Sweet Slag: a few words from Paul Jolly

Following my recent post about jazz-rock oddballs Sweet Slag, I've just had a chat with their multi-instrumentalist Paul Jolly, as below. For many years Paul has run the prolific 33 Jazz label, which can be found at www.33jazz.com.

“I was working with free jazz bands around Luton, and got involved with an opera that Mick Wright (which is Mick Kerensky’s real name) had written. He also asked me to join a jamming trio that he had, so we became a quartet called Sweet Slag. It was a bizarre group of people. We were managed by a guy named Keith Edwards, who knew Eddie Kassner at President, so that’s how we got our deal. They wanted us to tone it all down in the studio, which was like a red rag to a bull. The album was recorded in two days flat. The front cover had rubbish on it because there was a binmen’s strike on at the time. No single by us ever appeared, just the LP. We did some strange gigs, including a tour supporting The Equals (who were also on President). I particularly remember a show compèred by Jimmy Saville at Kitson College in Leeds, where we had to play on a revolving stage. We improvised a lot onstage – Mick and I tended to do crazy instrumental workouts, very stretched out. Sometime around the summer of 1971 our bassist, Jack O’Neill, became a Jehovah’s Witness, so he departed and we reconfigured as a quintet, but that didn’t last long. The sadness about Sweet Slag is that we vanished into obscurity before people caught onto what we were trying to achieve – Roxy Music and others later did similar things. Oh well – happy slagging, as we used to say.”