|The new Focus line-up (left to right): BERT RUITER, DAVID
THIJS VAN LEER and PHILIP CATHERINE
FOCUS surprised their followers and their promoter by arriving in Britain for their extensive concert tour, which opened in Cardiff on February 20, with two late changes in their line-up. Long-standing lead guitarist Jan Akkerman has now left the Dutch band in order to pursue a solo career, and he has been replaced by English-born Philip Catherine, who has built up a considerable reputation on the Continent as a jazz rock session guitarist. He has previously played with Jean-Luc Ponty, John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell, and his solo album "Guitar" was released last autumn.
Second newcomer is American drummer David Kemper, who becomes the permanent replacement for David Allan. It was the band's inability to find a new drummer that caused the postponement of their projected autumn tour here. Then at the beginning of this year, it was announced that original drummer Pierre Van Der Linden had rejoined Focus, but now another switch has occurred with the introduction of Kemper.
The two new men join original vocalist and keyboards man Thijs Van Leer and bassist Bert Ruiter.
Commented Van Leer: "I'm overwhelmed by the way people have received this new band. As far as we are concerned, Focus has never swing like it's swinging now." The new-look Focus appear in BBC-2's "Old Grey Whistle Test" next Tuesday.
All the files in this page was kindly sent by Patrick Towey