For Mel; Making It Count

  • The other night I sat down and laid down my thoughts about Mel on paper. Without any further ado;

    It seems that far too often we pay tribute to someone long after they have stepped off this mortal coil, something that I don't understand at all. Thus I am implored to sit down tonight and find the words that have eluded me when I learned about Mel Galley's terminal illness. I was deeply moved by the way that Mel has chosen to accept his fate...and to be so very thankful for all the people in his life and everything he has accomplished.

    And Mel...You have so much to be thankful for and proud of!

    And it all started with a band called Trapeze;three young men who were part of the "Brummie Beat", the music scene from around the Midlands.

    They were a huge draw here in the States back then..Like two other trios cut from similar cloth, Grand Funk Railroad and the Joe Walsh era James Gang, they were huge fan favorites even if they never made the short list of "Essential Band" scribed by some rock critic. Critics don't buy albums and concert tickets...more on that later!

    I am flashing on them now...the mustachioed drummer keeping time in the back and supplying the groove, the bassist, lean of build but mighty of voice, locking with the drummer and exhorting the crowd to have a great time...and the guitarist, his face framed by his long brown hair, a smile never far away and pumping out chugging grooves and riffs on his trusty Gibson...

    As a guitarist,I don't think you ever got the praise you deserve. I see you as the British Joe Walsh and I am not sure if you did this consciously or not, but there was a mindset to your playing style.

    In short; Make it count.

    You didn't play for yourself, you played for the song. Why play a thousand notes when a dozen will do? I think it was Leslie west who said that you shouldn't play it if you can't sing it. Paul Kossoff was another master at the art of choosing his notes like gems..he could play three notes and break your heart. There are moments in songs like "Good Love"....Glenn summoned up these incredible jazz colorings in his voice and your choice of tone and notes makes me think of seagulls....that song still slays me every time I hear it...."Destiny" with those mournful licks in the intro that match the longing and heartache in Glenn's voice....Your solo in "What Is A Woman's Role" is a textbook example of simple eloquence that speaks volumes. And I could never forget your Leslie drenched lyricism on the epic "Time Will Heal" which closes out "Hold On" with the same dramatic orchestral style that "Love Reign O'er Me" closes out The Who's "Quadrophenia".

    And when Glenn left the band, you showed your true mettle by stepping up to the microphone and breathing new life into Trapeze. You told me that you really worked hard on the material for "Hot Wire". You had something to prove and the four of you kept alive the proud tradition of powerful live performances. And it was all about the songs..the salty funk of "Midnight Flyer" and "Back Street Love", the sunny nod to the Doobie Brothers that was "Steal A Mile" and the stone funkiest track Trapeze ever did. Period. I'm talking about "Feel It Inside".

    It's like you said yourself recently; you played a lot of great shows, travelled all over the world and had experiences that most of us can only dream about.

    And when you were told that you would probably never be able to play guitar again after the accident with your arm, you you persevered and proved the cynics wrong yet again. That was gutsy..I can't think of a more apt description than that.

    I will always think about you whenever I take a long walk. Like you, I love to walk and have always found it to be mentally refreshing. and i can only begin to understand how relaxing it must to stroll through the wilderness of Cannock Chase with your beloved otter hound.

    I will walk the wind swept boardwalk at Jones Beach State Park ...past the band shell and in my mind I will see Trapeze at their element onstage at the Overton Park Band Shell , a moment immortalized on the cover of "You Are The Music".

    I walked down the street I grew up on in Baldwin NY, past the house I grew up in and I thought about your family; your wife, Annette, your brother, Tom and your sons Marcus and Lucas.

    And I am thinking about Ian Wallace and the poignant words he wrote following the passing of his onetime band mate and life long friend Boz Burrell. Ian wrote of how so many people after his death wrote all these incredible things about Boz in the various King Crimson forums and how he was their favorite singer and bassist...the very same people who criticized him mercilessly while he was still alive. He closes his heartfelt eulogy with the simple suggestion of "Tell someone you love them. Do it for Boz" His final comment of "Save a place for me my brother" strikes home as Ian would lose his brave battle with cancer several months later.

