ROCK UPON TYNE: in conversation with musician, manager & promoter Mal Wylie

Gateshead born Mal has been working the entertainment biz for nearly six decades and still has a great passion and enthusiasm for music.

From being a teenager watching bands in the famous Newcastle venue Club a’Gogo, to becoming a seasoned performer on the North East working men’s club circuit, and today, promoting bands and events in Skegness.

I thought he’d have a few stories to tell – he did – so we spent a couple of hours chewing the fat in The Centurion bar in Newcastle Central Station.

First time I heard loud music was in the YMCA in Gateshead, bands like The Sect were playing. It was the ‘60s with the mods and rockers, that was the sounds that influenced me. We were brought up on the best music, we were privileged to be born then.

Club a’Gogo pics courtesy Evening Chronicle.

Going to the Club a’Gogo was the best time of yer life. I saw everybody there – Long John Baldry, the Stones, Eric Burdon, and I was there when Hendrix played.

I’d seen loads of guitar players by then but you knew you were watching someone special. Nobody knew he was gonna be a world legend when he walked on stage.

The Gogo was fantastic, the DJ was Bryan Ferry who went onto Roxy Music fame. Zoot Money was massive when he played, but the biggest pull was Geno Washington & the Ram Jam band, never sold records but always rammed.

I remember when The Animals went to number one with House of the Rising Sun in 1964. They came back from London to the Central Station, got off the train and came to the Gogo. I remember like it was yesterday.


I’ve been involved in music since I was 15. I joined a band called Jacko and got to know all the North East groups working the clubs, the Brass Alleys, the Becketts, John Miles, and my pal Brian Johnson in Geordie.

When I finished with Jacko, I went with a band called Chevy who had Andy Taylor on guitar – later he joined Duran Duran. There was Davey Black from Goldie he lived just over the road.

In fact, Andy had just come back from playing in Germany when he asked me to join on vocals ‘Do ya fancy going on the road with us?’

Andy was a great player, a rock player, so Duran Duran weren’t exactly his style but he told me ‘It’s £50 a week and they have a recording contract’. ‘Good on yer lad’ I said.

Andy rang me up one night ‘We’re playing Newcastle City Hall tonight supporting Hazel O’Connor on the Broken Glass tour do ya fancy comin’ along?’… ‘Wey aye!’

Through the Geordie days I kept in touch with Brian and when he got the gig with AC/DC I went on the Black in Back tour with him.

How it all started was one night when I was singing in Chevy and playing Peterlee Social Club, guitarist Andy Taylor said ‘we’re going to Newcastle Mayfair to see AC/DC tonight’.

This line up was with Bon Scott on the Highway to Hell tour. Well I was blown away by them and told Brian Johnson ‘Ya gotta see this band’.

He was in Geordie Mark 2 at the time who were doing the clubs and using the same PA as us. One night Chevy were doing Lobley Hill Social Club when Brian came to see us and he got up on stage and done Whole Lotta Rosie – next week he was in AC/DC!

He went off to the Bahamas, recorded the album then straight onto the Back in Black tour where I travelled with the band on the UK leg. I remember being in Birmingham and Robert Plant came backstage, it was great, a real honour to meet your hero.

I remember going to Donnington festival, then the States as the band went into Jimi Hendrix’ studio in New York to record vocals for the album For Those About to Rock.

The lads in the band were great, no big stars, they were playing 60,000 stadiums, absolutely massive over there. I was in a bar with Malcolm Young in New York, he told me ‘We knew when Brian walked in, he was the man for the job, we knew he was the kid we wanted’.

Brian didn’t think he was in the band after the audition. But Malcolm phoned ‘You need to come back we’re doing an album’. Brian replied ‘Am I in the band then’! Brian was tailor made for that job.

Sergeant: left to right – Robb Weir (later replaced by Steve Lamb) Anthony Curran, Tony Liddle & Brian Dick.

I managed a rock band called Sergeant and got them on a national tour supporting Accept. What happened was I knew Colin Rowell from music TV show The Tube filmed in Newcastle. He had singer Tony Liddle on one week ‘Can you do anything with these Mal?’

So, I went with Brian Johnson to see the band play at the Gosforth Assembly Rooms. I liked what I saw so rang John Jackson, an agent I knew in London, and he gave them that UK support tour.

We also put them in Linx Studio in Newcastle, another Brian Johnson connection as he owned the studio. We recorded them and I thought they were tremendous. Tony Liddle was great I thought boy can this kid sing.

Tony was the new breed of rock singer in the North East, you had great frontmen Davey Ditchburn, Terry Slesser, John Miles, all them that had come through, but Tony was a bit younger.

He was also a good songwriter, obviously there is Lindisfarne as your big songwriters from the North East. I remember seeing them and they were new, fresh a different style, Alan Hull was an amazing talent.

Anyway, we took the demo tape to London and the first person to listen to it was Peter Mensch, Def Leppard manager.

We were in his house and asked him ‘What do ya think of these’? Bearing in mind he had just signed Metallica. ‘They’re alright Mal, hang on to the singer’. In the end RCA were looking at giving them a singles deal.

