Episode #161 – The Maze (M.I. Five)

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Lead up to the Album:

  • Ian Paice started having an interest in drums at the age of 14. On his 15th birthday he was given his first drum kit by his father.
  • After becoming proficient he started getting his first paid gigs working with his father for £3 a night.
  • Soon after that Paice joined his first rock group, Georgie and The Rave Ons playing in the Oxford area.
  • In mid-1965 the band changed their name to The Shindigs.  From deep-purple.net:
    • “They comprised Johnny Bosher on bass, Brian Nelson (no-one can remember what he did!), Ian and Stuart Forrest on lead and rhythm guitars, plus George (Georgie, the band’s namesake) Adams on vocals.”
  • Rod Evans began in a band called The Horizons based in Slough. From deep-purple.net:
    • “ . . . that included among its ranks Lenny Hawkes, later Chip Hawkes of The Tremeloes, on bass guitar.”
  • The band traveled around playing Hamburg and made very little in pay.  Mick Angus says they’d eat at cafes then run out to skip the bills because they didn’t have the money to pay.
  • At this time Rod Evans was doing modeling on the side to make some extra money.
  • The Horizons never recorded anything but toured around doing covers.  After some 1965 tours they broke up.  Their drummer wasn’t able to play in Hamburg for not being old enough so they had John Kerrison fill in who would later go on to be the drummer in Episode Six.
  • M.I. Five began in 1965 when Rod Evans joined a band called The Jumping Jimmy Band.
  • At some point, unclear when, this band changed its name to M.I. Five.
  • Paice’s band The Shindigs ended up playing gigs in support of M.I. Five fronted by Rod Evans.
  • Mick Angus says of Rod: “He used to be a big Cliff Bennett fan. He modelled his style on Bennet and Allan Clark of The Mollies.”
  • M.I. Five’s drummer quit and they began looking for a replacement and found one in Ian Paice.
  • Paice thought M.I. Five was a more professional band so he left The Shindigs to join them.
  • It was at this point that M.I. Five turned professional.
  • Paice moved in with Chris Banham’s family.

MI Five / The Maze • The Complete Recordings [1966-1967] ℗ 2019

Band Lineup:

  • Rod Evans – vocals
  • Chris Banham – organ
  • Eric ‘Jack’ Keene – bass
  • Roger Lewis – guitar
  • Ian Paice – drums
  • In 1966 the band cut their first single “You’ll Never Stop Me Loving You. which came out in September on Parolophone and was recorded on a single track machine.
  • In October or November of 1966 they changed their name to The Maze.  There was an American band with the same name that are unrelated.
  • They they worked on their second single “Hello Stranger” which was recorded for Robert Stigwood’s label Reaction.
  • This was recorded in December of 1966.
  • After this single release The Maze started playing more German gigs and eventually ended up in Italy as a live backing for a musical of the Arcnold Wesker play “Chips with Everything.” This was performed at The Piccolo Teatro in Milan, Italy.
  • They were hidden away from the audience and Paice said the band never saw the audience once.
  • They went into the studio and recorded an extremely rare Italian only single while they were there. This was intended to be a promotion for the stage production.  The two tracks were written by the play’s producers and they aired on local television.

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  • The band then headed to France to record a very rare French EP live in the studio.
  • Paice: “On the boat trip over I met this guy called Ritchie Blackmore who was on his way to Hamburg”, says Ian Paice. “I’d heard about him, what a great guitar player he was supposed to be, and we had a talk but that was all… never thought anything about it but after the job in Milan, The Maze got a three week booking at the Star Club in Hamburg and we met again.” 
  • Blackmore caught Paice live and offered him a drumming gig but Paice had to turn it down because The Maze were making money at this point.
  • The Maze’s last single was released on December 6, 1967.  It was the ballad “Cateri Cateri.”
  • After this the band wasn’t seeing much success from its singles.
  • Rod Evans was the first to leave.  He heard about a singing gig from Mick Angus advertised in Melody Maker and he replied to it.
  • When he got the job Ritchie asked Ian what he was going to do when The Maze broke up.  Ian said he went to the rehearsal when their original drummer, Bobby Woodman, wasn’t around and it was agreed that he’d join the band as well.
  • Ian Paice says: “It was pure chance really. If Mick hadn’t told Rod, and Rod hadn’t got the job I’d never have known about the gig.”

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