Keef Trouble

Keef Trouble

Keef Trouble accompanied by Jona Lewie.
Background information
Birth name Keith Trussell
Born (1949-09-13) 13 September 1949
Origin Greenwich, London, England.
Genres Rock, pop, Blues.
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter.
Instruments vocals
Zob Stick (see Monkey stick)
Years active 1968 – present
Labels UK: Sun House Records.
Associated acts Terry Dactyl and the Dinosaurs
Brett Marvin and the Thunderbolts
Tony O'Malley
Jona Lewie.
Website Brett Marvin

Keef Trouble (born Keith Trussell, 1949, Greenwich, London) is an English composer, singer and musician.


Trouble studied at The Slade School of Fine Art, London, from 1968 to 1972. He is a founding member of British country-blues band Brett Marvin and the Thunderbolts[1][2] as vocalist, guitarist, and player of the Zobstick (also known as the Lagerphone or Monkey stick), and electric ironing board. Commercial success came in 1972 under the guise of Terry Dactyl and the Dinosaurs with Seaside Shuffle with fellow band members Graham Hine, John Randall, and Jona Lewie (of Stop the Cavalry notability). This record became a hit in Europe and Australia, and reached No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart.[3] Trouble is also part of, and writes original material for, the folk rock band Okee Dokee, which plays within West Sussex and Kent, including the Broadstairs Folk Week.[4] He has produced two solo albums, Oasis and Kix 4 U, for Sun House Records, and has collaborated with Tony O'Malley, previously from the bands 10cc, Kokomo (band) and Arrival, writing the lyrics for O'Malley's Mr. Operator and Naked Flame. O'Malley has also contributed to Trouble's recordings, as have artists such as saxophonist Mel Collins (Roxy Music, Rolling Stones, The Grease Band), guitarist Neil Hubbard, and vocalists Dyan Birch, Paddy McHugh and Frank Collins. In 2008 Trouble produced the Brett Marvin and the Thunderbolts' album Keep on Moving; co-producer and audio engineer was Pete Ker, who produced The Motors, Man, and Arthur Brown, co-writing Brown's Fire.

Trouble co-wrote Jona Lewie's 1980 hit record You'll Always Find Me in the Kitchen at Parties[5]

The recording of Oasis and Mix ‘n’ Mingle

Keef Trouble / Malvern Hostick

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Keef Trouble / Tony O'Malley

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Trouble's association with Jona Lewie goes back to 1969, and later both were members of Terry Dactyl and the Dinosaurs. In 1986 the first recordings of Trouble's Oasis and Mix 'n’ Mingle for the album Oasis took place at Lewie's home studio in Streatham, with keyboard musician, arranger and composer Tony O'Malley, guitarist Neil Hubbard and engineer Pete Ker, producer for Arthur Brown and co-writer of Brown's Fire. Trouble had secured a 45rpm single record deal with Rodd Buckle (Habana Music) for the release and distribution of Mix 'n’ Mingle. Because of master tape release difficulties and lateness of the production at the Lewie studio, the record deal fell. Oasis was re-recorded by Ker at a professional recording studio, Ferry Sound.

The Zob Stick

Although it is an accepted and commonly used name for this type of instrument, the 'Zob Stick' as a term has a definitive and recent origin. In the late 1960s Trouble built a percussion instrument that he used in his blues band Brett Marvin and the Thunderbolts. He invented a name for it, Zob Stick, with its use being termed 'zobbing'. It was largely based on the traditional folk music instruments Monkey stick, Ugly stick and Lagerphone (Australian). After constructing his version of the instrument, the term 'zob' was used because of its risqué connotation as British naval slang, this suggested by fellow Brett Marvin band member, and ex-seaman, Jim Pitts. The instrument caused amusement when it was introduced in performance in France, where 'zob' has a similar meaning.

