Gentle Giant
UK progressive rock band of the 1970s

Gentle Giant
Photograph taken at the Tower Theatre - Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.26th February, 1977.
Photograph © Steven Becker

Band Members

Ray Shulman, Derek Shulman, Phil Shulman, Kerry Minnear,
Gary Green, Martin Smith, Malcolm Mortimore and John Weathers.

Ray Shulman

Vocals - Bass - Guitar - Violin - Sax - Recorder.
Derek Shulman
Vocals - Sax - Recorder - Percussion - Shulbery.
Phil Shulman
Vocals - Sax - Trumpet - Percussion.
Kerry Minnear
Vocals - Keyboards - Recorder - Cello - Percussion - Vibes.
Gary Green
Guitar - Mandolin - Percussion - Recorder.
Martin Smith
Drums - Percussion 1970 / 71.
Malcolm Mortimore
Drums - Percussion 1971 / 72.
John Weathers
Drums - Percussion - Vocals - 1972 / 1980.


~ Gentle Giant ~ ::: A condensed history.

Derek, Ray and Phil Shulman together with drummer Martian Smith had
previously played in Simon Dupree & The Big Sound.
Derek being the nebulous character Simon Dupree.
This band disbanded at the end of 1969.

~ Derek Shulman ::: The last year was so frustrating but we had to do it because
we were "feathering our nest" for what turned out to be Gentle Giant.
We broke up the band at the end of 1969 and had enough money to rest for a
year and find a new band ......

~ Ray Shulman ::: Well, we knew we couldn't continue with the musicians we'd had before.
We weren't interested in the other musicians in the band - they couldn't contribute anything.

~ Derek Shulman ::: We started doing cabaret and that was the final crunch.
We did a couple of weeks of that and said, 'Right, that's it, lets break the band up'.
Stockton Fiesta clinched it, and at the next gig at Bath we told the band
'We're breaking up tonight', which was a fair shock.

~ Ray Shulman ::: We just announced it to the band it was the last gig and they said
'What are you talking about, we're doing well'. We said we couldn't do it any more.
It was utter crap and we had no respect for each other musically - that was the thing.

~ Comment :::
Tony Ransley the drummer and myself ( bass guitar ) left Simon Dupree about three months
before the band finally disbanded ...... we had enough - long before Stockton Fiesta.

~ I heard it through the grapevine :::
At the Simon Dupree final gig at Bath University, a flower show had been held at
the University in the afternoon.
That evening the stage was surrounded by flowers.
These flowers were just the thing for flower fight that the band had later ...
Also a great deal of drunkenness, nudity, and shenanigans were reported on
the stage that evening.
Approximately £50 was paid to the unfortunate owners of the blooms.
Money well spent I suspect.
Was this the evening that 'Flower Power' ended ... ?

The three Shulman brothers ( Derekhanraywithphil ) and Martian Smith stayed together
to be the core of a new experimental band which was to be named Gentle Giant.
Derek in particular was anxious to shed the image of Simon Dupree, with all the
connotations that went with it. This never really worked too well, everything that is
written about Gentle Giant mentions Simon Dupree. As it does here ....!
Next to join was Kerry Minnear, then guitarist Gary Green.
Kerry had graduated from The Royal Academy Of Music.
Ray Shulman played bass guitar and the violin.
Ray Shulman was and probably still is one of the best electric bass players in the UK.
So this is the line up that was to produce the first album, which was
predictably called Gentle Giant.

Phil Shulman left the band after the fourth album. He was tired of touring and
neglecting his family. In a recent interview he said -
Quote :-
"I left and my brothers didn't speak to me for years, but I felt I had neglected
my family for long enough."

No attempt appears to have been made to replace Phil.
Gentle Giant remained a five piece.

For more in-depth information about Gentle Giant an excellent site is :-

"Gentle Giant Tour History by Jack Skelly"

© P. O'Flaherty.


Discography ::
The First Twelve Albums. Year     Year
Gentle Giant. 1970   Free Hand. 1975
Acquiring The Taste. 1971   Interview. 1976
Three Friends. 1972   Playing The Fool. 1977
Octopus. 1972   The Missing Piece. 1977
In A Glass House. 1973   Giant For A Day. 1978
The Power And The Glory. 1974   Civilian. 1980

Derek Shulman
Ray Shulman
Gentle Giant - Derek Shulman
Gentle Giant - Ray Shulman
Photographs © Nicholas Brand
Ray Shulman
Gary Green - Ray Shulman
Kerry Minnear
Gentle Giant - Gary Green - Ray Shulman
Gentle Giant - Kerry Minnear
Photographs © Nicholas Brand
Photographs taken at the Caley Cinema
Edinburgh, Scotland, 30th September 1973.

Nick Brand's recollections of Gentle Giant

My story behind my fondness for the Gentle Giant goes like this : --
In late '72 or early '73 the Groundhogs were playing at the Odeon, Edinburgh.
My mate Dave Rowbotham and I really liked the 'Hogs',and we went to see them.
Gentle Giant came on first, and literally blew us away !
They played about a 45 minute set, and we were entranced, we'd never seen so many
instruments played by one band.
Stray were next ( ordinary heavy metal type stuff, pretty dull )
Then the Groundhogs. Tony McPhee played synthesizer at the same time as guitar.
It was a great set, we loved it.
But as we huddled on the gratings at Waverly Station, waiting for the first train back to Fife,
it was Gentle Giant we were talking about.
The Hogs had fulfilled our expectations, but Gentle Giant were something else!
We acquired copies of the first album and were sold on them straight away.
When next we heard of them, a group of us including my younger sister, who was ( sort of )
going out with Dave by this time, arranged to go and see them.
The Caley Cinema is just down the road from the Usher Hall in Edinburgh
and was a popular place for live music at the time.
Ex - Tull bass player Glenn Cornick, had a band called Wild Turkey who played support.
I remember they were very good and I bought their ( I think ) one and only album.
But then it was time for the real thing!
Gentle Giant played at least 2 hours that night, and though my memories are a bit faded now
they played a lot of stuff from Octopus. I still remember Think of me with Kindness.
I'm almost sure that the photograph I took of Kerry Minnear was taken during that number.
Ray Shulman played a violin solo at one point ( we were in the front row )
....... he winked at me after I'd taken the photograph.
The drum solo was superb ( if you can call 3 guys beating hell out of a single kit a solo ! )
We left feeling we'd seen one of the concerts of our lives ....
I never did get to see them play again live ........Nick Brand ........

© Nicholas Brand.

Gary Green - Ray Shulman - Kerry Minnear
Kerry Minnear
Gentle Giant - Gary - Ray - Kerry
Gentle Giant - Kerry Minnear
Photographs © Ueli Frey
Kerry Minnear
Gary Green - Ray Shulman
Ray Shulman
Gentle Giant - Gary Green - Ray Shulman
Gentle Giant - Ray Shulman
Dr Jazz
Dr Jazz
Photographs © Ueli Frey.
See the rest of his great photographs.
( dr.jazz )

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