But one day Tony walked in and told us he’s leaving the band. ‘I’m joining The Strangeways’. A Scottish band who already had a deal with plenty money behind them. That broke Sergeant up.

We gave it our best shot, they had supported Nazareth in Scotland, been on a UK tour with Accept including a sold-out show at Hammersmith Odeon and we put them in front of record companies.

When I came back from America with AC/DC, video jukebox’s had just kicked off so I went into that business. I got the franchise for a company selling a video jukebox to pubs.

I worked with a guy for years called Percy Sheeran, whose family have the fairground in South Shields, he was doing the fruit machines and I was doing the music. A great team.

Then we started Arcadia Leisure selling PA’s and sound equipment from the Team Valley in Gateshead. After that closed down Percy’s brother Walter opened bars, leisure centres and arcades in Skegness, he asked me to come down, ‘Nah I like the Toon too much’ I said. But I’m still with him to this day!

The music scene is good down there, I’m booking bands all the time, I’m putting on festivals in the summer. We’ve got some local bands from Lincoln playing, Butlins is next door with rock festivals and alternative nights – always rammed.

I’ve got four or five bands from the North travelling down this year, so I still keep in touch with North East musicians. Lorraine Crosby has been down a few times. We’ve been friends around 30 years since she was in Foxy, Lorraine’s a great kid, she done the Meatloaf single as well.

Soon I’ve got an event lined up for the scooter boys – a mod rally at the end of April. There are loads happening.

I enjoy reading your blogs but a guy who doesn’t get a mention is Greg Burman. During the ‘60s the Greg Burman Soul band played at the Gogo, he also built amps for all the bands coming through like Lindisfarne, and made stuff for Thin Lizzy and Status Quo.

He was based in Newcastle’s Handyside Arcade which sadly isn’t there now. I dealt with him in the ‘70s, a lovely fella, what a gentleman. It’ll be a great story if you can talk to him.

Alikivi   February 2023.

SUNDERLAND MUSIC with Ray Dobson & Trevor Thorne

Ray Dobson & Trevor Thorne with their book ‘Music in Sunderland’. (Alikivi collection May 2022)

“Don Airey was in my year at Bede Grammar school and each year there was a concert with the highlight being a band playing pop songs. I remember being impressed with Don playing the school organ on ‘House of the Rising Sun’.

Little did we know he would go on to play with Deep Purple, Rainbow, Whitesnake, and Black Sabbath while also playing on over 300 albums” said Trevor.

An excerpt taken from a book produced in Sunderland by retired teacher Ray Dobson and semi-retired accountant Trevor Thorne. Ray also brought his background as a local music photographer while Trevor has written several local history books.

They hit on a method of working with one taking the lead on a subject and the other chipping in with their own knowledge of different genres from skiffle to rock to punk and bringing it up to date with Sunderland bands Field Music, The Futureheads and The Lake Poets.

Geoff Docherty with his book ‘A Promoters Tale’.

The book also highlights the work of Geoff Docherty

“Geoff’s forthright and honest manner endeared him to his audiences and the performers. He is today, remembered for his huge contribution to the musical culture of the North East”.

Ray added “Geoff is primarily known as the most successful rock music promoter in the North East. He was determined to bring quality live music to the area and his first venue was the Bay Hotel in Sunderland where he began by booking Family for the huge fee of £150”.

”The gig was a success and was followed the next week by an unknown band called Free – Geoff remembers people arriving under the illusion that they wouldn’t have to pay an entry fee”.

The Who at the Locarno 1969.

The Bay continued to attract huge stars including Pink Floyd, Tyrannosaurus Rex and The Who. In 1969 Docherty moved to a larger venue and a who’s who of legendary rock bands such as Mott the Hoople, The Kinks and Bowie followed.

“Perhaps Geoff’s greatest achievement was to bring one of the world’s top bands to town. He used his powers of persuasion to talk the rather daunting Peter Grant (manager) around to allow Led Zeppelin to perform at the venue, but on the eve of the event he was told the band would not be coming”.

“This only served to increase his determination and after numerous attempts to impress on Grant that he owed him a gig, it was eventually agreed he could have Zeppelin – twice”.

“Geoff also had a secondary career in band management. The best known of which was Beckett which included Terry Slesser – who later formed Back Street Crawler along with Paul Kossoff. Kossoff even lived with Geoff, under his care, while recovering from addiction”.

“Beckett performed on the Old Grey Whistle Test and had an acclaimed, though not commercially successful album, to their name. Unfortunately, they parted ways on the eve of an American tour and the chance of stardom faded away”.

Trevor added “One of the most intriguing bands we came across was Juice. From posters and online information, they seemed to be everywhere.

The band supported Pink Floyd, Free, Blondie, Deep Purple, The Faces, Terry Reid, and Black Sabbath as well as many others. We eventually tracked down the drummer Kelly Davis, who had a fund of tales to tell”.

“It seems they were the go-to support band during the 1970s. Kelly was particularly complimentary about Ian Paice, the Deep Purple sticksman.

