A brief history

Discussion in 'The Backstage' started by johnreardon, Sep 14, 2007.

  1. johnreardon

    johnreardon Senior Member

    Messages:
    562
    Likes Received:
    156
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Someone mentioned in a thread, that they might be interested in knowing a bit about my background. So I hope I don't bore you too much, and please excuse the length of this post. It is a potted history...........honest

    Like many in the early 60’s I wanted to join in the ‘new’ music that was emerging. Some friends, from near where I lived, and I decided we would form a pop group. We begged our parents to get us some electric guitars, and my brother was going to be the drummer. My parents bought me a Selmer Futurama III, on hire purchase and my brother got a snare drum. We started practicing and before long it became obvious that my brother was not really interested and also suffered from a complete absence of rhythm, so he gave up. We found a replacement drummer from the school I attended

    My first memories of playing live for money were at a local Youth Club in Newport, South Wales, playing Shadows tunes. The club not only let us practice; they also paid us to play regularly at dances. I was about 15 and a half.

    I spent some time in various groups and showbands, formed with friends in School and from where I lived. One of our drummers was Fred Harris, later to star in the TV programme, Playschool. I got sick of just messing about with groups so formed the Pieces of Mind.

    In 1964, I was working in an office of a local steel company and persuaded a 'good looking' colleague that he should join the group as vocalist. This he did and we then spent the next 4-5 years having an amazing time playing the clubs, pubs, schools and ballrooms, mainly in South Wales.

    We got on well with a promoter called Maurice (Mo) White, who owned a music shop in Newport. Mo, now sadly passed away, used the Pieces of Mind as support act for the many well known groups he brought to South Wales. We, and the youth of South Wales, owe Mo a lot for what he did in the 60's. During this time, I supported many well known groups, including:

    • Billy Fury - Top Rank Ballroom Swansea. Billy was, I suppose the UK’s equivalent to Elvis. Fabulous performer, probably the best I have ever seen. Extremely nice bloke and very professional, at least for the times. We were on a revolving stage, so as we finished our first set, it turned and Billy’s group, The Gamblers, did a few numbers before Billy suddenly appeared, almost out of nowhere. He did just over and hour’s set, then left his group to play a few more. We were in the only dressing room when Billy walked in said hello, then chatted to the manager who handed him a bag of money. He said his goodbyes and left. Such a shame he left us so early.

    • Chicken Shack - Newport Majestic. What can I say, Stan Webb in his early days, with Christine Perfect.

    • Stu James & the Mojos - This was our first duty as a support act at one of the schools in Cwmbran, I think about 63/4. Lewis Collins, Bodie of the Professionals was playing Bass. Ainsley Dunbar the drummer. Stu James was on an UK tour and wanted to pack in touring and go into management. Of all the support acts he had played with, on that tour, he liked two; my group and one from Swansea called Eyes of Blue. Stu wanted to manage us and invited all four of us to London, to spend a day at his house, and sign on the dotted line. We went up, but too young and stupid to knuckle down, so refused to sign. The other group did the same as us.

    • Georgie Fame & Bluefames - Newport Majestic. Georgie was playing a cricket match somewhere on the afternoon of the gig. He turned up in cricket whites, grass marks on his trousers and played without changing. I think Zoot Money was also there playing with him.

    • Johnny Kidd and the Pirates - Cwmbran school. Mick Green on guitar. Don’t remember much, other than Johnny’s eye patch. Many rumours existed as to the reason for the patch. Was it a gimmick, I don’t know.

    • Manfred Man - Pontypool British Nylon Spinners Club. Paul Jones version of Manfred. When they arrived, we were playing Smokestack Lightning and I could see Paul at the side of the stage really loving it. He loved the blues and today presents a weekly radio programme. Best bit of the night was when he jumped up onto Manfred’s Hammond organ, put one hand on his hips and the other behind his ear before saying “I just wanted to make sure all you girls had a good look”. What a performer.

    • The Applejacks - I think another one in Swansea. Not sure why we played with these as we were like chalk and cheese. They were very poppy and had just charted with one of their songs. Girl drummer was quite good.

    • The Hollies - School in Cwmbran. Graham Nash version. Another pop act at the time, but the girls loved them

    • The Merseybeats - School in Cwmbran. I think sorrow era. Can’t remember much of them.

    • The Moody Blues - School in Cwmbran. About the time of the release of Go Now. Don’t think Justin Hayward was with them then, not sure. Remember them doing Go Now which was superb.

    • The Nashville Teens - I think Swansea just after Tobacco Road release. They weren’t very good and people thought we were the main act and them supporting us. In fact I think we got the same money.

    • The Pretty Things - School in Cwmbran. Great group, made the Rolling Stones look like the Beatles.

    • The Searchers - School in Cwmbran. Needles and Pins era. They seemed a bit classier than your average pop group for the time. Played well

    • The Who - Coed Eva Community College, Cwmbran, Gwent. The Who arrived late, as they often did, arriving just as we had the cheek to play My Generation. Always remember Roger and Pete looking at us from the side of the stage. When they came on, they blew us away with their set, consisting mainly of their My Generation album. Our bass player was very good; however, John's solo break was amazing. I couldn't get over the amount of gear they had even then. I played through a Marshall 100w top and 8x10 stack as well a Carlsboro 100w top and two 4x12 cabinets. Pete and John seemed to have numerous Marshall tops and cabinets, filled the stage. They also had many spares in their van. Pete, John and Keith seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time in the toilets with young ladies. Even asked my wife to be, if she wanted to go with them. She politely refused, but got their autographs on the My Generation album cover.

