A Bit of Family History
Woody and Nick come from a musical family. Both grandfathers were music conductors. Leslie Woodgate O.B.E. wrote and conducted music and led the BBC Choral Singers. Erik Ogden (on their mothers side) conducted light entertainment acts such as Max Bygraves, Shirley Bassey and The Bachelors, he had his own Big Band called ‘The Erik Ogden Band’ and started his career as a violinist accompanied by a pianist at silent movies. Cousin Leslie East was the principal of the Guildhall School of Music, cousin Nick Woodland is a guitarist, and played on Geogio Moroder’s Munich Machine records in the 70’s. In the family tree there have been band masters, and a distant Woodgate even played violin to queen Victoria.
Mum & Dad
Woody and Nick’s mum and dad met at a party held by Cherry Butlin (Billy Butlin’s daughter) at her father’s flat in Mayfair. The connection was they and Cherry went to RADA (Royal Accademy of Dramatic Art). Their father Crispian went on to be a successful photographer and their mum Anne worked for the BBC. Crispian specialised in film and television personalities. Anne worked on TOTP’s, Playschool, Dad’s Army, Are You Being Served, and It Ain’t Alf Hot Mum as a floor manager and still works part time for the BBC today.
The Early Days
Woody and Nick formed their first band called ‘Steel Erection’ aged 13 and 14 (see picture above) playing mainly rock, and played at local pubs and schools. After meeting a promising guitarist called Mike McEvoy, aged 14 years Nick decided to form another band called Alive or Dead. This time playing more West Coast music. Yet another band followed aged 16 playing jazz funk.
Born 2nd January 1962.
Nick’s mental health had been bad all through his teens and twenties and at the age of 27 he was finally sectioned under the mental health act and spent a month in an acute mental hospital ward. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia. On his road to recovery Woody and his Mum bought Nick a guitar, which Nick then spent all his time practicing sometimes 14 hours a day.
In 1993 Woody asked Nick to join his side project band FAT. After leaving FAT to go to music college to study Nick got his first computer and started to write music. He collaborated with Woody and Lee Thompson on the song ‘No Money’ which got on the 1999 Madness album Wonderful.
In 2000 Nick met his girlfriend Yvonne and moved to Dagenham from West London.
In 2010 Nick suggested to Woody that they could write a few songs together. Nick could either make a solo project, or a combined project with Woody, or give them to Madness for their forthcoming album. In fact they did all three.
They had written so many songs that Chrissy Boy (Madness Guitarist) joked that Woody and Nick had written the entire new Madness album. In fact two songs; ‘Kitchen Floor’ and ‘Leon’ made it to the New Madness album Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da.
Woody and Nick wrote ‘Kitchen Floor’ with a straight 4/4 rhythm but Madness gave it a Ska feel. ‘Kitchen Floor’ is a simple love song inspired by Woody’s cat Negy (Nejy) and ‘Leon’ is about a teacher stuck in a dead end job, but it could be about anyone stuck in a dead end job, dreaming of a world where they are in charge, instead of living by others rules.
Born 19th October 1960.
Woody learned to play the drums on a piano stool, while Nick played an electric guitar plugged into an amp made by Woody from a couple of speakers, and a cassette player.
At the age of 12 he got his first drum kit, made by Ajax and bought at Eddie Ryan’s. Afforded only because of generous donations made by the family, and God Mother Clemence Watt.
First cymbals (Zin) cost £22, and were bought after selling two sovereigns from Woody’s beloved coin collection.
Left school early in 1978 after realizing he was wasting his time retaking exams. Worked as a sign writer /printer in Whiteley’s in Queensway to pay for a large 7 piece Premier drum kit bought on HP (Hire Purchase) from Blanks on the Kilburn High Road. Paid off the HP, left the job, and did building work/ laboring, in Earls Court.
Joined The Invaders (Madness) in September 1978.
Met Jane Perry Crockford at Madness’s first gig at the Electric Ballroom in Camden in 1979, and they married at Kings Cross Registry Office in 1980.
Side Projects: Recorded drums with David Bedford (Soft Machine), and Strawberry Switchblade.
Left Madness in 1986, and joined Voice of the Beehive.
Rejoined Madness in 1992, and formed his own band called Fat.
Toured with Fat around the clubs of England, France, and the US. Signed to London Records and released the single Downtime.
1995: Left Jane, and Fat. Met his now wife Siobhan Fitzpatrick, and produced a handful of tracks with King Prawn.
1997: Got divorced, got married, his father died of cancer, Mary his daughter was born, he moved house twice, Chelsea won the FA Cup, and Lady Diana died.
2000: Did part time work for a pest control company, killing wasps, then formed his own floor sanding company called ‘Woody’s Floors’, and with the help of his wife sanded floors for the next two-and-a-half years, to make ends meet.
2004-2007: Taught Music Technology, and Media Arts at Hayes School in Kent.
Woody has discovered his family roots in music, and is writing and arranging songs, strings, brass, and woodwind parts, for both Magic Brothers, and Madness. He programs, produces, records, engineers, and mixes. He is happily married to Siobhan, and they live in Beckenham with their teenage daughters, Iona and Mary.
For the past five years Woody has been responsible for putting together the Madness Set Lists.
What a guy!