The Blue Bishops

The official site of the Blue Bishops, the UK Rock and Blues band.

Members and Guests…

February 7th, 2020 by admin

Martin Turner: Formerly of Wishbone Ash Martin played bass with us for nearly 9 years before forming his own band to continue the legacy of WA. He still joins us for a play from time to time when he’s around. Martin played bass on our second album ‘deep.’

Jim Rodford: Prior to his tragic, accidental death Jim, formerly of the Mike Cotton Sound, The Kinks, Argent and The Zombies, played with us for 8 years. Jim played bass on our ‘In the Red’ album and was a major force in the band during his time with us.

Steve Rodford: Son of Jim. Steve is the drummer with The Zombies who are currently touring extensively in the USA and beyond. He is often to be seen with us onstage and has been co-writing some of our latest material with Geoff Grange. Steve has also appeared on Simon’s album with Tony Dore ‘The Festival At The End of The World’ by Nation of Strangers.

Russ Rodford: Jim’s younger son Russ has maintained the playing tradition set by his dad. An excellent guitarist and bass player he’s played gigs in all corners of the UK with the BBs and more recently with John Verity while also opening for The Zombies with Cara and Anya Rodford. 

Andy Hodge: Yet another exceptional bass player, Andy is an accomplished session player as well as having played in both the ‘We will rock you’ and ‘That’ll be the day’ West End shows. Considered to be one of the finest bass players in the UK he’s played many gigs with the Blue Bishops. 

John ‘Rabbit’ Bundrick: Rabbit’s keyboard playing CV is extensive and includes such seminal bands as Crawler, Free and The Who, with whom he played for 29 years. He is on our ‘In the Red’ album as well as our BBC Radio 2 session for Paul Jones. He and Simon recently appeared together at Musikmesse and are currently collaborating on new material. 

Rod Argent: Another keyboard player who played with The Who (Who’s Next), Rod’s career with Colin Blunstone and The Zombies continues to attract audiences all over the world. Along with Rabbit he played on our ‘In the Red’ album and, like Rabbit, played with The Who, notably on the ‘Who’s Next’ album. 

Martin Barre: Now with his own band after leaving Jethro Tull Martin has joined the BBs a couple of times live but also provided some excellent guitar on the ‘deep’ album. Reciprocating, Simon provided the vocals to ‘Don’t say a Word’  on Martin’s ‘Stage Left’ album. 

Graeme Wheatley: The original bass player in the band, Graeme toured in the UK and Europe before leaving to set up The Little Devils and more recently Deep Blue Sea. He has stayed close with the band and his contribution continues with songs he has written with both Simon and Geoff. 

Jon Noyce: It’s been a while since ‘Noycey’ has played with us but the occasions on which he has have been memorable. Another huge talent on the bass, his track record include playing with Jethro Tull, Gary Moore, Martin Barre and film soundtracks that include Guy Richie’s King Arthur: Legend of the sword. 

Matt Jones: Matt’s drumming has featured on both the BBs’ appearances at The Secret Widget Festival, at Kenney Jones’s Hurtwood Park in Surrey, as well as gigs closer to his native Bristol. From Latin Jazz in Bristol’s Chirimoya, to the prog, punk , metal and blues fusions of The Brackish, Matt’s drumming plays a stand out part. 

Ian Fordham: Ian and Simon go back many years to when they played together in Bandit and The Bury-Burrett Band during the 70s. Formerly working with Chris Judge-Smith of Van der Graaf Generator and Imperial Storm Band fame, Ian regularly appears on bass at both festivals and gigs.

Mickey Hollis: Mickey’s drumming skills have seen him play with many bands on the function circuit alongside regular gigs. A versatile player, Mickey has recently, and successfully, put together live performances of The Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road.’ Something even the originators never did.

Mike Horne: Mike has already established a reputation as one of the finest drummers and percussionists in South Africa. Something he’s now repeating in the UK. He’s been a welcome contributor to our live performances and we look forward to many more gigs with him. 

Paco Munoz: A rocky edged drummer all the way from Valencia, in his home country Paco has shared the stage with legendary rock bands whose names include Deep Purple. While he has now returned to Spain some of his performances with the BBs are still to be found on YouTube. 

Jim Bryan: Jim and his signature Alembic bass have been seen on many an occasion with the BBs. A fine player Jim can also be seen playing with the most excellent alt rock band, The Bushman Brothers. Check them out.

