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Roye Albrighton with Nektar live in 2007
|Genres||Progressive rock, space rock|
|Years active||1969–1978, 1979–1982, 2000–2016, 2018–present|
Purple Pyramid Records, a division of Cleopatra Records, Inc.
Bellaphon, United Artists, Passport, Decca, Polydor, Ariola, Bacillus
The band formed in Hamburg, Germany in 1969. The founding members were Englishmen Roye Albrighton on guitars and lead vocals, Allan "Taff" Freeman on keyboards, Derek "Mo" Moore on bass, Ron Howden on drums and artists Mick Brockett and Keith Walters on lights and "special effects". Though the concept of non-performing bandmembers was not unprecedented (i.e. lyricist Keith Reid in Procol Harum), it was considered unusual that a third of Nektar's lineup had no role in performing or writing their music. Throughout their early existence the band's songwriting was credited to all six members on the album sleeves, but BMI records show that the music was written by the four performing members (Albrighton, Freeman, Moore and Howden). Mick Brockett did however co-write the lyrics with "Mo" Moore, and invented or contributed to the original album titles.
The band's debut album, Journey to the Centre of the Eye (1971), consisted of a single song running over 40 minutes, with the last 100 seconds of the first side repeated at the beginning of the second side to maintain continuity. It was a concept album, following an astronaut who is given overwhelming knowledge by extraterrestrials, with sonic textures reminiscent of psychedelic rock. The follow-up, A Tab in the Ocean (1972), drew on more conventional rock and blues influences. Walters had left by the time of their third album, the heavily improvised live-in-the-studio double LP ...Sounds Like This (1973), though the band would continue to use his art in their shows and album designs for a time. A cult following grew for the band, based largely on word of mouth.
Nektar's U.S. release, Remember the Future (1973), propelled the band briefly into mass popularity. A concept album revisiting Journey to the Centre of the Eye's theme of extraterrestrials granting a human enlightenment, but with a blind boy as the protagonist. It demonstrated a much more melodic sound than previous albums and shot into the Top 20 album charts in the U.S.. The follow-up, Down to Earth (1974), was another concept album (this time with a circus theme); it also sold well, breaking into the Top 40 album charts and including their only song to chart on the Billboard singles charts, "Astral Man". The next album, Recycled (1975), was stylistically close to bands like Gentle Giant and carried on the band's close connection with progressive rock.
Albrighton left the band in December 1976, just prior to the studio sessions for Nektar's first major-label release, Magic Is a Child (1977). The remaining members were joined by guitarist/vocalist Dave Nelson at this point. The album was more eclectic, although with shorter songs and fairly straightforward rhythms. Lyrically the album covered a wide range of subjects from Norse mythology and magic to more down to earth subjects like railroads and truck drivers. In 1978 the band dissolved; however in 1979 Albrighton and Freeman reformed the band with bassist Carmine Rojas and drummer Dave Prater and released a new album, Man in the Moon (1980), before the band dissolved once again in 1982.
Nektar regrouped in 2000 with a line-up consisting of Albrighton, Freeman, and drummer Ray Hardwick; and released a new album titled The Prodigal Son. The following year, the band headlined NEARfest (opposite Steve Hackett) with the full classic line-up including Mo Moore on bass, Ron Howden on drums and Larry Fast (who played on Recycled) again guesting on synthesizers. In 2003, Moore departed the band and was replaced by new bassist Randy Dembo. Nektar cut one more album, Evolution, before Freeman was replaced by Tom Hughes. Dembo and Hughes left in August 2006, citing communication problems, money issues, personality issues and trust in the management issues. Dembo was briefly replaced by a returning Carmine Rojas, before the band settled on a line-up that consisted of Albrighton, Howden, guitarist Steve Adams, bassist Desha Dunnahoe, and keyboardist Steve Mattern.
Later in 2006, the band found new management in Roy Clay to replace The Eclectic Records staff, playing "Prog fests" around the globe on a part-time basis, and occasionally appearing in some of their old haunts in the New Jersey/New York area. Clay was subsequently released from management duties early 2007 after a dispute over financial matters. The band made an official complaint which exposed further fraudulent acts. Clay was ultimately convicted for fraud, lying and forgery, and was jailed for 2 years and 11 months.
In mid-2007, a solo tour was undertaken by Albrighton. A full band tour of Europe (primarily Germany) was scheduled by a European-based promoter, but they had to postpone as extra funds were needed to complete the new album, Book of Days, which was not released until the following year, by which time Adams, Dunnahoe, and Mattern had departed the band. Book of Days featured more of Roye Albrighton's guitar work than previous Nektar albums.
In late 2007, the band embarked on a tour for which they performed Remember the Future in its entirety, the line-up now including Klaus Henatsch on keyboards and Peter Pichl on bass.
