Jamming Out With A British Rock Legend, The Godfather Of Grunge Nick Saloman 

Sitting down with one of Hastings’ most globally renowned musicians doesn’t come easy. But there I was, on another typical grey cast UK day, having a good old chinwag with the man who birthed the band The Bevis Frond. Joining his substantial collection of singles and detailed discography, Little Eden has been described as “a roaring, raging triumphant.” After being solely written during the pandemic, who knows what’s next for the leading legend?

“I just kind of take all the things I like and stick them into the mincer and turn it on, and this Bevis Frond thing comes out,” says English guitarist, singer, and songwriter Nick Saloman. ”It’s an amalgam of all the things I like.”

As a preferred lone ranger, the born and bred Londoner admits he still loves to rock out with some of his favorite fellows like bandmates Paul Simmons, former bass and vocalist Adrian Shaw, and drummer Dave Pearce.

But once the now coastal living “godfather of grunge” sits down with a cuppa’ tea, pencil, and biscuit in hand, songwriting and producing new sounds seem effortless – pouring out as smoothly as any strum of Jimi Hendrix’s classical Gibson guitar. In fact, like a duck to water, Nick says writing has always come naturally to him. 

“Finding my source of inspiration never seems to be a problem. I sit down with a guitar, strum away, and sing gibberish; most times, nothing happens. And occasionally, you get a nice bit of a riff and a few words that sound quite good, and then I build it from there.” 

“It’s a bit like sitting down with a crossword puzzle. I enjoy it.”

Having amped his way into our lives since the late 1960s, Nick Saloman, aka The Bevis Frond, started playing psychedelic riffs as a youngster. At seven, he picked up his first guitar and fell in love with many of The Shadows’ stylistic range.  

But a couple of years later, his mum, {a classically trained pianist}, took him to his first live show, and he instantly became drawn to the counterculture after the British invasion of the US through rock and pop music in the swinging sixties. 

From the rise of Beatlemania to The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, and Small Faces, it was clear that Nick Saloman’s fondness for all things toe-tapping hooked him. However, nothing could compare to the likes of James Marshall Hendrix, nicknamed “The Bat.” 

“I was watching Ready Steady Go one Friday night when Jimi Hendrix came on,” he explains. “The guitar sounded like nothing I’d ever heard. He did Hey Joe and Stone Free, his first singles. I was stunned by how good he was and immediately became a massive fan.”

After many band meet-ups later, Nick Saloman began playing on stage, having formed Woronzow Records – a gateway ticket to complete creative freedom. It was clear that from his first album, Miasma, his unique sound incorporating British folk music, edgy guitar riffs, and explosive “West Coast-inspired proto-grunge” fine-tuned his career.

Now signed to Fire Records, with over 25 albums in the last 35 years {and counting}, The Bevis Frond’s success has achieved extraordinary things while working and collaborating with many legends in the hall of psychedelic and British beat fame. 

As the minutes ticked by, naturally, my gobsmacked expression only rose when, with a sharp wit and cool, calm, collected persona, Nick Saloman proudly began to tell me about his latest album, Little Eden. A Bevis Frond album he wrote, drummed in, and released in 2021 – almost all on his own during the pandemic’s peak.

“I’ve got a friend with a studio I can use,” says Saloman. “I went in there during lockdown, and he sat in the control room and twiddled knobs. I started recording demos for the band – sent them to a couple of the guys, and they seemed to love it.”

And so did his fanbase. Little Eden did not and still does not disappoint. 

Playing an ode to a South London Kidbrooke building and its sky-rising architecture, Nick Saloman’s focus on his LP sleeve for big dreamers speaks volumes for his cover song. “I was looking at the dreams of these 60s and 70s planners that didn’t last long,” he shares. 

“Now, everyone thinks these buildings are horrible. In fact, the artwork that I used on the front has already been flattened and replaced by something worse that might not even reach the next 30 years.” But best believe, each of the 20 songs that stretch out on the album beats to the rhythm of their independent drum.

From a Cherry Garden triptych on love and lost love to an acoustic folk tune, There’s Always Love, the overall “alt-rock indie classic” held together by Nick Saloman’s rustic vocals, provides an emotionally uplifting feel-good jam. 

Especially when the ten-minute finale, called Dreams of Flying, literally soars into serenity – leaving its listeners with a perfect aftertaste – a message of hope to “never give up trying.” 

Having met one of the most down-to-earth musicians, who, at 70 years young, continues to eat, sleep, and breathe music, it was no surprise that before we bid cheerio, Nick Saloman informed me that besides the works of another new album, exciting things were scheduled to take place.

“In April 2024, we’ve got a lengthy European tour coming up – my first one back since COVID,” he concludes. “So we will be hitting the road around Europe for about a month, taking on Germany, Belgium, Holland, Italy, France, Spain, Austria, Denmark, Switzerland, and more – which will be fun.”

So, if you are a huge fan like me, for a closer look at The Bevis Frond and all they are, visit their website here: https://bevisfrond.bandcamp.com/.

GRATEFULPR