In 1977 I co-wrote ‘Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll’ with Ian Dury kickstarting a life changing creative relationship that spawned other compositions including ‘Hit me with your Rhythm Stick’, ‘Reasons to be Cheerful part3′, ‘Sweet Gene Vincent’, ‘Blockheads’, ‘Wake up and Make Love With Me’, ‘Inbetweenies’, ‘Spasticus Autisticus’, ‘Itinerant Child’ and ‘You’re the Why’.
When not on Blockhead duty I was making my own records. I was signed to A&M records on my strength of 2 demos, ‘Ai No Corrida’ (which Quincy Jones recorded on the Dude LP) and ‘Am I honest with Myself Really’. During my fledgling ‘solo’ career I made four albums, ‘Chas Jankel’, ‘Chasananova’, ‘Chasabanca’ and ‘Looking at you’ (included in these albums were – Ai No Corrida, 109, Glad to know you, Questionnaire, 3 million synths and Number 1).
I briefly put a band together called the Johny Funk band (that included Norman Wattroy and Charley Charles of the Blockheads in the rhythm section). In 1985, Jerry Moss (the M in ‘A & M’) rejected my fith album and so terminated my recording career…for a while.
In 1986 after both my parents prematurely left this planet I put London behind me and moved to Los Angeles to write the score for D.O.A which my sister Annabel co-directed. Based in LA between 1986-1992 I wrote many scores for movies including Making Mr Right, An unsuitable job for a woman, The Rachel Papers, War Party, Killing Dad, Tales from the darkside (cat from hell), Earth girls are easy and K2 (I also completed the score for Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll).
In 1992 I returned to London and rekindled my friendship with Ian resulting eventually with what was to be Ian Dury and the Blockheads penultimate LP, Mr Lovepants. Ian lost his battle with cancer and passed away in 2000. The Blockheads pulled together with the assistance of Derek Hussey on vocals. (Derek and I co-wrote the songs for the latest Blockheads release ‘Staring down the barrel’).
In the later part of 2000 inspired by Ian’s love of Jazz I also became mesmerized and found myself buying a ton of CDs (including Duke Ellington, Ben Webster, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans, Cannonbull Adderley and John Coltrane to name but a few). In that year I plucked up the courage to make my own jazz album that was called ‘Out of the Blue’ – it was never released on a major label(I still have a pile of them in the corner of my studio). For a couple of years I had a quartet that included Dylan Howe and Dave Lewis who also perform with the Blockheads.
More recently I’ve produced and co-written an album Secrets and Words with China Soul. I still write and perform with the Blockheads but have also ben writing and developing music in my studio at home. Out of the hundreds of ideas I’ve come up with, only a mere handful are what I call ‘special’. But unlike in the 80s when I was quite happy to sing my material, these days I prefer to collaborate with other singers/writers – and that is what’s presented in my latest album ‘The Submarine has surfaced’.
At present I’m listening to the piano music of amongst others Fibich, Brahms, Bill Mays and Kodalys orchestral ‘Dance of galanta’.