Eric Archer

Trombone & harmonica



It all began at Sutton High School for boys. Rob and I used to cycle to school together, and then on the way home stop off in Nonsuch Park for a smoke! We go back a long time. There was no music at the school but our Latin master (being a clarinettist) suggested we start a jazz band so we formed the Delta City Jazz Band. Dick Morrissey, who sadly died several years ago, played clarinet and later became very well known in the jazz scene as a saxophonist. Robin played trumpet, Steve Pannell was on banjo, Roger Coulham (later to play professionally) on piano, and Glyn Greenfield on drums. I bought an old “G” trombone from a music store near Croydon, and off we went.

After we left school we kept in touch. Rob joined the Grasshoppers skiffle group where I think I played tea-chest bass and washboard a couple of times. I went to Kingston Technical College full time to study mechanical engineering and met Terry Emptage, who played clarinet with a few local bands and later formed his own. I occasionally played trombone (a new B flat model) with the band then met up with him a few years later and joined his new band, playing at The Woodstock pub in Ashtead, Surrey.

I failed my college exams (high school did not provide a particularly good background for engineering) and after a brief spell as a toolmaker one day met up with Rob (who was also in engineering) and we both agreed we were bored with engineering work. We decided that the open-air life was for us and formed our own landscape gardening business. It wasn’t particularly successful but it was a great life. At this stage The Presidents rock group was going through several changes and was very active. We dissolved the business a few years later and went our own ways. Then one night Robin phoned me and suggested I join The Presidents as trombonist, also playing harmonica and percussion. I remained with the band until it disbanded.

Since then…well, Rob got married (I was his best man) then I got married, briefly, had a partnership in a greengrocery business then got a "proper" job with a bank just before first son, Kit, was born. I got divorced, went off the rails a bit, then re-married with a great lady and Stuart was born. Unfortunately we split up but still keep in touch. Both boys are doing very well. Kit is married, lives in Devon, and is accountant to a local underwater camera firm while taking his accountancy exams. I visit often. Stuart recently graduated from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, as a Master of Chemistry with forensic science, and now works in Loughborough. I still work part-time for a Civil Engineering firm who are managing agents for the M25. I deal with customer enquiries…as you can imagine, there are a lot!

The greatest thing in my life happened a few years ago when I became a Christian. I am not very good at it as the old Arch still comes to the surface, but God understands. I try to live my life as Jesus Christ taught us all those years ago and am now secure in the knowledge that I am saved through his death on the cross and his resurrection…it’s a wonderful comfort to know that through Him I have eternal life .

Musically, I still love rock, but more on the blues side. Eric Clapton & John Mayall are amongst my favourites. Mind you, I did go and see Quo last year…they put on a great show. My car radio is tuned to Classic FM, sometimes to Jazz FM, but my CD collection is now mostly now its Baroque 'n' Roll…groan! We have a great band in the church and I’m sometimes allowed to play carols in the brass section at Christmas. I even bought a new trombone to replace the somewhat battered old Rudy Much! Trouble is they all read the dots…I just play by ear and pretend to read! Maybe I will find a spot in a blues band one day.

One last thought…we all need music in our lives. it’s a gift from God, and as J. S. Bach, father of Rock ‘n’ Roll, said: “Music is for the purification of the soul and the glorification of God”.