THE drummer of the Canterbury scene, period. Need one say more? As Hatfield and the North and National Health's drummer, Pip Pyle deserves mention as one of the greatest drummers on the progressive rock scene.
Pyle was born in Sawbridgeworth (Hertfordshire) in 1950. Why 'Pip', by the way? "Well, Pip is diminutive for Philip, as you'd probably guessed. My father changed his mind when I was two weeks old. Perhaps Philip was too long a word for him...". Pyle became friends with Phil Miller in the early 50's... yes, that's right, they actually went to kindergarten together! It was also during this period that Pyle started playing on biscuit tins. Although he took a few lessons from jazz drummer Buzz Greene, he is largely self-taught.
In 1966, at age 15, Pyle was a founding member of Brunos Blues Band, later renamed Delivery (whose sole album Fools Meeting was finally re-released on CD in 1999) with the Miller brothers. "I was in Delivery until 1970 when I was fired after a row with the singer, Carol Grimes...". Then followed a short stint with blues band Chicken Shack of which he holds few happy memories : "I reluctantly admit to having played with that band... I was fired from that, again, for laughing at the guitarist Stan Webb when he did a terribly heartfelt and ghastly version of "If I Were A Carpenter". So much for the blues...".
Fortunately for him, a major career opportunity was around the corner. In April 1970, Delivery played Upstairs at Ronn.....