While they were waiting for their gig to start, Paice went through the drumming routine for ‘Black Night’ with Kelly, taking up an hour and a half of his time to pass on tips on that and other songs. In 2011 Juice got together again and still record songs”.

Kiss album ‘Rock & Roll Over’ released in 1976.

Ray recalls a story about American born songwriter & musician Sean Delaney who is often referred to as ‘The Fifth member of rock band Kiss’ and “had worked with the likes of John Lennon, Cher, Clive Davis and many others. He played a key part in designing the Kiss stage make-up, choreography and pyrotechnics”.

“Sean was raised in Utah but moved to New York where he became involved in the music scene. An accomplished musician in his own right, Sean met producer Bill Aucoin in Max’s Kansas City, it was here the two spotted a new band and, took them under their wing.

Under their guidance the band were to become one of the most famous rock bands in the world – Kiss”.

“Several successful years later, having personally produced and co-written songs for both the band and their solo recordings, Sean moved to Arizona.

There he was impressed by an English/American band named Smith and Jackson. When the English contingent returned to the UK, Sean resolved to follow them and manage the band”.

“Much to everyone’s amazement, he arrived in Sunderland a few weeks later where he lived with singer Paul Jackson and his family. He became a great friend to many locals and would often stay with my wife Sue and I.

Sean fell in love with the local pubs and became a popular figure on the local music scene, where his outrageous eccentricity endeared him to everyone”.

“While in town, Sean produced an excellent album for Smith and Jackson to which he contributed two of his songs. The album was released on RGF Records and was intended for the ears of Gene Simmons (Kiss)”.

“I remember on Christmas Day 2002, at about 4 am, my wife Sue woke me up to ask if I could hear singing downstairs. On closer listening, we realised that it was Sean, who was sleeping on the sofa.

Next morning after he left, we found an empty chocolate box with some lyrics scribbled on it. This was probably Sean’s last attempt at song-writing.”

“Sean flew back to the US with some demos of the album but, within a day or so he had a stroke. On 13th April we received a call from Sean’s nephew to say he had passed away. Paul Jackson went home and wrote a song called ‘Ballad of Sean Delaney”.

“Sean left an indelible mark on those lucky enough to be his friends during that last period of his life spent in Sunderland. His funeral took place in Utah and written on the bottom of the gravestone are the four names of Kiss members – Gene, Paul, Ace and Peter”.

More stories and features in ‘Music in Sunderland – Past, Present & Futureheads’  is out now (£9.99 plus £2.80 UK postage) and available at Waterstones (Sunderland), Clays Nursery (Washington), Sunderland Museum, also from Trevor direct at

Alikivi   June 2022


Covid virus measures have prevented new face to face interviews so only a few are conducted by email or phone. Contacts and recommendations from previous interviewees have also helped to bring out some good stories.

Also, there are features where I dig up stories about North East photographers like Downey, Cleet and Flagg. Plus, musicians who are no longer with us but have left their mark, Chas Chandler, Jack Brymer and Kathy Stobbart.

Chandler, I knew about but was interested to find out more. I hadn’t heard of Stobbart and Brymer but linking Stobbarts career together and seeing Jack Brymer in The Beatles ‘Day in the Life’, video were great finds.

This month will feature HYHTO posts, basically ‘a best of’ compilation from the blog. So, here’s some stories from musicians to tide us over till the next new one’s ping my email.

First up is drummer Harry Hill from an interview back in March 2019…..

I remember playing Sunderland Locarno with Fist. That was a great Friday night gig. We played it a couple of times after that and done a few other venues in Sunderland.

There was the Boilermakers Club and the Old 29 pub which was only a very long thin shaped bar. We never got much reaction and nobody clapped cos there was nowhere to put their drinks (laughs).

One Friday night we played the Newcastle Mayfair (2,000 capacity) with a 10,000-watt pa that we’d hired. We asked the sound man when the p.a. had to go back, and he said not till Monday. Champion we thought, so we booked a gig for Saturday afternoon in the Old 29 pub.

We knew there’d be a reaction this time. As we blasted out the p.a. in this little pub the audience were pinned against the back wall (laughs).

Full interview:

In March this year Arthur Ramm (Beckett) sent in a few stories, this was one of them….

We used to play regularly at nightclubs in the North East. The stage area was usually upstairs and extra help was appreciated. At one particular nightclub as the band were setting up the gear on stage, a friend of the band wandered into the restaurant kitchen and noticed some uncooked beef steaks on a plate.

He realized there were no staff present in the kitchen and removed some from the plate and hid them inside his coat. In the dressing room he revealed the steaks to the band, and they told him to return them to the kitchen immediately.

He decided otherwise and wrapped the steaks up in paper towels. Well, the band used to use Vox AC30 amplification, which were designed with an open compartment in the back of the cabinets. The culprit decided to hide the steaks in the backs of the amplifiers so that he could retrieve them after the gig.

However, during the performance when the amplifiers started to get hot, the band members on stage could smell the aroma of cooking meat. Thinking this was coming from the kitchen, they thought nothing of it.

All was revealed when the amplifiers were put back in the van. The consequences for the band would have been quite severe if found out!

