Twink

John Charles Edward Alder (born 29 November 1944), better known as Twink, is an English drummersinger and songwriter who was a central figure in the English psychedelic movement, and an actor.

Early life and career

Alder was born in ColchesterEssexEngland, into a musical family. His father’s mother was a concert pianist and soloist. Alder has said he was always interested in music as a child.

Alder’s career began in 1963 as a member of a rhythm and blues band from Colchester called Dane Stephens and the Deep Beats. After a year, the band evolved into The Fairies – Dane Stephens (vocals/blues harp), John ‘Akky’ Acutt (lead guitar), Mick Weaver (rhythm guitar/fiddle – NOT the same-named organ player also known as Wynder K Frog), John Frederick Gandy (bass) and John Alder (drums). In 1964 The Fairies recorded the single “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” for the Decca Records label. The Fairies were sometimes sent gifts and Alder, having long curly hair, regularly received bottles of Twink brand home perm lotion. It was at this time that he adopted ‘Twink’ as his stage name.

“With Dane Stephens, our shows were not only blues but soul numbers, touches of jazz as well. He was an amazing singer, very very special. Had a great voice, played amazing blues harp, the Fairies were just about to break big.” “Dane Stephens was involved in an accident while he was driving the group van – without any licence or insurance. He hit another car and killed maybe 4 people. He went to jail after the accident, so we lost him for a year and got Nick Wymer from Nix Nomads instead. We had been actually about to break at that point, there was no doubt about it. We had Mickey Most producing us in the studio, we had a single out and another one on the way, an agent who was getting us booked back again everywhere – we were good, a really good R&B band.”[1] Brian ‘Smudger’ Smith from Watford R&B band Cops ‘n’ Robbers occasionally sang with the band as well.[2]

In 1965, after Wymer replaced Stephens as singer, they recorded two more singles, “Get Yourself Home” and “Don’t Mind”, for HMV“We became like the Pretty Things when Nick Wymer came along – mostly because Nick looked and sounded so much like Phil May… and then after [Dane Stephens] came out Nick left and we got Dane back but we were really trying to recreate something which we’d already lost.”[1]Wymer briefly joined an embryonic group formed by ex-members of Them in late 1965. The Fairies split at some date before 1967, Twink having already departed by August 1966.

Twink reunited with Stephens and Weaver for two tracks on his 1991 album Odds & Beginnings.

The In-Crowd and Tomorrow

In 1965 Twink moved to London and lived in Chelsea. When The Fairies came to a halt, he joined a rhythm and blues/soul music band called The In-Crowd in August 1966, after its previous drummer had left the band. Other members were Steve Howe (guitar; later of ‘Yes‘ fame), singer Keith West & John ‘Junior’ Wood (bass).

A few months later the band was renamed Tomorrow. The success of West’s solo recording Excerpt From A Teenage Opera resulted in the band breaking up, leading to a one-off single by the short-lived ‘Aquarian Age’ (Twink & Junior).

In Joe Boyd‘s book White Bicycles he cites a Tomorrow show at UFO Club and, in particular, Twink’s performance, as the zenith of 60’s pop culture.[3][4]

At some point around early 1967, Twink completed a recording session with a group known as Santa Barbara Machine Head, featuring two former members of Beat group ‘The Birds‘ – Ron Wood and Kim Gardner(both later of ‘The Creation‘, and also of The Rolling Stones and Ashton, Gardner & Dyke respectively) – and keyboardist Jon Lord (later of Deep Purple).

