A Brief History of Medicine Man

Medicine Man didn't start so much as a band, more as a recording project, as then unnamed, in 1994 by drummer John Bowman as an outlet for the songs he had been writing over the previous few months. John had got himself an Atari computer, some Steinberg Cubase software and a Korg M1 synth and was learning to use them while composing fragments of songs.

These fragments started to come together when he was introduced to Peter Gee of Pendragon (who at the time worked with John's wife Diane), and through him to Clive Nolan (also of Pendragon and leader of Arena) at Thin Ice Studio in Maidenhead. John became a regular visitor to Thin Ice and the songs that were to make up his first CD "The Journey" started to take shape.

In January 1995 John went into the studio to start tracking the songs. The band on the sessions consisted of John on drums, Clive on keyboards, Peter on bass, Karl Groom (Threshold) on guitar and Ian 'Moon' Gould on vocals. The album was completed in February 95 and was released on John's own Medicine Man Records label in May of that year.

A couple of the songs were previewed live in Rotherham at the Classic Rock Society by Clive and Moon doing piano and voice only versions of "Up In Smoke" and "Where Were You God". These went down so well that John was asked to come back with a full band and perform the whole album. The original idea was that the band on the album would do the gig, but unfortunately due to prior commitments Clive, Peter and Karl were not available for the projected date of July 29. This left John with a problem, but one that was soon resolved by the recruitment of Nick Martin on guitar, Paul Brown on bass and Dave Boland on keyboards.

Nick was an old friend of John's and had played in various bands with him over the years, while Paul and Dave came as a pair and had been recommended by Clive as suitable replacements. This was now the beginning of July and so the new band had less than a month to learn "The Journey" in it's entirety.

Rehearsals began in earnest and Medicine Man made it's debut as a live band at Herringthorpe Leisure Centre in Rotherham on July 29 1995 supporting the Christian band Iona.

The next gig was a couple of months later at Tring Music Festival supporting IQ. One week before the gig Moon announced that he was leaving. This left the band in a quandary about whether to cancel the gig or not, but they were bailed out by a few hasty phone calls to Thin Ice and the arrival for several heavy rehearsal sessions of Damian Wilson. Damian was in between bands at that point and was in the middle of recording his solo album "Cosmas" but was well up for the show. The gig was an unqualified success and the band won many new friends.

Damian couldn't become a full time member of the group, but recommended his brother Paul who had previously worked on Peter Gee's album "Heart of David". After a couple of meetings and rehearsals Paul was asked to join Medicine Man and made his debut at the King's Head in Fulham on December 30 1995.

Throughout 1996 the group gigged in and around London until Dave Boland announced that he was leaving and played his last gig at Beethoven's in Reading on August 31 that year. A replacement was quickly found in Wayne Curcher whom both Nick and John had played with over the years and whose debut with the group was also at Beethoven's on October 19.

In January 1997 the band went back into the studio, this time Thin Ice II in Virginia Water, to record the second album "A Dark and Dangerous Rhythm". This was much more of a band effort than the first album with everyone contributing to the songs. The album was again released on Medicine Man Records. This time a distribution deal through Pinnacle was set up and copies of the album could be found in all the major record shops.

A return gig in Rotherham was set up and the band played a blinder supporting Jadis. More gigs followed but soon the band started to lose impetus feel dispirited by more and more places insisting that the band should play covers. Medicine Man's last gig (thus far) was in the Summer of 98 at a private party for some friends of the band who were emigrating to Australia.

Towards the end of 1998 John Bowman and Nick Martin started putting together their own modest studios and began work on what will be the next Medicine Man album to be released later in 1999. Produced by Nick and provisionally entitled "Light My Darkness" this will feature the same line-up as "Dark and Dangerous.." but without Wayne Curcher on keyboards which this time were handled by John and Nick. At this time four tracks have been completed and may appear on a private release EP before the whole album is completed.

To Be Continued.....