He was never invited to any gig again. Who got the steaks? We don’t know. It put a new meaning to the expression ‘The band was cooking’!

Full interview:

Sam Blew (Ultravox/Ya Ya) got in touch in May this year….

One of my favourite road stories was myself and Vinny Burns getting a bit merry after a gig, we went back to watch Asia who were headlining, they had lots of dry ice, so we took it upon ourselves to crawl across the stage under the dry ice without being seen.

It was all going well until we ended up behind Geoff Downs (the keyboard player) and couldn’t see where we were going but we managed to get back across the stage without being seen.

When Ya Ya was in LA to shoot a video with Nigel Dick, who also filmed Toto and Guns n Roses, we agreed to meet him at our hotel to have a chat.

Ray the guitarist fancied a dip in the hot tub on the roof, we put a whole bottle of shampoo in the hot tub, we switched on the jacuzzi, and he got in just for a laugh.

Nigel pulled up and looked up at the roof, all you could see was foam sliding down the side of the building. He said you could see it about a mile away.

Full interview:

In September last year I spoke with Alan Fish (White Heat)….

When we recorded at Townhouse Studio in Shepherds Bush it was the Virgin residential studio and there was another band there. It was the time just after Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne was getting Blizzard of Oz together.

Ozzy came in the studio to listen to one of our sessions ‘I love you guys you’re great’. He was with Sharon his girlfriend and manager, she was delighted that Ozzy had found someone to play with, not musically just to get him out of her hair (laughs).

We used to go out for a few drinks together, there were no airs or graces he just liked a good drink and a laugh.

We’d go back to the residential and he’d be in the best suite, Sharon would be there and order in a Chinese meal cos she recognised we were skint and starving so they looked after us quite well. We used to distract them so we could pinch their booze out of the cupboard.

One morning Ozzy came into the studio and said in his Brummie accent ‘Ere lads we must have had a good session last night cos there’s no booze left in me cupboard’.

Full interview:

On the same day I met Ray Laidlaw (Lindisfarne) in Tyneside Cinema Café, Newcastle….

Lindisfarne had a break from 1973-76, we had a few successful one-off gigs then made a new album in ’78. The opening night on the tour was Leeds University where The Who recorded their album Live at Leeds.

We broke their attendance record that night. Two weeks later the fire brigade told the University ‘With the number of fire escapes you’ve got, you got to cut the capacity by 400’. So our record will never be beaten (laughs).

Anyway, the opening night we had some pyrotechnics, we went a bit showbiz like, and they would go off at the end of the show – balloons and confetti cannons. The big ending you know.

At that point the soundman was to mute every channel – and he forgot. So the sound went down every microphone, the monitors were like tissue paper, the speakers blew out as did the windows behind the stage. We weren’t invited back.

Full interview:

At the end of July this year Derek Buckham (Tokyo Rose) got in touch….

Me and some friends – Micky Duncan, Mary Downing and Micky Fenwick – took on Hire Purchase agreements to buy equipment for a band called Alcatraz. It was seven nights a week supporting the Bingo in working man’s clubs.

One night in Hartlepool the Concert Chairman knocked over an amplifier and didn’t apologise. The bass player Mick Fenwick said ‘Don’t worry I’ve dealt with it’.

The Concert Chairman used a Bingo machine, it was a big plastic see through box and inside were ping pong balls with the numbers on, when he switched it on the balls were blown to the top by air and he would pick one out.

Well, I looked over and could see them floating about in the box – Mick had filled the Bingo machine with beer! The Concert Chairman turned on the machine in front of the audience – I’ve never heard a club laugh so much.

In the end we were paid off and banned from Hartlepool.

Late ‘70s I recorded a track called Hang Jack about the Yorkshire Ripper who at the time was terrorising the country. The track was played in clubs throughout the country and one day the Police turned up at my house.

I was interviewed and had to give a handwriting sample. My parents were also interviewed asking if I was ever away from home. Yes, they said, ‘He plays in a band and if he was responsible, we would be the first to tell you’.

Full interview:

Interviews by Alikivi.

More stories on the blog with a full list of interviews on the ABOUT page:

‘ROCK AT THE SHARP END’ – highlights from the book by Sunderland author Geoff Docherty.

Docherty talks about his life from being doorman, club promoter and band manager. He remembers some of the big names that he attracted to Sunderland’s Bay Hotel

’The door leading to Marc Bolan’s dressing room was jammed with female admirers desperate to meet him. Some were crying with emotion. Others waited to meet their new heroes, Free, especially Paul Rodgers.

I’d never experienced female adulation of this intensity and found it impossible to empty The Bay that night’.

Docherty fills the book with stories about bands on their way to making it, and groups already there, but next he needed a bigger venue….

’During negotiations involved in moving to The Locarno, there were important hurdles to overcome. The first was the name. Over in the States were two highly respected venues called Filmore West and East.

I unashamedly plagiarised the name by renaming the Sunderland Locarno, The Fillmore North, on the night I hired it. Whether I could persuade the best groups to appear was in the lap of the Gods’.

