Hi John, I wondered if you remembered a gig you did with Peter in the early 1970's where Medicine Head topped the bill, of course, and support acts in order of appearance were Tir Na Nog, who went on to have a couple of albums, one I believe is titled, "Strong in the sun", and Michael Chapman, who has released many albums, appeared on "The Old Grey Whistle Test", wow, now I sound old, and has an excellent live solo DVD that is superb. Well, that had to be one of the most memorable gigs I have ever attended and the best Stafford Polytechnic gig I ever attended and you guys rocked. I was always impressed that you would never shy away from us ordinary everyday people who would constitute your loyal Stafford fans and I would sometimes see you in The Dirty Duck Inn, well, it certainly was the place to go back then. In recent times I had met the drummer, John Glover, who I believe briefly worked with you many moons ago and am pleased to say that he is still drumming and an exciting drummer to see and hear live. Sadly, the days of entertainment in Stafford are nothing like they were back then but like many I have some great memories and amongst them, your famous gig at Stafford Polytechnic that has left a lasting memory with me. Thanks for that. All the best from Stafford. howard
hi Howard, and i hope you'll forgive the tardy reply?
i have to say that i love us ordinary people, we are good people, i know you think so, and i always have had time, and always will have time for us ordinary folk.
great memories there Howard, i saw Michael not too many years ago at the Half Moon in south west London, he was still amazing! fortunately, i am also (through friends) still in touch with Tir Na Nog too.
those were great times back in the early 70s, and their vibrancy today shows how powerful those experiences were.
thank you for being in touch Howard, send more stories when you can, and please say hi to John Glover for me.
Hi again John, and great to get a response from you regardless of whether it is late. I imagine you must still have a busy life and can't get enough hours in the day to do all the things you need to do or would like to do. Us older generation appear to have far more patience than the youth of today who the majority of appear to want instant gratification. The Michael Chapman live DVD is well worth adding to any collection and I obtained my brand new copy off Ebay from America because it was cheaper than had I purchased it in the UK. In between songs he is cracking jokes and some of the things he says are absolutely hilarious. When I saw him supporting you all those years ago I got the impression that he was deadly serious and rarely smiled or joked but first impressions are never usually the whole deal. I read an interview with him in, I believe, an old copy of International Musician And Recording World where he stated that he originally started out playing the harmonium. Since I always loved ragtime style guitar and prefered to finger pick rather than use a plectrum Michael had quite an influence on me and I learned a couple of his ragtime type instrumentals which influenced me to learn a few by others. Many years later I saw the late, great, John Martyn, perform solo at Victoria Hall, Hanley, and during his set he also performed one of the same Michael Chapman instrumentals I had learned but he performed it much faster and it was very impressive. I agree that Michael is still amazing and I hope to catch him live again some time when he gigs close to where I am in Stafford.
MY first wife and I had a copy of the Tir Na Nog album Strong In The Sun but unfortunately when we divorced she insisted on keeping that. She left me for another musician who performs in a local blues band named Dirk Digglers Blues Revue and I have not had the opportunity to see them yet. His name is Mark Sweetmore and he plays guitar with them and I have not seen him for years but we are friends on facebook. Previously, he used to be with a local band based in Stone named The John Doe Band and used a reissue limited edition Gibson Firebird that he purchased on credit but got bored with it and swapped it for a custom Doug Wilkes and then he swapped that for a natural finish Fender Stratocaster that he also got bored with and sold. Madness. That Gibson would have been worth a fair bit now had he not got rid of it. Whilst I was working in the potteries I met a man named John McGlynn who was in Genesis tribute band that had no keyboard, hardly any kit, no drummer and didn't know how to play any Genesis songs and to add misery to an already miserable situation their rhythm guitarist only had three fingers because of an accident. I went along to one of the rehearsals and could see it was going nowhere fast so I felt that a bit of honesty was required and tactfully persuaded John to reconsider his current band prospects and pointed out that it did not appear to be a mover for him or any of the other members so he folded the band and started to jam with a jazz rock band I was jamming with. Meanwhile, the potteries was failing and redundancy was knocking on my door. John left before Royal Doulton Montrose factory closed down , where we both met and worked, and joined his father down the pit whilst I stayed until my marriage failed and within a week I had no marriage, had to move and find another place to live and the factory closed. John formed a group with Mark Sweetmore and John warrington, the drummer I had been working with and Steve Clarke on bass who is married to one of my sisters and they named themselves Headhunter and did covers, such as, Whole lotta Rosie, back In Black, Trouble and a few songs they wrote themselves but they also did a rock song that I wrote titled When I'm On My Road Again, which was quite popular at gigs and that pleased me no end. As Stafford became worse for places to play Headhunter folded and John formed a Led Zeppelin cover band with others because he had the right voice for it. Meanwhile I busked for six years and managed to get a few gigs on the strength of that and performed a residency with my older brother Dave, doing close harmony, Elvis Costello acoustic covers and varios other songs from the 50's to the present day songs, which woud be the 80's, arranged for guitar, as well as songs we had written. I had a lot of fun doing that and we even had a residency at Bojoles in Rugely on a Sunday where we would just turn up with a couple of acoustic guitars and sing and play without amplification because we could belt it out.
