The Count Bishops

The Story - Part 1

CHROME and the early days
The COUNT BISHOPS story begins late 1974 / early 1975 with a group called CHROME.

At this time - spring 1975 Ted Carroll and Roger Armstrong had decided to start a record label. Ted was the owner of the ROCK ON stall in Soho (London), while Roger helped him selling records by bands like Iggy And The Stooges, The New York Dolls, The MC5, The Flaming Groovies . . .

So, they had a look at the list of the venues in London in the Melody Maker. They drove down to a pub in Holloway Road to check out CHROME. What they saw was "a tough guitar / R & B band turning some fine boogie and rock and roll" as explains Roger Armstrong.

Ted approached them about making a record for the yet to be formed new label. Time went by and Ted and Roger continued to check out CHROME.

Mike SPENSER, a New Yorker, just off the plane from the U.S.A. went to the ROCK ON stall. He was keen to join a band so Roger directed him to the 3 or 4 pubs in town featuring R & B.

Mike SPENSER (vocals and harmonica) teamed up with Zenon HIEROWSKI (rhythm guitar), Brian TURRINGTON on bass (later with Sean TYLA, TYLA GANG, ...) and a drummer named Dave ROTCHELLE (from The PLEASERS).

Zen being more a rhythm guitarist, they needed another guitarist to play lead. Mike then remembered The KINGBEES, the group he was in before leaving America. In this band played a good guitarist named Johnny GUITAR.

As Mike had always kept in touch with him, it was easy to persuade him to leave America to come to London and join CHROME. Mike only told Johnny that they had got an amplifier reserved for him and he also talked about a vague promise of a record deal with a label not formed yet. 

No matter, Johnny have flown right away.

CHROME recorded 4 tracks at the HOPE AND ANCHOR studio, above the famous pub of the same name (in Upper Street, Islington, London N1). The studio was managed by Dave ROBINSON who co-founded STIFF Records with Jake RIVIERA the following year.     

Amongst the tracks recorded during this sessions were 
   "Walking The Dog" (Rufus THOMAS), 
   "I'm A Man" (Ellas McDANIELS, aka Bo DIDDLEY), 
   "I Want Candy" (The STRANGELOVES), and several attempts at 
   "I've Got Dreams To Remember" (Otis REDDING).

But only two tracks ("I'm A Man" and "I Want Candy") were finished and fully mixed. Unfortunately, the band was not happy with them and they got forgotten, then lost until Roger ARMSTRONG (co-founder of CHISWICK Records, now ACE Records) unearthed them in 1995.

Shortly after this early 1975 studio session, CHROME disbanded.

Then, Zen and Mike made an advert in the MELODY MAKER to recruit other musicians into Rhythm 'n' Blues to form a new band.

This add was successful as it brought a new drummer from Australia: Paul BALBI, who had been the drummer of BUFFALO, a hard boogie Australian group. The add also brought a bassist (from Hatfield, England): Steve LEWINS

The COUNT BISHOPS were born. The name was brought by Mike; it comes from a famous New York City street gang.



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Last up-date

April 30, 2005



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Herve Colombet, 2003 - 2005