In mid 2011, Lux Vibratus joined the band on bass for the Cleopatra records 'Space Rock Invasion Tour' in the U.S. By the time the band came to record the covers album A Spoonful of Time (2012), bass duties were shared by session musician Jürgen Engler, Mr. Big bassist Billy Sheehan, and Yes member Billy Sherwood, who also served as the album's producer. The Albrighton-Howden-Henatsch-Sherwood line-up recorded and released the album Time Machine. A special post-recording show was put together at the Coach House in South Orange County, California. Returning to Nektar in 2013, Lux Vibratus was on bass for the Cruise To The Edge event, followed by The Virada Cultural Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In June, this line-up went on the road again for a U.S. tour billed as the 'U.K. Legends of Classic Rock'.
On 26 July 2016, Roye Albrighton died after an unspecified illness, at the age of 67.
In early 2019, founding member Ron Howden (Drums) became disenchanted with efforts by another former member to continue Nektar's legacy, and approached the newly-retired Derek "Mo" Moore about reviving the original band. When Moore agreed, former members Randy Dembo (Bass and 12-string), Mick Brockett (Lights, projections and atmosphere), and Ryche Chlanda (Guitar and vocals) were soon signed on. To fill the keyboards slot, Kendall Scott, a friend of Chlanda's was brought aboard. The new lineup retrieved a set of never-formally recorded songs from Chlanda's previous time in the band, and began rehearsals and recordings for a new album to be titled "The Other Side." That album is currently slated for release in January 2020.
- Current members
- Ron Howden - drums, percussion, backing vocals (1969-1978, 2003-2016, 2019 -)
- Derek "Mo" Moore - bass, keyboards, vocals and lyrics (1969-1978, 2002-2003, 2019 -)
- Mick Brockett - special effects (1969-1977, 2002, 2019 -)
- Ryche Chlanda - guitars, vocals (1978, 2019 -)
- Randy Dembo - bass, bass pedals, backing vocals (2003-2006, 2019 -)
- Kendall Scott - keyboards (2019 -)
- Former members
|2002-2003||NEARfest 2002 Reunion||2003-2004||2004-2006|
|1971||Journey to the Centre of the Eye||–|
|1972||A Tab in the Ocean||141|
|1973||...Sounds Like This||–|
|Remember the Future||19|
|1974||Down to Earth||32|
|1977||Magic Is a Child||172|
|1980||Man in the Moon||–|
|2001||The Prodigal Son||–|
|2008||Book of Days||–|
|2012||A Spoonful of Time||–|
|2019||The Other Side||–|
|1974||Sunday Night at London Roundhouse (5 tracks)|
|1977||Live in New York|
|1978||More Live Nektar in New York|
|2002||Sunday Night at London Roundhouse Expanded version (10 tracks)|
|2002||Unidentified Flying Abstract - Live at Chipping Norton 1974|
|2004||Greatest Hits Live|
|2005||2004 Tour Live|
|2005||Door to the Future - The Lightshow Tapes Volume 1|
|2005||Live In Germany 2005|
|2008||Live In Detroit 1975|
|2011||Complete Live In New York 1974 (compiles Live in New York + More Live Nektar in New York)|
|2011||Greatest Hits Volume 1 (Re-release of CD 1 of Greatest Hits Live)|
|2011||Greatest Hits Volume 2 (Re-release of CD 2 of Greatest Hits Live)|
|2014||Live at the Patriots Theater (re-release of Greatest Hits Live)|
|2017||Live in Bremen|
|1978||Thru the Ears|
|1978||Best of Nektar|
|1998||The Dream Nebula: The Best of 1971–1975|
|2008||The Boston Tapes|
|Year||Title||Billboard Hot 100||U.S Mainstream Rock||UK Top 100||Album|
|1973||"Do You Believe in Magic?"||-||-||-||...Sounds Like This|
|1974||"What Ya Gonna Do?"||-||-||-|
|"Remember the Future (Edit)"||-||-||-||Remember the Future|
|"Fidgety Queen'"||-||-||-||Down to Earth|
|1975||"Flight to Reality"||-||-||-||Recycled|
|2005||Pure: Live in Germany 2005|
- Martin Kielty, "Nektar’s Roye Albrighton dead at 67" "Teamrock.com", July 28, 2016
- "NEARfest Official Facebook Page". NEARfest Archives. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
- Naylor, Mark (18 April 2011). "Music Producer's £170,000 Swindle". Grimsby Telegraph.
- "27-Apr-2008 interview with Roye Albrighton on Outsight Radio Hours". Archive.org. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
- "The Current Band Members". Nektar: The Official Website. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
- "Nektar - A Spoonful Of Time (CD, Album)". Discogs.com. 2 November 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
- "Nektar - Time Machine (Vinyl, LP, Album)". Discogs.com. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
- "Legendary NEKTAR Frontman Roye Albrighton Passes". Bravewords.com. Retrieved 3 August 2016.