Martin Orford to leave IQ

19 July 2007

Martin announces his plans to leave the band.

With great sadness, we have to announce that Martin Orford has decided to leave IQ. A founder member of the band since its inception in 1981, his contribution to IQ in the years since then has been incalculable. Everyone will be extremely sorry to see him go but we wish him every success in his future endeavours.

Martin explains the reasons for his decision:

"So...26 years in IQ. Well, it had to end sometime and after a lot of thought I've decided to (metaphorically speaking) hang up my keyboard player's cape and give someone else a chance.

There are lots of factors that contributed to my decision so I won't bore you with too many details, but basically I've just become weary of the whole process of 'being in a band' and I need a bit of time and space to do my own thing, and hopefully to re-discover some of the joy and enthusiasm that brought me into music in the first place. Including The Lens, Jadis and the John Wetton Band I've been in bands continuously for 30 years now with hardly a pause for breath and I urgently need a break from all that intensity.

And it has been incredibly intense and not without a certain amount of friction. IQ has always prided itself on being a democracy but in recent years I've found myself increasingly at odds with the process of all the band members writing together. Having been brought up with classical music where it's perfectly usual for everything to be written by one person, I've never felt at all comfortable with the idea of collective writing. I guess I'm just not a natural team player when it comes to music.

IQ is not something that I walk away from lightly. It's a fantastic band, easily the best of the Class of '83 that came through in the New Wave of Prog Rock, and we've done some brilliant stuff which I'll always be proud of. But as I've grown as a musician and a writer, I've found that I need to work and interact with other musicians less and less, and whilst I remain in a band, the vision I have for a piece of music is often blurred or altered out of all recognition by the intervention of others. So, rather than have a solo career that is almost permanently on hold because of IQ commitments, I now want to seize the opportunity to make my own music in my own way. It may be, of course, that the public deem it to be unmitigated rubbish, but I hope maybe you'll give it a chance.

And it goes without saying that I hope IQ will continue for many more years. Of course it will be different without my involvement, but it might even be better. People almost always overstate the impact of line-up changes - would Pink Floyd have made 'The Dark Side of the Moon' if Syd Barrett had been with them, or would Fleetwood Mac have made 'Rumours' if Peter Green was still in the band? Probably not, but both are iconic albums nonetheless.

Finally, a big thank you to all the band members for their understanding and support following my decision to leave. Everyone has been incredibly sensible and grown-up about the whole thing. Although I won't miss the collective writing process at all, I will miss each and every one of the members of IQ. They're a decent bunch at the end of the day."

Martin's final appearance with IQ will be at the Pierre-Péladeau Center in Montreal on 16th September 2007.

The good news is that IQ will continue and they would like to hear from any keyboard players interested in stepping into Martin's illustrious shoes. Live dates in November and December will still be going ahead. Meanwhile, work progresses on the new studio album, with Martin's involvement, although the release date has been put back while the band concentrate on recruiting a new keyboard player. Full details will be announced nearer the time.

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