Graham Walker, and Johnny Gray of Spiggy Topes got into the music scene performing with John Sutherland [JOHN GEORGE ‘J Fats’ SUTHERLAND, b. 22.08.1944 Thurso, Caithness, d. 08.12.11 Aberdeen]. Peter Innes, author of FIT LIKE, New York?  refered to Johnny Sutherland as “the founding father of Northern rock music” and described Caithness where he earned his chops, as “the remotest community on the UK mainland”. Johnny Sutherland founded various bands in the area, including “The Jam” with Johnny Gray and Graham Walker”. John “J Fats” Sutherland w/Graham Walker on drums: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kq-5uiEHCkQ. In 1968, Roger, Graham, and Johnny Gray of Thurso, formed Spiggy Topes along with vocalist Dennis Thomson. Because Dennis wasn’t able to travel with the band for gigs, he was soon replaced by Marek Kluczynski of Inverness through their manager Bill Mowat’s introduction.
In 1967, Roger and Graham played together as part of The Opium Trail” http://rgcgraphics.com/OPTrail2/Local%20Publish/BackGround/background.html before forming Spiggy Topes with Johnny Gray and Dennis Thomson.
Innes describes how the area the construction of Dounreay nuclear research facility became a catalyst for local rock music when 30,000 construction workers were set up to complete the job. The first local rock & roll band was The Rhythm Four with Johnny Curran who came up to make bread for the expanding populous. Dave and Bill Fehilly, site painters from Glasgow “abandoned their Dounreay work to establish Glasgow Dance Promotions” and promoted American rocker Gene Vincent, besides British acts including Alex Harvey Band and Nazareth.John Sutherland obituary: http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/News/Caithness-musician-hailed-as-an-inspiration-and-a-living-legend-14122011.htm
In 1969, Graham left Thurso to attend the University of Aberdeen so the rest of the band moved into a mobile home in Aberdeen to continue gigging. In 1971, the band was renamed “Rebellion” after they relocated to London to work on an LP with Cliff Bennett.
The band played various gigs around Scotland and the north of England before they went to London to record with Cliff Bennett.
Spiggy Topes were living in the north of England before settling in Aberdeen as a band in 1969. They were regionally popular among the beat fans and those heard their demo records aired BBC Radio 1. Years later the three songs were released on a compilation album, “Dustbin Full Of Rubbish” as recordings were purchased for pennies a yard sale.
In a recent phone conversation, Marek Kluczynski related that it was financially difficult trying to make it in the music business and took conventional work while living in London. Before the London recordings for Cliff Bennett’s Rebellion LP, Spiggy Topes members were living together in a mobile home in Aberdeen whilst performing regularly between Scotland and the north of England. The music scene was thriving and there were plenty of places to play to young fans out to dance and see the new bands on the go. Marek’s younger brother Mark came up from Dundee to help out as their roadie.
Spiggy Topes on stage [circa 1970?]
“The band’s big break was when they went down to London in 1971 to record as the back up band for Cliff Bennett who was under contract with American company CBS” “Fit Like, New York?” [Peter Innes – 1997] Arthur Farrel, not wanting to relocate to London, returned to his home in Glasgow when Spiggy Topes [whose name changed to Rebellion under Bennett] developed tracks for the Rebellion album. Marek and Johnny Gray worked fast to develop a set of tunes bouncing ideas off each other. After the LP was complete, Marek left the music scene as the new group was shifting away from the progressive style of Spiggy Topes favoring a bluesy one under Bennett.
