I picked up the phone at home one Saturday morning to some bloke asking if I was the singer who had sung with Triumvirat. I was a bit cagey in case it was something to do with unpaid German taxes so I asked him why he wanted to know. “My name is Mike Oldfield and I want to talk about your singing” he said and waited for my response. “You’re an idiot Pete” was my considered response. From time to time (and always when you least expected it) Pete would call with a fake voice and try to wind me up. It was often along the lines of…”What are you wearing” followed by heavy breathing, or “your blow up model is ready for collection” ... that sort of thing. “It’s not Pete” Mike insisted as the penny slowly dropped.
“Are you really Mike Oldfield, Tubular Bells and all that” ?
“I’ve done a lot of other stuff apart from that” he said
...and I knew it was him because now he was starting to get annoyed.
I apologised and he told me about how he had heard an album that I had sung on and he had a big tour coming up and would I come down to his place to try some live stuff in the studio. “When”? “Tomorrow, we can book you flight from your nearest airport and I’ll pick you up at Heathrow”
Mike invited me to audition at his house and he booked a flight from Middlesbrough to Heathrow where he met me in his shiny new Porsche. On the way to the the house, Mike asked if I fancied a swift pint and we stopped at the pub where a few pints of Guinness were quickly dealt with. At the house I was introduced to the band, Phil, Pierre and Ant. I was asked to sing along as best I could to songs that I never heard in my life and I remember Phil gamely trying to help by singing the song into my ear to help me get some idea of what the hell was going on! Mike asked me to suggest some songs and they did a few Beatles songs. Later, Mike took me back to the airport for my return flight but didn’t say much about the audition. He said only that he liked my voice a lot and he’d get in touch soon, no mention of a tour or of recording, so I went home and carried on with my life. The only clue that I had was when he dropped me off at the airport, he produced a bag with all his albums up to that time.