Legendary â€˜70s rockers Elephant Isis are to reform for a world tour. After months of speculation, lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Ian Pikeshaft, 72, has confirmed that he and other former band members guitarist Ken Phillips, 69, and bass player Ron White, 74, will be playing a series of concerts together for the first time in almost forty years.
Original drummer Geoffrey Middleton, 76, however, will not be joining them. Middleton, who suffers from osteoporosis, has never fully recovered from injuries sustained after slipping over in his own vomit backstage at the Bournemouth Winter Gardens in 1981, and is no longer able to operate the double kick drum set-up that became his trademark.
Elephant Isis, of course, will forever be associated with the progressive rock movement and are probably best known for their multi-million seller, Jumbo Parts, the first quadruple album release to feature a double gatefold sleeve. In his pomp, Middletonâ€™s forty three minute drum solo featured across two of the albumâ€™s sides would literally stop shows all over the globe and has never been imitated.
After the relative failure of 1972â€™s scaled down triple set, Trunk Calls, the band broke up in acrimonious circumstances. It was only after a â€˜Best ofâ€™ collection, Elephantâ€™s Graveyard, appeared in 2008 and rekindled interest that they emerged from decades in the wilderness.
Speaking from his retirement home on the Isle of Sheppey, frontman Pikeshaft vouchsafed, â€˜I always thought we had unfinished business when we split back inâ€™73 and I was right, we did. Weâ€™re going to do this tour as if itâ€™s the last thing we do.â€™
But fans expecting to hear new Elephant Isis material will be disappointed. Pikeshaft also confirmed that there were no plans to record again due to â€˜a wholesale disenchantment
with the digital format.â€™
â€˜Downloads,â€™ he said, â€˜are the death knell for bands like us. You just donâ€™t have the space to make a proper statement any more. To be honest, now that the packagingâ€™s gone, thatâ€™s it for me. â€™