Named after a German town, Sindelfingen were a British prog rock band who played only a handful of gigs and released a solitary privately-pressed album (Odgipig) in 1973, which has become one of the rarest and most collectable pieces of vinyl.
The Medway group originally comprised a trio of grammar school friends; Composer/guitarist Richard Manktelow, bassist John Currie and drummer Bill Basden (who was replaced within a year by Alan Parry and Roger Thorn in quick succession).
Another friend from Rochester Grammar School, Roger Woods, was added on Glockenspiel. Woods had no prior musical experience and was added to the band primarily because he lived in the flat where they rehearsed and was ”always around”.
Woods also played a contraption the group called the “Wartwortfunger”, which was in actuality a Stylophone wired into a small keyboard. As Woods had no musical knowledge he learned all his parts by rote.
Sindelfingen performed infrequently but would often supplement their live performances with dancers, one of whom was to become the future Mrs Manktelow.
Recording of Odgipig took place in late 1972. The album title derived from ‘hodgepig’ – local Chatham slang for ”hedgehog” (the song of the same name is about a magical hedgehog). The theme continued on the album cover with the band name hand-lettered in the shape of a hedgehog.
The largely acoustic nature of the album was actually unrepresentative of the group’s live sound – a result not of the band mellowing, but of the studio engineers (BBC-trained and experienced at recording church music) refusing to allow loud amplifiers in their tiny studio. This resulted in a number of reviews referring to the band as folk-rock, which they decidedly were not.
The album was produced privately by the group on a shoe-string budget. Manktelow drew the cover himself (whilst at work) while the lyric sheets were typed by a colleague of his at the Gillingham Council Environmental Health Department.
Richard Manktelow worked as a solo artist and session player throughout the 80s and ended up as Head of Music at Dartford Technology College. John Currie became a highly sought-after session bassist. Matthew Letley became the drummer for Status Quo in 2000.
Glockenspiel, Wartwortfunger, Oscillators
Bass, guitar, vocals, recorder