In 1978 Pete Bangert formed Diamond Jack with Barnsley bassist Barry Micklethwaite and drummer Tim Evans. Tim had recently completed his music degree and was currently sessioning at Ronnie Scott’s amongst other places as well as working towards a career in teaching. Barry was a well known rock and blues bass player that Pete had worked with in a number of previous bands.
The objective of Diamond Jack was to act as a vehicle for playing a backlog of Pete’s material in a live setup. This was actually the pre-genesis of what would later become Phoenix Rising with a number of early versions of Pete’s work being demo’d and made gig ready (Stormbringer, See Ya Babe, ‘Bout the Time amongst others). The band required a lead vocalist to complete the initial line-up and set out to audition them following an extensive advertising campaign in the South Yorkshire press. They auditioned 124 applicants and still could’nt find one to deliver the material. That was too much for Tim who went into teaching full time.
The band was trying to build up equipment as well as personnel and was of course self financing. To continue bringing in the funds Barry and Pete linked up with Barry Carr and Roy McGinley from a previous club band to bring in some money. They expanded the line up to a five-piece for six months or so by taking on Steve Atkinson, an old mate of Pete’s from an earlier version of Pig’n’aif, on keyboards and twin lead guitar.
Pete continued to look towards breaking away from club material by assembling the correct line-up of musicians. Chris Hamilton replaced Barry on bass, Tim Quinn took over the drums and Steve left to pursue his own writing career.
Diamond Jack remained an edgy blues/rock oriented band even when playing commercial material with a significant number of what have now become recognised as ‘rock classics’ scattered throughout their set (‘one for the musos lads’).
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