Working with Rik, Your Stories

Magic Eight Ball featuring Rik Mayall

Here’s a special bonus story for you all. Looking back and remembering Rik on what took place exactly 5 years ago today, on the 7th May 2014.

When Baz tagged me in a photo of himself with Rik Mayall on Instagram, I knew I needed to find out more. It looked like Baz had actually worked with him! So I made contact and ask if he could tell me a bit more about what was going on in his photo. He very kindly replied and generously told me more about his experience of working with Rik. Lucky for us, Baz is very happy for me to share his story here for you all. So sit back and enjoy this very touching story.

Thank you to: Baz Francis

Rik Mayall was one of a kind, and so was the short time I spent working with him. He was best at making people feel great, but my story has a rather different kind of uniqueness to it, given its timing.

In the build-up to making my band Magic Eight Ball’s second album ‘Last Of The Old Romantics’ in the early part of 2014, Robbie Holland (bassist) and I created a dream wish list of potential guest performers for it. After contacting agents and so forth I found myself in further talks with none other than our favourite comic actor’s agent (a charming lady named Kate) after our first album ‘Sorry We’re Late But We’re Worth The Wait’ had peaked their interests and gained their liking too apparently.


To my disbelief, we were suddenly all set for a studio date in London with Rik on the 7th May, after my script (a poem I wrote called ‘Last Of The Old Romantics’ as well) sealed the deal. I don’t usually get nervous, but for Rik Mayall I was as this just had to go well. The man who arrived at Resident Studios in Willesden Green could not have been more charming and accommodating with Dave Draper (producer) and I though, and the guy was a riot too!

As we discussed the approach he should take for his narration of my poem, I told him I wanted him to take the piss in a condescending manner, as with him reading it that way I thought would be comedy gold. He had other plans though. I was going through a messy divorce around that time and that album was a real catharsis for that experience. I had wanted this poem at the start of the record to add a little levity to proceedings, but Rik told me that he actually thought there was more depth to my words than that, and he wanted to play them straighter instead. Not only a compliment from him, but something that made me realise that in jest I had inadvertently written something which revealed a little more truth about my situation and feelings at that time. I sat back, closed my eyes and appreciated that this was magic unfolding around me.


None of us knew nor expected that in a matter of weeks from that day we would be a very fine man down, and how I cried when I heard the news. My story was unique in the timing of that, but he was gracious to everyone he met apparently, and always a pro too amidst all of the beautiful chaos. I’m just honoured that possibly his last ever studio session was with us. I made him tea, he called me a “cunt” for the record, and the rest as they say is history.


With love, Baz Francis Duarte (singer/guitarist/songwriter/cunt)
– Los Angeles, 4th April 2019

Probably the best example of ask today as there may not be a tomorrow!


The ‘Last Of The Old Romantics’ album by Magic Eight Ball was released on 10th November 2014 through Magic Cat Records Limited.

Rik Mayall features at the start of the songs ‘See You Next Tuesday’ and ‘Wait Here A Second’, plus the end of ‘On The Days That You Wish You Could End It All…’ as well.



ARTWORK BY: Kay Dougan at HartNoir Studio.

Quite a poignant story I think you will agree. What a whirlwind of mixed emotions Baz and his bandmates must have felt during that time. Big thanks to Baz for letting me add his wonderful story to the scrapbook.

For music, videos and more information on Magic Eight Ball and Baz Francis then please visit:

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