|Egypt - UK blues rock band - Odds'n'Sods - History (long version)|
(The long and confusing version) - For the short version click on to Band info
Current band-members (since 1991) Alan Fish - Bass/Vocals Eric Chipulina - Guitar/Vocals Peter Correa - Drums
Egypt's original line-up first got together in a squat in Shepherds Bush, London in late 1987, but the story really begins a few weeks before when ex-Groundhogs bass player Alan Fish and ex-Jethro Tull drummer Clive Bunker were asked to record the very first album release (literally serial number 001) for the then fledgling record label HTD Records (HTD are now Talking Elephant Records and deal with Wishbone Ash, Fairport Convention, Ritchie Blackmore, Steven Stills, etc). Also included was guitarist Don Greer (ex-Bachman Turner Overdrive and others).
Egypt's original drummer Peter Chichon had recently been drumming for infamous London trash/glam rockers The Gunslingers and had already played in several bands with guitarist Eric Chipulina, who joined up after playing the Benny Hill theme tune (!?) at an impromptu audition at the aforementioned Shepherds Bush squat. Eric had until that time been gigging around London with Periphery (with Bill Kruse and Francis Pecino). Finally, on vocals came in Ryka who had previously been in Shattered (with Peter Chichon) & Valhalla (UK). This line-up barely stuck together long enough to record the first album, produced by NWOBHM pioneer Paul Samson (RIP) in 1988 and do a couple of brief UK tours of mostly smaller hall and club venues.
The music at this point was very different to the blues-rock style that developed later on. There was a recording and gigging schedule to keep within weeks of forming which saw some studio work begin even before a singer had been found or the band had been named. Material for both studio and live performances was hurriedly written and sourced from different genres, past projects, etc and the result was an eclectic mixture of thrash metal and older
The first album was released in 1988 getting plenty of airplay on national radio (Radio One Rock Show, featured album on Radio Caroline, etc), an airing on UK national television (a late night 'jukebox jury' type show on ITV) and press coverage nationwide.
The first year or so immediately following the split is a blur of drummers and vocalists, many of them musician friends from the past helping to keep things going. For a while on rhythm/2nd guitar was sound engineer/road manager Dick Wilson who has been involved with Egypt from day one. Alan and Eric took over on vocal duties and played blues and rock'n'roll numbers, many of which Alan knew from his days with Chuck Berry. Despite the lack of any backing and general apathy from record companies, agencies, etc, the band managed to keep on gigging, sometimes under different names, while deciding whether to continue using the name Egypt, as the style & line-up had changed from what it had been. In time Eric took over more on vocals, becoming the main vocalist. This was the beginning of the transition to the current version of Egypt, in that the circumstances forced a re-invention as a more back-to-the-roots blues/rock three piece, which gradually evolved to include a more progressive blues side and a delta blues side alongside the rockers.
One thing that very much re-enforced this direction was joining (or in Alan's case re-joining) legendary progressive blues outfit The Groundhogs circa 89 when Tony McPhee needed a backing band for a gig in Liverpool and asked his old bass player Alan if he could 'borrow' his band for the night. Eventually Egypt members were to form part of various versions of the 'Hogs for the next ten years or so. By this time there had finally been found a regular drummer in Chris Bennett (previously with original Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Dianno). All three went into The Groundhogs and continued gigging as Egypt as well (including a few weeks gigs and TV appearance in the Emirates) until some time in 91 when Chris left. More drumming friends again helped to keep Egypt going until the summer of that year.
It would have been around 92 or 93 that all three, one by one, joined/rejoined The Groundhogs, now and then gigging in Italy, Germany, Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe, apart from the regular UK circuit. They can be heard backing Tony McPhee on the Groundhogs album Lost Tapes II, recorded live in Milan in June 94 although it was not released (as the name suggests) until several years later. Again both bands were on the go at the same time and several occasions saw Egypt doing an opening set at a Groundhogs gig.
Around 96 Alan left The Groundhogs and Eric switched over to bass (initially for a couple of German gigs but in fact for about 3 years) recording the CD Hogs In Wolf's Clothing (all Howling Wolf numbers) and a video Live from The Astoria London both in 98, and another CD The Muddy Waters Songbook in 99. Towards the end of 99 Eric and Peter left The Groundhogs to concentrate more on Egypt, which had been pushed aside to a certain extent.
With the decision made to focus efforts on Egypt again, things slowly but steadily began to progress over the next few years. In early 2003 Alan went to Spain for a few months to work with ex-Uriah Heep keyboard player Ken Hensley and ex-members of Wings and AC/DC. Soon after this a long overdue new CD Midnight Sun was recorded at Purple Studios in Norwich and released mid 2004 on Blues Matters Records. In 2010 there was the re-release of the albums Preserving the Dead and Midnight Sun and the recording and release of another album Blues Kerosene, all on Stable Records.
It is now (2012) coming up to nearly two & a half decades on the road. From the very beginning, Egypt has built up a reputation as a hard working live band and have never stopped gigging for more than a few weeks at a time since then. There are no plans to change this in the near future. Gigs are constantly being booked throughout the UK and abroad with gigs in France, Germany, Spain and other places with more planned for the future.
To be continued...........
additional - The latest album Live in Jena (2013) recorded live in Germany is now out on Stable Records