Mike Miller - guitar; Peter Robinson- keyboards; Percy Jones - bass; Morris Pert - percussion, keyboards; Mike Clark - drums; John Goodsall - guest guitarist, tracks 4 & 5
Brand X was the original "jam band" in its native England, and although it is mainly a jazz ensemble, the band was more closely aligned with the prog-rock movement that spawned ELP, YES, Gentle Giant, and Genesis.
This recording is taken from the band's second U.S. tour, taped at New York's famous Bottom Line on Halloween 1978. The band had recently experienced a burst of commercial success, largely due to a well-publicized alliance with Genesis member, Phil Collins. By the time they had found an audience in the U.S. and Europe, Brand X was essentially a jazz-fusion band but its members would soon become divided over their musical direction.
The group was originally formed as a side project in 1974 by Robin Lumley (an early member of David Bowie's Spiders From Mars), session bassist extraordinaire Percy Jones, and former Atomic Rooster guitarist John Goodsall. The name came about when they rented a popular music rehearsal studio just to jam. The group had no name at the time, and an attendant at the studio listed them on the log as "brand X." When the group was offered a deal on Island Records, the A&R exec liked that name, and it stuck.
The initial LP was rejected by Island as having little commercial appeal. Unwilling to change their sound, the band parted ways with Island, and signed with Charisma, the label that had such prog acts as Genesis, Refugee (with ex-Nice members), and VanDerGraf Generator with Peter Hamill on its roster. It was around this time that Phil Collins started sitting in with the band when the original drummer, John Dillon, left. He stayed for a number of LPs and tours and worked on and off with Brand X in between his commitments to Genesis.
Of the original members, Percy Jones was the only permanent performer on this tour. John Goodsall was battling tendonitis in 1978 and was temporarily replaced by Mike Miller on guitar; however, he does make a guest appearance on this recording for "Access to Data" and "The Poke." Lumley, the original keyboardist, was in high demand as a producer in 1978; his replacement, Peter Robinson, is featured prominently in this set. Rounding out the lineup were percussionist Morris Pert, who joined the group in 1976 before the release of Moroccan Roll, and Mike Clark, who had made a name for himself earlier in the decade as the Headhunter's drummer and joined Brand X less than a month before this show was recorded.
Although the band split in the early '80s, they have had reunions in both the late-1990s and as recent as 2003.