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Third World War
Terry Stamp
Jim Avery
Bootlace Johnnie & the 99s
Howling for the Highway Home

Jim Avery

I was still a school boy when I was called to play bass for the pop group The Attack, who were recording at the EMI studios Hampstead (later called Abbey Road studios). However, they didn't pay as much as the Irish show bands that I was playing with on the American air base circuit. 

I was involved with local musicians in my home town of Ealing where I first met John 'Speedy' Keene who I was later to join in Thunderclap Newman.

One local band Mosaic and I made demos that we sent to Denny CordellL, the best UK producer (Moody Blues, Procol Harum, Denny Laine, Joe Cocker, Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker). He thought we had songwriting ability and invited us to join Writers Workshop where I played on demos with many musicians including John Renbourn and Rick Wakeman (1968 early 69). I was finally persuaded to join Speedy’s' band Thunderclap Newman which was on Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert's Track Records, stable for The Who, Jimi Hendrix, and Arthur Brown.

Thunderclap Newman’s 15 year old guitarist, Jimmy McCulloch truly amazed me - so young and so gifted - later to be snapped up by Paul McCartney for Wings.  Soon our single Something in the Air was released and became a massive number one hit in this country and Europe at exactly the same time as Neil Armstrong was wiping his feet on the moon.

We mostly did TV appearances on shows such as; How Late It Is, Top of the Pops, Beat Club Hamburg, and soon after we started touring, we were supported by the newly promoted Deep Purple no less!! Thanks to their long German experience they were shit hot - we could not compete - but luckily our extremely loud screaming fans drowned out our inadequacies. 

Track Records left a 10 month gap before the follow up Accidents was released, by which time our fickle fans had all but forgotten us.  But I guess our producer Pete Townsend was happy simply because The Who had never had a number 1 and he had proved that he could do it.  By this time I had left and by early 1970 I been introduced to Terry Stamp. He just lit my fuse - his deep raw soulful voice combined with the power of his lyrics and his ability to transform ideas into two dozen verses overnight just blew me away!! 

We very quickly wrote enough songs to record an LP, quickly rehearsing and forming Third World War to go into the recording studios making Third World War 1, released by Fly Records (home to Marc Bolan, etc).  Money was always tight but we managed to persuade Bobby Keyes and Jim Price of The Rolling Stones (Brown Sugar, Bitch etc.) to play on our LP for next to nothing.  (P.S. Directly after our session Bobby Keyes flew to the to the USA to do sessions with John Lennon.) 

Third World War toured the continent Germany. France and Scandinavia and had two hit singles - Ascension Day and Urban Rock.  But after the release of the second LP (Third World War II) the money had run out and we broke up.

I returned to being a studio musician for Track Records. In 1973 Terry Ellhams aka Adam Faith asked me to form a band to back a young singer called Leo Sayer and proceeded to tour Europe backing Holland's number 1 band, The Golden Earring. 

There was only so much one could stomach - let’s just say I quit.

I returned to work for Track Records who were then sifting through the young would be punk rockers including Siouxie and the Banshees, Sid Viscious, Billy Idol, Anthony Glynn. It must be said here that most of these guys did not possess the high standard of musicianship required for the expensive business of recording.  Track allowed me to acquire session musicians to stand in. It was with these session guys that I formed Razar. With Kit Lambert as our producer we were soon contracted to Tony Stratton-Smith’s recording label Charisma.   

We had a lot of money, we blew a lot of money, and blew a lot of brain cells, but again this is another story. I then went on the missing list but resurfaced in late 1994 and contacted Terry Stamp with a view to continuing our songwriting partnership...

Jim Avery (aka Jim Pitman-Avery), 2004