It is with great sadness that I (Johnny Neal) convey to Brum Beat readers the demise of Ian "Monk" Mutch, who died suddenly two years ago in the USA. I have only just received the news from Graham Dunnet (alias Dee of "Dee and The Yeomen") and I would like to extend belated condolences to Monk's family and friends.
The happiness of linking up with Graham after 44 years via the Brumbeat web site, was tempered by this news of dear old Monk, an old side kick of mine over many years and, together with Graham, Dario Capaldi, Dave Rowe and Terry Franks, formed the original "Starliners" who so successfully backed me during that period. Monk was peerless with his keyboards and bass playing, also his vocals and...
Who could forget that magical night at the Birmingham Town Hall where, with lights dimmed, Monk accompanied just by himself on bass guitar, delivered a show stopping jazz version of Peggy Lee's Fever, which brought the house down. Also during a warm up at a Decca recording session in London, he launched into a frenzied jazz number with the Starliners, which had staff members in the studio in awe.
And the day we all went to the cinema to see ourselves on the "big screen" during a Pathe Pictorial "Look at Life" feature, filmed at Reg Calvert's Rugby Pop School. We were all seen larger than life on the big screen, but the only shot of Monk was of his hands on the keyboards! He never did live that one down!!
Not forgetting also Monk and myself cross-scat singing to each other on Ray Charles numbers and... Monk let loose on the giant Hammond Organ at the "Star Club", Hamburg, like a kid with a new toy. But this kid REALLY could play... treasured memories frozen in time.
Incidentally, Ian styled himself on Thelonius Monk, the jazz pianist, hence the nickname "Monk". I could go on, but enough said, except to say rather belatedly "Goodbye old mate - your talents and persona will be greatly missed - it was a privilege to know you. R.I.P. "Monk", your friend and companion over "many adventures"...
Johnny "Noga" Neal, "The Starliners", John Singer and all who knew you.