This UK rock bands name was suggested by its first drummer Christopher John Judge Smith who, with keyboard player Nick Pearne (sometimes credited as Peame) and songwriter Peter Hammill (5 November 1948, Ealing, London, England; vocals/guitar), formed the band at Manchester University, England, in 1967. The name was intended as a tribute to the late American physicist Robert Jamison Van de Graaff and his invention, the electrostatic accelerator. With the enlistment of Keith Ellis (b. England, d. 1978, USA; ex-Koobas) on bass, and the substitution of Smith for Guy Evans, and Pearne by electronics expert and ex-church organist Hugh Banton, the band recorded a single for Polydor Records, People You Were Going To/Firebrand, before breaking up. However, as Hammill was not yet ready to function outside the context of a group, his intended album, The Aerosol Grey Machine, evolved into a band effort. By then Hammill had developed a manic, but...
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