Poet, provocateur, pinup, and punk forerunner: British drummer/guitarist Darryl Read has packed all these roles into four decades of music, film, and TV work. Read won his first notice at 14 with an award for his film Daylight Robbery. He began chasing the rock & roll dream in 1968 as a drummer for the Crayon Angels, a psychedelic punk group managed by pirate DJ Emperor Rosko. In 1969, Read and guitarist Jesse Hector formed Crushed Butler, a thunderous power trio that spent two grueling years chasing a record deal (and memorably panned as "three ugly, heavy musicians, playing music to match"). The band is now seen as a progenitor of punk; its recordings have been reissued as Uncrushed (1998). Read's rock & roll dreams went on hold after the group's 1971 demise, but he landed on his feet with a job at Track Records. He then won a part that allowed him to combine acting with music: guitarist Keith Richards in the play Let the Good Stones Roll, which opened at Scotland's Edinburgh Festival. Read followed with another role in Bastard Angel, a play based loosely on the Kinks. When the British music scene proved unreceptive, Read shifted priorities to Germany and the U.S., where he's divided most of his time since the 1980s. He's worked with a dizzying array of musicians, including former T. Rex drummer Bill Legend and late percussionist Mickey Finn, which led to the Walking in Shadows (1995) and Gods 'n' Angels (1996) EPs. Read forged another significant relationship with Third World War's Terry Stamp, with whom he collaborated on two gothic punk-leaning albums, Book of the Dead (1990) and Beat Existentialist (1991).
As the '90s ended, Read expanded his multimedia profile with Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek, who'd guested on Beat Existentialist. The pair collaborated on Freshly Dug (1999), which mated Read's poetry to Manzarek's salutary keyboard style. (In 2000, 55 more poems appeared in Read's book Set.) Read spent 2002 collaborating with former Sex Pistols producer Dave Goodman on a new album, Shaved, and promoting a new film, Remember a Day. Read played Roger Bannerman, a character inspired by the flameout of Pink Floyd's own troubled founder, Syd Barrett. As 2003 rolled on, Read began readying a limited edition of his book Stardom Road, which recounts his acting and musical experiences. ~ Ralph Heibutzki