Stuart Epps, Elton e Kiki Dee (1974)
suono che ha collaborato con Elton John parecchie volte nel corso della sua
carriera. Ha iniziato la sua invidiabile carriera a soli 15 anni
nel 1967, alla Dick James Music dove ha fatto carriera fino a diventare
ingegnere capo, lavorando sempre a stretto contatto con Steve Brown e, successivamente, č approdato alla Rocket
Records, l'etichetta discografica lanciata da Elton insieme a John Reid,
nel 1974, dove ha lavorato molto anche per seguire la carriera di Kiki
Dee. A partire dai 18 anni lo ha seguito anche in alcuni tour
negli Stati Uniti
come assistente personale e in seguito ha collaborato attivamente con il
produttore Gus Dudgeon.
Con lui ha contribuito alla realizzazione del suo studio di
registrazione. E' stato anche il produttore dell'introvabile
disco del 1970 Birds Of A Feather (Chanter Sisters) dove suonava anche Elton. Ha lavorato anche con Eric Clapton, Chris Rea, Led Zeppelin,
Oasis, George Harrison , Kiki Dee, Brian Adams e George Michael,
tra gli altri. Prosegue la sua attivitą ai suoi studi
di Cookham, Berks, nei pressi di Londra.
dall'intervista alla BBC (aprile 2008)
Stuart began his career working working with Dick James - The Beatles music publisher - after leaving school at 15.
One of the song-writers there was a then little-known aspiring artist called Reginald Dwight - later to become Elton John.
Stuart and 'Reg'
became friends, with Stuart helping the performer recording his early
demos. Stuart then started work as an assistant to producer Steve
Brown, who formed the DJM label and helped put "Elton's career into
Then, at aged 18, Stuart was asked to be Elton John's personal assistant on his second American tour in 1970.
"I'd never even
been to America before," says Stuart. "I'd turned up at the airport
with Elton, with the band, to now go on a three-month tour of America
so it was pretty crazy stuff."
He remembers: "We
didn't have limousines at that time, just normal hire cars and the gigs
were 300-seater theatres, so no massive halls or anything.
"It was new to
all of us, we were all youngsters in the States and it was an amazing
eye-opener, especially for Elton. And Elton really took off,
specifically in LA at the Troubadour where people like Bob Dylan came
to see him."
And Stuart was at
the forefront of witnessing the transformation of Elton John - the
singer and piano player who barely talked to the audience - into Elton
John the flamboyant star.
"Elton, 'Reg', was always off the wall, like a Spike Milligan of music really," says Stuart.
"He would dress
to make you laugh or to impress. He'd come in wearing a Noddy shirt or
he'd always wear something outrageous or outlandish.
"He was actually
a very shy guy so it was some sort of way of getting over your shyness.
If you dress like Father Christmas you're going to get a laugh."
adds: "In America he knew that this is the place where he's either
going to do or die and make it or not. So his thing was 'I'm just going
to get noticed here', even if he falls flat on his face.
"I can remember
very specifically the first gig where he just stopped playing the piano
and got off up the piano and started banging a tambourine and trying to
get the audience clapping along. It was a bit embarrassing to start off
"And when he
started wearing all those outrageous clothes that was embarrassing as
well, but it was all his idea, he just wanted to outrageous and be like
all his rock 'n' roll idols."