John Marshall on Allan Holdsworth
John talks about how Allan joined Soft Machine:
...Elton left and Karl Jenkins came in. His focus was moving more and more towards composition and so we saw the need for a new soloist to cover the gap left by Elton. That’s when Allan Holdsworth joined Soft Machine. We first met at a Musicians’ Union Workshop shortly after he came down to London from Bradford – he’d just recorded a great album, “’Igginbottom’s Wrench” with his band ‘Igginbottom – and I asked him to play with us. Karl re-wrote the entire book with new pieces of his own, plus some nice pieces by Mike Ratledge like ‘The Man Who Waved at Trains’, which is on our new album ‘Hidden Details’.
We set off on our first tour of the States in 1975 with a new sense of focus and direction. Sadly, our record label, Columbia, decided to choose a moment midway through the tour to cull bands rated at less than ‘mega-status’ and pulled the funding.
The tour however, served to raise Allan’s profile and he became such hot property that Tony Williams wanted to sign him for Lifetime. To everyone’s relief he announced that he would stay with Soft Machine, only to change his mind a few days ahead of our next tour. Sean Murphy found a note on his office desk – ‘Gone to the States. Allan’.
‘Allan,, we’re supposed to be starting a tour at the end of the week!’ I explained when I called him in the States.‘Gazeuse!’ came the reply in his broad Yorkshire accent (‘Gazeuse’ was Allan’s favourite epithet. He’d found on a Perrier bottle, liked the sound of it and used at every opportunity.) ‘Gazeuse. What’s happening? I’m here.’ We had to cancel the tour. But the upshot was that Allan recommended John Etheridge and ‘the rest’, as you might say, ‘is history’.