Guitarist Jyrki "Muddy" Manninen replaced fellow Finn Ben Granfelt in November 2004. He brings a blues-y style to the band. With Muddy, Wishbone Ash regains a slide guitarist.
Muddy first recorded in 1979 with Red House Blues Band. They cut a single for Love Records. "That band was mostly stuff like Bukka White, The Allmans, Robert Johnson, some Rory Gallagher (one of my first heroes) plus some original stuff," says Muddy.
After having played with numerous groups, critically acclaimed Finnish guitarist Ben Granfelt formed his own band in 1993. Ever since the Ben Granfelt Band was formed, the trio has toured Germany, the UK and the US and done countless tours in Finland. He is accompanied by top session drummer Miri Miettinen and young bass "wunderkind" Lauri Porra.
Drummer RAY WESTON was born in Glasgow, Scotland. As a young boy, Ray knew he wanted to be a drummer after watching Buddy Rich on TV. “I saw this drummer perched high on a podium leading an orchestra that was down to his side,” Ray says. “It was like he was the Caesar with his centurions at his command.”
David Allen Turner was born in Birmingham, England on August 2, 1950. He started playing the guitar at 17, and two years later he was playing in a local band. In 1969 Ted answered an ad in Melody Maker, and auditioned for a new, as yet un-named, band. Another young guitarist named Andy Powell answered the same ad. The organizers of the band, Steve Upton and Martin Turner, couldn't choose between the two, and decided to keep them both. Their twin lead guitar attack became the trademark of the new band, which was ultimately known as Wishbone Ash.
Martin Turner was born in Torquay, Devon, on October 1, 1947. He took up the guitar at age 14, later switching to bass. Together with brother Glenn, Martin formed his first band, The Torinoes, in 1963. By 1966, the band had evolved into the Empty Vessels, where future Wishbone Ash drummer, Steve Upton, would join the brothers.
The drummer is usually the most important band member when it comes to the rhythm, tempo, and groove of a song, but most of the time he plays almost unnoticed. From a non- musician's point of view, the lead singer or guitarist seems to deserve the most attention, leaving the rhythm section playing in the back, under dim lights, supporting the more "important" players. Wishbone Ash had a completely different idea, largely due to the role played by their original drummer, Steve Upton.
Laurie Wisefield was a founding member of the band "HOME", which played with Al Stuart. Andy saw them in New York and was impressed by Laurie's guitar work. They played together, and developed a rapport. When Andy returned to England, it was to the news that Ted was leaving the band. In the face of this bombshell, he thought immediately of Laurie as a replacement. Laurie joined the band in 1974 and stayed with them for 12 years.
British-born Claire Hamill has been in the music business all of her adult life. She was signed to Island Records before she left school, and released her first album for them, "One House Left Standing", in 1971. She followed that with "October", produced by Paul Samwell-Smith of "Yardbirds" fame. Those first two albums have recently been released on CD, and are available from Voiceprint Records.
John Wetton was born in Derby, England, and began his musical career in Bournemouth. He originally played keyboards, but soon switched to bass. His brother was a church organist and needed him to play the bass part because "he didn't have any pedals on the piano he practiced on at home." By the time he was 13, John was playing with a band started in a church hall, on a guitar that he'd tuned down to a bass register because the band didn't have a bass.
Mervyn "Spam" Spence hails from Larne, Ireland, where he once worked in a hotel. Every Saturday night the hotel had live entertainment, and Spam learned to play the guitar by practicing with the gear left overnight by these musicians. He says that sometimes there wasn't much left when the bands came back on Sunday, because "we were playing around without much experience"!
Trevor Bolder's credits include work with David Bowie and Mick Ronson, and he was an authentic Spider from Mars. He followed John Wetton into Uriah Heep when John left in 1977, and played with them for three years. By 1980, Trevor was "very despondent" with Heep, so he answered an ad in Melody Maker that said,"Top band requires bass player". This turned out to be Wishbone Ash, whom John Wetton had just left! Trevor went to the audition and ended up getting the job.
Born in Sheffield, England in 1959, Robbie France has become one of Britain's leading musical educators, clinicians, recording artists and touring professionals.
Of his background, Jamie Crompton says,"When I began, I played the drums with New Wave bands, just high-energy rock 'n' roll bands basically. That was about 1978. Then I started getting into the guitar, and about 1980 I joined Susie Quatro. I toured all over the world with her, and recorded a couple of albums in the States."
Andy Pyle was born in the south of England, and bought his first bass at the age of 15. He left school six months later, and has been playing ever since. He has been influenced by the Memphis and Nashville musicians of the 50, Elvis, and the Mills Brothers band."The blues in general, in fact." Andy's background includes work with Rod Stewart, Savoy Brown, the Kinks, and Gary Moore.
Roger Filgate grew up in Connecticut, in a musical family. His mother was a concert pianist, two of his brothers play pop and rock music, and the third plays bluegrass. As Roger describes the household,"There would be Hendrix blasting downstairs, the Beatles in one room, banjo picking in another, and then Mozart coming from Mom!"
Tony Kishman comes from Tucson, Arizona, where he was already playing local clubs in his teens. From 1973 through 1978 he played guitar in a group called Cheap Tricks, which did Wishbone Ash songs and Top 40 covers. He did a solo album produced by Christopher Neil (Sheena Easton, Mike and the Maniacs), and one of the songs on it, "Staying With It", reached #17 on the British charts.
Mike began drumming about the age of ten. His father was a band director, and his uncle a drummer, so he comes by his music naturally. His early influences included Alice Cooper, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, and specifically, Buddy Rich. At the University of Miami (1982-86), he played a lot of jazz, and toured with Bob James. After college, Mike drifted for a while, session with Asia (he appears on "Then and Now" and "Aqua", although undcedited), Nina Hagen, Phenomena, and Phil Manzanera. After a while he began to work with Asia again, playing on the "Aria" CD and doing the subsequent tour.
Guitarist Mark Birch was born in Kidderminster, in the Midlands, and realized at a very early age that all he wanted to do was play music. He formed his first band at the age of 15. After playing and recording around the Midlands, he joined a London-based band whose lead singer was Nev MacDonald, from the UK band SKIN. When that band split up, he submersed himself in the London scene, playing with many different bands simultaneously. In doing so, he learned to sing and to front a band. Outside of his work with Wishbone Ash, Mark currently plays and sings a variety of styles of music, from Britpop to rock to acoustic "etherial" - he keeps himself busy!