From an early age Fred Wilkinson was destined to become a global pioneer in the field of biochemistry, but alas, much to the disappointment of some, and the relief the rest of creation, it was not to be. To this day the crucial turning point, somewhere between electrocuting flies, racing snails and caterpillars, inflating frogs and watching mould grow on damp bread, has remained elusive.
Was it being coerced to sing Harry Lauder songs with grandma? Twanging rubber bands on her bingo board? Playing Bohemian Rhapsody on a hastily constructed meccano glockenspiel? Or was it that fateful night, when inspired by a novelty act on Opportunity Knocks he resorted to blowing raspberries down the spout of the teapot? Many have pondered, and some have cited advanced yeast experiments as a possible factor. Whatever it was, Fred was primed when the punk rock demon snaffled his soul. 6 weeks after buying an old guitar for £1, Fred emerged, dazed and unkempt from the solitary confinement of his bedroom, changed his name to “Inspector Blake”, and got his first band together…. the name of which remains a source of extreme embarrassment and moral shame. ( considering his next band changed their name from ” The Abductors”to “Toxik Ephex”, one gains some insight re. his decision to keep the first one out of the public domain! ). Whilst enjoying moderate success and notoriety, with the latter outfit Fred studied electronics and learned the basics on the mandolin: pursuits which led to some strange and intriguing instruments and devices being inflicted on his generally vulnerable social circle, notably the mandiddle and the electronic bagpipe. The emergence of The Pogues in the mid 80s inspired Fred to learn tin whistle, further his skills on mandolin, and have a go at anything with a stretched string ( resulting in a court order banning him from approaching youngsters with kites, skipping ropes or yo-yos! ) His motto, “If it’s stringit, Ah’ll ping it!” sums up his versatility as a multi instrumentalist able to hold his own on guitar, bass, mandolin, bouzouki, tenor banjo, dulcimer, balalaika, ukelele etc ….but for goodness sake, NEVER leave yer fiddle unattended!!
As singer and mandoliser for folk-rock band Frantik Zimmer in the late 80s, Fred developed a taste for a new musical direction, an a love of traditional folk music. However, the less we say about his nude folk duo “The Scuds”, the better for all concerned.
But then with such a variety of interests, direction would be anything other than a straight line, and alongside the fact that he is Iron Broo’s crappiest joke teller, one has to ask, what are we to expect from a Scotsman of English descent who enjoys playing Russian, Indian and Arabic riffs on an American strung, Irish tuned, Greek built instrument of the Armenian tradition in the manner befitting a possessed Hungarian?
Fred the Voice
From the sublime to the ridiculous, Fred is neither, but everything in between, and endeavours to add a unique, creative and adventurous spirit to the Broo. Mr. “Ahll-dae-it”, his policy of never backing away from a challenge has seen him through singing such ‘classics’ as “Crazy Frog” and “Stayin’ Alive” mid willow-strip, and shred sensitive mouth parts ( his own I hasten to add ) with the jaws harp. Furthermore his bloody-minded determination to match Charlie chop-for-note renders him medically unstable on a weekly basis making it impossible to earn a living by any other means…such is his dedication to cause.
Very few have witnessed his “Sufference and Servitude be my Salvation” tattoo, and none will disclose its location. Nevertheless, he has “well contented bunny” written all over him as he seeks to undermine all that is sacred or reasonable. Nice Guy!