    • Gene Vincent - School in Cwmbran. Great old rocker. Standing at the microphone, with his straight leg belting out rock and roll.

    • Marty Wilde - Some school in Magor. Drummer was Mitch Mitchell, so before he joined up with Jimi.

    If you have reached this far, you deserve a medal. Like most people, the older you get, early recollections get more important and you long for the odd memento. I have very few mementos of those times, just a poorly recorded tape of us playing in a youth club and one little newspaper advert. I'm sure we played with other people as well, but their names escape me for the moment. Never mind, I lived through the 60's.

    I joined the Royal Air Force, for some unknown reason, in 1971 and spent 22 years hardly touching the guitar. Since I left the RAF, I have started playing again, mainly at jams and the occasional gig throughout Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire.

    So what became of my other band members? Adrian, the singer ended up fronting Judas Jump, who were made up of members of Amen Corner, the Herd, the Mindbenders and Adrian. Last time I heard of Adrian, was a few years ago. He was speaking on a TV documentary about Ozzie Osbourne.

    The bass player, who was also my best man, still plays, part-time, in South Wales.

    The organ player, a chap called David Kubinec went on to front The World of Oz and also had a solo career, including some TV presenting on a childrens show.

    Completely lost touch with one drummer, but last year, re-established contact with a second drummer, who has been a pro ever since 1970, playing with many blues acts. I have been to a couple of gigs, his band have playe and managed to get up on stage and play harmonica on a couple of numbers. He is interested in us trying to get together with the bass player and perhaps do a reunion gig, back in South Wales.

    Do I regret not going Pro, when I had the chance. Of course I have some regrets, however, if I had, then I wouldn't have been blessed with the family I have now. It's nice to remember the things I did and not the things I didn't.
     
  2. johnreardon

    johnreardon Senior Member

    Messages:
    562
    Likes Received:
    156
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    I have very few mementos of the past, however, here are some.

    Me playing my Guild Slim Jim, through a Marshall 100 w head driving a Marshall 8x10 cabinet + a Carlsboro 100w PA head driving 2 4x12 PA columns. Used a lead from the Marshall head to the Carlsbor. I was loud!!

    [​IMG]


    Even played bass for a while. That's a watch on my hand, not a tattoo. Can't remember why I wore it there

    [​IMG]


    One version of the band playing an open air festival at Tredegar Park in Newport.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. GeeJay

    GeeJay Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,511
    Likes Received:
    1,818
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    Cool stuff John, good onya.... :cheers:
     
  4. GuitarGal

    GuitarGal Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,417
    Likes Received:
    21
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2007
    :wave: You didn't bore me at all~ Thanks for sharing~ :thumb:
     
  5. Markster

    Markster V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    657
    Likes Received:
    233
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Good stuff mate! :thumb:
     
  6. ReverendJWblues

    ReverendJWblues MLP Chaplain V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    3,565
    Likes Received:
    233
    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Hell man when we get old like us we love reading novels. Sounds like u had a great life with your music and family who could bitch about that.
    JW
     
  7. johnreardon

    johnreardon Senior Member

    Messages:
    562
    Likes Received:
    156
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    :rofl:

    I know that, I was feeling sorry for the younger ones. I know my kids attention span was extremely limited
     
  8. Unknown

    Unknown Guest

    Great story John!!! :applause:
     
  9. Bobby_Lee

    Bobby_Lee V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    441
    Likes Received:
    21
    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    :thumb:
    Thanks John. That was fascinating. Being probably about the same age, it brought back alot of my own memories of playing bars and small clubs and the ever changing band names and personnel. Thanks again
    Bobby
     
  10. terence_tez

    terence_tez V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    2,111
    Likes Received:
    60
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2007
    you just schooled me...mow you've got to tell another one...
    how was it like picking up the guitar again after 25 years?hell,what was it like NOT playing fer 25 years?i'll be 25 next march,and so,that to me,is like literally not playing my entire existence...
     
  11. johnreardon

    johnreardon Senior Member

    Messages:
    562
    Likes Received:
    156
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Whilst I hardly touched the guitar in the 22 years, I did play occasionally, during 3 years spent in Germany. I was on a Harrier Squadron that had to deploy to various places 4 times a year. On some of those deployments, various Sqn members formed a band and gave a concert to the rest. Hardly any practice, just messing about, as you can see from below. I'm to the the left of the singer, wearing a wig, playing my pre CBS Strat

    [​IMG]

    I sold the guitar, stupidly, in 1980, so from then until 1993, I had nothing.

    As for stating again, it's like riding a bike, you never forget it. Yes my fingers took a while to harden up, but I soon got back into the swing.
     
  12. tarddoggy

    tarddoggy V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    1,961
    Likes Received:
    19
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    Most excellent John.
     
  13. WBPickups

    WBPickups Guest

    John, I knew that it would be interesting to read a bit more about your history! Thank you for the sharing it with us and John, you are a pro.

    Will
     
  14. johnreardon

    johnreardon Senior Member

    Messages:
    562
    Likes Received:
    156
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Cheers Will. Not sure I am a pro, however, I did occasionally dress up as one ;)

    From the same show

    [​IMG]


    In case, you can't spot me, I'm the one with the 'lovely' legs, next to the dog.
     

Share This Page