    I recall smiling when I read your comments on your My Space site as to how amazed and touched you were by the response you were getting. You were amazed that so many people remembered and loved Trapeze. I also want to thank Tom "T-Bone" Sheppke and the late,great Joe Anthony, DJ's on 99.5 KISS-FM in San Antonio who introduced me to Trapeze nearly 25 years ago. You gave us the music, Mel..and we, the fans have passed the torch and kept the music alive all these years.

    Critics don't buy records. We do.

    I wanted to do this for everyone out there who perhaps couldn't find the words. I wanted to do this to thank you,Mel, for all you have given us in your music. And I want you to know that your legacy, your music and that band called Trapeze will always burn brightly.

    I have never met you Mel. But I will never forget you. Thanks for the ride!

    Yours In The Funk
    Bill "Capt. Midnite" Redford


    "Cause if you fake the FUNK..your nose got to grow!" Bootsy Collins

  • Nothing more to add. Thank you for sharing this great tribute with us, Bill. You´ve really done justice to Mel, mate.

  • Bill,

    those are lovely thoughts/words you have put down.

    everything that is posted on here and myspace - both public and private - is always passed on and read by Mel and im sure he will appreciate this.

  • Well said Capt. I have long admired the man also.
    I believe he was so undervalued as a player. Trapeze
    also as a band were. His playing on Trapeze,Whitesnake
    and the Phenomena albums are among the best ever put
    on tape. Though I've never met him or talked to him, I have
    talked to his brother Tom & his wife for about once a month
    since 1990 and have come to know them all as wonderful
    warm people. I can only hope to be have as brave when my
    time comes. His music will live on forever.

    galleyfan :bow:

  • Beautiful, Capt, absolutely beautiful.

    Mel - I think about you at some point in every single day and love you very much :rose:

    'You thought that you could take me for granted, but I couldn't take it no more. Better run if you see me coming ... '

  • There is really no more to add Bill.
    Mel has been a friend, though we have never met him, and been a man we have always looked up to for his musical brilliance, and now, we can look up to him for the wonderful and strong and loving MAN that he is. You will never leave my mind or my heart Mr. Galley.

    "if only we'd turn around and notice the door to the cell is open"

  • I've been too upset by the whole thing to post anything before now. I knew I couldn't find the words to adequately express how I feel. You've done it for me Bill. Thank you.

    Although I saw Trapeze many times and they were unfailingly great on every occasion, my fondest memories of seeing Mel playing live were a series of Sunday lunchtime gigs at a pub in Stafford in the mid 80's where he jammed with members of Climax Blues Band. He played and sang the best ever versions of Cocaine at these gigs. Although I have no recording of him singing this, I can hear him singing it in my mind and see him in his blue denim shirt with his black Les Paul on the small stage in the corner as clear as anything over 20 years later. I only spoke to Mel once or twice, but Paul, if you pass this on, please remind him that he still owes me a pint for the one I bought him in the Queen's in Hednesford in 1985.

  • you said it just right bill -(its been extremely difficult for me to find the right words to write ) please bear with me you guys as i try say this- glenn starts one of his songs with the phrase (WE LIVE FOREVER)-i believe this to be true!!! i hope im saying this right but every time i play a trapeze cd or hear whitesnake or hear glenn sing a trapeze song ill always think of mr mel galley- he will always be with me - and also feel great pride in the fact that when he came on here in the chat that he answered alot of my questions

  • Hear Hear!

    Well said Bill-
    Mel Galley has had, and will always have a profound positive impact on my musical listening and guitar playing. There are very few guitarists that are as tasteful- when it comes to approaching solo's. It's not at all about how many notes or how fast when it comes to Mel's work- it's all about what he brought out from with-in. Soulful, above all tasteful..think about Seafull and you know exactly what I mean. Mel's music will always remain where he put it- close to the heart.

    Thank You Mel

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