70s rockers Sharks reform

Sharks in 2016
Sharks in 2016 (Image credit: Ross Halfin)

British rock band Sharks have reformed with three original members – Chris Spedding (guitar), Steve (Snips) Parsons and Nicky Judd (keyboards). Also on board are Sex Pistol/Professionals drummer Paul Cook (drums) and Toshi Ogawa from Kingmob and Hey! Hello! on bass.

Sharks were originally formed in 1972 by Andy Fraser after the demise of Free, who left the band before their second album, Jab It In Yore Eye, which gained them a cult following amongst the punk cognoscenti, including The Clash, Chrissie Hynde and The Sex Pistols. The latter worked with Spedding on the demos for Never Mind The Bollocks.

Over the last 40 years guitarist/singer Spedding and singer/composer Snips have performed and recorded with the likes of Paul McCartney, Johnny Marr, The Sex Pistols, Ginger Baker, The Cramps, Elton John, Roxy Music, Tom Waits and The Wombles.

“For me Sharks reforming is both surprising and an inevitable turn on the wheel of fortune,” says Snips. “Surprising because me and Chris have never been look-back guys. Inevitable because since I returned to performance after being an invisible music guy for film and TV, everything I’ve done has been with Spedding.”

The idea for reforming Sharks first came about two years ago when Snips co-produced Spedding’s all star solo album Joyland, which featured Johnny Marr, Bryan Ferry and Andy Fraser, amongst others.

“Andy contributed a fantastic bass performance,” Snips says. “After Andy passed we did a few tribute gigs and the reaction was positive and that started us both thinking about the glamorous car crash that was Sharks.”

The bands new album A Shiver Of was recorded at Smokehouse Studios and will be released on their record label in autumn. Sharks have also unveiled an extremely rare clip of the band performing for the BBC in 1974.

“Sharks first television appearance on the Old Grey Whistle Test to promote First Water was a disaster,” says Snips. “Infected by Andy Fraser’s dress-down code we looked like a band fit to play at a working men’s club in Bolton rather than Shea Stadium.

“With Andy gone Chris and I reverted to our natural dandy and, as you can see, the new bass player needed no encouragement in that direction. When we were invited back onto the Bob Harris Drabshow to promote Jab It in Yore Eye it still had a semi-miming rule (pre-recorded backing track/plastic symbols/vocals done live in a tiny weather studio), and I simply refused.

“Sometimes saying ‘no’ is the only way to make something happen. Our management bit the financial bullet and hired a talented up-and-coming Director, Mike Russell Hills, who decided to shoot the band, on film, playing live in Basing Street studios. Reluctantly the BBC agreed to air it.

“The result is faintly homoerotic and a timely historical documentation of style culture/glam punk and obvious drug use. What you see is what we were. This was the band that toured America in 1974 and came within an inch of fulfilling its Supergroup label.

“My only regret is that there are no close-ups of our platform shoes.”

Tour dates will be announce in the next couple of months, along with a couple of other yet-to-be-announced projects connected to the reunion. For more information about the band, visit the Sharks Facebook page.

Peter Makowski

Pete Makowski joined Sounds music weekly aged 15 as a messenger boy, and was soon reviewing albums. When no-one at the paper wanted to review Deep Purple's Made In Japan in December 1972, Makowski did the honours. The following week the phone rang in the Sounds office. It was Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. "Thanks for the review," said Blackmore. "How would you like to come on tour with us in Europe?" He also wrote for Street Life, New Music News, Kerrang!, Soundcheck, Metal Hammer and This Is Rock, and was a press officer for Black SabbathHawkwindMotörhead, the New York Dolls and more. Sounds Editor Geoff Barton introduced Makowski to photographer Ross Halfin with the words, “You’ll be bad for each other,” creating a partnership that spanned three decades. Halfin and Makowski worked on dozens of articles for Classic Rock in the 00-10s, bringing back stories that crackled with humour and insight. Pete died in November 2021.