Grass Eye Magazine

During the 70's, along with Dave Clark and Chris Dixon, I was involved with Grass Eye magazine and the Manchester music scene.  

We got into promoting gigs and concerts to bolster the funds of the magazine - as at one point we were 2 Grand in debt  (getting on for £26,000 in 2012 money!) We started off with pub gigs and graduated to regular weekly nights at The Magic Village and Mr. Smiths, where we ran the original Electric Circus (the late-seventies one just lifted the name!) I've attached an ad from the May 23-June 6 1970 edition of Time Out (North West)

Some of the 'artistes' we had the pleasure of working with:


Alan Bown
Anton Farmer
Barclay James Harvest
Battered Ornaments
Bill Creem Band
Blind Eye
Climax Blues Band
Curved Air
Edgar Broughton Band
Formerly Fat Harry
Graham Bond
Greasy Bear
Innocent Child
Jan Dukes de Grey
John Cooper-Clarke
Junior's Eyes
Ken Campbell Roadshow
Mott the Hoople
New Religion
Purple Gang
Ron Geesin
Roy Harper
Skin Alley
Spider Mike King
Stack Waddy
Strawberry Blues
Tea & Symphony
Thin Lizzy
Trader Horne
Van der Graaf Generator
Wishbone Ash

Keith Jones

Above is an ad. from Grass Eye (December 1969) which publicises one of the many benefit concerts we staged to raise money for the mag. I think John Peel compered the show for us but I might be mixing it up with another gig.

The Graham Bond Initiation were a progressive blues outfit who were creating a lot of interest at the time. Formerly Fat Harry were a 75% American band, formed in London in 1969 by ex-Country Joe & The Fish bassist Bruce Barthol. The Battered Ornaments often worked with Pete Brown who later formed his own group Piblokto. The Battered Ornaments stayed over and played another gig for us the next day (Sunday Night at George's on Grosvenor Street, Ardwick)

Keith Jones

Grass Eye had a number of rivals including Rebel, Catonsville Roadrunner, Moul Express (Later spelled "Mole Express") and a few regional mags such as Metro News (Bury) which sometimes made it into Manchester.  Dave Clark (not the drummer) upset Mike Don of Moul/Mole somehow and Chris Dixon allegedly hit legal problems of some sort causing Eye to fold. 

The scratch band which was formed to support Eye was called Greasy Bear.  They weren't bad but was all male at a time when a female presence might have been better.  Eye was criticised and lost readers by excluding some of the best writers around at the time who therefore switched to London mags of the time such as IT and OZ.


One of the main reasons for the demise of Grass Eye was that is tried to be a local political newspaper rather than staying closer to its musical roots and readership which would have been a wiser idea. Also Dave Clark was the moving and political force behind the magazine and he was losing interest. Politically he and Mike Donn were never going to work well together. Surprised they ever tried. Chris Dixon well have been (and maybe still is) a disaster where money is concerned, but he wasn't the final straw.

As for losing writers to either IT or Oz, it never happened. IT was dead by that time and Oz was only working with its own inner circle. I worked with them both and later also work a little both Grass Eye and Mole Express.

Keith, nice to know that you are still alive and I hope well.

John Lanigan

Great to hear about the Grass Eye and Electric Circus after all these years!

I have a couple of small promotional hand-outs I could scan and send in if you are interested.
I was the drummer in a no-mark band called Monster, we did some gigs for your organisation.
Hey I can remember it, p'raps I wasn't "there" ?!

John Harvey







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