I’m sorry to say that Dave Codling – Maha Dev – has passed on, after a relatively short terminal cancer diagnosis.
Dave was best-known as Quintessence rhythm guitarist 1969-72 and later enjoyed some success in Los Angeles band Made in Japan, who featured in the 1980 cult film ‘New Year’s Evil’.
Dave was a fine art graduate from the Royal College and gave up teaching art when Quintessence suddenly took off in late 1969 – subjects of a record label bidding war within weeks of the band forming in the Ladbroke Grove area. He kept what you might call the Ladbroke Grove spirit all his life. He also kept painting, and illustrated a number of children’s books in recent years – living with wife Rose in a lovely house outside Leeds – alongside periodic musical adventures.
Dave was always helpful to me in terms of interviews and information for CD sleeve notes and magazine pieces on Quintessence, from around 2009 onward. Mrs H and I had the pleasure of visiting Dave and Rose a couple of years back and Dave stayed with me a couple of times when he had US Embassy business in Belfast (Belfast being one of only two places in the UK where you can get a US travel visa).
In recent years, there had been renewed Made in Japan activity, with a new US single release in 2016, prospective publishing deals and further recordings made – hence, Dave’s trips to LA, where his writing partner Tony Fried lived. Prior to that, Dave had run his own Quintessence homage band ‘Maha Dev’s Quintessence’ in the North of England and at odd festivals in the late 2000s – with original Quin vocalist Phil Shiva Jones flying in, in 2010, from the US (his home since the mid 70s) to meet Dave again for the first time in decades and perform as Quintessence, as a one-off, at Glastonbury Festival that year. A short BBC Yorkshire TV doc gives a lovely glimpse of this adventure – and part of the set appears on Hux’s ‘Rebirth: Live at Glastonbury 2010’ CD. The cover painting was by Dave – a fascinating three-sided image he had painted in the 70s, predating the similar ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ design.
The last Quintessence-related activity Dave was involved in was, at my suggestion, adding new guitar parts to two incomplete 1970 Quintessence outtakes mixed for Hux’s ‘Spirits From Another Time’ 2CD set of unreleased Quintessence Island Records-era material. Similarly, Phil Jones added two new vocals. Both rose to the challenge fantastically – in Leeds and Woodstock, NY, respectively.
Dave had had a number of health issues in recent years but he was always indefatigable, upbeat, positive, cheery and generous. He was a simple soul in many ways – not in the sense of lacking intelligence but in the sense of not letting the vicissitudes of life get him down, not getting down about things he could do nothing about. He was always extremely modest about his guitar playing, but I found his rhythm playing in Quintessence a crucial part of their magic, and very distinctive. There was no side to Dave – he was happy go lucky, a flag-waver for the 60s counterculture spirit to the end. He will be missed.