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A Short Bio:
Mike Wedgwood has several claims to fame : the most obvious for us Canterbury music fans is of course his 2 1/2 year, two-album stint with Caravan; but Wedgwood also has some pretty famous relatives : not only is he a descendent of Josiah Wedgwood, founder of the world-famous potteries, but also of Charles Darwin (!) and of noted 20th Century composer Vaughan Williams.
Born in Derby and raised in Salisbury, Mike Wedgwood started his musical career by learning to play piano (at 6), violin (at 10), clarinet and guitar (at 13) and saxophone (at 15)... By the mid-Sixties, while studying at Bishop Wordsworth School, he was playing drums, then saxophone in a local soul band, Just Us. In September 1968, he moved to London to try and make it as a professional musician. He soon joined the Overlanders, a folky 3-piece vocal trio turned to beat group who had previously (early '66) had a number one hit single in the UK with their cover of the Beatles' "Michelle", but none of the two singles he subsequently recorded with them had any commercial success. After staying for 2 1/2 years, his next band was Arthur's Mother, and another largely unsuccessful stint in spite of a minor hit with "On The Dole", released on Polydor in March 1971.
Subsequently, Wedgwood gigged and recorded with Nicky James, playing and arranging string parts on his epnymous album (released November 1971), and then was asked to join Curved Air, the progressive rock band led by violinist Darryl Way and keyboard player Francis Monkman, in January 1972. He played on the album Phantasmagoria (1972), but the band split up a few months after its release. With only himself and singer Sonja Kristina left, Wedgwood helped form a completely new line-up which included young prodigy Eddie Jobson (later of Roxy Music, Frank Zappa's band, UK and Jethro Tull). An album, Air Cut (1973), was released, and leftovers from the sessions were released 19 years later as the Love Child CD. But Curved Air broke up again in July 1973, and Wedgwood reverted to session work as previously, notably again for Nicky James, on the album Every Home Should Have One (released May 1973).
After a year working as bassist and arranger for various singers, including Kiki Dee (a UK tour supporting Elton John) and John Entwhistle (the Mad Ox album), he was put in touch with Caravan by producer David Hitchcock. John G. Perry had just left to form Quantum Jump, and after successfully passing an audition, Wedgwood sat in on congas at Perry's last gig with Caravan, at London's Lyceum on July 3rd, 1974. Other British concerts followed, and the fourth (at Croydon's Fairfield Hall) was recorded and released six years later as The Best Of Caravan Live, a French-only double album on Kingdom Records.
A marathon, 50-date US tour in late 1974 helped Wedgwood 's full integration into the band, and by the time the album Cunning Stunts (1975) was recorded, he had become a major creative force inside Caravan, penning two tracks and singing lead on those as well as two others composed by David Sinclair and John Murphy. He also wrote string arrangements, notably for his ballad "Lover". There followed a period of internal troubles, with a change of label and Sinclair's departure, but Wedgwood soldiered on. With new keyboard player Jan Schelhaas, another album, Blind Dog At St. Dunstan's (1976), was recorded. Wedgwood was much less involved this time around, both as singer and songwriter, both of these talents being restricted to one track, "Chiefs And Indians".
The reason for his departure in December 1976 was, however, of purely personal nature. He had decided to go and live in the United States (and more precisely, Alaska) with his American wife Benny, hoping to establish a career there as a musical arranger. The worsening economic climate in the UK also had to do with this decision. Anyway, he was not to be heard of for the subsequent 15 years, although he did release a single as a solo artist in the early 80's. Most of his work as session musician during this period remained anonymous.
Then, in 1992, Wedgwood returned to live in England, near his parents in Bournemouth. Contacts were resumed with former musical colleagues, and soon a deal was agreed with the Voiceprint label for the release of a solo album Wedgwood had been planning for almost a decade, with some songs dating back from 1983, and initial recordings having taken place in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 1987/88. Places Like These (1993) was a mixture of songs and instrumentals in a more progressive vein, with Mike playing most of the instruments except for a few guest appearances by friends from Salisbury.
In 1993, a surprising alliance was forged by Wedgwood with former King Crimson lead vocalist Gordon Haskell (and a solo artist in his own right in a more folky vein), leading to several tours, mostly in Scandinavia. He also played on Todd Dillingham's third album, Vast Empty Spaces, alongside Andy Ward (of Camel and Caravan Of Dreams fame) and Anthony Aldridge (violin player and leader of Skaboosh, also a guest on Mike's solo CD). He was also offered to rejoin Caravan when the band reformed in 1995 to record its comeback album The Battle Of Hastings, but his busy touring schedule with Haskell unfortunately prevented it.
Here are the latest news from the man himself : "I now live in Denmark, am married (very happily) to a Danish lady called Kirsten and we live out in the country. At the moment, I'm busy with the imminent building of a new studio. I've been working in my house with the control room up in a bedroom and the musicians playing in the living room and dining room! But after months of planning and loan-seeking our house is going to be doubled in size and the studio will be separate in the new section. Building permission is the only thing holding it up, and we expect that to come through in about six weeks. We already have a fair amount of bands etc. coming to record - enough that I haven't recorded anything of my own for quite a while. But I'll definitely be working on a new solo album - much of it is already written - and it should be much more cohesive than the last one. My style of writing has changed in some areas, and I've come across some excellent musicians here in Denmark. So hopefully in a few months I'll be looking for a record company or distributor (or both!). I play live with just my acoustic guitar in clubs and pubs here, and occasionally with a band called Soul Meeting which is comprised of members or ex-members of some of the better Danish bands.When the studio is built, we'll start to advertise and, due to the beautiful surroundings and the possiblity for musicians to stay, we are optimistic that it'll become popular enough to survive in the world of dwindling small businesses...".