As band biographer, it sometimes disappoints me the extent to which people want to dwell on the negative aspect of the Welbeck Group.  However it cannot be denied that people are drawn to “the dark side” and have a fascination with the more morbid and less attractive side of success and fame.

While Danny Welbeck was always the anchor in the band, the most creative and, if you like, “serious musician”, Robby Welbeck was always in the Welbeck Band for the crack. Here is a rare photo of the young Robby smashing up a hired bass guitar at a gig in his local school hall because he felt that his bass wasn’t loud enough.

Robby’s frustrations often exasperated his fellow members of the Welbeck Group especially when it brought the band into disrepute, and  took attention away from their songs, and the image that they were trying to create- one of serious musicians making musical and lyrical statements that had weight and grivitas. “The Welbeck Group is greater than the sum of its parts” Danny Welbeck would often say. Robby’s reply is well known: “You hold your part and I’ll hold mine!”

One of the more famous incidents came when Robby had trouble programming his amalogue Moog Series One synthesiser that he purchased from Peter Bauman, originally with Tangerine Dream. The Welbeck Group were in MaidaVale.

It was in the margins of a recording session for the “difficult” second album that the Welbeck Group experienced Robby’s frustration turning into expensive wrecking. As most people who use analogue retro modular synthesisers, they have to be kept cool, otherwise they go out of tune. The Welbeck Group chief roadie had forgotten to bring the battery of fans, and so just after the rehearsal for the first song of the new album, the other band members commented to Robby that he was out of tune.

Robby made an attempt to tune the synth, but it was unstable and wavering from minute to minute- hopeless when trying to lay down a bass synth track that the other bans members could play along with. Robby’s frustrations reached boiling point. Danny Welbeck made it worse by giving Robby a lecture about making sure that the Welbeck Group members were punctual, and brought all their equipment along with them, including peripherals such as electric fans!

Robby shouted and got the wheeled crate on which the Moog rested, and  pushed it out of the studio. Next there was a loud crash. Robby had pushed the crate and the synth out into the main road by the studio entrance and it had been struck by a passing taxi! A crowd began to form and fans started asking Robby Welbeck for his autograph- and getting a very rude response!

This was a little but different from smashing up his bass guitar in his schooldays- a lot more expensive! He calmed down, and they rescued from beneath the traffic what they could from the vintage synth.

Later, it was rebuilt by Bob Moog’s company and put into a new body- but even today Robby says that the synth is lacking something that  it has when it was totally  retro!

The rebuilt Moog: It was used on the second album and to this day has pride of place in Robby’s manor in Surrey! He calls the synth “The Beast”!

 

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