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Nigel Appleton

Musical Biography
Having spent a couple of years playing alongside the genial, easy-going bassist Richard (Dixton P) Salmons in Ivor's Jivers and various funk bands, Nigel Appleton was somewhat disorientated when he first confronted the barking, scowling elder sibling known locally as Bluesmaster Bob Hokum. Hokum the Fierce did not appear to suffer fools, or musicians with long hair. It was some months later that, with cautious bewilderment, he accepted Bob's invitation to play drums for his brand new Blues combo - which was to be called either The Guvnors or The Westway Dukes and would adopt a 'more purist, less rock' approach.

"Playing in the Guvnors taught me how to play the blues properly," maintains the keeper of the Groove, "Bob always told me of his hatred for (typically British) blues drummers that emphasize beats 1 and 3, and gave me a tape of songs to learn where everything was on 2 and 4. Sure enough, it swung like a mother. So I learned to emulate those old Freddie King and John Lee Hooker rhythms... mainly out of fear, really."

But it wasn't long before "The Power of the Tree" began to seduce the band, infusing their compositions with an unearthly, often menacing quality. The Guvnors, however, are the only band ever to be able to harness this phenomenon and maintain the 'Blues idiom'. The results can be heard on 'Unnatch'l Blues' and 'Strange But Blue' - albums which Nigel feels "really showcase my progression from 'shit-kicking Chicago blues' through 'acid-swamp' to 'gospel-funk'".

After leaving in 1993 to do early Phil Collins impressions for Regenesis, Nigel returned to the Guv's drumstool in 2000 following a number of guest appearances as second percussionist. He was gratified to discover the Bluesmaster's new-found enthusiasm for latino grooves and arrangements, along with his penchant for cramming as many drummers as would fit onstage at any given venue. "It allowed me to play alongside two of my heros - Jamie Fisher and Juan Teh Bhagg," beams 'The Rope', "and one day I hope to get everyone playing cowbells on 'Low Rider'. Maybe we could get a gig in Switzerland!"