Live preview: Davy O'List

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You’ve released your first solo album in 18 years. What have you been up to?

I studied film soundtracks and ended up teaching. It took a long time to find a record label, to make my new album Second Thoughts, and then to locate the people who would allow me to play it live. I also had a baby son.

You describe the music on it as “proto-prog”?

The Nice developed a new style of music with The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack [1967] and I was a part of that. I was there at the beginning of prog rock, but The Nice were its prototype.

What prompted your return to the prog genre?

The continued success of The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack – I still get royalties. I consider_ Second Thoughts_ a sequel to that album and I hope fans of The Nice will enjoy it. I intend to make
a series of albums that interlink like symphonies, and the next album is already under way.

After so long away, has the community made you feel welcome?

Oh yeah, it’s been completely marvellous. The reaction from around the world has been incredible.

Back in 1967, you stood in for Syd Barrett at a Pink Floyd gig.

That was incredible. It felt like a dream because it was on Floyd’s package tour with Jimi Hendrix. I knew Floyd’s music really well so when they asked me to play with them, it was quite easy.

Did the band ever consider taking you on as a permanent replacement for Syd?

Apparently they gave it some thought. They certainly came to see me play live a few times but I was only 19 and still quite green in the business. I should have pushed myself more.

Does your current show cover all stages of your career?

No, just a few segments of it. I play the whole of Second Thoughts, an updated version of The Nice’s Bonnie K [from …Davjack] and Any More Than I Do by [pre-Nice band] The Attack. DL

O’List plays London The Borderline on January 23.

Classic Rock 219: News & Regulars