Gerry Casey interviews Pat Lloyd from The Equals
Making a Scene Presents Gerry Casey’s interview with Pat Lloyd of The Equals
Formed in North London in 1965, The Equals were a group of friends consisting of the original line-up, Eddy Grant (guitar), Pat Lloyd (guitar), John Hall; (drums), and brothers Derv Gordon (vocals) and Lincoln Gordon (guitar).
In 1965 The Equals began performing around London and amazed audiences by becoming the first multi-racial band in Britain with their limitless energy and a distinct style fusing pop, blues, and R&B plus elements of ska and blue-beat. By the end of 1965, The Equals were signed to President Records – the label set up by Tin Pan Alley legend Edward Kassner.
1967 saw the release of their first single titled ‘I Won’t Be There’. Following this, they released their single ‘Hold Me Closer’ with the ‘B’ sidetrack ‘Baby, Come Back’. It didn’t cross over in the UK, but in 1967 it went to number one in Germany, The Netherlands and in Europe. After just two weeks of release in Germany, a German DJ liked the ‘B’ sidetrack so much that he gave it constant air-play leading the record company to
then release ‘Baby Come Back’ as an ‘A’ sidetrack which then led to it becoming No.1 in the German charts. Following its success in Germany, ‘Baby Come Back’ was re-released in the UK in 1968 and in no time at all, it soared high into the UK charts reaching a top position at No.1 for six glorious weeks and brushed the charts in America, giving President Records their only number one hit. Following their chart-topping success, the group received a gold disc for one million sales in June 1968. In the same year as ‘Baby Come Back’, The Equals released their next hit called ‘I Get So Excited’ which reached the Top 50 of the UK Singles Chart.
Whilst creating these pop hits there was another side to The Equals’ work, an example being a 1967 single titled ‘Police On My Back’, a song that the Clash would record at the end of the 1970s. Between 1967 and 1970 The Equals released seven albums. They wrote their own material and were extremely prolific artists. A string of single releases followed up to 1970, all of which charted in the UK and European charts. In 1970 came their hit ‘Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys’ which spent eleven weeks in the charts in 1970 and 1971, reaching No 9. During 1970 the band was on tour in Germany and were all involved in a car crash. Eddy Grant, in particular, was badly injured and had to remain in hospital. On returning to England he then suffered from a heart attack and collapsed lung and was hospitalized once again. While Eddy was recovering, he decided to leave The Equals as a touring band, however, he continued to write and record with the band. The Equals continued to tour without him and gradually incorporated more funk and reggae into their sound. This culminated their 1976 album ‘Born Ya’ and Eddy Grant returned to write and produce for the band which featured the club-friendly Funky Like a Train’. During Eddy’s absence, there were temporary guitarists to fulfill obligations including Jimmy Heynes, Rob Hendry and David ‘Dzal’ Martin, who became a permanent member of The Equals for 39 years.
Following appearances on the BBC’s Top of The Pops music program (performing ‘Funky Like a Train’), the Equals released their 1978 album ‘Mystic Syster’ which featured another club hit in the dancer ’Nobody’s Got Time’. In 1979 The Equals disbanded, but through popular demand, German Promoter and Entrepreneur, Rainer Haas (husband of Suzie Quatro) contacted Pat Lloyd to reform The Equals, so in 1982, Pat Lloyd reformed The Equals and became the trademark and copyright owner alongside Eddy Grant. The Equals, when reformed consisted of; original founder members Pat Lloyd (bass), Derv Gordon (vocals), Lincoln Gordon (guitar), and Ronnie Telemacque (drums), and Rob Hendry (guitar). Lincoln Gordon left the band shortly after its reformation and in the same year David (Dzal) Martin – who had been a member between 1973 and 1975 rejoined permanently as lead guitarist.
In the early ’90s, The Equals released their album “ROOTS” released in 1995, mainly written by Pat Lloyd with contributions from David (Dzal) Martin. In 1994 their number one hit worldwide, “Baby Come Back” refused to go away. The track returned when UB40 (featuring Pato Banton) scored an unexpected UK number one with their cover of the song.
In 2002, The Hypertonics covered The Equals hit “Police On My Back” in concert, and in 2007, rapper Lethal Bizzle, also had a chart-topping entry of “Police On My Back” In the same year of 2017, The Equals’ song, “Green Light”, was covered by The Detroit Cobras, on their 2007 album Tied & True.
The Equals composition “I Get So Excited” was covered by many artists including, Geno Washington & the Ram Jam Band (featured on the album ‘Foot Stompin’ Soul 1966-1972), The Grass Roots (1969), Brownsville Station (1974), Don Fardon (2003), Real McCoy (2012) and Captain Sensible (2013).
In 2014, Soluble Recordings frontman Bollo alongside German production specialist Jürgen Müller aka J.A.C.K. took on a modern rework of The Equals’ early seventies hit ‘Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys’. Calling in one of the definitive voices of dance music Jocelyn Brown – they collectively turned to a classic record and gave it a classy 2014 rework that’s turned British Pop Rock into something completely new. Derrick Harriot also covered it in his acid rock album in 1982.
In 2017 Derv Gordon left The Equals, and later that year, two new members joined The Equals, R&B Soul sensation Decosta Boyce (lead vocals), previously of the funk/soul band Heatwave; Mark Haley ( keyboards), previously with The Kinks and The Rubettes feat. Alan Williams. In March 2019, Keeling Lee ( lead guitar) previously with the pioneers of British Funk, ‘High Tension’ and Hot Waxx, Groove Armada, and Kenny Thomas band, replaced Dzal Martin after their tour of Vienna in March 2019.
Between 2020 – 2021 ( global pandemic) The Equals took themselves into the studios to make a new album and in May 2022 released a track from that album called ‘Nobody’s Got Time’, written by Eddy Grant, which got to No.1 for three consecutive weeks in the UK Legacy Chart and in the Top 20 of The Heritage Chart.
Today The Equals continue to record and tour in the UK, Europe, and Worldwide, increasingly influenced by funk and reggae music. Pat Lloyd is the longest-serving original founder member of the band since its formation in 1965. Pat Lloyd alongside Eddy Grant owns the Trademark/Copyright of The Equals.