Andy McCulloch

Andy McCulloch (19 November 1945)
After deciding to leave King Crimson in the aftermath of Gordon Haskell's departure, McCulloch joined new group Fields. Led by ex-Rare Bird keyboardist Graham Field, McCulloch's name had been suggested to Field in a telephone coversation with Fripp. Bassist and vocalist Alan Barry, who had played in the early 1960s with local bands such as The Dowland Brothers, completed the trio. Their 1971 debut album for CBS, entitled Fields, was well received although sales in the UK were poor. However, the trio was popular in Europe where they gained radio play and toured extensively. The band had begun recording their second album but a change in the management of CBS's UK division resulted in the group being dropped from the label and the recording abandoned. In 2015 Graham Field released a completed version of that second album as Contrasts Urban Roar To Country Peace. The original CBS pressing of Fields is a much-sought collectors' item.

After Fields, McCulloch became a founder member of Greenslade. “We played together in Stanmore, where Dave Greenslade lived, in the village hall there. It was really good. That was really nice because the band was from scratch. It wasn’t like the Crimson thing where you’re moving into someone else’s seat and carrying on. I learned a hell of a lot in Crimson and I don’t want to knock it but later on, in Greenslade, you were allowed to develop your style in the way that you wanted to do. You were a part of the band and you were expected to fix your part – this is the song, let’s arrange it, develop and then the whole band would play it. I was able to do a fair bit of what I liked to do.”

The band made their live debut at Frankfurt’s Zoom Club in November 1972 less than a month after the Larks’- era Crimson had unveiled their new line-up. Later that month, Greenslade released their self-titled debut for Warner Brothers the following year, the first of four albums for the label until their split in 1976.

“Unless you’re a composer, drummers don’t make a lot of money,” says McCulloch. “Jon Hiseman, for example, made his money writing the lyrics. It’s quite sad in a way and as we had a bit of time free between albums and touring I wanted to make some new flight cases for my drums. They came out pretty well, so somebody asked if I could make some for them and from there it took off really and I formed a company called Bulldog Cases and did that for a few years.”

McCulloch also worked with Peter Gabriel. “I liked his work enormously. We did a try-out session where we played some tracks and things, and knocked around some ideas. He was playing with lots of people and trying to make up his mind about how he was going to do it and who he was going to play with. He ended up doing a lot more with American musicians but I really enjoyed playing with him.”

McCulloch eventually retired from music in order to build a successful career as a yacht master running his own commercial boat hire around the Mediterranean. He says that sailing and travel were always in the family’s blood going back generations. “My father was in marine engineering and I’ve always been fascinated with boats but it took me until about the age of 30 to step on a sailing boat and say ‘this is what I want’. I took it up quite seriously and became an instructor and examiner and I’ve done races across to America and things like that. After you get six years of bashing around in the heavy seas ’round the UK then you want to do the Mediterranean (laughs). I spend most of my season out there. I love the life and I love the sea.”

Andy McCulloch with King Crimson
Sailors' Tales (1970 - 1972)