Bruford was a progressive rock/fusion band led by drummer Bill Bruford. Allan appears on two studio albums by the band Bruford, "Feels Good To Me" and "One Of A Kind". The core lineup for these two albums was:
Bill Bruford’s solo album (out this month) is the latest of Holdsworth’s projects; the featured musicians also include Dave Stewart on keyboards and an American called Jeff Berlin on bass, whom Allan spent several minutes enthusing over ("He’s a killer. He’s gonna scare a lot of people. Really lethal." ) At the time of writing secret rehearsals are going on with a new band believed to include Bruford, Holdsworth, Eddie Jobson and John Wetton. Whether this will result in a touring band, or in an album, or in both, is not known yet. Allan had been sworn to silence even regarding band personnel, and this information came from "another source". Let’s just hope it’s accurate.
Meanwhile, he is very content with the guitar sound on the Bruford album. Having experimented for years with amp arrangements and different guitars, he has now settled down with a 50 watt Marshall top, a pair of 4 x l2ins and also a 50 watt Hiwatt top. The amps have been "bodged" to increase the stages of amplification to the level of, say, a Boogie, and the signal-to-noise ratio has been improved to the point where there is virtually no hiss at all. "But also I think a lot of it is to do with that guitar.
GW That piece [Joshua] is uncharacteristically straightforward.
HOLDSWORTH: I actually had a little bit of trouble with that one. That was the only tune that I wasn’t sure about; I liked it, but I wasn’t certain that it would work for me, because it reminded me a little bit of Bruford. As soon as I started soloing on it, everything I played reminded me of ten or fifteen years ago, so I started getting really depressed really fast. Not because there was anything wrong with it, but because it was putting me in a space that I didn’t want to be back in, just because that was then and not now. But I went in and said, "Okay I’ll do it," did the solo, and, listening to it afterwards, I realize that it came out different, even though the composition still reminds me a bit of something Bill might’ve written. That was my main worry - that it would come out sounding like an old Bruford record.
Bruford. [the band]
I enjoyed that. I liked working with Bill [Bruford]. It had some carry-overs from U.K., but if I hadn’t had that bee in my bonnet about wanting to do my own thing, I would have probably stayed there.
So to Soft Machine and Gong. Given Allan Holdsworth’s links with Nucleus, with the musicians in Sunship, and later with Bruford, I long ago came to the conclusion that here was a musician very much aware of the dynasty of bands and musicians which can be traced right back to the mid-Sixties with the Wilde Flowers. Surely it wasn’t a coincidence that Allan Holdsworth first played in the Soft Machine and then Gong. And yet: "In both cases I had no prior knowledge of the bands. In Gong I knew nothing about Daevid Allen or anything else that had gone before. I don’t mean that in a bad way - I’d never heard it. Same with Soft Machine - I hadn’t heard what had happened before, which may be a good thing, because then you’re not trying to keep something alive. But there was a guy who was also a huge help to me starting out called Brian Blain, who works for the Musicians Union. He was absolutely wonderful - he helped me a lot. I think he really liked me and tried to put me in different situations. I remember we did some clinics - that’s how I met John Marshall. I guess John told the rest of the band about me, and then Brian Blain hooked up a couple of clinics with the Soft Machine, but they added a guitar player because at that time they didn’t have a guitar player.