Tuesday, January 2, 2024

In Memoriam-Robin Lumley and John Giblin

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Robin Lumley and John Giblin were members of Brand X at various times.  I’ve written before about Brand X, a jazz-rock fusion band probably best known for the contributions of Phil Collins (who I’ve written about, too), but the band’s membership was somewhat of a revolving door.  (And I wrote about another member, guitarist John Goodsall, for our 2021 In Memoriam theme.)  Lumley was a founding member of the band, on keyboards, and was involved from 1974-1980, with a brief hiatus in 1978, while Giblin, a bass player, was a member in 1979, although his recordings were released through 1982. 

Robin Lumley was born on January 17, 1948, in Devonport, England.  Originally a drummer, he switched to keyboards in the 1970s.  In 1972, his former neighbor, David Bowie, rang him up one day, to see if he would be interested in replacing Bowie’s ill keyboard player, Matthew Fisher from Procol Harum, starting the next day.  He was interested and joined the Spiders From Mars.  After that, Lumley worked as a studio musician and met Collins, which led to the formation of Brand X.  Lumley also became interested in music production.  His hiatus from Brand X in 1978 was to work on production projects, including Rod Argent’s Moving Home, and Bill Bruford’s Feels Good to Me, and he later produced records for Orleans, Anthony Phillips and Isotope, among others.

In the 1980s, he formed a jazz-rock band that included Rod Argent, Graeme Edge (of the Moody Blues), Morris Pert (of Brand X), and Gary Brooker (of Procol Harum). Lumley later married an Australian and moved to Australia. In 2001, he formed SETI with Graeme Edge, bassist Rob Burns, and Rod McGrath (cellist for the West Australian Symphony Orchestra).  He also composed and produced music for over 250 television and radio commercials for numerous television productions in the US, UK and Australia.

Lumley died from heart failure in Plymouth, on March 9, 2023, at the age of 75.


John Giblin was born on February 26, 1952, in Bellshill, Scotland.  He was best known as a studio musician, contributing bass to albums and performances by artists such as Peter Gabriel, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Kate Bush, Simple Minds, John Anderson, Phil Collins, Al Green, and Annie Lennox.  Giblin was best known for his mastery of the fretless bass.

As noted above, Giblin recorded with Brand X in 1979, when the band was being pushed to make more commercial music.  The surprising response to this pressure was to have two separate units record—one with bassist Percy Jones, keyboard player Peter Robinson, drummer Mike Clarke and Goodsall, and the other featuring, Lumley, Giblin, Collins and Goodsall.  The output of these two groups were released, but no improvement in commercial success was achieved, leading to a band breakup.

More recently, Giblin was playing more acoustic bass, and was involved in projects with Peter Erskine of Weather Report and Alan Pasqua of Tony Williams Lifetime. 

Giblin died of sepsis following a long illness on May 14, 2023 in Cheltenham, England, aged 71.

You can hear both men on the Brand X track in the video, “Algon (Where an Ordinary Cup of Drinking Chocolate Costs £8,000,000,000),” a title taken from a Monty Python sketch (in which the cup of chocolate only cost £4 million), from the Product album.