An Interview with David Duhig of Jade Warrior & Dogstar Poets fame:
VM: Thank you very much David for your willingness to give me an interview. Also, my sincere congratulations on your return to the Progressive Rock scene, which, judging by the contents of the Dogstar Poets album, "Off-Planet", was very successful - at least from the creative standpoint view.
VM: Being the blood brother of Tony Duhig, who was the factual leader of Jade Warrior and one of the two masterminds behind the band down to his untimely death in 1991 (1990), can you say that he exerted a certain musical influence on you? Or maybe, you had a different musical taste in your youth?
DD: Tony both helped and influenced me musically for sure, although we were both coming at music from a different age group. Tony was 11 years older than me - so he had done a lot of things before I even picked up a guitar. He also was not at the family house very much, but on occasions he would show me a thing or two on the guitar. My main influence was without any doubt Jimi Hendrix and a few years later John McLaughlan. But I should add that Tony did open my mind to some of the less well known classical pieces such as Bartok's string quartets and pieces like "The Rite of Spring" - very powerful music.
VM: As far as I know, you joined Jade Warrior during the recording sessions of the band's third album, "Last Autumn's Dream". I know that before forming Jade Warrior, both Tony and Jon Field were the members of July. And you?.. What did you do before you became part of Jade Warrior in 1972? Was it your first appearance within the framework of international Rock music movement?
DD: The first thing I actually did with Jade Warrior was their "showcase gig" in 1970. In order to help secure the record deal, it was after that gig that the first Jade Warrior album got recorded - I was at the studio occasionaly at the time, but I did not play anything. Before JW I was only in small bands, I played bass in one band called "Black August" which did some gigs, one in particular was very memorable at "The Roundhouse" this was in 1969 and the Roundhouse was really psychedelic.
VM: At least three important events happened in your life after the release of the "Last Autumn's Dream" LP, i.e. in 1973. First: while recording the fourth - double - album of Jade Warrior, you become a full-fledged member of the band (as well as drummer Alan Price).
Second: the people at the 'swirl' Vertigo label rejected that double album and even cancelled their contract with the band, despite the fact that first, they were going to release it as two separate albums. Third: after all of these troubles Jade Warrior thankfully joined the Island Records label, but the contract was offered only to Jon and Tony. In other words, you, Alan, and even Glyn Havard, who, along with Tony and Jon, were one of the band's original members, were then forced either to quit the band or to be only the guest musicians there. What were your thoughts on each of these events at the time when they happened and what are your current thoughts on them? (Perhaps, nothing has changed since then?)
DD: I will try to reply to those questions in order.
First: I guess I became a full time member of the band after the recording of the second album called "Released" after that album we did a lot of gigs and we were always well received, we used to get encores very often. We did have a good live band in those days. And in 1972 because the album "Released" had got into the USA Billboard chart "with a bullet" we went and toured the USA for a couple of months, then in 1973 a tour of Europe ended suddenly when someone got very ill.
Second: I can't really answer that question - you see only Tony, Jon and Glyn were "signed" to the label - so I had no say in what was going on. I was a member of the band but only a "Guest" when it came to recording on albums.
Third: The offer of the Island deal did not split the band, the band had already split before Island came along. After JW split, myself Glyn and Allan got together and did a lot of good music, but Allan moved back to South Wales. Some time later Glyn and I got together with various musicians and did some gigs and recording, but eventually Glyn also moved back to Wales. So I got into doing my own music and started to play keyboards. I continued to do "guest" spots on the JW albums.
VM: Now, can you please tell me and our readers about all the significant aspects of your musical activity from 1974 to 1983, beginning with those that concern the albums released by Jade Warrior 'within the precincts' of Island Records?
DD: Well the first thing I recorded for JW on Island was a track called "Monkey Chant" this was a really original idea from Tony I think. A tribe of natives doing a chant with really electric guitar on it. Apparently, the owner of Island records, Chris Blackwell, liked it so much that he left "orders" for it to be released as a single. Then he went off to Jamaica for Bob Marley - some long time later he returned and discovered that Island had not released it as a single at all. Island were not very together in those days.
On one of the occasions when I was recording at The Manor, JW were recording the album "Waves", I met Steve Windwood, he was the person that got JW the deal with Island. We did this swop solo idea where I would do a phrase on the guitar and Steve would answer on the Mini Moog keyboard - it was really good, but has never been released. I had the chance to ask Steve all about his times and jams with Jimi Hendrix, we had a very good enjoyable talk. Around this time I did a couple of things on an album by Tom Newman called "Fine old Tom" (Tom produced/co-produced Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells). This opportunity came via Jon Field I think. In 1980 I was guest guitarist at a "Jimi Hendrix tribute" in Amsterdam - this gave me the chance to jam on stage with Mitch Michell the drummer from The Jimi Hendrix Experience - which was an experience for me - for sure!!
VM: The first of the post-Island period Jade Warrior albums, "Horizen", consists of compositions, all of which were written by Tony and performed by Tony (on guitar and keyboards) and you (on lead guitar) - with numerous guests (on the other Rock instruments, and also flute and sax). There are still rumors about Jon Field's participation on this album. Could you please shed some light on this? Is Jon playing on any of the tracks on "Horizen"?
DD: I was with Tony throughout the recording of "Horizen". It was recorded/mixed at two locations. Firstly at home in Acton and also at a studio in North London. I do not recall seeing Jon at any time during this process and I do think that if Jon had played on "Horizen" then Tony would have mentioned it on the liner notes of the album. I should make it clear that during this time period, that only Tony was Jade Warrior. The flute on "Horizen" may well have been by "Gowan Turnbul" he played sax on that album.