Chris Hunt: When you’ve played drums for artists as diverse as Lonnie Donegan, Roger Daltrey and Van Morrison there’s no question you’re on top of your game. So it’s been a great pleasure to have Chris play live with the BBs on many occasions. We’re sure there’ll be more.

Rob Bowerman: A first rate guitarist Rob has joined the BBs on a number of occasions both covering for Simon and as an additional guitarist. Well known for his work on the West Country music scene, along with The Tree Frogs Rob is working alsongside Simon with Rabbit Bundrick.

Jacob Tyghe: From Port Erin, Jake has joined us with Matt Jones, playing in Bristol. A very talented member of the Bristol music scene, Jake is currently playing  bass with Matt in The Brackish while his other credits include recording with Roy Harper’s son Nick Harper, and the Wilderness Kids. 

Derik Timms: Derik has joined the BBs onstage on both bass and guitar and has brought his excellent slide playing to the band when Simon’s health issues (now resolved) have intervened. Alongside his own Moondogs band, he also plays with John Verity and he and Geoff have co-written some of the BB’s more recent material. 

Justin Hildreth: After a career that includes drumming for Joan Armatrading, Thomas Dolby , Lene Lovich and Nina Hagen, Justin has made a significant contribution to the BBs, playing on and off with the band for many years, appearing on one track on ‘Blue Bishops’ and all tracks on ‘In the Red.’

Bob Sellins: Was the original lead guitar player in the BBs and although he left some years ago he still joins the band onstage when they play in the West Country. Bob made a major contribution to the recording and production of the BBs first two albums ‘Blue Bishops’ and ‘deep’ and is a highly skilled and distinctive musician.

Geoff Nicholls: Along with Ian Fordham, Geoff, played with Simon over 40 years ago. He was the drummer in Principal Edwards’ Magic Theatre and a presenter of TV’s Rock School. Currently an authoritative drum journalists around, he’s only appeared briefly so far but there’s plenty of time to put that right.

Ben Smith: Ben is an accomplished session and live band player and an exceptional solo player in his own right, with a first rate reputation. His soaring guitar has featured on Blue Bishops’ ‘Bootleg’  CD and he has also joined us on tours in Holland and across the UK. 

It’s a new decade…

January 1st, 2020 by admin

…and my health issues, which reduced our activities in 2019, are thankfully behind me. Now it’s time to bring our friends and fans up to speed with our latest news. A lot of changes have taken place over the years, not least of which was the tragic and unexpected death of our great friend and bass player, Jim Rodford, who we were proud to share with The Zombies. Jim’s contribution to our live performances and our ‘In the Red’ album, not to mention his unfailing humour and enthusiasm, made him a joy to work with. Also, Justin Hildreth’s departure, after his substantial input on the drums, both recording and at live shows, has meant Geoff and I, as original members of the band, have reassessed and reorganised how we organise our line-up for recording and live performances.

We’ve had some amazing, world famous, musicians play with us over the years, and we feel it’s important to keep up this high standard. As musicians of this calibre are often very busy on a variety of projects, availability for specific dates can be a problem. Our answer to this has been to create a pool of talent on which we can draw. With Geoff and I as the constant presence (now that I am recovered sufficiently from recent health problems – thank you Derik Timms for the most excellent guitar and slide cover!) we have hand-picked a selection of bass players and drummers, friends who know our music well and whose style, sense of fun and musical ability fit perfectly with what we do. Having this team means we can say ‘yes’ to dates or tours as we have enough players to know that there will nearly always be someone available on drums or bass to hit the ground running. There’s a list of this family of Blue Bishops, both past and present in our ‘Members and Guests.’ Section. We’re very proud and lucky to be associated with these players.

In the meantime, with my health improved, we’re looking forward getting back up to speed with new songs and, hopefully, new places to play and people to meet in this The Blue Bishops’ third decade. So thanks to all our loyal followers and fans, and big hello to people who have just found us. Let’s rock!

Simon Burrett 1/1/2020

Jim Rodford 1941-2018

February 5th, 2018 by admin

It’s not often enough that we update our website. So it’s sad that what’s forced me into doing something I should, in this day and age, do very regularly, is the loss of Jim Rodford.  I simply cannot let the passing of such a great friend, man and musician, without saying something on behalf of his former bandmates in The Blue Bishops.

I approach this task with a heavy heart.

