LEVEL 42 - History
ORIGINAL FORMATION: – From
1980 to 1987
Mark King – Bass Guitar /
Vocals – Born October 20, 1950
Mike Lindup – Keyboards – Born
March 17, 1959
Rowland “Boon” Gould – Guitar
– Born March 4, 1955
Phil Gould - Drums – Born
February 28, 1957
THE MEANING OF THE NAME –
Boon Gould and Mark King had
both read the science fiction book “The Hitch-Hikers- Guide To The
Galaxy” written by Douglas Adam’s. In the book, the number 42 is the
answer to the question, what is the meaning of life.
(Alternate Band Names) –
Power-Line and Kick In The Head
Tower 42 in London – formerly
the tallest tower in London.
THE BANDS MUSIC INFLUENCES:
Miles Davis – John McLaughlin
– Keith Jarrett – Jan Hammer – Mahavishnu Orchestra
SHORT BAND BIOGROPHY:
Mark King worked in a London
music store, and learned the art of thumb slapping bass guitar playing
from American funk players who were visiting London.
The band formed between 1979
and 1980. The record company insisted that the band add vocals to
their instrumental numbers, in order to give the band a more
commercial sound. Mark King stepped forward in order to fill this
gap, thus also becoming the bands front man in the process. During
this 1981 period, Polydor Records teamed up Level 42 with veteran
music producer Mike Vernon. The band recorded “Love Games” which was
released in April, together with an instrumental - “42”. The single
reached number 38 in the charts.
From that alone, the band
found themselves on BBC’s famous Top Of The Pops T.V. Show
(This can be seen on “Level
Their first single was called
“Love Meeting Love”. Their self titled first album was released in
1981. It was a slick Rhythm and Blues collection that charted in the
U.K. Top 20. This spurred the release of “The Early Tapes” as the band
had produced several minor hit singles before 1984’s “The Sun Goes
Down – (Living It Up), that went into the British top 10.
“Lessons In Love” hit number
one in Britain and “Something About You” went to number 7 in the
Both Gould brothers left the
band in late 1987 and were replaced by guitarist Alan Murphy and
drummer Gary Husband. Alan Murphy later died on October 19, 1989 of
pneumonia / complications caused from AIDS. He had worked with Kate
Bush, Mike and the Mechanics and Go West.
He was then replaced by the
renowned fusion guitarist Alan Holdsworth, for the bands 1991 album
titled, “Guaranteed;” and followed by “Forever Now”.
Phil and Boon Gould’s reasons
for leaving the band were: 1. That they were apparently suffering from
nervous exhaustion. 2. Differences in musical direction. As Phil Gould
was quoted as saying, Mark wants a newer “Pop Sound” and I personally
think “It’s nothing more than “Shallow Pop Music”. Boon was also
suffering from severe chronic stomach pains.
The two constant members of
the band throughout the 1990’s and into the 2000’s have been Mark and
his brother Nathan King from 2001.
In 2006, Level 42 released the
studio album called: “Retrograde”.
1998 marked the bands 39th
Anniversary with a special tour and an elaborate Box-Set, simply
called “Living It Up” which includes a disc of fresh acoustic versions
recorded by Mark King and Mike Lindup.
The band – disbanded in 1994,
after suffering from a series of personal changes and musical
direction conflicts. They reformed in 2001.
THE MUSIC OF LEVEL 42:
The band had 30 singles in the
U.K. music charts.
Level 42 is an English Pop /
Rock / Jazz / Funk / Band.
The band is well known for its
high calibre musicianship, in particular, that of Mark King. Whose
percussive thumb slap bass guitar technique provided the driving
groove for many of the bands hits, during the 1980’s and 1990’s. The
band is also best known for the combination of Mark King’s vocals and
the high falsetto backing vocals of Mike Lindup.
Reviews of the band first self
The critics described it as
having: “Freed jazz and funk from the neurotic self absorption and
vacuous meanderings prevalent among many of the art”.
They played Hammersmith Odeon
London to a sold out audience, who had a two year wait before getting
to see them live in concert. (1990)
In September they opened for
“The Police” – on their seven date tour of Germany. On October 23rd
– Level 42 started on their first major tour at Brunel University
In 1984 – 1985 – The band were
voted “Best British Funk Act”, by British Disc Jockey’s.
1986 – Level 42 played to
20,000 people at Madison Square Garden
The band recorded at London
Sarm Studio (Formerly known as the home of Alvin Lee “Hook End Manor”.
1990 – The band signs with RCA
Level 42 - Played The Royal Albert Hall
by Dave Willey