Tino Troy - Lead guitar/vocals
Chris Troy - Bass guitar/vocals
Andy Burgess - Lead guitar/vocals
John 'Jaycee' Cuijpers - Vocals
Hans in 't Zandt - Drums/percussion/vocals
So, tell me a bit about yourself...
In a nutshell, I was born in Chalk Farm in London, the eldest son of two boys with a Spanish mother and Greek-Cypriot father. I went to schools in Paddington and St. John's Wood and I took a keen interest in craft subjects and science.
How did you get into music?
I built my first guitar at the age of 16 before leaving school to a attend 'The London College Of Furniture' where I studied Furniture Design and Technology for a further 3 years. It was here that the embryonic band 'Junction' was conceived with fellow Status Quo fanatic and guitarist Pete Moore. We jammed every Quo tune in the book and then got a taste of Thin Lizzy, embracing the twin guitar method. I converted the first guitar I built to a Bass and we drafted brother Chris into the fold, along with Chris Hudson on keyboards. The line up was completed by Stan Cunningham on vocals (also from the college) and Gary Trotter (a friend of Chris Hudson's brother) on drums. The latter didn't work out to our satisfaction and Chris Hudson decided to buy a drum kit and teach himself to play. While he was learning, 'Junction' played a couple of shows with a stand-in drummer, Jo-Jo, a black dude with a notable Afro hairdo and some serious rhythms.... I learnt a lot from that boy!
Tell me about your favourite gigs.
With Praying Mantis it was the Reading Festival, 1980. I think we went on at around 1.30pm, we looked out at the masses from backstage thinking "WTF!" The crowd must have been 25-30k strong and I was so nervous! We hadn't sound checked and with the importance of our vocal harmonies in our show it was vital that the monitoring on stage was such that we could all hear each other perfectly. I approached the monitor engineer and explained this, I don't recall his name but he did a fantastic job of getting us what we wanted. Our pre-stage nerves were calmed that afternoon by our tour manager, Bob Adcock, who emptied a whole bottle of Remy Martin into 4 clear plastic pint beakers with a hint of Coke to take the edge off (the drink, that is) and we necked these before going on to do our thing. We were adrenalised, the sound was perfection and we did an amazing show. We had 40 mins to do our set, nailed it in 42 then we were given the grace of an encore (unheard of for one of the early bands) encouraged by a roaring audience. We won a few hearts that day and I still look back on it with amazing memories.
There were some other gigs I attended which stand out. Slade at Wembley Empire Pool (now Arena) Status Quo at Hammersmith Odeon (now Apollo), Thin Lizzy at The Imperial College (London), Rainbow at The Rainbow but what topped it all off for me (I recall, it was like being hit by a Mack Truck) was when I witnessed Van Halen's first visit to the UK supporting Black Sabbath at Lewisham Odeon. I was totally blown away by the guitar playing and how a band could whip an audience into a frenzy in just 45 minutes..... Crazy stuff!
What’s the best thing about being in Praying Mantis?
Everything... The nerves before a show (and I still get them) no matter how big or small a show is (sometimes they're the most nail-biting)!! The playing, rehearsing, recording, the writing, the laughs to name but a few... just about everything!
What’s the worst thing about being in the music industry?
Nothing.... except that the tinnitus is getting pretty bad and with that, my hearing has taken a severe beating but I'm hanging in there till the bitter end!
What other bands have you been in?
Junction, Stratus, Paddy Goes To Holyhead, The Wandering Crutchlees, Hung Like A Horse, Alice In Wonderland.
What do you still want to achieve?
Everything.... but at least our Golden anniversary... 7 years to go. Also, I still want to satisfy the wishes of the hoards of fans whose countries we've yet to visit
What would you like to say to your fans?
We have a fantastic rapport with our fans, they fire us up and we do the same for them and to those who have not yet seen us... "Hang in there guys... it's coming....!!!"