Procol Harum

the Pale

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Kellogs in the Madness biography published by Omnibus

Trouble with the Nutty Boys

WhileMadness were rehearsing in Royal College Street for a short tour in early October, Robinson called upon the services of Stiff employee John ‘Kellogs’ Kalinowski (also sometimes known by his initials, J.J.). Born on 2 May 1946 in Rochford, Essex, Kalinowski was a former roadie and subsequent manager for Procol Harum and their pianist Gary Brooker. An established road manager with a wealth of experience organising tours both in the UK and North America with the likes of Joe Cocker and Leon Russell, Kellogs was brought into the Stiff fold by general manager Paul Conroy.  

“Kellogs had been a tour manager for everybody,” adds Robinson. “He knew his way around the tours which the Nutty Boys didn’t know anything about. They didn’t know about an awful lot. I was amazed how na´ve they were – very streetwise but na´ve about the business. Kellogs didn’t gel with them. They’re quite shrewd guys. They don’t take bullshit from anybody, they’re always thinking, what’s happening? They’re like me: they don’t like the majors, they don’t like authority. That’s one of the reasons maybe I got on with them in the first place.” 

“I had been tour manager for the Be Stiff ‘train’ tour in 1978,” explains Kellogs. “After that, Robinson gave me a job as in-house tour coordinator for all these various acts. The record label was fantastic: they looked after every aspect of the artist’s career. I was extremely busy. I knew something about Madness and that Stiff were about to sign them. Then Robinson said, you can take care of these guys as well. Well, wait a minute, I’m much too busy. And I was! I can’t possibly. And to be honest, I was a bit frightened of what I knew to be seven likely lads from Camden Town. Oh God, no, I can’t deal with this!”

Because neither of the band’s existing roadies, Chalky and Toks, could drive or had any electrical experience, Kellogs’ first decision was to dispense with their services and enlist professional roadies in their place. “Chalky and Toks were sweet as anything, actually. But I was a professional guy and they weren’t. Madness have got their mates as roadies and they’re driving me crazy because they wanted to hang out with the band. It’s demanding physically and you have to be inventive about what you do, dealing with situations as they come up. They were fantastic, as it turned out, but I found them initially quite difficult.”

After playing dates in Coventry and Leeds, Madness played Retford Porterhouse Club on October 5. “Some friends of the band came along and there was an incident where an office was broken into,” sighs Kellogs. “Something super-mischievous happened, anyway.” During a late night drinking session, the band met the club’s owner, Sammy Jackson, a larger-than-life character from North London who played a trick on Suggs and Chas by filling a tray with water and placing it on a table. He then floated two match sticks in the water and asked Suggs and Chas to blow the matches towards each other. As they attempted this, a barmaid slapped a tea towel across the tray, thus soaking them both. “I remember a trick being played on me around that time,” adds Kellogs. “I had been driving the van and had got out to seek some directions. Somebody got into the driving seat and drove away, leaving me in the middle of the night standing there. Antics were high, all the time!”

More about Kellogs

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