Rebellion LP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7rO9X4rjeA and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01PNnons-vo Note: “The album is loaded with originals that are mostly the work of bassist John Gray and flautist Marek Kluczynski, who do a decent job of supplying generic soul-rock templates through with Bennett can show off his singing and elevate their work.” http://bordeldorock.blogspot.com.br
Cliff Bennett’s current band was Toe Fat but manager Clifford Davies suggested a new line-up. Bennett attempted to replace drummer Lee Kerslake with Spiggy Topes’ Derek “Korky” Weir but Korky’s answer was “No. way. You take us as a package, all or nothing”. Marek became second singer and the group was expected to relocate to London. Arthur Ferral quit as Spiggy Topes relocated to London as the Rebellion band was formed and bought himself a taxi-cab in Glasgow. He was replaced by lead guitarist Robert “Smiggy” Smith. Meanwhile, former guitarist Ken Hensley and drummer Kerslake [of Toe Fat] became part of Uriah Heep. Lead singer Cliff Bennett, was looking for a keyboardist for the changing line-up and added Belfast born keyboardist Lou Martin who was living in London as Marek left Rebellion. Though the Rebellion album sold under 9,000 albums and members of Spiggy Topes had disbanded, Mareks’s brother Mick stayed on under Clifford Davies management for seven years and went on to become road manager for The Pink Floyd through connections made.
Notes: After recording the Rebellion LP, band members including Marek and John Gray were invited to record under Dandylion Music who offering to buy off their contracts for £250. As fate would have it, secretaries for the record companies got in an argument during negotiations and the opportunity didn’t go forward. In summer of 1972, they formed a new band called “Summer” which only lasted about that long. *notes from a recent interview with Marek Kluczynski
Marek [Inverness, Scotland 2017]
“Spiggy Topes were originally guitarist Roger Niven, Thurso, who later co-founded ‘Wolfstone’; Johnny Gray, Thurso (brother of Caithness amateur football successful manager Duncan and Inverness’s current Lord Provost Councillor Jimmy; has a had life-time career in live music; and drummer Graham Walker, also Thurso, who subsequently played on stage with blues legends incl BB King and is a successful session-man in London of several decades experience and was/is also member of Gary Moore’s Midnight Blues Band, with record sales over 5 million. Gray also later played with an ex-Thin Lizzy musician; Brian Robertson. Marek from Inverness replaced Dennis Thomson, Thurso, who did not want to turn full-time. As well as singing, Marek played flute, harmonica and sax on stage with band. http://forum.caithness.org/showthread.php?69697-More-On-Mick-Kluczynski-obituary Note: following obituary is about Spiggy Topes/Pink Floyd road manager Mick who died suddenly in Feb/2009 from a heart attack. He was the brother of Marek. http://www.brain-damage.co.uk/obituaries/marek-mick-kluczynski.html
Spiggy Topes tunes were part of a “boot-legged” American LP called ‘Dustbin Full of Rubbish’ and concept idea dating back to Alan Lomax’s search for American ‘blues roots’ performers in jails, slums in the Deep (still segregated) South in 1940s/50s (incl Robert Johnston as in ‘Crossroads’)”.
Graham Walker and Roger Niven circa 1967 [below] 1967 photos from: http://rgcgraphics.com/OPTrail2/background.html [read more about the Opium Trail]
Graham Walker who continued his music career with Blodwyn Pig, was still working with Spiggy Topes during his university days. He was replaced by drummer Derek “Korky” Weir before manager Bill Mowat arranged recording time on Denmark Street “Tin Pan Alley”London.
“Graham was the drummer in The Web, The Fragments, The Opium Trail, Gale Force 8, The Jam, Spiggy Topes and Gollum the Underdog from 1965 to 1970. He then went to London with A Million People and became a session man of note through the eighties. He achieved international recognition for his drumming with the Gary Moore Band in the nineties and has sessions for Mick Jagger, George Harrison and Whitesnake as well as many others of note.” http://forum.caithness.org/showthread.php?17099-Graham-Walker
14 December 2017: Guitarist Roger Niven continues to perform with top musicians around Scotland. Note that he is joined here with Colin Henderson https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/nairn-flyers/ [began with TRS houseband at age 16] https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/two-red-shoes-album-2/ and Graham Nairn https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/graeme-nairn-trs/ and https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/nairn-flyers/, who served as last bandleader of the TRS band.
Below, Peter Innes “Fit Like, New York” https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fit-Like-New-York-Irreverent/dp/1901300021 excerpt from his book: