Sometime in the mid to late 1990s, I saw The Creation perform in a basement photographic gallery in Lower Marsh, Waterloo which was owned by writer Terry Rawlings.
In front of a select gathering, they produced a performance that I’ll never forget. It came complete with guitarist Eddie Philips giving it plenty on his guitar with his violin bow, and an ‘action painting’ being created as they performed a collection of their well known songs. It was definitely something to see.
The Creation emerged from the remnants of the band The Mark Four who had toured around the UK and Germany from late 1963 until 1966 with various line-ups. In April ‘66, Bob Garner took over the bass and joined vocalist Kenny Pickett, Jack Jones on drums, along with Mick Thomson on rhythm guitar with East Londoner Eddie Phillips on lead guitar.
Success came early. Produced by Shel Talmy, who had already had chart success with The Who and The Kinks, their first single ‘Making Time’ crept into the top 50. They hit the top 40 with the next release ‘Painter Man’ which was later covered by Boney M in 1978 of course.
It was during this period that the Pop Art element appeared in the stage act, with an ‘action painting’ being created by Pickett using spray cans as the gig went on around him. When finished, the painting was then set on fire.
‘Caretakers used to rush on with fire extinguishers. It was pretty dramatic… quite fun!’ – remembered Eddie Phillips later.
Garner then took over the vocal duties, and was replaced by Kim Gardener, with Pickett sidelined for now. The resulting sound was described memorably as ‘Red with purple flashes’ and picked up a Psych/Freakbeat vibe.
‘The feedback came with the violin bow idea. I just wanted to make the guitar sound different to what it should sound like. I don’t even know why I cottoned on to that idea really but it just felt like a good idea and a good visual thing as well, just to try and get a sound out of the guitar that no one had ever heard before, something that was against the rules!’ – Eddie again. Jimmy Page was certainly taking note.
Despite chart success eluding them in the UK, they did very well in Germany in particular and Europe generally.
Further memorable songs include ‘Biff Bang Pow’ ‘Try and Stop Me’ ‘Life is just Beginning’ and ‘How Does It Feel.’
The continuing line up changes saw Phillips and Garner leave by the beginning of 1968 and the band came to a halt. However due to demands for live shows in Europe, a ‘new’ Creation developed, with Pickett back as singer, Garner picking up the bass once again, and Ronnie Wood, once of The Birds, taking on the guitar duties. However, this didn’t last long and it was all over, once again, by the summer of that year.
It is said Eddie was asked to join The Who by Pete Townsend, but turned the offer down. Eddie however, claims he never heard Pete ask the question!
Phillips went on to work with PP Arnold and recorded on ‘Angel In The Morning.’ Kim was a founder member of Ashton, Gardener and Dyke who had a major hit with ‘Resurrection Shuffle.’ Kenny Pickett went on to write ‘Granddad’ for Clive Dunn…
Kenny and Eddie reformed the band in the mid 1980s and played live on the underground/Mod scene. Then
in 1994, the original line up got together for the release of an album ‘Power Surge’ put out by Creation Records, which of course had been named after them by label founder Alan McGhee, a massive fan along of the band along with The Sex Pistols and Paul Weller.
Kenny Pickett died in 1997 and the group carried on with Garner back on lead vocals. He himself died in 2016.
I’ll leave the last word with Eddie.
‘Because we never actually got the creature comforts from being a major success – like the big money, you know – it is quite satisfying to know that even all this time after, that the name is still alive and people are still being influenced by what we did.’
The Mumper of SE5
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