Probably, not a lot of people knew him as a doyen of the Manchester music scene, yet every classic rock connoisseur – and many millions of listeners who don’t pretend to be aficionados – heard the voice of Victor Brox, that profound vocals intoning “Ah gentlemen, you know why we are here” in the original version of “Jesus Christ Superstar” where the Englishman sang the part of the High Priest Caiaphas. Brox, who passed away on February 20th at the age of 81, could also be called the High Priest of British blues for he indeed always knew why he was here, in this world.
A multi-instrumentalist who played organ, cornet, violin and guitar with the same gravitas and elegance as he used to sing, Victor was said to be highly praised by Tina Turner and Jimi Hendrix after they had heard him perform with THE AYNSLEY DUNBAR RETALIATION – Brox is featured on all four of the band’s albums and all of the band’s singles, one of those being “Warning” which he co-wrote and which was famously covered by BLACK SABBATH. Before that, though, he, a former school teacher, used to front THE BLUES TRAIN and later left a prominent mark on the only platter by SWEET PAIN, on Alexis Korner’s "Bootleg Him!" and on Peter Bardens’ eponymous album; at various times, he took part in the endeavors of Screaming Lord Sutch, Graham Bond and Norman Beaker, recorded with Dr. John and formed part as supergroup MAINSQUEEZE alongside such luminaries as Dick Heckstall-Smith. As for recording under his name, Brox released, together with wife Annette, the “Rollin’ Back!” LP in 1974, but his solo output is rather meager and, thus, half-official discs that can be found here and there are priceless, as are the songs he laid down with daughter Kyla, a star in her own right and, perhaps, Victor’s best legacy.
Meeting the audience, Brox brought on stage his bright personality, humor and storytelling talent – the quality Victor maintained to the very end, even when he was in the hospital. He will be sorely missed.