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John Simms, Ken White and Mark Sheather all originated from Acton, West London and began playing music at a very early age. They formed their first band whilst still attending school a rhythm and blues outfit they called ‘Jug Blues’. They swiftly boarded the club circuit, performing a set of cover songs to all and sundry. An extensive tour Germany resulted and this was a success.

It was at this point that they decided to write their own material.

Their primary set evolved. It was ‘raw, fresh, with a brutal edge’ said one journalist, and certainly original. They took it to the listening ears everywhere performing under various band names such as ‘X’ and ‘Matuse’,

covering the entire UK circuit and Europe. They entered the famous Marquee club talent contest in London and won outright. As they came offstage, they were approached by Donavan’s manager, Ashley Kozak, and the band worked with him for some time.
Bigger status was achieved. The band played on the same bill as Janis Joplin/Big Brother & the Holding company, Rory Gallagher/Taste, Country Joe and the Fish, Free, Gentle Giant to name but a few...
Their unique style had now fully emerged and new songs were constantly being created. The music was highly experimental and heavy, and belied their youth. Present day journalists have cited the band for being one of the original inventors of what has nowadays become known as heavy metal.
They began to collect a loyal following. The vitality and originality of the music together their musical ability soon attracted the attention of the record companies.
One of the foremost producers of that era, namely Patrick Campbell-Lyons, formerly of 60's chart success band ' NIRVANA ', came to see who was creating the buzz, and instantly decided the band had enormous potential.
The band took the name 'CLEAR BLUE SKY'.
Within the spring of 1970, Patrick Campbell-Lyons signed the band to the celebrated VERTIGO record label - home of many original new sounds that were emerging at that time. John Simms was not yet eighteen, and that summer they went into the studios to make their first album, which was (eventually) self titled (some early press releases give the title as ‘Play it Loud’ which was subsequently dropped), and featured one of the very first cover designs by artist Roger Dean. It was released in January 1971.
  Clear blue sky  
The original vinyl is now very much a collector’s item. However, such is the longevity of this album that it has been re-released by many record companies since and is ongoing to this day.
Bassist Mark Sheather left the band in favour of married life. Kraznet Montpelier replaced him.
The band toured constantly, working the four corners of the rock circuit, and also spent time in the studio recording. Sadly management issues left the band disillusioned and they ceased playing live gigs.
In 1975, John joined 'Tangerine Peel'. He took the place of Michael Chapman of Chinnichap fame, and toured and recorded with them for a while. The time spent with ' Tangerine Peel ' was very rewarding. John enjoyed exploring a more commercial field.
John felt the need to get back to the heavier, more experimental approach. He formed another band with Clear Blue Sky drummer Kenny White. They recruited Smith Campbell as bass player, whose band ' Hokus Poke ' had also appeared on the Vertigo label. They had a gritty, powerful, to-the-point sound, and appropriately called themselves ' The Needle '.
  The Needle  
John Entwistle (The Who) was somewhat captivated by their music. Friendship ensued, and various music projects were created as a result. He would arrive unannounced at their gigs and jam with them.
The next musical venture took a different approach altogether. This time, John got together with drummer Paul Gibbs ('The Wild Angels', some CBS recordings (‘Live & Unreleased’) etc), and on fretless bass, Ian McDonald ('Furniture' and presently Claus Bohling's (Secret Oyster/Hurdy Gurdy) 'Elektrum' myspace/Elektrum). Their individual influences and backgrounds blended well and formed a distinctive sound. Dynamic and fresh, one magazine announced them as a ‘unique blend of spirited high class rock-funk-fusion’. The name 'Separate Energy' seemed a perfect description of their musical recipe. ( find out more & hear them at:
Separate Energy became popular in a short time. Within the first year, the band appeared at the last Stonehenge festival with Hawkwind. Film footage is in the archives. They were creating an in impact and Ginger Baker's manager - wanting new members for Ginger's forthcoming new band - came to see them. He deemed John and Ian to be the ideal partners for Ginger’s imminent project.
John and Ian joined Ginger for many tours. John became friends with Ginger’s family. After Ian left the scene, John formed a band with Ginger’s son Kofi, also a gifted and technically astute drummer. They invited Kraznet Montpelier as bass player, and new blood Maxine Marten as lead vocalist.
This music was a diverse blend of power rock with rich jazz/fusion overtones. Ms Marten invented the name ‘Karizma’ ( They wrote and recorded extensively - about two to three albums worth of material.
By the start of 1990, there had been a resurgence of interest from the public in bands from the ‘70’s including Clear Blue Sky. With a new manager who was passionate about the music, namely Tony Hamlin (who subsequently became a close, personal friend) John decided to reform Clear Blue Sky. Recordings made by the band in the '70's were exhumed, and were constructed into an album entitled ' Destiny ‘, after one of its featured tracks. It was released by Saturn Records in August 1990. It was originally pressed as a limited edition on vinyl and cassette format.
The band was asked to play the 20th Anniversary Isle of Wight Festival in the summer of 1990. Film footage of this is out there somewhere.
They signed to the Aftermath label, who promptly issued 'Destiny' on CD with new artwork by Phil Schmee. A new album was commissioned.
The result was an original work entitled 'Cosmic Crusader', which also featured Maxine Marten who co-wrote the album and Kraznet Montpelier returned on bass. The artwork was provided by Ginger Baker's (ex) wife Elizabeth Finch.
2001 marked the 30th anniversary of Clear Blue Sky's recording career. To celebrate the occasion, Hi-Note Music issued two new releases on the Aftermath label.
These embrace the band's entire career. The first release, entitled 'Out of the Blue/Live & Unreleased features the very first recordings made by the band way back in 1969, preceding their Vertigo debut album, the average age of the band then just 16 years old! Other previously unreleased tracks are included together with live versions of songs from the first album.
Of the second release, namely 'Mirror of the Stars', their record company, Hi-Note Music, had this to say: "A stunning and electrifying new album, their heavyweight rock style now multi-layered with facets of psych, blues-space and garage, projecting boundaries ever further."
Clear Blue Sky began writing new material. During this time tragedy struck during the final days of 2005 when Tony, their beloved friend, confidant and manager passed away unexpectedly. He had never recovered from the death of his only child, Lisa, killed in a freak accident one year prior.
Clear Blue Sky had already written and recorded a track as a tribute to Lisa, who loved the band and she had attended gigs and sessions since her early years. The track, ‘Love Inner Spiritual Awakening’, was the last new song from CBS that Tony heard before his untimely death and understandably has now taken on even greater poignancy.

It’s been a long and turbulent ride and the new album ‘Gateway to the Seventh Dimension’ is a distillation of the members’ collective experiences and the start of a new era for the band.

Drummer Kenny White left England and moved to Tasmania, and happily married. As far as Clear Blue Sky is concerned, Kenny is a ‘forever’ member despite the vast distance that separates the members.

In 2009, John became associated with Thomas Tiefenbacher, aka ‘Tom Space’. Thomas is a drummer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer, and has had success with exciting projects such as ‘Galaxy Transport’ and ‘Psychedelic Shag’ to name but a few.

Thomas recorded live in a London studio with Clear Blue Sky in the summer of 2010, and the band produced a fresh batch of spontaneous songs collectively known as the album ‘Don’t Mention Rock ‘n’ Roll’, which was released early 2013. It also features sparkling contributions from Lee Limerick, David Hendry and Lucy Limerick.


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