With thanks to John Greene (aka John Cox)
John got into music in the early 60s. In the early days he and his friends would regularly visit the Count House at Bottalick, which at the time was one of the few venues around with live music. He saw a band playing at a school dance and decided that was what he wanted do. He became a big Shadows fan and started to learn to play.
His musical life started in the early 60s while performing with the Camborne Wesley Youth Club band. After eventually getting up to scratch he performed in the Clubs pantomimes. He would then form a band with Terry Knight (name forgotten). Terry was a big Beach Boys fan and they would perform covers, as well as songs such as Groovy Kind Of Love. Their first paid gig was at Troon Youth Club.
This band led on to the formation of Circuit 4, not be confused with the band Circuit 5, although confusingly the Circuit 4 did perform for a short time as Circuit 5 when there were briefly five band members! Circuit 4 were up and running prior to John joining the band, performing as The Trolls.
The Trolls. Bamboo Club, Tabbs.
Circuit 4 at the Winter Gardens
Circuit Four, Kings Arms, Penryn
The band would gig regularly around Cornwall, playing all of the big venues as well as village halls, etc. They also held a residency at the Kings Arms in Penryn, playing every Saturday night.
At this time this was a rough and ready pub, with fights most evenings. The regular cry was to 'keep playing', while they kept playing they were the band on stage, as soon as they stopped they ran the risk of getting embroiled in the evenings scrap!
They would start off playing pop covers, but later on started to get into the heavy stuff, developing an interest in Hendrix, Who, Cream, etc.
By this stage the name Circuit 4 was becoming outdated and they changed their name to Modesty. Before long they were kindly asked (or told!) by Kevin Hart to change their name was too similar to his bands name, Modesty Blues. They came up with the name Confusion, an in joke on the Modesty/Modesty Blues muddle.
Around this time the band replaced their drummer, as he wasn't into the new heavy sounds. Tony Lean was an excellent guitar player who did a good job emulating Hendrix. As they moved into late 60s heavy rock they also became much louder. While Circuit 4 were started out playing through one small amp Confusion were assaulting the senses with a double stack of Marshalls, which was quite something to behold in a small village hall. They would also take to smashing up guitars on stage, albeit a crappy old acoustic which would then get taped back up ready for the next gig!
They would become a three piece with the rhythm guitarist moving onto to roadie duties, and later leaving the band.
Confusion were signed up to BCD Entertainment, who would secure them plenty of gigs including support slots with some big names. They supported Traffic at The Flamingo and Jethro Tull at the Winter Gardens. BCD would also secure them some gigs out of county in Devon, which would involve them driving for hours in their Commer van, which they would then often sleep in after the gigs.
John would also occasionally sit in with Falmouth band Blood and Sand, when they played Spoonful. One occasion he sit in was a gig at Princess Pavilion, with a then unknown David Bowie performing his mime show earlier on the bill.
Circuit 4 played in both the 1967 and 1968 Rock and Rhythm Contest. The event in 1968 was subject to controversy, when Peace & Quiet won the event, despite many commenting on their poor performance. At the time many thought the result was rigged. Confusion came in mid way in the results, and the evening would go from bad to worse for John.
John was at the time working as a clerk in a bank, toiling away despite not been especially keen on the path partly chosen for him. The prizes for the Rock & Rhythm Contest were presented by John’s boss, who didn't take too kindly to one of his junior members of staff being so involved in the rock and roll lifestyle. Within a week of the contest John found out he had been deployed to a branch in Launceston, which was as far away as the boss could relocate him. This left John with the option of moving a long way from his current life and continuing in a 9-5 life he was less than enamoured with, or taking the plunge and throwing himself headlong into his passion, music.
In November 1968 left the bank behind him and left for London where a new, very different life, awaited him. Confusion would continue for some time afterwards with a new line-up, competing in the 1970 Top Groups contest.
John very quickly immersed himself in the hippie lifestyle and like many, dropped out, living in a commune in Eel Pie Island. He continued playing music, playing in a band with a future Hawkwind drummer. He was also part of a proto-boy band who were being groomed for stardom, but eventually left high and dry thanks to a crooked manager.
He continued to live the hippy lifestyle, working on the first proper Glastonbury festival (and having a relationship with Arabella Churchill on the way). He would soon find himself moving around the many crash pads of London, struggling to find work. A job would eventually come up working on the bar at the famous Rainbow Theatre, which he took on a whim. Within a couple of weeks he had risen to become assistant stage manager at the venue. This would lead him into working in stage management, working on Paul McCartney's 'Wings Over Europe' tour in 1972, as well as with Santana and the Grateful Dead. He would work all the Deads shows in 1972, including those that appeared on the Europe ‘72 LP. John would relocate to San Francisco for five years, working with and meeting many of the top bands from the area.
He then got into lightning design, working as Boz Scaggs own lightning designer and setting up his own business. He continued to work for many years in lightning design, and returned to Cornwall where he continues to perform and record with Dead Sea Squirrels, as well as working a photographer and video maker.
He currently runs the open mic night at the Jacobs Ladder in Falmouth, working hard to support and promote talented local artists.
For more information please check out John's website - http://www.jogrn.com