The Trouble Zob Stick construction uses a pole that is covered with typical partially nailed-in rattle-capable beer bottle caps. A circular solid wooden ring, edged with bottle caps, is added near the top of the pole, with a hand grip section beneath. All the wooden parts are brightly painted. At the bottom a boot, supported by an internal wooden block, is added, with a metal spring attached to the sole. The spring serves no musical purpose but has comedy potential. Halfway up the pole is a sleeved-on metal tube for greater volume and a crisper percussive sound. The Zob Stick is rhythmically bounced on the floor and the metal sleeve hit with a wooden stick. The stick itself, (usually an adapted hockey stick because of its durability,) is serrated to achieve a scraping sound effect when necessary. Although the resultant construction is heavy, requiring strength for continual use, this weight gives it a volume and 'clout' that the traditional monkey stick might not match, especially in a live and loud band situation.

As Dougie Damone

Dougie Damone
(aka Keef Trouble.)
'Hello Mum'
words: Keef Trouble
music: Malvern Hostick

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A Keith Trussell / Malvern Hostick composition, 'Hello Mum', had been recorded professionally at Ferry Sound in the early 1990s under the pseudonym and subsequent stage-name 'Dougie Damone'. The recording was released in the UK and sold as a 7-inch vinyl single and greeting's card for Mother's Day in 1992 under the CoverHit label, with Trouble as Dougie Damone. In 2008 the song was revived and reproduced as a video. The song and video were newspaper reviewed.[2]

Interview extract from Greater London Radio

Keef Trouble on London's Greater London Radio where he talked about his time with Brett Marvin and the Thunderbolts (14 April 2002):

"It was blues singer Jo Ann Kelly, sadly no longer with us, who helped and encouraged the Bretts. We were all art students —still at school in '68, even before Ry Cooder got going properly!"

"Everything was 'Orange Bicycle' and 'Technicolor Yawn', so we became Brett Marvin and the Thunderbolts as a reaction against the prissy flower power movement."

"Quite incredible really, we ran the 'Blues Club' on Sunday afternoons at Studio 51 in Great Newport Street, London – the Rolling Stones had done it before and Jo-Ann handed it on to us. It was, of course, run by Pat and Vi —Ken Collier did the Jazz in the evenings."

"Howling Wolf came down one afternoon and jumped up to jam. Ronnie Watts and the Blues Federation had brought him over from the United States. I got him to autograph one of his albums – he signed his real name, Chester Burnett! Then he quizzed me, concerned about whether he'd received his rightful royalties or not. The giant bottle of whisky he was holding looked like one of those miniatures in his hands! He was 6 foot 7, you know!"

"By then, Jo Ann Kelly had recommended us to London deejays Mike Raven and John Peel, who'd both played our album on national radio. We performed a live session for John Peel at the BBC, which brought our music to a far wider audience."

"We supported our hero, Son House, at Euston Town Hall in London – he sported the customary big bottle of whisky!"

"Arthur Big Boy Crudup played with us at Studio 51. He's the guy who wrote 'That's All Right', Elvis Presley's first hit, and he played that song all night long! 'that's alright mama, that's alright for you......' Mind you, he musta been sixty-years-old, even then!"

"And Fred McDowell at the Bridge House near the Elephant and Castle, we backed him, too."

"The band signed up to Robert Stigwood's Agency in 1970 and toured the UK supporting Eric Clapton's Derek & the Dominoes."

"In 1972 the band scored a huge hit with 'Seaside Shuffle,' which got to No. 2 in the UK charts under the guise of Terry Dactyl and the Dinosaurs. In those days it was weird. Anything with a commercial edge was frowned on, so we went under different names, apart from when we played the blues."

This interview with further information about Keef Trouble and 'Oasis' found here.Keef Trouble | Oasis | CD Baby


  1. Brett Marvin and the Thunderbolts website at the Wayback Machine (archived 5 May 2010)
  2. 1 2 "A song for mums everywhere"; Mid Sussex Times, 5 March 2008.
  3. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 133. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. Broadstairs Folk Week 2012
  5. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 319. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
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