I remarried, we started a family and I studied chemistry hoping to become a chemist but despite being top of the class at college studying does not pay the bills so I had to find something that paid instead and music wasn't a good choice whilst living in Stafford as there was virtually nowhere to perform that paid well enough.
A young man named Guy Bailey from Barlaston had attended my first wedding and he had been jamming with Chris Johnson, who lived in Stone, who played both bass and some keyboards, and a young drummer known as Cozy Connel, who also lived in Stone, and they jammed at the lodge at a listed property mansion in Stone known as Hayes House. Guy had met a young singer known as Spike in a bar and he became their vocalist and they all moved to London to see if they could make it big. They named their group The Queer Boys and started to gig and had become so popular that they managed to get a residency at the reopened Marquee Club. As they attempted to gain more popularity their band name became more of a hinderance and caused offence to the gay community so they changed their name to The Quireboys and managed to obtain a deal with EMI and were managed by Sharon Osborne. My old friend Guy Bailey was the main songwriter and he played rhythm guitar with them. The first thing Sharon Osborne did prior to their debut album was to fire Cozy Connell and replace him for the recording session with Ian wallace, who had previously played with, King Crimson, amongst others. Cozy Connell went back into banking and The Quireboys become big for awhile. As various members were replaced along the way mainly because, according to reports, Sharon Osborne was an absolute pregnant dog, Mark Sweetmore temporarily became their new lead guitarist until he had enough of Sharon Osborne too. Whilst with them they were supporting It Bites. Eventually they managed to perform at a Donnington rock festival before there were more personnel changes where at one point an old friend of mine named Tim Wardle, who now goes under the name of Tim Bewley, was on bass for the live gigs and some of the ex members including Guy Bailey were gigging as a Rolling Stones cover band.
I had alsways wanted to play bass rather than guitar after seeing Jet Harris on television but bass guitars and their amplification were usually very expensive, however, one day many years ago I purchased a shop soiled brand new Probe Precision bass in a sale in a local music shop and pretty much switched to it but did not neglect my guitar playing in doing so. I briefly sessioned with a band that wrote their own songs named No Man's Band and we started to record material at Sam Sharpe's Studio in Wolverhampton. Since I was a more competent lead guitarist than the lead guitarist he persuaded me to cover the more difficult faster solos on the songs and apart from that we managed to obtain a live sounding feel because of the manner in which we recorded. I parted company with them to work on another musical project with someone else until I got a call from them again because they had a gig at Wolvestock Festival in Wolverhampton and asked me if I could stand in as the lead guitarist with only three days to figure out the parts. Apparently their new bassist who replaced me wasn't confident enough to play the lead guitar although he could play reasonably well and couldn't properly handle my complicated bass lines so I accepted and we performed about five songs live and some of this was recorded and broadcast by a local television station. Sadly, the band quickly folded because the female lead vocalist lost her nerve through stage fright and that was the end of that.
I worked musically with a few others but musical differences ensured that nothing was ever really going to happen because they were into either prog rock or four on the floor type dance music whilst I was into everything but that. During that time I managed to get a job unoficially at a local music shop named Song And Groove run by a drummer named Andy Holdsworth whose father was previously a Saab garage owner where Andy worked as a car salesman. Since John Glover also used to be a car saleman at some time in his life they had a lot in common and John became the resident drum tutor there whilst I became the setup and repair guy because of my experience in servicing all y own instruments and repairing all my electronic gear. At the time John was with a blues band that gigged for fun more than money but they folded quickly through some internal conflict or other. During our chats we reminisced about the old music scene and that is how I learned that he used to work with you. He will be absolutely made up when I say hi from you because he always spoke highly of you.
Now, before I close this very long and extremely informative post, I was wondering if you remember the band who used to perform in the Stafford Park Bandstand that did songs, such as, "Mama Don't Allow" and various other rock and roll type songs? If my memory serves me well the y would either perform there on a Saturday or a Sunday and always drew a bit of a crowd. John managed to name the individual performers, I swear I wrote the names down somewhere, and said they were never a band but just a few musicians who would perform and jam together. The bandstand is still there but sadly nobody has performed there for many years.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the stories and information I have given here. Thanks again for your response and I will most certainly share a few more stories when I get the opportunity and free time. Best wishes and keep on keeping on. howard