The Original KILLING FLOOR – born in 1968 – still Rockin it up
Mick Clarke, considered as one of the finest blues axemen to come out of UK, certainly looks the old rocker, who is plying his craft because he is so passionate about his music. Along with friend Bill Thorndycraft, he started his first band, KILLING FLOOR in 1968, and there is no stopping them. The Original 4-piece KILLING FLOOR line-up are still rocking it up in 2014. We take a look at the band and its story.
Born during the period of the British blues boom in the 60’s, that saw the entry of bands such as Animals, Yardbirds, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, with artists like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Peter Green, Alexis Korner finding their groove.
Mick met Bill when they both joined a new South London blues band. Mick says he liked Bill’s voice as he thought he sounded a bit like Long John Baldry at the time. They got on well, so decided to form a band. Bill came up with the name KILLING FLOOR from the Howlin' Wolf record. They advertised for a bass player and found Mac, sleeping in his van outside Clapham South tube station in London, having moved down from Wales to find a band. Bill had already met Bazz when they were both working in Germany in separate bands. They rehearsed as a four piece for some time, but eventually decided to add keyboards, being fortunate to find Lou Martin, a young and unusually talented pianist who played like a cross between Memphis Slim and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Early years with the band were difficult. The band had so much energy and drive which was unlike any other Blues bands or groups of the time and in many ways alienated us from the blues scene in Britain because we were not purist.. Freddie King enjoyed their sound, which resulted in him requesting the band to do two tours with him.
They released their first album in 1968 and though it has its rough moments, it has a raw energy that comes from youth and enthusiasm. Gigging around UK, they would record early in the morning, sometimes writing lyrics in the toilet. The album Killing Floor, has become a collector’s item, apparently being sold on eBay for prices upto 1000 dollars. Its the cover art that is most attractive and unusual, with a jailhouse look.
Their next album Out of Uranus wasn't particularly well received at that time, because it didn't fit into any categories. The blues boom was over in England so bands were going heavy or progressive. "Uranus" doesn't really sound like any other album.. it was the product of four young inventive minds just doing their own thing. It probably has more fans now thanks to many re-issues and youtube videos.
The band toured extensively in Europe and has fond remembrances of touring with Freddie King, where Mick considers he learned a lot about blues guitar and professionalism. After some changes Killing Floor finally ran out of steam completely in 1972. Mick continued working with various bands such as Cliff Bennett's Toefat and Daddy Longlegs. Bill dropped out of professional music and had a successful career in London. Mac worked with Paul Rodgers in his band Peace as well as other projects - Bazz worked with a variety of bands in Europe and America, eventually moving to Switzerland. Lou Martin joined the Rory Gallagher Band and is featured on some of the classic albums such as "Irish Tour" and the newly released "Notes from San Francisco".
Killing Floor got back together again in 2003 after a thirty year break and recorded the third album "Zero Tolerance" for Appaloosa Records in Italy.
2012 was a great year for the band as they released their 4th album Rock n Roll gone Mad. Since then the band has been looking good and these dodgy looking rockers plan to tour and play festivals in 2015.
We say – Keep Rockin!!