He did – and the book contains a chronology of gigs that Geoff promoted from the Bay Hotel – Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath and The Who – to the Locarno – T.Rex, Mott the Hoople, Kinks and Bowie – admission and price paid for the act are included in the details, £150 for Bowie and 10 shilling to get in.

After a visit to a local nightclub, Annabels, he spotted a band who were playing and ended up being their manager…

’In the three years I managed them, Beckett did two John Peel radio shows, 33 dates supporting The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, 19 dates supporting Captain Beefheart, 22 dates supporting Slade, five supporting Wizzard, three supporting Ten Years After and countless University and College gigs. They also made an appearance on The Old Grey Whistle Test’.

Docherty gives great detail of the meeting with Peter Grant and the subsequent Newcastle Mayfair booking of Led Zeppelin on the 18th March 1971.

Not short on anecdotes and how the music world affected his personal life, Rock at the Sharp End is a must read for any fan of North East music.

Alikivi  May 2020

MUSIC MATTERS – for Les Tones and Arthur Ramm founder members of Beckett.

The ’70s and ’80s saw bands playing every night around the North East at mainly workingmens clubs...

’Mostly it was two clubs a night with yer first set starting at 8pm. Then travelling to another club, loading in, setting up, playing a set and finishing for 2am.

Finally back home and bed. Before you know it yer ma was shouting up the stairs it was time to get the bus for work. Aye them were the days ha ha’….remembers Arthur Ramm.

Stories like these have been told many times before in smoky bars and clubs of the North East. But here we are sitting in The Word, a brand new cultural venue in South Shields. 

A large circular building with huge glass walls and what looks like a floating staircase. As far removed as you can get from bingo, beer and bands.

The stories were pouring out from Les Tones and Arthur Ramm founding members of Beckett. A band which changed line up many times until they called it a day in 1974.

During their time Beckett had played countless gigs around the North East with stand out support slots with Rod Stewart and the Faces. There was a two week residency in the Top Ten Club in Hamburg, Germany.

They notched up 25 UK dates with Captain Beefheart, 33 with Alex Harvey and 25 with Slade. Signed with major labels Warner Brothers and CBS. Released a single and a self titled album. 

They also found time to appear on BBC TV music show the Old Grey Whistle Test, and a slot at the Reading Festival.

We talked about music in general and the sounds travelling across the Atlantic – Elvis, Chuck Berry, Rock n Roll USA how they influenced a generation of British musicians. Turning on the Led Zepps, Deep Purples, Eric Claptons, who in turn put their stamp on the sound and British rock came out the other end. 

Although they were referring to nearly 50 years ago, like a relay team passing the baton, stories from Les and Arthur still sounded fresh and told with good humour. Music really does matter.

When did you first get interested in music ? 

Les: ‘My dad was a piano player, my uncles were keyboard players for the cinema. When I was 14 my brother and cousin had acoustic guitars and my sister played all the ’50s records. I’ve always had music around me.

I used to go to the local fairgrounds and there I heard Love Me Do and other songs by The Beatles. I just loved the sound and that changed my direction of what I wanted to do.

I got a guitar and I was approached by a fella called Tommy Stead who was in a popular blues band called The Jump. So I joined the band at 15 and learned loads from them’.

Arthur: ‘I was aware of The Shadows but I wasn’t really interested in that, like Les it was The Beatles that kicked me off. It was Paul McCartney, I loved the way he played, he sang, he looked. I just loved The Beatles music’.


Les Tones aged around 14.

When did you get your first guitar ? 

Les: ‘I was serving my time as a sheet metal worker in Hebburn Palmers shipyard when I bought a Hoffner Galaxy on tick, a loan you know.

Then I exchanged it for a Burns guitar until my dad bought me a Gibson 335 for £150. That was great, wish I still had it’.

Arthur: ‘There was a shop called Saville Brothers in South Shields and there it was in the shop window with a card stuck next to it with £7 10 shillings written on.

Eventually after a few weeks of pestering my mother, she relented and gave me the money ‘But you’ll have to pay it back’ she said. That’s where I bought not a bass, but my first six string guitar. 

We had no money for amps, so we first started with radios which had valves inside. That could amplify the sound and it had a speaker in, so we used the output.

But the 5 watts wasn’t loud enough cos when you were in rehearsal with a drum kit banging away you needed something louder.

So, we got what The Beatles and The Stones were using that was AC 30’s. They were the biggest amplifier at the time and then Eric Clapton started using a 50-watt Marshall.

That became the norm until Pete Townsend said he wanted bigger. He wanted 100watt because they were playing big places, and no one could hear them at the back of the hall.

Suddenly it’s getting bigger and louder with 4 x 12 cabinets and everybody’s ear’s getting used to that level of sound. I remember we were playing Annabels Club in Sunderland  and to load the gear in you used the back stairs. We were loading in 4×12’s and they were so big you couldn’t see your feet’.

Les: ‘It was good having a full house and using all that gear at that volume because people absorbed the sound but if you had a venue a third full it was very different. But now a lot of people are returning to AC 30’s and using larger PA’s’.