I simply can’t believe we have lost our great friend and former band member. One of the finest payers and nicest guys I have ever met. His enthusiasm, encouragement and musical talent have made a huge contribution to The Blue Bishops. And his friendship and humour have been part of the essence of what playing together in a band is all about. This is a very sad time for me and the band and it’s all come as a real shock.  There has been a massive outpouring of love, affection and appreciation across the world, in the press, on TV and over the internet.  Every reference consistently says what a wonderful guy Jim was.  And they’re all true. So there’s not much I can add other than to say, just like everyone else, you couldn’t meet a nicer guy. We miss him and our thoughts go out to his family.

R.I.P. Jim.

Blue Bishops at the BBC 23 May 2011 014

Geoff Grange, Jim Rodford, Justin Hildreth and Simon Burrett . The Blue Bishops at the Crawdaddy.

jim and geoff

Surprise Surprise…

November 11th, 2015 by admin

Surprise surprise…One of our rare blogs appears out of the woodwork. A slightly lop-sided one on the typing front (from my end anyway) as the reason we have been off the scene for while is to give my right hand time to recover from a carpal tunnel operation. No big deal really, except I have been ‘off games’ on the guitar for some weeks and we have had to postpone the first date we thought we would be back. However, it is healing and I am allowed 15 minutes playing a day for the moment as I build up to proper playing form. So with the mending process progressing I am very happy to announce our first date back.

On Thursday 3 December, 8pm, we will be at The Retreat, 8 St. John’s Street, Reading, Berks RG1 4EH.

Please come along if you can. Our special guests for the event will be the extremely talented Matthew Jones on drums, coming all the way from Bristol to join in. And our old pal and frequent member of the band, Russ (son of Jim) Rodford, on bass. While Russ has joined us on many an occasion across the country, Matt has played less frequently, but in line-ups that included Jim Rodford and, going even further back, Martin Turner. This promises to be a blast – and I can assure everyone we will have some surplus energy to let rip after a long lay-off.


Looking forward to seeing you!


It’s Been a While…

September 19th, 2014 by admin

Back with our old bass player Martin Turner, Simon, Justin, Geoff and Mike Rivers of the Crawdaddy

Ok. Quite a long while really. And quite eventful.

So first, apologies for the fact that, as the designated blogger I, Simon, have neglected my post for a long time. No excuses. Except maybe the usual stuff of time/gigs/holidays/family/sickness etc etc. The fact is that, while I welcome the instantaneous sense of connection we all get from the web, I always dip in with a sense of trepidation that it’s the tip of an iceberg that may mean I am spending all day looking at a screen of some sort or another, rather than the world around me as I get on with my life. But you, the loyal Blue Bishops friends, family, fans, stalkers, groupies, members, past members, depping members, physicians and therapists, deserve better. So…in the future, I will try and keep you more up-to-date.

In the meantime, let’s fill in some gaps. Many of you will have seen Voyager’s founder, Chris Hook, and more recently, Russ Rodford (son of our regular bassist, Jim), joining us onstage for recent gigs. Both of them are highly talented players in their own right and I hope, as we do, that they feel as much a part of the band as Jim does. The reason for needing deps to help out is the fantastic success the Zombies have been having over the last couple of years. Long-term Blue Bishops followers will know Jim divides his time between a lot of projects, not least of which is his role with Rod Argent (who played some cracking stuff on our ‘In the Red’ album) in the Zombies. Last year alone they did 2 Stateside tours, a tour in Japan, a European tour, a trip to Russia and a UK tour. So while he is back with us for some more dates soon, he is one busy man.

On the live music front we have been having a great time playing in different places, to different people, and having a ball meeting up with old friends and making new ones. In the current music climate where it’s so difficult for promoters and venues to keep their heads above water we have nothing but admiration for the effort that goes into every gig. And of course, we have nowhere to go without the fans who turn out, whatever the weather or economic climate, and put back the energy we give out by joining in the fun that can only happen when music is not just live, but ‘alive.’

So, whoever and wherever you are, thanks for coming back to these pages. Let’s hope I can make a visit once in a while, worthwhile, with news and updates of what we are up to.

In the meantime, you can look forward to some new material at gigs, as we work up the new numbers, bit by bit. And some more recent photos as they come in. We plan to record again as soon as we have selected the songs and put them through their paces. Long-term Blue Bishops followers will know that, with us, it can take time. But there’s no point in doing it until it feels right.

Meanwhile, ‘In the Red’ is still available at gigs and we are immensely proud of the album, and the performances our amazing guests Rod and John ‘Rabbit’ Bundrick who are both a privilege to work with. Not to mention the efforts of two legends on the other side of the recording desk. John Leckie and Stu Epps.

So…in the meantime, watch this space. And keep checking the gig dates and venues.

Let’s rock.


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