About Ealing and Hanwell - The place where The Fluffy Jackets band started out
The Fluffy Jackets was formed in 2006 in in the Brentford/ Hanwell / Ealing area of West London. It turns out that many of my favorite musicians had had their humble beginnings in the same area. This article is dedicated to these musicians who made local (and global) history.
Deep Purple started out in Ealing in 1968. Blackmore, Lord and Paice rented their digs at 13 Second Avenue, W3 7RX.
Leo Sayer's 1983 hit "Orchard Road" is written about the street here, and is incidentally the same street where Monthy Python filmed several sketches. The same street was also the home to a music hire shop, where Genesis used to rehearse (in the basement).
The current Areonaut Pub (264 High street W3 9BH) used to be the White Heart Hotel, where John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and David Bowie gigged.
Pete Townsend was born and raised in 20 Woodgrange Avenue W5 3NY.
The Houndslow boy Phil Collins lived close to Ealing Common (12 Queen Anne's Grove, W3 7EG).
The current University of West London's main building (St Mary's Road, W5 5RF) was, in the 1960s, the home to the Ealing Technical College and School of Art, where there is a blue plaque acknowledging that former students included Pete Townsend, Freddie Mercury, Tim Staffel (Smile), Ronnie Wood, Thunderclap Newman, Bonzo Dog's Roger Rusking Spear and 70's punk Johnny G, plus Yellow Submarine animator Ted Powell.
A stones throw away, there's the Rose and Crown pub, the one-time home of Fleetwood Mac's John McVie (2 St Mary's Road, W5 4QX).
The famed Ealing Studios (Ealing Green, W5 5EP) was used to film videos and record Blur, Coldplay, Suede and the Spice Girls.
Rick Wakeman (the Yes keyboard player and funny-man) was born in Perivale not far away, and used to peruse the wares of the deuct Musical Bargain Centre (20 South Ealing Road, W 4QA).
The onetime Walpole Picture Theatre (18-22 Bond Street W5 5AA) is now a funeral directors, but in the mid-70's was the rehearsal room for Paul McCartney and Wings, The Kings, and when they were back in town, Thin Lizzy.
Just up the road is Bill's restaurant (28-30 New Broadway, W5 2XA) which used to be Squires Musical Shop where Dusty Springfield worked in the 60's. She grew up in Ealing (Flat 4, 2 Kent Gardends, W13 8BU).
The Ealing Club (42A The Broadway, W5 2NP) opened as Ealing Jazz Club in 1959. It was transformed three years later by the local Alexis Korner, hosting everyone from Cyril Davies to The Rolling Stones, who debuted there, along with future members of Cream plus John Mayall, Rod Stewart, The Birds, Graham Bond and The Who. Just over the road from there is the Metro Bank (The Broadway, W5 5JN) which used to be The Feathers pub, scene of gigs by The Who, Pink Floyd, The Yardbirds and Jeff Beck.
The Pet Shop Boys are a local band, and named themselves after friends working at Aquapets, now a dry-cleaner (17, Leeland Road, W13 9HH).
From here it is a short hop to the Hanwell Community Centre, which used to be a rehearsal space for Led Zeppelin, The Who, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep.
Hanwell Community Centre was a popular rehearsal space. One of the advantages of a self-contained building is that there are no neighbours to complain about the noise. Thus it was that when the MKII line-up of Deep Purple came together in the summer of 1969, they used Hanwell Community Centre as their rehearsal rooms. They were living near by, and the room hire was cheap. So it was in Hanwell that the songs and the sound of the legendary album Deep Purple In Rock were first developed. There's a story that some of the first people to hear what was happening were the band Uriah Heep, working on their material in another room in Hanwell - and listening through the wall.
Not far away, drummer Mitch Mitchell of the Jimi Hendrix Experience lived (19 Bordars Walk W7 1JB).
The legendary drummer with Jimi Hendrix, Mitch Mitchell used to work at the Marshall Amplification Shop along with owner (and drummer) Jim Marshall (76 Uxbridge Road W7 3ST). The customers there included Pete Townsend, Jimi Hendrix, Richie Blackmore, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton.
The premises of Monterey Music (69 Station Road W7 3JD), now a residential property, was where Malcolm McLaren made Sex Pistols recordings, and just down the road is The Viaduct Pub (221 Uxbridge Road W7 3TD) with its rear rehearsal 'white room', was used by Cream.
Other places of interest include the house where Matt Munro was born (1 Dallas Road W5 3BW), Alexis Korner childhood home (Hangar Lane W5 2NB). Then there's the school where Brand New Heavies and Rick Wakeman used to go, and the homes of Lee Brilleaux (Dr Feelgood) and Jamiroquai's Jay Kay.
And finally - The Fluffy Jackets was formed in by Ealing resident Ian Robinson (Dane Road, Ealing) and Helge Rognstad (Boston Manor Road, Hanwell / Brentford), unwittingly carrying on the long lineage of music coming out of West London. Maybe it is something in the water...
The Fluffy Jackets have rehearsed in, and recorded at many studios in West London, including Panic Studios (Acton), Unit 2 (Acton), Westpoint Studios (Acton), Loz Vegas (Hangar Lane) to mention a few.
Much of the above information was compiled with thanks to Record Collector (August 2019 issue) and Alistair Young.
Appeal: Help save Ealing Club
There is currently (September 2019) an effort going on to try to preserve the Ealing Club as a tourist attraction. Alistair Young of the Ealing Club Community Interest Company, a social enterprise dedicated to promoting gigs and music heritage in Ealing, is also promoting a film "Suburban Steps to Rockland - The Story of the Ealing Club". There are also a local annual Jazz and Blues festival in Walpole Park. This great society is trying to get financial support to save Ealing Club and all the history. Help them if you can. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and see https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/suburban-steps-to-rockland#/.