Fish And Chips Etc With Knocker

Created by Steve one year ago

Back in the early Eighties I was signed to Fred Cantrell's Zilch record label which was becoming a bit of a mess.

Enter Knocker Knowles to sort it out! Fred had known Knocker from his time at Island Records.

I got to know John really well as our new label manager and had many an entertaining evening with him down at the Red Cow on Upper Richmond Road never moreso than the time Knocker and I literally dragged my neighbour, Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac ) down for a pre-Christmas beer.

Peter was a little nervous at first (having hardly been out for years) and was unsure of what to drink so Knocker got him a taste of Young's Ordinary, Special and Winter Warmer.

Four Winter Warmers later Peter had completely relaxed and was talking freely about the old days. 

A year or so later Zilch went under and on the weekend that it did, my girlfriend Jan and I stayed with Knocker and his first wife Maxine up at their house near Twickenham.

John asked me how much money I had as he was planning on a bit of supper for that Saturday evening.

I literally had nothing and so with his customary 'fack this', Knocker emptied his VHS cabinet of tapes and we marched down to the little Indian newsagent at the bottom of Knocker's road with a bin bag full of VHS's.

Five minutes later Knocker had sealed the deal and we had fifty quid!

The off-licence was our first port of call where we loaded up with beer and wine quickly followed by the fish and chip shop where Knocker ordered enough fish and chips to sink a ship!

It was one of the most memorable suppers of my life as Knocker regaled us with tales of his times at Island, Bob Marley's funeral and his early life around Hammersmith.

I also finally found out his football team. Fulham FC.

After Zilch's demise I left the performance side of the music business and became a video playback guy working on hundreds of pop videos and happily crossed paths with Knocker many times when he worked for MCA and Magnet.

He called me up when he joined Magnet to quiz me about Chris Rea who I had worked with a few times.

Knocker was going up to Middlesborough to visit Chris who was Magnet's top artiste.

Knocker dropped it into the conversation that he was going to mention to Chris that he maybe lose a few pounds.

Good luck with that I thought, laughing. Chris was hardly a boy band!

Anyway I heard nothing from Knocker on his return from the North East but knew that they probably had a great time and that Chris would love Knocker.

And that turned out to be the case as they went on to be great mates and business partners for many years.

A few years ago my son Fred called me from a Uni party and asked me if I knew a guy called Knocker Knowles!

He had become friends with Knocker's son Jack who was at the same Uni.

By the way Jack, your Dad was so proud of you, man.

This prompted me to look Knocker up and we had a few enjoyable catch up lunches at the Groucho Club and Dover Street Art Club.

Knocker even got the very talented Tim Ross to do a remix for me, of a song I had written for Suicide Awareness in Ireland which got a bit of airplay.

It's called midnight Train and I've attached it as a memory of my final music collaboration with Knocker.

The last time I spoke with John was at the tail end of COVID and he felt that life in the business had changed due to the pandemic.

It was an absolute pleasure to have known Knocker Knowles and I am currently writing a TV Series based on my time in the 1980s pop promo industry-sort of Call My Agent meets Spinal Tap- and one of the main characters is a record company exec named Knocker Nash. No guessing who he is based on!

So it is kind of weird as I sit here writing a new episode to have John in my head and to see Knocker Nash bring my dear old mate Knocker Knowles to life on the page.

I'm going to miss you Knocker but will always cherish the many happy times we had together.

Slainte'/With Love

Steve Jones YNWA