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KajaGooGoo: The PA Story of a Band pt1

April 2, 2011

I’ve met some wonderful people through KajaFax and am always delighted when anyone with a story to tell drops me a line to say hello.

I was both pleased and surprised when one Michelle Watkin emailed me to have a chat and tell me about her involvement with the band, including the original KajaFax!  I instantly asked Michelle if she’d like to do a feature for us talking about those days and how it all was for her.

Thankfully, she said yes!  She always told me that if she was to do it, it would not all fit into one feature!

The most exciting part of this series for me is that this is the story from someone involved with the band in the music industry, a wholly different angle to that of a ‘regular’ fan.

So here we have pt1 of this feature.  The story starts pre KajaGooGoo, the story starts pre Art Nouveau.  Over to Michelle:

The Story of a Band from a Personal Assistants viewpoint!

This story begins in early 1976.  I had just left school and my best friend was a lovely but quirky guy called Ken Tidy.  We were both ‘misfits’ which is probably why we got on so well (and still do all these years later)!  Ken introduced me to bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd and Rory Gallagher.  He also had a motorbike which was pretty cool – not a silly moped but a proper big bike!  One day he asked me to go along to meet a band he had got involved with.  I bundled onto the back of his bike and we headed for Grove Place in Leighton Buzzard, the town where we lived.  I was led into the basement of a house and was introduced to four guys – Bob Thompson, Stuart Neale, Graham Tunnadine and Paul Ryan, collectively known as ‘Lazy’.KajaGooGoo

Above: Lazy. L-R Bob Thompson, Graham Tunnadine, Paul Ryan, Stuart Neale

They were a really nice bunch of guys, just out of school and really passionate about their music, and had some grand ideas about being the next big rock band. Being a shy young girl, I was a bit overwhelmed by them, but noticed that the lead guitarist was a really good-looking guy with a rather unimposing manner about him but a very cheeky smile, so I was hooked! Ken was helping them out roadying at gigs and sorting out their sound system, so I started going to their local gigs with Ken.  Just prior to this, I was at 6th form at Cedars School, where Paul, Stuart and Graham already had a reputation as good musicians, and Lazy were starting to get a good following on the local music scene.  I was spending a lot more time with Ken and the band, most weekends going to their gigs locally.  It became very addictive – even the thought of bundling into the back of Paul’s mini-van was exciting, and their enthusiasm was infectious.  They were mostly playing small gigs (those were the days when every town had quite a few pubs/clubs that put on live music).  Over time, they gained a really good reputation and started to get gigs further afield – I think one of the most notable was playing the Windsor Castle in London!

There were loads of other great local bands about at this time, namely ‘Spoon’ which featured Steve Askew, Jez Strode, Mick Howard and John Stone.  Sadly I don’t remember much about Spoon, as my time was taken up with Lazy; I was still young and totally besotted with Lazy especially when I started going out with the guitarist Paul, a relationship that was to last 18 years.

Lazy stayed together for a couple of years and gained a really solid and loyal following.  They played some great covers but also wrote some brilliant tracks of their own, namely ‘Radio Song’ and ‘Wrist Job’ (no. don’t ask!!!!).  I still have the demo tape of that hidden away in the loft and it’s a treasured possession!


We had some crazy, wonderful times and I became good friends with Stuart during this time.  However, things were about to change quickly, and Lazy were soon to be no more (I think it was cited as ‘musical differences’ as most band splits usually are!).  It was about this time I met a young guy called Nick Beggs who was a friend of Graham’s. After the split with Lazy, Graham hooked up with Nick, Mick Howard and Steve Thomas (who also happened to live just over the road from me!) and formed another band.   It was also around this time that I met Alison Henderson, a renowned local journalist who had been closely following the progress of Lazy.  I was also about to meet two of my closest friends, Anna and Kath.  There followed a strange period in my life when things started to get very crazy.  The band that Graham and Nick were in sadly met their demise, as Graham was by then at art school, and was only home at weekends. 

Nick, Stuart, Jez and Steve got together to form a band called ‘Handstands’ and they played working men’s clubs and such like. But they had an alter-ego band called Art Nouveau, -which was dedicated to writing and performing their own music.  Handstands became a vehicle to finance Art Nouveau and the step towards their ultimate aim.  Paul decided to give up playing and take on the role of their manager, devoting his time to getting more gigs, arranging studio time and planning the next steps.

But that will wait for part two of this story……………..

Wow, really looking forward to pt2 of this!!  Many thanks to Michelle for kicking off this feature with a brilliant pt1.

2011 KajaFax

5 Comments leave one →
  1. lulu permalink
    April 2, 2011 10:31 am

    Hope you are not going to tell ALL the dark secrets Michelle, save some for a book! We can write it together xx L

    • Michelle permalink
      April 2, 2011 8:30 pm

      Lulu – as if honey! Some things have to be saved for that book! You are gonna have to get down to darkest Devon this summer so we can make a start! Tales to tell of Nick Rhodes tho!!!!!!!

  2. TheRaggedTiger permalink
    April 2, 2011 8:14 pm

    Awesome article 🙂

    • Michelle permalink
      April 2, 2011 8:31 pm

      Thank you! Hope you enjoyed it! Mx

  3. April 2, 2011 11:28 pm

    Wow! I was ready to make a bowl of popcorn and everything. Can’t wait for part 2, fantastic article!

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