Back when giant carnivorous bass players ruled the Earth, Back Door were the hungriest of them all. They formed in 1971 as a jazz-rock trio, with Colin Hodgkinson (bass, vocals), Ron Aspery (keyboards, sax), and Tony Hicks (drums). Later Adrian Tilbrook took over on drums. What sets Back Door apart is the bass playing. While a few bassists -- such as Chris Squire, John Entwistle, and Jack Bruce -- have tried exploiting the bass' potential as a lead instrument, they were confined by bands where the guitar or keyboards were the usual lead. Not Colin Hodgkinson; he dispenses with these instruments altogether, allowing the bass to be the sole lead instrument. He strums chords on it the way you'd expect someone to with a six-string. Later bands like Ruins and Sadhappy have taken up this challenge, but many of Back Door's achievements remain unsurpassed.
After releasing four albums on Warner between 1973 and 1976, and touring with Emerson, Lake & Palmer -- drummer Carl Palmer produced their last album, Activate (1976) -- they broke up in 1977. Hodgkinson went on to play with Jan Hammer, Alexis Korner, and the Spencer Davis Group. He even had his moment of crotch-grabbing fame as the bassist on the U.K. version of Whitesnake's massive-selling album Slide It In. After a move to Germany, he recorded for the Inakustik label, with the Electric Blues Duo and with the Spencer Davis Group. ~ Paul Collins