MICHAEL GILES (1 March 1942)
In the aftermath of King Crimson and the recording of the McDonald And Giles, Michael Giles threw himself into studio work as a hired hand. “Throughout the 1970s I was so busy with session work, revving ’round London with drums packed in the back of a wide-wheeled yellow Morris Minor, playing in most of the major and minor studios. The phone was always ringing with calls from session fixers, producers and musicians,” remembers Giles. In the space of a couple of years, Giles’ drumming ended up on numerous recordings including library music albums, singer-songwriter Kenny Young, Duffy Power, BJ Cole, Hunter Muskett, Luther Grosvenor, Leo Sayer, Kevin Ayers, Anthony Phillips, and Jackson Heights, to name but a few.
Michael wasn’t just confined to the recording studio. In the mid-’70s he toured with Neil Sedaka in a band that included Matching Mole’s Dave MacRae and future Police guitarist Andy Summers. The resulting album, Live At The Royal Festival Hall, was produced by Wayne Bickerton who had produced The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp. In another example of cosmic Crim coincidence, Michael also played on 1974’s Streetwalkers by ex-Family outfit Chapman-Whitney alongside Mel Collins, Ian Wallace and John Wetton. In the 1980s, Michael’s appearances became increasingly eclectic, working with Simon Jeffes’ Penguin Café Orchestra and a collaboration in 1983 with ex-Crim Jamie Muir (who had recently returned from his sojourn in a Tibetan monastery in Scotland) and Flying Lizards supremo David Cunningham providing the soundtrack to Ken McMullen’s film, Ghost Dance.
Around the same time, Giles worked on a series of songs with guests including Peter Giles, Dave MacRae, Caravan’s Geoffrey Richardson, John Perry, and several horn players, including old Trendsetters colleague Michael Blakesley, who had also guested on McDonald And Giles. The tapes lay unreleased until 2002. Giles described the record – entitled Progress – as an “impression of a railway journey in summer, departing from the city at dawn on a bright sunny morning and travelling through the English countryside with a variety of experiences, to arrive at dusk in Cornwall”.
In 1994, Giles auditioned at Real World studios for the Sylvian Fripp band. Pat Mastelotto, who also auditioned that day, recalls specifically asking if he could wait around in order to meet Michael Giles. “In the distance I could see a Land Rover coming over the hill, and in the back seat was a silhouette of a drum kit; toms still mounted on the kick drum, cymbals still on stands, etc. It was Michael Giles. So I met Mike and helped him unload, told him his drumming changed my life and that I hoped he’d get the gig so I could actually see him play.”
In 1999 Giles appeared on one track on Ian McDonald's solo album, Drivers Eyes, the first time the pair had recorded together since 1971. The release of Giles’ Progress album in 2002 coincided with the formation of the 21st Century Schizoid Band which included Ian McDonald, Giles’ brother Peter, Mel Collins, and then son-in-law, Jakko Jakszyk. The band performed the title track from Progress in its live shows. When Giles unexpectedly quit after a successful tour of Japan in 2002, there was talk of Giles working on another solo album. In 2009, he released The Adventures Of The Michael Giles MAD Banda collaborative experimental outfit with Adrian Chivers on found sounds/horn and guitarist Daniel Pennie. In 2011, another MAD Band album, In The Moment, featuring guest player Keith Tippett, was released. Michael is said to be writing a book.
Michael Giles with King Crimson
In The Court Of The Crimson King
In The Wake Of Poseidon