one hit wonder” with his 80s group Boys Don’t Cry (remember “I Wanna Be a Cowboy”?) and that he’d been in both Meatloaf and Jon Anderson’s touring bands, but what I didn’t know was the he had recorded an ecological psychedelic rock opera in 1968 with his band “Flaming Youth” who happened to include an 18-year-old pre-Genesis Phil Collins on drums!
They were excellent!
Brian’s younger daughter, Emily Chatton explained to My Dad Was In A Band:
My dad wore a leather catsuit with domino buttons when he married my mum and his platform shoes were taller than his brides. His first band of many was called Flaming Youth, he was the lead singer and Phil Collins [third from the left in the photo above, that’s her father squatting second from left] was the drummer. Together they released a concept album called Arc 2 that told a futuristic tale about how man uses up all the resources on Earth. Even when singing about such things as civilization needing to find another planet to live on I’ve noticed that my dad has a hard time keeping a straight face on camera, he’s tickled from the inside out
Flaming Youth’s rock opera was written by the established hit-making team of Alan Blaikley and Ken Howard who penned songs for the likes of Petula Clark, Frankie Howerd, Engelbert Humperdinck, Eartha Kitt, Lulu and Elvis Presley. They were un-credited on the album, apparently so as not to jeopardize their more conventional pop careers.
Although Arc 2 came out to extremely positive reviews—it was even awarded The Sunday Times’ “Rock Album of the Year” award in 1969—it wasn’t a hit and remains virtually unheard to this day. Flaming Youth, did, however appear for a five song set on Dutch television and four of those numbers have been uploaded to YouTube.
Band members here are “Flash” Gordon Smith on guitar; Ronnie Caryl on bass; Brian Chatton, organ; Phil Collins, drums and organ. Happy Father’s Day to all of the group!
The single “From Now On” sung (lip-sync’d) by a young Brian Chatton. He’s in his early 60s now and the guy hasn’t changed a bit!