Phil Bates was born on 30th March 1953 in Tamworth, West Midlands, UK. His interest in music began while he was still at school. Under the omnipresent influence of The Beatles, he formed his first group The Wild Four in 1965 (later renamed The Teen Ballads). Phil played in various bands as a guitarist and vocalist, gradually encompassing the blues styles of great artists such as Eric Clapton and Peter Green. In the early Seventies, Phil recorded singles with a group and as a solo artist (first as Billy Bates and later under his own name) and toured with Duane Eddy, playing bass on his British tour before he went on to form Trickster in 1976. The band released two albums on Jet Records and enjoyed moderate single chart success in the UK and massive airplay in the United States. As stall mates of ELO, they went on tour with them as their support act on the legendary "Out Of The Blue" tour in 1978. Later they also toured Europe with Boston and John Miles and went on a British tour with Mik Kaminski's band Violinski before splitting in 1980.
In the early Eighties Phil spent his time working with his wife Jo as part of the band/duo Don't Panic, performing live and doing extensive session work for producers Tony Visconti, Martin Rushent and Colin Thurston. In 1986 he went to Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the Middle East to work as musician and then manager of a night club. He also had a weekly radio show on Capital Radio in Abu Dhabi. In 1990, when the atmosphere in the Middle East became tense, he returned to the UK.
Before joining ELO Part II in 1993, Phil had various jobs: He worked as a session musician again (vocals and guitar), recorded and produced jingles for commercial radio stations and got a job as a recording engineer. As part of the band Atlantic he also recorded the album Power, which he co-wrote and sang lead vocals on. Furthermore he did extensive live work as a solo artist. It was during one of those gigs in the West Midlands that he met Kelly Groucutt which finally led to the offer to join ELO Part II:
"Kelly and I came across each other because I played in his home town, and he came down and made contact after all those years - 15 years! We swapped agents and kept in touch and it was about this time last year, when it came up. Pete [Haycock] and Neil [Lockwood] couldn't do it, and he telephoned. There was a bit of an audition - it wasn't so much of an audition really, it was more like a rehearsal which lasted three days, with Eric, Kelly and Bev, and it worked out. It was just to make sure the vocals were going to sound all right, and make sure it was going to sound OK with one guitar as opposed to two, which it did, so that was it! That's how we got together."
Phil plays guitar, bass, drums and keyboards and occasionally works as a solo artist playing in clubs around Britain. Sometimes he is joined by Mik Kaminski and his wife Jo. Phil has just released a solo CD titled Naked.
He is married to Jo and has two children, Rosie (born in 1991) and Sarah (born in 1993).
last modified: 26.02.2000