Adrian Fisher played guitar with Sparks, Toby and Boxer

Adrian Fisher guitar player on Sparks albums
Guitarist Adrian Fisher in 1974
Sparks "Kimono My House" Lp
Adrian Fisher played guitars on Sparks' first Island albums "Kimono My House" and "Propaganda". He was one of the best guitar players around in that '70s era. Andy Scott from Sweet mentioned Adrian Fisher as one of those few who really could play the guitar.
When he joigned Sparks in 1973, Adrian Fisher was far from being an amateur musician. Before playing with the Mael bros, Adrian Fisher took part in Andy Fraser's project, Toby. When Free initially split in 1971, bassist Andy Fraser formed the band with Adrian on guitars, and drummer Stan Speake. Material was recorded but not released, and Toby died when Andy Fraser re-joined Free in December, 1971. Then Adrian Fisher was involved in Skid Row when Irish guitarist Gary Moore (later with Thin Lizzy) left the place.

Adrian Fisher was chosen after an audition that manager John Hewlett and Sparks had arranged through advertisements in the "Melody Maker". Prior to this, drummer Norman "Dinky Diamond" and bassist Martin Gordon had already been selected by the Maels. Thus consolidated, the new look Anglo-Sparks began rehearsals in Clapham in autumn 1973. - read more about rehearsals...

When management contracts were produced, they were signed by all except Adrian Fisher. Adrian knew a bit more about the business than either Dinky Diamond or Martin Gordon, having been in a proper band before. So he delayed signing the Island records contract until his lawyer had had a look at it. Manager John Hewlett seemed quite embarrassed that Adrian was taking so much time to sign up. Adrian's lawyer made innumerable changes in Adrian's version. It was a very wise move, as it transpired that Adrian Fisher made a packet from the records that he played on and the other British musicians didn’t...
Finally, Adrian signed and rehearsals continued in Chelsea. The music got rockier as members of the band became more familiar with the songs. Adrian wanted to "butch things up a bit and get a blues lick in everything", in his phrase, and long endings with guitar solos became the norm, for a while.

Among British members of the "Kimono" line-up, Adrian Fisher was the quietest, himself admitting to ”astral travelling” a lot of the time when he wasn’t playing. But Adrian's habit of sticking a cigarette onto the bit of guitar string that sticks out at the top of the neck drove the Maels nervous. The Maels felt it was a cliché. Adrian Fisher justified it by saying "Eric Clapton do it, and that's good enough for me"...
Guitarist Adrian Fisher would generally not took a prominent role in arrangements but he was a brilliant musician and one thing that is almost never mentioned about "Kimono My House" Lp is Adrian Fisher's crisp, clear guitar sound. Adrian's guitar rocks throughout the album and it's a shame his Gibson Les Paul guitar is too low in the mix. Adrian Fisher's heavy riffs and howling solos deserve to be up front and prominent.

Adrian Fisher, guitarist on Sparks albums
Adrian Fisher and his Gibson Les Paul Custom
one of those few who really could play the guitar

Adrian played live with Sparks during the "Kimono My House" tour. He can be heard on the "Sparks Live In Paris" first Cd along with the Maels, drummer Norman "Dinky" Diamond, guitarist Trevor White and bassist Ian Hampton.
Adrian Fisher was fired by Ron & Russell Mael shortly after the recordings of "Propaganda" due to the fact that he was too prominent in his opinion and wanted to have a saying in the direction of music that Sparks should go into (rock/blues).

Joseph Fleury, fan club secretary and later Sparks manager, about Adrian Fisher's departure : "Things were getting really difficult with guitarist Adrian Fisher. Adrian hated the band, he hated the music, he was simply in it for the money. So Ron Mael and Russell Mael were looking someone and it looked for a while as though Ian North from Milk n' Cookies might be suitable, but he proved otherwise." (from "Glam Rock" by Dave Thompson, 1996)

After Ron & Russell Mael decided to disband Sparks after a tour of USA in 1975 the English members Trevor White, Ian Hampton and Dinky Diamond rehearsed for a week at Island Studios in St. Peters Square London with Adrian Fisher. Four songs were recorded quickly at the end of the week and probably engineered by "Digger", Richard Digby Smith. "I See the Light" had Trevor, Ian and Dinky sharing lead vocals, "Adrian's Boogie" was a result of what Adrian loved to do and "If It's Love That You Want " and "Shot From A Gun" were two of Trevor's songs featuring himself on vocals. The tape was presented to Island Records at the time but they decided not to pursue any further development of the project.