The Pretty Things

Twink replaced Skip Allen in The Pretty Things (alongside Phil MayDick TaylorWally Waller & John Povey) and participated in the making of their classic album S.F. Sorrow. He was also a member of this group when they appeared in the Norman Wisdom film, What’s Good For The Goose. He became noted for outrageous behaviour, such as climbing the speaker stacks and diving into the audience when the band performed at a free open-air concert in London’s Hyde Park.[5]

Think Pink

He recorded his first solo album, Think Pink, towards the end of his tenure with The Pretty Things. Supporting musicians were The Deviants, including Mick Farren (who produced the album), Paul Rudolph (who played guitar), Russell Hunter and Duncan ‘Sandy’ Sanderson; as well as Steve Peregrin Took (of Tyrannosaurus Rex); The Pretty Things’ May, Povey, Waller and Victor Unitt; Viv Prince (ex-Pretty Things); John ‘The Honk’ Lodge (Junior’s EyesQuiver); ‘Junior’ Wood and the enigmatic ‘Pink Fairies Motorcycle Club and All-Star Rock and Roll Band’ (the name taken from a story by Deviants manager Jamie Mandelkau, who may not have been aware of Twink’s former band).

The Pink Fairies

Twink with the Pink Fairies atGlastonbury Fayre in 1971

The line up of The Pink Fairies (Mark 1) featured Think Pink musicians Twink, Took and Farren – all three having left their respective bands – and was named after the ‘Pink Fairies Rock ‘n’ Roll Club’, a loose group of people including Took, Farren, The Deviants, Syd Barrett (formerly of Pink Floyd) and The Pretty Things. They were resident inLadbroke Grove, the home of the UK Underground. The Mark 1 line-up performed one shambolic gig in Manchester and recorded Farren’s solo album, Mona – The Carnivorous Circus, in late 1969 before falling apart. Took, Farren and Larry Wallis then assembled the band that became Shagrat, with Farren departing before any recordings were made.

Pink Fairies (Mark 2) was formed in early 1970 by Twink with Mick Farren’s former bandmates, The Deviants. The two-drummer Pink Fairies line-up recorded a single The Snake / Do It, followed by the Never Never Land album, before Twink left in 1971 (although he would periodically return).

Stars

After a spell in Morocco Twink moved to Cambridge and worked with the ‘Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band’, initially with vocalist/guitarist Bruce Michael Paine (ex-Apple Pie & star of the San Francisco production of ‘Hair‘)[6][7] and ‘The Honk’ playing bass, and also played in a band named ZZZ with Alan Lee Shaw and Rod Latter (who later reunited as The Rings). The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band, now with ex-Delivery bass player Jack Monck, backed American Blues guitarist Eddie “Guitar” Burns at King’s College Cellar in January 1972. Jack’s wife Jenny Spires, an old friend of Twink’s and former girlfriend of Syd Barrett (ex-Pink Floyd), went with Syd down to the gig and he brought his guitar along and jammed with them at one point.[8] The next day, the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band, with guests Fred Frith and Syd Barrett, played on a bill with Hawkwind and the Pink Fairies.[9]

Within the next day or two Twink formed the short lived trio ‘Stars’ with Barrett and Monck. Stars played a handful of shows which were well received.[10] However, Syd, fragile mentally, quit after reading a negative review by Roy Hollingworth in Melody Maker,[11] after which Twink moved back to London. During the years 1972 to 1975, Twink periodically performed with fellow Ladbroke Grove community band Hawkwind and with the band Glider, but no recordings were made.[12] In July 1975, The Pink Fairies staged a reunion gig at the Roundhouse featuring the then-current line-up of Russell Hunter, Duncan Sanderson and Larry Wallis, joined by former members Twink and Paul Rudolph. The reunion show was released as a live album in 1982.

The Rings and punk

Twink formed ‘The Fallen Angels’ in August 1976 with former ‘Steve Marriott Allstars’ Greg Ridley and Mickey Finn. On the way to their first gig, an injury sustained in a car accident left Twink hospitalized, following which this line-up disintegrated – The Fallen Angels eventually wound up backing Phil May on a solo album. Twink then worked as a vocalist with ‘The Rings’ in early 1977, releasing one of the first Punk rock singles,I Wanna Be Free, produced by former Sparks member Martin Gordon. Other members of the band included Alan Lee Shaw and Rod Latter of The Adverts. Twink left, and the other members of The Rings formed ‘The Maniacs’.