Arthur: ‘I’m still using a Marshall now because I’m used to the sound and Les uses a Messa Boogie which is smaller in size but has plenty of power. The technology has changed over the years.

We were playing the Birtley club one time and I had just bought my Marshall 100watt head. We were loading the gear in up the steep stairs at the back and I think it was our singer Terry Slesser who said ‘I’ll carry that up for you’.

My brand new Marshall head slips out of his hand and goes boink, boink, boink, down the steps to the bottom. The side of the box fell away. I was distraught.

We got the gear on stage and thought do I switch it on? Will it go pop! Eventually I turned it on and it worked perfectly. When I got it home I used some glue to stick the side back on. Marshall amp’s are made solidly you know’. 


Arthur Ramm

Where did you rehearse and play your first gig ?

Les: ‘Around 1964 The Jump used to have house rehearsals at Tommy Steads and played on a Sunday at Aloysius Church Hall in Hebburn.

The church ran it and they had bands on every Sunday and served soft drinks. The atmosphere was brilliant we used to look forward to it.

When we played I used to push my amplifier up the street to get into the hall, we loved it. Tommy who is still playing today, was all genned up with the American music cos he had the records so we played a lot of soul and blues.

But then Tommy moved to London so I left the band and joined Hedgehog Pie. We were classed as an underground band. But yeah that’s how I started’.

Arthur: ’We got a school band together and I was playing sort of bass notes on the heavy strings of my six string guitar. Sounded nothing like a bass really but that’s what I was after.

So, I got one out of the local magazine for £35 and I was away then.

Then what changed for me was when I heard John Mayalls Bluesbreakers featuring Eric Clapton and I thought wow I want to learn how to play like that.

My first gig was at a wedding in Careme House in South Shields. It was for the guitarist’s cousin, and we done about half an hour of bluesy songs’.


The Shadey Kases with Arthur Ramm on the left.

How did Beckett form and where did the band rehearse ?

Arthur: ‘I was in a band called The Shadey Kases, who I joined around ’65 or ’66. I was the rhythm player, just a lonely strummer. One night Les was playing with his band in Sunderland with this great sounding guitar ‘Who is that playing, sounds fantastic’.I said.

I was normally a shy person but afterwards went up to Les and said how did you get that sound, you’re playing is excellent. He was so friendly and showed me the amp and all that.

We really got on because some people can be a bit stand offish. When Beckett started, he was the guy to ask to play guitar and he said yes’.

Les: ’I was in Societys Child and we used to get a lot of work at the Hedworth Hall in South Shields. Alf Josephs from there used to manage us. But the band split over the singer and keyboardist arguing over petty things.

The Hedworth Hall was a place all the bands would go to after a gig because it was open till 2am and we’d get in free of charge. There I met up with Arthur who had just left the John Miles band. ‘How would you like to join me and Alan’ (Craig, drummer).

So yeah we are the three founding members of Beckett. We got Bill Campbell in on bass. Rehearsals were in a pre-fab building near St Francis Church in South Shields. Alan Craig got it cos he knew someone from the church.

We used to go 2-3 times a week to rehearse, and we done some Kinks stuff, some Deep Purple. 

How did the name of the band come about ?

Arthur: ‘When we were talking about what we are going to call ourselves I said why not Becket ? There had been a film made called Becket starring Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole and I just liked the name. Sounds good. Just the one word.

So yeah we all went with that. If you look at Ringo Starr’s drumkit just the way they write the name Beatles, the style of the writing you know it just worked.

The two t’s at the end came about because Ted Hooper suggested we should write it that way. Ted was always hanging around and had a brother who was playing guitar in West One, another Shields band we knew.

Next we saw an advert for a gig we were doing at the Golden Slipper in South Shields and we were advertised with the two t’s. From then on in, it just stuck’.

Where did you gig and what venues did you play ?

Arthur: ‘We ended up being very successful starting off around the pubs and clubs. Usually there would be 2x 45minute sets. Early days we’d have lots of current stuff that was in the charts, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Beatles, Stones that sort of stuff.

A blessing was the Bailey Organisation because they had the Latino club in South Shields and they would get us to guest before the main artist came on like Tom Jones, Englebert Humperdink, whoever had been on Top of the Pops.

There were venues like Wetheralls, La Bamba in Darlington, La Ronde in Billingham, La Dolce Vita, The Cavendish Club there was so many. Only problem was it wasn’t till 2am when we finished then we had to get back home and we still had day jobs.

I was an apprentice tool maker and had to get up for the bus to work at 6.30am’.

Les: ‘The band used to play around the North East nearly every night of the week, quite often two bookings a night.

We’d be sort of living two lives cos we’d be in a bubble on stage, going down well and everything was great. Then I’d get in at 4 in the morning and my mother would be dragging me out of bed at 6.

Then not much later you’d be walking to work in the snow. The band was a job, we’d pay the stamp every Friday and get pay packets every Sunday.

Arthur would get a cheque off Mel Unsworth the promoter then share it out. We would only have Tuesday off cos we had girlfriends’.

