They did at least one (unsuccessful) recording session for Mercury which
even involved Quincy Jones at one point and later a demo tape of 40-odd
Judge and Hammill left Nick and university for London. They went to John
Peel's (him again!) home with drums and guitar, knocked on the door and
said: "We're Van der Graaf Generator". He replied "Come in Van der
Graaf Generator" and they sat playing on his sitting room floor. They did
the same for Lou Reizner, the head at the Mercury British office, before
signing the contract with him.
Soon they found a new and superb keyboard player. Hugh Robert Banton
was the younger brother of a friend at university. He was a classical
trained organist, electronic whizz-kid and worked as a tv cameraman
before joining VdGG. He went down from Manchester and met them in
London, but very little happened apart from making lots of plans, the
above mentioned session and hanging out with other musicians. They
met Graham Bond (RIP) who was some sort of musical director at
Mercury. Peter learned to play keyboards at Graham's Hammond organ.
When Peter and Judge went away for summer holidays, Hugh was left to
find a manager and musicians to expand the group. He put an add in the
underground paper International Times (IT). He also ran into the great
Tony Stratton-Smith, soon to be their first proper manager.
Here's Hugh's infamous IT ad.
Notice the spelling.
How could Hugh?
(IT/38, August 23-September 5 1968)