Twink coined the term Acid Punk to describe his music and went on to release an EP Do It ’77 in February 1978. It included the songs Psychedelic Punkeroo (about Syd Barrett; credited to ‘A. Syd’)[11] and Enter The Diamonds, both of which featured a band consisting of Twink (drums/lead vocals), Kid Rogers (of Kid Rogers and the Henchmen) (guitars/vocals), Fingers Falkner (keyboards) and Chris Chesney (lead guitar). According to Twink “It was the Psychedelic Punkaroo project, but Chiswick Records didn’t like the track and I jammed Do It with the Lightning Raiders, which they preferred.”[13] Duncan (‘Danger Sun’) Sanderson(bass, Lightning Raiders & ex-Pink Fairies): “Twink came round my house and dragged me down the studio while I was still asleep one morning, and Little John Hodge (lead guitar, Lightning Raiders) just came along to deliver a guitar. Twink had us jam through Do It, so we did it. Kid and John hadn’t even heard the flaming song before. At the end he jumps up and says ‘That’s it, thanks lads!’ We didn’t even know it was being taped!” Twink’s comment on this statement was that “A second take of Do It is a contradiction in terms.”[14] The EP was credited to ‘Twink & The Fairies’.

Twink next moved to Belgium, where he played drums on the recording of British punk Elton Motello‘s Victims Of Time album (1978, Pinball).1980s–present

After a long silence, in 1986 Twink released a solo single “Apocalipstic”, which inaugurated his new, self-titled record label and a run of new solo releases up to the early 90s.

In 1987 he rejoined The Pink Fairies for a reunion album. During the subsequent Pink Fairies tour, Twink met members of Plasticland which resulted in the collaboration You Need a Fairy Godmother, released in 1989 on Midnight Records.

He also joined a brief line-up of ‘Magic Muscle’ in 1988 for a tour and live album, and released a collaborative album with The Bevis Frond in 1990.

In 1990 Twink released his second solo album, Mr Rainbow with Robbie Gladwell on guitar and Andy Dowding on drums.

PinkWind and Pink Fairies

Later in the ’90s he collaborated with Hawkwind founder Nik Turner in the band ‘PinkWind’ – in reference to the semi-legendary Hawkwind/Pink Fairies jam sessions of the early ’70s. Turner brought in the Wind and Twink provided the Pink. PinkWind released two albums (one credited to ‘The HawkFairies’). Some line-ups also featured Judge Trev Thoms of Inner City Unit and Steve Took‘s Horns.

The Out Of The Pink Into The Blues album by ‘Mouse & Twink: Fairies’ was released around 1996 or 1997, and was “recorded at the Pink Bridge mid ’70s till ’80s” by Twink and P. ‘Mouse’ Pracowik (possibly Peter Pracownik of Astralasia) on guitar, with Andrew Doran (vocals), Matthew Bailey (bass) and Chris Pinkerton (drums).

Twink’s record label then released two ‘Pink Fairies’ albums recorded by Twink and Paul Rudolph in 1996/1997, after which Twink’s releases were handled by the ‘Get Back’ label. These have included archive collections of material from the classic Pink Fairies era, as well as a controversial album of Shagrat sessions purportedly featuring Twink.[15]

More recently, Twink has converted to Islam and changed his name to Mohammed Abdullah.[16]

Acting career

Twink appeared in the 1960s film Smashing Time with the other members of Tomorrow as fictional band “The Snarks”.[17] Tomorrow were also due to feature in Blowup, and even recorded a title song for the film, but were ultimately replaced by The Yardbirds. Similarly, Twink appeared with The Pretty Things under their regular pseudonym “Electric Banana” in the film What’s Good for the Goose.

Twink worked as actor during the late 1980s, appearing in several United Kingdom television series including:-

——-  From Wikipeidia

Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From the 1970 album Think Pink

  • Ten Thousand Words In A Cardboard Box
  • Ten Thousand Words In A Cardboard Box (Alternate #1)
  • Ten Thousand Words In A Cardboard Box (Alternate #2)
  • Tiptoe On The Highest Hill