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Categories: Hard Rock

Biography

Man mountain bassist John McCoy not only made an impression on the British Rock scene through his undoubted skills as a musician and songwriter, but also through his distinctive image. And, along with guitarist BERNIE TORMÉ, the bassist would become best known forming part of what many regard as the classic GILLAN line-up. McCoy had started out with a German based act called MAMA'S LITTLE CHILDREN. One obscure single was released, but the band is perhaps more renowned for featuring comedian Charlie Chuck on drums!

Journeying to Britain McCoy founded WELCOME signing to Pye Records. Although material was recorded it failed to see a release and McCoy persevered with a fresh project, CURTIS MALDOON. This band achieved a record deal with DEEP PURPLE's homegrown label Purple Records and an album, 'Maldoon', was promoted by support shows to DEEP PURPLE themselves.

A further act followed titled ZZEBRA. A veritable roll call of Rock notables passed through ZZEBRA's ranks, including IF's Terry Smith and Dave Quicy, OSIBISA's Lofty Amaio and ex LOVE AFFAIR man Gus Eden. Also putting in an appearance were guitarist Steve Bird and keyboard player Tommy Eyre, both later to collude with McCoy in the GILLAN line-up. Very much in the loose Jazz-Rock field ZZEBRA cut three albums for Polydor, only two of which gained a release.

The late 70's found the bassist working the live circuit in a trio with former URGE guitarist BERNIE TORMÉ and drummer Roger Hunt in a unit titled SCRAPYARD. Torme was to quit (to form THE BERNIE TORME BAND, later joining GILLAN alongside McCoy and then have a stint with OZZY OSBOURNE) and KELLY man PAUL SAMSON was pulled in as replacement before McCoy teamed up with GILLAN. Live tapes from this 1977 line up of McCOY feature on the 2000 live album release.

Songs from this early McCOY line up comprised the bulk of the debut SAMSON album which McCoy produced and added bass to.

Following the split of GILLAN after the 'Magic' album recordings were undertaken with the GILLAN band, minus Ian Gillan himself, and ex WELCOME vocalist T-Bone.

John McCoy's first recording was a mini album featuring a cover version of FLEETWOOD MAC's "Oh Well", limited to 5000 copies. McCoy had pulled in his former ZZEBRA and CURTIS MALDOON colleague Liam Genocky on drums and guitarist Steve Linton for these sessions.

As with the mini album, John's first full length album for Belgian label Mausoleum utilized the talents of session singer T-Bone, who had previously worked together with McCoy in WELCOME and also starred guest guitarist Paul Samson.

However, after a less than inspiring Marquee club gig the band's backers were so disillusioned with T-Bone's onstage performance a quick rethink was called for in order to save the project. McCoy decided to draft in Female singer Nikki Brooks and GRIP guitarist Mark Keen. Both debuted on a European tour in 1985.

Brooks quit to join ex CHINATOWN and PERSIAN RISK drummer Steve Hopgood, ex DUCHESS guitarist Dave Kilmister and ex AIRRACE and TRAITOR bassist John Alexander in a new act titled WILD in early 1987. Undeterred, the bassist later formed MAMMOTH with ex-HACKENSACK and SAMSON vocalist Nicky Moore, a band whose contrived fatman image overshadowed some very good songs.

By 1992 McCoy was writing songs for a planned joint venture with ex ANTHRAX vocalist Joey Belladonna and guitarist Al Romano, the latter having previous credits with LESLIE WEST. The band, tentatively titled BELLADONNA, began recording in July 1992, but the project was stalled for over a year and, after only a handful of recording sessions, John quit.

A BELLADONNA album finally emerged in 1995, although McCoy was only credited for appearing on the tracks 'Two Face' and 'Injun'.

Latterly, McCoy has played a pivotal songwriting and performing role in the SUN RED SUN album, a band formed by Al Romano, and the record found McCoy playing alongside the late BLACK SABBATH and BADLANDS vocalist RAY GILLEN, ex RAINBOW drummer Bobby Rondinelli and ALICE IN CHAINS bassist Mike Starr.

The late 90's have not only found MAMMOTH resurrected to record a further album 'XXXL', but a McCOY anthology album is planned for release during 1998. The bassist also made his presence felt on some re-works of ATOMIC ROOSTER tracks for the Angel Air compilation 'The First Ten Explosive Years'. This liaison with original ATOMIC ROOSTER and ex-THIN LIZZY guitarist JOHN DU CANN prompted a full-blown reformation with Cann and McCoy joined in the studio by former IRON MAIDEN drummer Ron 'Rebel' Matthews.

In 2004 McCoy reunited with noted ex-GILLAN guitarist BERNIE TORME in GUY-McCOY-TORMÉ, with drums being handled by Robin Guy of RAG DOLLS, RACHEL STAMP and the BRUCE DICKINSON band. GUY-McCOY-TORMÉ's inaugural live appearance took place in 2004 at a charity concert for ex-IRON MAIDEN drummer Clive Burr.

2006 summer live work in Europe found McCoy uniting with Blues Rock outfit TWIN DRAGONS, a union with Italian guitarist ANDREA BRAIDO, Nathaniel Peterson of SAVOY BROWN, ex-SAXON guitarist GRAHAM OLIVER and erstwhile SAXON colleague Pete Gill on drums.

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