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“There’s a tape of us doing Black Sabbath covers. I hope that never surfaces, we were appalling.” – Tinyfish come clean

The ‘world’s smallest prog band’, the south-eastern UK crew Tinyfish get curiouser and curiouser.



Blame it on The Skids. The cult 1970s Scottish punks are indirectly responsible for the fact that we now have Tinyfish. Vocalist-cum-guitarist-and-drummer Simon Godfrey explains:

“Myself, Jim Sanders (guitar) and Paul Worwood (bass) have known each other since we were about eight. Jim was the one into punk, and he introduced me to The Skids. As he was regarded as the coolest person at our school in South London, I took his advice on music. Through him I also got into Frank Zappa – at the age of 10, we liked the fact that he swore on record.”

The three pals started their first band in 1983 while together at Richmond College, by which time they were into metal. However this fledgling act – Blackstone Edge – were in a genre of their own.

“We were rubbish music. There’s a tape somewhere of us doing Black Sabbath covers. I hope that never surfaces, we were appalling.”

By the late 80s, the trio had formed prog band Freefall, which Godfrey now describes as, ““We’d try to emulate 70s bands – and get it wrong in our own inimitable way!”

For a while, Godfrey’s younger brother Jem (now of Frost* fame) played keyboards in Freefall, which was the catalyst for much that was to later colour Tinyfish’s music.

“Jem’s like no other keyboard player – he provides textures, rather than making it a lead instrument. It’s the reason Tinyfish don’t have a keyboard player. I can’t find someone who can play like Jem. But through not having anyone on keys, it forces the rest of us to be more creative.”

Tinyfish began in 2004, when Godfrey took his acoustic band of the time – Men Are Dead – into a more progressive direction. An email to Sanders brought him back on board after several years following his own musical nostrils, joining Godfrey, Worwood, harmonica player and spoken word artist Robert Ramsey (“He’s not of this world!”) and live drummer Leon Camfield (Godfrey plays drums in the studio).

Their self-titled debut came out in 2006, setting its tone with a mix of influences  from King Crimson to Rush, Tom Waits to Van der Graaf Generator, but with an essential modern sound. Now just-released rarities EP Curious Things keeps up the momentum.

“This was recorded before we were even called Tinyfish, and produced by my brother. It’s a way of getting something out while we work on new album The Big Red Spark, which should be out in November. We’ve also finished a live DVD – One Night On Fire – which was filmed in Poland earlier this year and that’s out this summer.”

So, what’s Godfrey’s ambition for this eclectic band?

“I want to leave behind a body of work, without ever making a definitive musical statement. I don’t think we’re even close yet to fulfilling that ambition. But if you look back at bands like Genesis or Yes, it took them a few albums to discover their sound. We want to emulate those bands, although never imitate them.”