Around 1977, Adrian Fisher joined in a new incarnation of vocalist Mike Patto's Boxer. The music was basically well played blues/hard rock. Other members of the band were ex-Grease Band keyboard player Chris Stainton, ex-Vanilla Fudge/Cactus bassist Tim Bogert, and drummer Eddie Tuduri. This new lineup of Boxer recorded the album "Absolutely" on Epic. "Absolutely" Lp is a must for people who enjoy Adrian's guitar work. "Everybody's A Star So What's In A Name" was released as a single in the UK. Sadly, this final release to feature Mike Patto's vocals failed to get much attention and the band split after the release of the Lp.

Adrian Fisher, Mike Patto's Boxer guitar player
Mike Patto's Boxer - Sp German pressing 1977
Adrian Fisher surrounded by his comrades

In the late 70's, Adrian Fisher started playing a lot of blues, then he hooked up with a new band, The Four Squares. The Four Squares were in fact five : guitarist Chuck "Bob Davies" Wagon (who had left The Dickies), Norman "Dinky" Diamond on drums, Trevor White on bass (!) and manager John Hewlett on lead vocals. At the time John Hewlett, no longer managing artists, wanted to front a band featuring his favourite musicians/friends.

The songs were recorded in the now defunct Bearsville Studios, Woodstock, Turtle Creek, N.Y. The Four Squares project failed 'cause guitarist Chuck Wagon died before the recordings were finished and before the band had played "live". The tracks were all John Hewlett/Bob Davies compositions and some of the rough mixes from the sessions - "The Debt", "I Want Her I Need Her", "That Girl" - were found in 2007 and transferred from cassette by Hewlett's friend, singer Ian Kimmet from Jook.

During the late 80's, Adrian Fisher moved to Thailand and worked as a musician in a holiday resort town called Lamai Beach in Ko-Samui. Then he moved to Bangkok around 1990 and started playing at clubs like "The Saxophone" and many others... Bangkok had an exciting  nightlife with a lot of interesting musicians, but Adrian Fisher didn't like the traffic jam and the chaos and pollution... So, when Adrian met Juppa - his girlfriend -, they decided one year later to go down to Paradise Island Ko-Samui, where Adrian soon received guitar-hero status. He was well known for playing in suits and jackets despite the heat but was also a little bit... "thirsty".

Adrian Fisher played as a blues-troubadour with his own band and as a guest artist with other bands. Drummer Olof Bergius from Stockholm played drums with him on maybe 25 live gigs. Adrian also sang lead with a cool, slow Hendrix-sounding approach. He played only blues then. In 1999 the BBC had made a documentary about 3 people and their life destiny including the story of Adrian Fisher in Thailand...
As long as he could play the guitar, Adrian was happy for the moment. In his mind he knew that he had to change lifestyle but it's difficult living on a holiday resort... When he finally did try to change things, it was already too late. Adrian Fisher dies on March 31, 2000. He fell down right after a gig at Ko-Samui and his life was not to be saved. Adrian Fisher didn't use drugs and the official death cause was myocardial infarction.

Adrian Fisher, Sparks
Adrian Fisher

Martin Gordon : "In the couple of years that I knew Adrian Fisher, I found him a likeable, earthy character who called a spade a spade. (...) Adrian was a great player. (...) I had a few emails from him over the last months and they included some reminiscences about the band, both from the time we were there together..."
Andy Fraser : "One of the first projects I tried was "Toby" (...) notable for the involvement of a very young, inexperienced but naturally talented guitarist, Adrian Fisher, who went on to do great things with Sparks..."
Ian Hampton : "Adrian Fisher was a really good friend. He was the best axeman I've ever had the privilege to work with. Adrian taught Eric Clapton... not many people know that, but it's true !!"
Chris Townson : "Although I didn't know Adrian Fisher really well, we did do a couple of projects together before and after Sparks. A great guitarist, a great shame he never really got the recognition he deserved..."
Russell Mael : "Adrian Fisher was a great guitar talent and expert blues player. [We split up because] although his playing was perfect for our previous album (Propaganda), we wanted a different style for the following album, and needed someone who was prepared to move in the same direction with us." (Rock & Folk magazine, October 1974, English translation by Steve Boyce)

Sparks' second Island album
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SPARKS 1969-1973
the early years of the Maels

Informations regarding Adrian Fisher were obtained from Martin Gordon's site :

Informations regarding Boxer were obtained from Ken Thornton's site :

Additional infos from Carl Van Breukelen, Leslie Hanagan,
Petteri Aro, Olof Bergius, Ian Hampton and Madeline Bocaro

©2007 by XAVIER LORENTE-DARRACQ / GRAPHIK DESIGNS - FRANCE duplication strictly prohibited