I had a great time in the mid to late nineties following '4 Bills And A Ben' and got to spend some quality time with both Rhino and Jeff during this time. The band rarely plays together any more, but Johnny Warman is still very active with his band, The Mods, which features a number of the same band members as the 4 Bills.
Formed in late 1991, '4 Bills And A Ben' was designed to raise money for charity via a line-up of quality, well-known musicians. Their first few gigs saw the band perform at events for various charities, including the Starlight Foundation, the NSPCC and the MacMillan Fund. The rave reception the band received, however, would lead to the Bills (as they soon became affectionately known) becoming a more varied and long-term proposition.
With a set list of Sixties and Seventies covers and a line-up of true professionals, the Bills went from strength to strength. Word soon spread amongst the Quo faithful and it was not long before a regular crowd of Quo fans was turning up at far flung Bills shows to see John and Jeff in action.
The Bills line-up has always left an element of surprise, just depending on who was available to fulfil any particular gig commitment. A degree of permanency, though, is provided by frontman Johnny Warman - an accomplished performer and songwriter in his own right, Warman fronts the Bills with enthusiasm and dedication. John 'Rhino' Edwards and Jeff Rich (on bass guitar and drums respectively) regularly perform with the Bills outside of their Quo commitments and such performances provide a real treat for Quo fans to see John and Jeff perform in intimate venues and displaying their musical diversity.
Lead guitar duty originally fell to Laurie Wisefield, who has previously adorned the line-ups of Wishbone Ash and Tina Turner's band. He has also appeared at the 1999 Night of the Proms shows featuring Quo. More recently, Steve Byrd has been the lead regular, having previously worked with Kim Wilde and also as part of "Rhino II", John's solo project. To provide an extra dimension to the Bills' sound, Andy Hamilton (ex Duran Duran and Judie Tzuke, as well as Rhino II) does sterling work on the saxophone, making his presence strongly felt on the soul tunes of the Bills set. He's also been known to tinkle the ivories, just for a change! Ex-Queen keyboard man, Spike Edney, also makes irregular appearances - performing both with keyboard and impressive rhythm guitar. The next generation of Rich's, in the form of Jeff's son Mark, also occasionally join in the Bills fun. Mark is a cool young lead guitarist who has played both along with the Bills and also in supporting roles with his own band.
While continuing their fund raising duties (typically for schools in more recent times), the Bills have widened their appeal and have provided many great nights for Quo fans and others through their good-time attitude and tight performances of classic songs we all know and love.
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'4 Bills And A Ben' band members
'4 Bills And A Ben' gig dates and reviews
Here follows an incomplete list of the band's gigs in recent years. Some of these gigs have associated reviews, so click where appropriate to read the review.
'4 Bills And A Ben' pictures
Gallery 1 - Live at Bancroft School, Woodford Green, on 30th April 1995 (4 pictures, approx 28K)
Gallery 2 - Live at The Half Moon, Putney, on 2nd September 1995 (5 pictures, approx 48K)
Gallery 3 - Live at The Half Moon, Putney, on 20th October 1995 (10 pictures, approx 170K)
Gallery 4 - Live at The Lucky Break, Bury St Edmunds, on 17th February 1996 (10 pictures, approx 84K)
Gallery 5 - Live at Teddington High School, on 26th April 1997 (4 pictures, approx 25K)
Gallery 6 - Live at The Half Moon, Putney, on 7th March 1998 (6 pictures, approx 55K)
Gallery 7 - Live at The Worcester Park Tavern on 11th September 1998 (6 pictures, approx 52K)
Gallery 8 - Live at Isleworth and Synon School, Hounslow, on 10th October 1998 (4 pictures, approx 41K)