Mick(e)y Waller:

Mickey Waller Band- Eel Pie Club, 26th May 2004.
Review By Stephanie Thorburn – Freelance music writer.

It’s a true fascination to get lost in the Musicians’ Olympus biography of drummer Mickey Waller. Like just a handful of novel individuals, by following his path through the industry it is possible to study his rock family tree at each musical incarnation and to learn the equivalent of a BA in popular music studies. Mickey Waller is of course himself better qualified than this. He in his alter ego is a legal adviser, and from what I can tell, has practiced the art of moral and relative judgement throughout an esteemed career path.

It was a remarkable if low-key night at the Eel Pie on 26th May, when Mickey and friends played to a select packed house. His line-up for 2004 features the talents of Mark Freeman on rhythm guitar, better known for his drumming with the Rollin’ Stoned. With him he has chosen to transfer the skills of R. Stoned band mate, ‘Mick Waylor’, guitarist extraordinaire. Keith Grant of Downliner Sect offers the presence and character of Ron Wood on bass as he changes hat to the Waller band. The group dynamics go full circle in Mickey’s musical roots to jams with Cyril Davies, where in the 60’s the first few R & B bands were full of oozing ability, big names and a changing and fluid clientele. The Waller band has a repertoire of rhythm kings and the muscle to sustain a couple of hours of Barrelhouse grooves.

Mickey stirred the house with his marvellous and definitive balls rock n’ roll, no unnecessary extra fills, just the real McCoy rhythm master from The Jeff Beck Group, The Bluesbreakers, De Luxe Blues Band, Chuck Berry .. The bio goes on and you could hear it all in his set at the Eel Pie, a no holes barred blues-rock steam out with Art Wood treating us as special guest for a finale or two. Mick Waylor in turn demonstrated some demon riffs on Brown Sugar and Mark Freeman’s vocals and guitar work showed his true versatility, so ‘Hey Baby’, it was quite a night. I think the audience appreciated what we heard, & we can’t all be wrong with a house filled with plenty of Mickey’s peers, namely Art, John O’Leary (Savoy Brown) and Dave Wilkie (Chicken Shack).

There has been some speculation as to whether Mickey was powering the drums on the classic Rod Stewart ‘Hot Legs’. Although he didn’t play on this particular recording, one thing is for sure, every time Mickey strikes the drums he is hot and has real legs or longevity high on his list of attributes. Oh, and Mickey, your version of ‘Hot Legs’ was top of the set, feisty and as striking as the original..

Look out for Mickey Waller’s special birthday jam this September, where the band are due to spring back into action on some familiar turf, promising a seminal ‘Stormy Monday’ club night at the Bull’s Head in Barnes.

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