The day before singer/songwriter/pianist Charlie Lankester was due to mix the final track of his upcoming Song In A Minor Key solo album in the studio, (in mid-December 2011), he was diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma – incurable cancer of the liver.
So much for the bad news; the good news is that, in Charlie’s own words: “I ain’t dead yet” in fact, he is now playing and singing better than ever. He said: “I was feeling so good about the album that when the doctor told me I had only months to live I just laughed and said ‘No mate, that’s not gonna happen. I’ve got an album to release.”
Fired up by the determination to see through the fruition of his new creation, he immediately finished mixing and sought the very best alternative medical advice available to him – rather than undergo extensive chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Charlie’s tumour has now been reduced by 50% thanks to dedicated diets and supplements for cancer, plus several courses of intravenous doses of high intensity vitamin C.
After two decades of playing keyboards for the likes of Linda Gail Lewis, Osibisa, Otis Grand, The Boogie Band and the John Warwick All Stars, he decided to take the righteous path and fulfil his life-long ambition to write and record his own personal full-length album “written just for me”.
Having spent the previous 20 years playing other people’s songs, Charlie had taken time out (in the country) to create a classy collection of his own bluesy, rootsy compositions, totally without distractions.
Charlie Lankester’s introduction to life as a musician came when he dropped out of medical school in the late 70’s and spent four years in Aussie cult outfit The Last Chance Café, building a major following Down Under and winning support slots with the likes of Fats Domino, BB King, JJ Cale, AC/DC, Billy Joel and Status Quo.
Various record deals were offered by Polygram, CBS and Mushroom but the band imploded just as they were put on the table. Charlie upped sticks in disgust and travelled to Europe, busking in places like Ibiza and Barcelona before settling in London and training as an Osteopath at the end of the 1980s.
For the last 20 years, while practicing as an osteopath by day, he has morphed into a much sought-after musician at night, winning an enviable reputation for his ivory-tinkling skills.
Having worked with numerous accomplished musicians over the years, in 2011 he assembled the cream of the crop: guitarists Derek (‘Del’) Mandel and Mark Hawkins, bass player Dave Cuthbert, drummer Daniel Howard, plus the consummate horn section of Paul Silver on Saxophone, Gavin Broom on trumpet and Rich Mills on trombone, and dubbed them The Mojo Killers.
Song In A Minor Key, which Charlie firmly believes will not prove to be The Mojo Killers’ swansong release, is a gloriously organic, mellow, yet totally uplifting collection of passionate blues rock gems.
Charlie forewarns his listeners he has no plans to slow down, and added: “You’ll just have to put up with me for a while yet.”