VM: Unfortunately, I haven't listened to another album released by Jade Warrior in the 1980s, "At Peace". What can you tell about it and the events that the creation of this album and the release of it were accompanied with?
DD: I can't say too much about "At Peace". You see, it was recorded shortly after Tony moved from London to Glastonbury and during that time I did not see Tony very much. It was not recorded as or intended to be "a standard" Jade Warrior album as such. They just did an album that was very relaxed and peacefull and tried to reflect "the peace" of the countryside - which of course was a new experience for Tony and his family.
VM: Were you originally in the band when Tony and Jon decided to start working on "Breathing the Storm" - the album that Tony didn't have time to contribute to? Can you explain something about this most sorrowful period in the history of Jade Warrior and the further events, including the releases of "Breathing the Storm" and "Distant Echo", respectively?
DD: I do not recall Tony having anything to do with those two albums. They were both recorded and released well after Tony's death and were purely Jon's projects. I had nothing at all to do with them. At this time Jon became "Jade Warrior" and as far as I know he still is.
VM: What did you do during the 1990s - before you, along with Glyn Havard, formed Dogstar Poets. What were the events that urged you on to form this band? What can you tell us of the band in general?
DD: That is a big question - it covers a whole decade! Well the best way to put it is: In 1987 I moved to Glastonbury to be sound engineer at "Jade Warrior Studios". This lasted from 1987 to 1993 and during that time I must have recorded about 5,6, or 7 albums with different people. One of my favourites was an album with an "amazing" girl vocalist called "Julie Daske" I co-produced her album "Enchanting Deep Waters" I also played guitar and some percussion on it. In my opinion it is a great album.
I also made several "Medditation" albums and have a whole load of tracks of unfinished projects to find and remix - I do have a large "Archive" of music - some of which I hope will see the light of day. 1993 to 1998 was a departure from music for me. I produced a video film about "Crop Circles" and I also did the soundtrack for it - this led to starting our own magazine about UFOs as well.
But in 1998 I got very very ill with Tubuculosis. This abruptly ended the business and for the next 2 years I was very ill and in and out of hospital.
In November 2000 Glyn, Allan and I got together to play. This was the first time we had all been together for 20 years!! But within minutes of starting to play everything seemed as if we had last jammed only a couple of weeks earlier - in other words it "felt the same" as it used to.
We recorded the jams and later we sent them to Hi-Note and they were very impressed and suggested we could release those jams. However Glyn and I decided that if we were going to release anything then it should be some thing new - in other words an album recorded as best as we could do, with the limited recording gear that we had.
VM: Tell me about the process of the creation of the "Off-Planet" album - at least briefly. Are you satisfied with the final result of your work on it?
DD: I am pleased with the album - considering we recorded it on fairly basic equipment, by today's standards. And the fact that it was very much a "postal album". Glyn and the guys in Wales would record parts and post them to me, I would record parts and post them back, that is how we did most of the recording. I am pleased with my playing on the album - I had real problems with "arthritus" in my hands at the time, so I could not play guitar for very long periods. So most of the guitar playing was done "first take", especially the solos - and in the end I liked what I had done - so did Glyn so we kept it. Although we were many miles apart, we managed to get the most out of this slightly strange way of recording.
VM: What's next on the Dogstar Poets agenda? Are you going to tour with the band?
DD: Well at present we are working on ideas for the next album, as to doing any touring we will have to wait and see. Glyn and I are happy to go out giging, but as you can imagine "getting a band together" and ready to tour is a big thing to organize and it really all depends on how well "Off Planet" does and how much interest it generates. I think it is safe to say we will at least be doing another album.
VM: Already several years passed by since Jon Field promised to add the final chapter in the history (i.e. discography) of Jade Warrior. Are you in the know of whether it will finally happen or not? And further - is it completely outside of your competence to add another chapter (or maybe, even a few more chapters) to the history of the band?
DD: I don't know anything about the final chapter of Jade Warrior - these days Jade Warrior is in Jon Field's domain and I have no idea of what his plans may or may not be. If you are "literally " talking about the history of JW, then I highly recommend visiting the "Friends of Jade Warrior" website, as both Glyn and I have put a lot of detailed information there, in interviews. Tony and Jon also have interviews there as well, you can find a link at our site (see links below).
VM: Finally, what are your plans regarding your future musical activity - in general and in particular?
DD: Firstly I am looking forward to the next "Dogstar Poets" album and recording several of the guitar ideas/styles that there wasn't room for on "Off Planet". And of course hearing what new ideas Glyn has. We are also looking forward to having more Hammered Dulcimer from our good friend Brian Imig. As I mentioned earlier I have a large archive of music and I would like to start getting some of that ready for release. Like most musicians that are not wealthy I would love to buy many new instruments, such as a nylon classical guitar and I would love to get a bass guitar or two. I also have several friends with whom I jam occasionally and I would like to do some album recording with them. But overall for the future I would like to be in good health - because without it not a lot of music can get done. On that note may I wish that all your readers have "Good Health, Happiness and Good Music" and I would also like to thank you for your good review of "Off Planet" I am very pleased you like it so much!
VM: Thank you a thousand times David for doing such an interesting and in many ways topical interview! I wish you health, happiness, and also to gladden us fans with your music for years to come.