Arthur: ‘Good thing was you’d have the extra money from the gigs so you could buy an extra pedal or better guitar.

One of our first gigs was at a nightclub in Darlington and the stage was big, we were right at the back and the singer was way out at the front. It was an area where all of the audience could see the artist.

The lights dimmed, we went on and played an instrumental first called Supernatural. Our singer Rob Turner came on twirling the mic stand, giving it everything and there was only a dozen people there but he got them clapping.

We were playing at the back in the shadows and were amazed because at rehearsals he’d just sit on a seat sort of crouched over and sing! When he was on stage his demeanour changed he was a totally different person. I always remember that gig.

But I always remember the day he died. We were playing a gig at La Ronde in Billingham and were just coming up to 2am. He said let’s do a blues thing, Les you just kick it off, so we started to play.

He started to sing ‘If I Knew You were Coming I would have Baked a Cake for You’ it was a blues song and that’s the last one he sang with us’.

Les: ‘I remember that gig, I remember as if it was yesterday. At the end he had a bit to drink and a girl with him. We had a policy of you go with the band you come back with the band. Then the day’s your own you know.

We said you’re coming back with us just take her number. Arthur and I went home as usual in the Hillman Minx, that was our bassist Bill Campbells car and all we talked about was Rob not coming home with us.

Next day was a Friday I got out of bed and went downstairs. My mam said someone’s been and left a message to phone Arthur it’s very important.

The nearest phone was at the bottom of the street, so I went down, phoned Arthur and he told me the bad news. I was shocked, we were upset and got the band together to talk about it. We went to see his parents’.

Arthur ‘We were told the weather conditions were very foggy that night and he was on the edge of the road near the pavement thumbing a lift. A few cars went by then he got hit.

By now the girl he was with starts to thumb as Rob is on the ground. But cars just passed by because it looked like a drunken couple. Eventually someone stopped and drove him to hospital but he had too much internal bleeding’. 

Les: ‘He was only 24. The car just drove off. The person driving was caught because he put his car in a garage to have the windscreen fixed.

He said to police he didn’t stop because he thought he had just hit an animal. Reports said he was under the influence of drink and drugs. He never got put in prison, just fined’.


Terry Slesser in the middle.

Did the band make the decision to carry on ?

Les: ‘Let me tell you it wasn’t an easy decision to make. But we had gigs lined up and we knew a singer already who could fit into the band. Terry Slesser was a roadie for the John Miles band The Influence, Terry had also formed a band called Zig Zag.

I had seen him a few times and thought he had a good voice. He was confident and had long hair. He joined the band eventually’. 

Arthur: ‘Yeah he learnt the songs very quickly, and fitted in. We done some great gigs especially supporting the Alex Harvey Band. They were so tight, really impressed with them’. 


What was it that drove you on ?

Arthur: ‘It was just that the gig was so important, it was a simple as that’.

Les: ‘The time Beckett was playing it was magic. When we’d play the workingmen’s clubs they were queuing out the door at 6pm to get a seat to see us. That’s the way it was.

We’d play Middlesbrough and go to a gig in Sunderland. We’d go in a separate car from the road crew who were in a van with all the gear.

When we went in the club you would see lots of faces who were at the first gig, they’d travelled up to see us. We really appreciated that’. 

When did Beckett start songwriting ?

Arthur: ‘Les left the band, and joined Sandgate. We got a guy called Kenny Mountain in. He was in a band called Yellow with Vic Malcolm from Geordie. They had a single out but didn’t do much.

I rang Kenny who said he didn’t want to play lead, but he would still be in the band. That meant I had to up my game. Kenny came up with some songs and we ended up sticking a couple in the set, then adding a few more, then a few more.

That led us to meeting a guy called Geoff Docherty. He was a local promoter and saw us playing in Sunderland’.

Geoff Docherty was a very successful North East promoter with major bands including Pink Floyd, The Who, Rod Stewart and David Bowie.

One of the venues he promoted was The Locarno in Sunderland, a Mecca ballroom that held 3,000. For more information Geoff has authored two books ‘A Promoters Tale’ and ’Three Minutes of Magic’.

Arthur: ‘Geoff approached our singer, Terry Slesser. Geoff said he liked the band and said, ‘I can do something for you’. We had other offers, but the managers wanted too big a cut out of the money we were earning. It wouldn’t have left us with much.

So, we arranged a sit-down meeting with Geoff, he was straight talking. We were very impressed.

The clincher was when he said ‘I won’t take any money, not a penny from you until you are successful. I will have you backing people like Rod Stewart and Ten Years After’.

Not long after we started travelling the country playing gigs and what a thrill it was playing in London, especially the Marquee club. He was exact to his words’.


Did Geoff Docherty get the record companies interested in Beckett ?

Arthur: ‘Yes he got to know them all as he used to book the bands for the Top Rank Suite in Sunderland. He was very pushy. He’d tell them to come and see the band. His rhetoric and the way he put it over. Very convincing.

He got us a deal with Warner Brothers and then we went to CBS. We got a £10,000 advance from Warner Brothers. Think our Mercedes van was around £4,000.

