The Creation - Biography
The Creation are a British band who enjoyed most of their popularity in Germany and after their initial break-up. Over the long years following their dissolution, they steadily gained a cult reputation and have since re-formed several times in recent years.
In1963, singer Kenny Pickett (who'd previously driven the van for Neil Christian & the Crusaders) teamed up with guitarist Eddie Phillips, bassist John Dalton and drummer Jack Jones. The latter two had played in a Cheshunt, Hertfordshire band, Jimmy Virgo & the Blue Jacks. Upon joining forces, the quartet named themselves The Mark Four. The four became a quintet in late 1963 with the addition of rhythm guitarist Mark "Spud" Thompson. The beat combo managed to gain a small following and in 1964, signed to Mercury. The label released two singles, "Rock around the clock" b/w "Slow down" and "Try it baby" b/w "Crazy country hop" which failed to sell sufficiently. However, after traveling to Germany, they became fixtures at the Big Ben Club in Wihelmshaven and were treated like stars. It was in Germany that The Mark Four caught a performance by a local act, The Roadrunners, whose use of feedback inspired Phillips to incorporate it into his playing. After Pete Quaife left The Kinks, Dalton left The Mark Four to replace him. He was replaced by Tony Cooke. Decca released their third single, "Hurt Me (If You Will)" b/w "I'm Leaving" in 1965. After Thompson dropped out the remaining four issued one final single in February, 1966, "Work All Day (Sleep All Night)" on yet another label, Fontana.
In April 1966, the band joined Tony Stratton-Smith who suggested a name and Mod image update. He also insisted on Cooke's replacement with Bob Garner, formerly of The Tony Sheridan Band and The Merseybeats. In May, they became The Creation and signed to Shel Talmy's Planet label, which released "Makin' Time" b/w "Try and Stop Me" in June. It reached #49 in the UK and five in Germany. Another line-up change came when Jones was fired and replaced with Dave Preston. After three dissatisfying weeks with him, they then convinced Jones to return. October's "Painter Man" b/w "Biff Bang Pow" featured the first instance of an electric guitar played with a violin bow. The single reached #36 in the UK and number eight in Germany. Afterward, the band arguably was dealt a bigger blow when their singer, Pickett, quit. Garner moved to lead vocals and Kim Gardner (formerly of The Birds) joined on bass. In July, the new line-up released "If I Stay Too Long" b/w "Nightmares" which, by then predictably, enjoyed most of its success in Germany. Their solo full-length, We Are Paintermen (1967 Hit-Ton Schallplatten) compiled most of the A and B-Sides of their singles with several, increasingly psychedelic, new recordings. It was released only on the continent and sold well in Germany, Denmark, Norwas and Sweden. A greatly expanded re-issue of the by Repertoire came out in 1999. Another single, "Life Is Just Beginning" was released toward the end of 1967. In October, Phillps quit and was replaced for several performances by Tony Ollard. A few weeks later, Garner quit and the band to form Santa Barbara Machinehead with Ron Wood, Jon Lord and Twink. Although the band had effectively ceased to exist, their lable released "How Does It Feel" b/w "Tom Tom" in 1968.
Later in the year, Pickett, Gardner and Jones reformed the band to perform a series of live dates with Ron Wood on guitar and Herbie Flowers on bass. They cut a new single, "Midway Down" b/w "The Girls are Naked" which was released in April. It as followed by "Bonney Moroney" b/w "Mercy Mercy Mercy" and "For All That I Am" b/w "Uncle Bart" which were released only in Germany. In June, The Creation broke-up once again. This time, the break-up lasted.
Wood went on to join The Jeff Beck Group, then The Faces, and ultimately The Rolling Stones. Jones became a cabaret singer. Phillips joined P.P. Arnold's backing group, The TNT Soul Band, before ultimately finding employment as a bus driver. Gardner formed Ashton, Gardner & Dyke and later joined Tony Kaye's Badger before opening The Cat & Fiddle Pub in Hollywood. Dalton and Thompson formed Passtime. Pickett worked as a songwriter (penning Clive Dunn's "Grandad"), released some solo recordings over the next two decades and worked as a roadie for Led Zeppelin.
Phillips and Talmy reteamed in 1976 and released the single "Limbo Jimbo" b/w "Change My Ways. In 1979, Pickett and Phillips reunited and formed Kennedy Express, which released two singles. Few that heard their "Is There Life on Earth?" would've likely guessed it was the work of The Creation, as it sounded more like Slik or Kenny than former Pop Art terrorists. The same year, Boney M scored an unlikely Top Ten with their cover of "Painter Man." The following year, Pickett and Phillips composed "Teacher Teacher" for Rockpile.
By then, with the Mod Revival in full swing, The Creation began to gain a cult following. The Jam even included a copy of "Biff Bang Pow" in the artwork for 1980's Sound Affects. France's Eva Records and the UK's Edsel rereleased old Creation (and Mark Four) material for new fans. In 1983, Alan McGee launched Creation Records, named in their honor. In 1987 and '88, Pickett and Phillips reformed the band with Dalton and Mick Avory (ex-Kinks) to record a record. They released a single on Jet Records, "A Spirit Called Love" b/w a hair metal-sounding version of "Making Time" that was curiously tacky. It flopped and the album was shelved until 2004, when Cherry Red misleadingly released the material as Psychedelic Rose (2004 Creation), with the tag line, "The Great Lost Creation Album." The material was undeniably a product of rusty musicians in the '80s, replete with dinky synth, electronic drums, fretless bass and a misguided, shiny stadium rock sound.
In 1993, Pickett and Garner decided to reform the band yet again. They made their debut at the Mean Fiddler in North London in July 1993. The results were released as Lay the Ghost (Grapevine) was recorded. In 1994, Ride included a cover of "How Does It Feel to Feel?" on their album, Carnival of Light and this time round it was the Britpop scene that was championing the band. That the original line-up of Phillips, Pickett, Garner and Jones) got together to record the album Power Surge (1994 Creation).
Pickett died of a heart attack on January 10th, 1997, but the group continued for a time with Garner once again singing lead. In 1998, The Creation received probably their greatest amount of exposure to date when "Makin' Time" was used in the movie Rushmore. The remaining members subsequently performed in the US for the first time in 2001. Afterward, Garner and Jones both quit the band but Phillips continued touring with Simon Tourle (lead vocals), Tony Barber (bass) and Kevin Mann (drums). Kim Gardner died of cancer in Los Angeles in October 2001. In 2004, the DVD Red with Purple Flashes: The Creation Live (Cherry Red) was released.