Gilson Lavis was born in Bedford on 27th June 1951. His career has spanned four decades where he has played with a myriad of people from the entertainment industry. He is one of Britain's most experienced and versatile drummers still performing and touring Britain and Europe on a full time basis. His talents are many. Besides drums and percussion, he has in the past, worked as a singer, a guitarist and a male model!. He lives in the Lincolnshire countryside with his wife and son.
Gilson started to play the drums at the age of 12. His parents bought his first drum kit, a red Pearl bass drum and snare with a sizzle cymbal. His first live performance was in 1965 at the Roman Way public house in Dunstable at the innocent age of 14, with a band managed by his father Frederick Gilson Lavis, called the Starlights. At 15 he moved to Battlefield, Glasgow, to join a rock band called the Bo Weevils with Andy Mulvey from The Poets and Zal Cleminson on lead guitar, who later became part of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band.
After six months Gilson formed his own band, Headline News and proceeded to serve an apprenticeship playing American military bases across Europe for the next three years performing as a unit and as a backing band for many a troubadour like Arthur Connelly, Edwin Starr, Clive McPhatter and the Platters.
In 1968 Gilson settled in Cambridge where he joined a group of musicians who toured the north eastern working men's clubs under a variety of different names. The band also earned a living as pick up musicians for many American artists touring Europe, such as Skeeter Davis, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, George Hamilton IV and Bo Diddley. Work followed as resident drummer in Talk Of The South cabaret club and Gilson found himself playing for a wide variety of acts including Tommy Cooper, David Frost, Lulu, Freddie Starr, Bob Monkhouse, Bruce Forsythe, and Engelbert Humperdinck.
In 1972 Gilson was hired by promoter Mervin Conn to play with various country artists who were touring Europe, like Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette. There were other bands too such as Springfield Revival and The New Seekers.
In the 70's and 80's he was one of the original members of the highly successful band SQUEEZE. They toured the world, performing in venues including Madison Square Garden, Hollywood Bowl and The Royal Albert Hall. SQUEEZE had numerous chart successes, Cool for Cats, Up The Junction and Take Me I'm Yours to name just a few, and seminal albums including EAST SIDE STORY.
From the 90's to the present day he has been performing with JOOLS HOLLAND and his RHYTHM AND BLUES ORCHESTRA. The Orchestra started with just Jools and Gilson as a duo and has grown into the most successful big band of modern times.