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Side 1 of the classic album from the Pink Fairies Twink -
John Charles Edward Alder (born 29 November 1944), better known as Twink, is an English drummer, singer and songwriter who was a central figure in the English psychedelic movement, and an actor
Early life and career
Alder was born in Colchester, Essex, England, into a musical family. His father's mother was a concert pianist and soloist. Alder has said he was always interested in music as a child.
Alder's career began in 1963 as a member of a rhythm and blues band from Colchester called Dane Stephens and the Deep Beats. After a year, the band evolved into The Fairies - Dane Stephens (vocals/blues harp), John 'Akky' Acutt (lead guitar), Mick Weaver (rhythm guitar/fiddle - NOT the same-named organ player also known as Wynder K Frog), John Frederick Gandy (bass) and John Alder (drums). In 1964 The Fairies recorded the single "Don't Think Twice It's Alright" for the Decca Records label. The Fairies were sometimes sent gifts and Alder, having long curly hair, regularly received bottles of Twink brand home perm lotion. It was at this time that he adopted 'Twink' as his stage name.
"With Dane Stephens, our shows were not only blues but soul numbers, touches of jazz as well. He was an amazing singer, very very special. Had a great voice, played amazing blues harp, the Fairies were just about to break big." "Dane Stephens was involved in an accident while he was driving the group van - without any licence or insurance. He hit another car and killed maybe 4 people. He went to jail after the accident, so we lost him for a year and got Nick Wymer from Nix Nomads instead. We had been actually about to break at that point, there was no doubt about it. We had Mickey Most producing us in the studio, we had a single out and another one on the way, an agent who was getting us booked back again everywhere - we were good, a really good R&B band." Brian 'Smudger' Smith from Watford R&B band Cops 'n' Robbers occasionally sang with the band as well.
In 1965, after Wymer replaced Stephens as singer, they recorded two more singles, "Get Yourself Home" and "Don't Mind", for HMV. "We became like the Pretty Things when Nick Wymer came along - mostly because Nick looked and sounded so much like Phil May... and then after [Dane Stephens] came out Nick left and we got Dane back but we were really trying to recreate something which we'd already lost." Wymer briefly joined an embryonic group formed by ex-members of Them in late 1965. The Fairies split at some date before 1967, Twink having already departed by August 1966.
Twink reunited with Stephens and Weaver for two tracks on his 1991 album Odds & Beginnings.
The In-Crowd and Tomorrow
In 1965 Twink moved to London and lived in Chelsea. When The Fairies came to a halt, he joined a rhythm and blues/soul music band called The In-Crowd in August 1966, after its previous drummer had left the band. Other members were Steve Howe (guitar; later of 'Yes' fame), singer Keith West & John 'Junior' Wood (bass).
A few months later the band was renamed Tomorrow. The success of West's solo recording Excerpt From A Teenage Opera resulted in the band breaking up, leading to a one-off single by the short-lived 'Aquarian Age' (Twink & Junior).
In Joe Boyd's book White Bicycles he cites a Tomorrow show at UFO Club and, in particular, Twink's performance, as the zenith of 60's pop culture.
At some point around early 1967, Twink completed a recording session with a group known as Santa Barbara Machine Head, featuring two former members of Beat group 'The Birds' - Ron Wood and Kim Gardner (both later of 'The Creation', and also of The Rolling Stones and Ashton, Gardner & Dyke respectively) - and keyboardist Jon Lord (later of Deep Purple).
The Pretty Things
Twink replaced Skip Allen in The Pretty Things (alongside Phil May, Dick Taylor, Wally Waller & John Povey) and participated in the making of their classic album S.F. Sorrow. He was also a member of this group when they appeared in the Norman Wisdom film, What's Good for the Goose. He became noted for outrageous behaviour, such as climbing the speaker stacks and diving into the audience when the band performed at a free open-air concert in London's Hyde Park.
He recorded his first solo album, Think Pink, towards the end of his tenure with The Pretty Things. Supporting musicians were The Deviants, including Mick Farren (who produced the album), Paul Rudolph (who played guitar), Russell Hunter and Duncan 'Sandy' Sanderson; as well as Steve Peregrin Took (of Tyrannosaurus Rex); The Pretty Things' May, Povey, Waller and Victor Unitt; Viv Prince (ex-Pretty Things); John 'The Honk' Lodge (Junior's Eyes, Quiver); 'Junior' Wood and the enigmatic 'Pink Fairies Motorcycle Club and All-Star Rock and Roll Band' (the name taken from a story by Deviants manager Jamie Mandelkau, who may not have been aware of Twink's former band).
The Pink Fairies
Twink with the Pink Fairies at Glastonbury Fayre in 1971
The line up of The Pink Fairies (Mark 1) featured Think Pink musicians Twink, Took and Farren - all three having left their respective bands - and was named after the 'Pink Fairies Rock 'n' Roll Club', a loose group of people including Took, Farren, The Deviants, Syd Barrett (formerly of Pink Floyd) and The Pretty Things. They were resident in Ladbroke Grove, the home of the UK Underground. The Mark 1 line-up performed one shambolic gig in Manchester and recorded Farren's solo album, Mona – The Carnivorous Circus, in late 1969 before falling apart. Took, Farren and Larry Wallis then assembled the band that became Shagrat, with Farren departing before any recordings were made.
Pink Fairies (Mark 2) was formed in early 1970 by Twink with Mick Farren's former bandmates, The Deviants. The two-drummer Pink Fairies line-up recorded a single The Snake / Do It, followed by the Never Never Land album, before Twink left in 1971 (although he would periodically return).
After a spell in Morocco Twink moved to Cambridge and worked with the 'Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band', initially with vocalist/guitarist Bruce Michael Paine (ex-Apple Pie & star of the San Francisco production of 'Hair') and 'The Honk' playing bass, and also played in a band named ZZZ with Alan Lee Shaw and Rod Latter (who later reunited as The Rings). The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band, now with ex-Delivery bass player Jack Monck, backed American Blues guitarist Eddie "Guitar" Burns at King's College Cellar in January 1972. Jack's wife Jenny Spires, an old friend of Twink's and former girlfriend of Syd Barrett (ex-Pink Floyd), went with Syd down to the gig and he brought his guitar along and jammed with them at one point. The next day, the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band, with guests Fred Frith and Syd Barrett, played on a bill with Hawkwind and the Pink Fairies.
Within the next day or two Twink formed the short lived trio 'Stars' with Barrett and Monck. Stars played a handful of shows which were well received. However, Syd, fragile mentally, quit after reading a negative review by Roy Hollingworth in Melody Maker, after which Twink moved back to London. During the years 1972 to 1975, Twink periodically performed with fellow Ladbroke Grove community band Hawkwind and with the band Glider, but no recordings were made. In July 1975, The Pink Fairies staged a reunion gig at the Roundhouse featuring the then-current line-up of Russell Hunter, Duncan Sanderson and Larry Wallis, joined by former members Twink and Paul Rudolph. The reunion show was released as a live album in 1982.