But I had left before they made the album with Warner Brothers. They got Bob Barton in. The line up kept changing. All the original members had gone by then’.

By the time the album was released on Warner label Raft Records in 1974, the Beckett line up was Terry Wilson Slesser (vocals) Kenny Mountain (guitar) Robert Barton (guitar) Ian Murray (bass) and Keith Fisher (drums).

The Iron Maiden connection is a story for another day if one of the members can get in touch. As we were about to leave The Word I asked Les and Arthur one more question.

What does music mean to you ?

Arthur: ‘Well I can’t live without music. If my hands don’t work I don’t know what will happen. I listen to music all the time and I am in a band now with Les’. 

Les: ‘When I’ve got a guitar I lose loads of time cos I can’t put it down. I’ve also been teaching music and I got into repairing and building guitars. I still play in a band now’. 

Interview by Gary Alikivi March 2018.


Steve Dawson, THE ANIMALS: 2nd April 2017.

Harry Hill, FIST: 29th April 2017.

Trevor Sewell, 21st June 2017.

Howard Baker, WARBECK: 17th August 2017.

John Verity, ARGENT: 7th November 2017.

Dave Ditchburn, BRASS ALLEY/GEORDIE: 1st February 2018.

MAN FOR ALL SEASONS – with North East musician Davey Ditchburn


Davey Ditchburn has been vocalist and songwriter in bands including Brass Alley, Geordie, Fogg, Talisman and Pilgrim – spending a lifetime in music.

We arranged to meet up to hear stories from his time becoming a professional musician, signing with major record labels, recording in Rockfield studio, playing the Marquee in London, but first I wanted to know what turned you onto music ?

‘I think it was just the advent of rock n roll really. I was at the High School in South Shields at the time and didn’t have any idea about what I wanted to do. Like a lot of kids, I wasn’t really into school you know.

Me mam bought us a guitar that I had been ogling for quite some time in Savilles Music Shop in the town. But the problem I always had and still do to this day was being left-handed.

Of course, there was no amenities for left-handed people then and no way you could get a guitar that was left-handed. So, I tried learning it upside down, but I couldn’t do that.

I changed the strings around and got away with that for a bit. But to really learn you had to go to somebody local and there weren’t many local guitarists about.

So, I ended up going to this guy who lived in the cottages beside Vaux breweries in Sunderland and learnt a few chords off him. At that time skiffle was really big and I loved all those players, Dickie Bishop, Lonnie Donegan, all those people so I got a skiffle band together.

We were called The Worried Men and used to play the youth clubs and over ’60s pie and pea suppers things like that.

That ran its course and rock n roll came round, Elvis Presley happened and that changed the whole thing. So that was the advent of proper rock n roll, like Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, I absolutely loved that era.

I used to go to see every band that I could. We played with Johnny Kid and the Pirates, Gene Vincent and several other bands’.

What type of venues did you play?

‘Some of them would be dancehalls like The Majestic on the Sea Front at South Shields. We’d play the Picture Houses in Newcastle and one thing led to another and I met Vic Malcolm, Joe D’Ambrosie, Mickey Golden and we formed Vince King and the Stormers. That was around ’62 or ’63.

We played the dances around the Northeast like Wheatley Hill, Low Spennymoor, Coxhoe places like that. Then of course the look was lame suits and all that tackle.

We went on a while like that then The Beatles happened and the scene changed to a hippy come rocky sort of thing. The Stormers were quite successful, we played with The Beatles in Middlesbrough we supported a lot of big bands at the time at venues around the North East.

Then I met up with some other guys and one of them was Barry Alton. The other members were some of his family and they played jazz rock. It was an eight piece with sax, trumpet and guitars – we were called Brass Alley.

But the trumpet player, who worked in the shipyards, got crushed by a big pipe so he couldn’t play. The two sax players also left the band. So that left a four piece that became the real Brass Alley in 1972 and we went professional, we made a living out of it.

But it wasn’t an easy decision to go pro because we had wives, kids, and steady trades. But I thought if I don’t do it now I never will and the other lads were of the same mind. So, we just went for it, we were young and had confidence’.


‘Brass Alley had a manager called Mike Rispoli he was a bit Mafiosi he introduced us to quite a few people in London. He was a very strange guy.

Mike got us this house next to Richmond Park in Surrey. There were 13 of us living there and we’d buy a sack of spuds and it was chips every day haha.

But don’t get me wrong sometimes we had to go the Temp Agency and get temporary jobs, one was in a wine factory. It was just to get by you know even then London cost a fortune.

Because we’d have families, we’d send money back home, so we’d do without you know. That’s why young professional musicians are skinny as rakes, they’re emaciated you know.

But we used to play places like The Marquee, The Speakeasy, Colleges and Universities in the South we had some great gigs down there.

Then we got a contract with RCA around 1972. They gave us an advance but we blew that all on a van and some gear, cabs, amps that sort of thing.

We met a guy called Matiah Clifford who was an African songwriter and we recorded some of his songs like Mongoose and Rainbow. We had a good relationship and I’m still in touch with him now.

We recorded an album in Rockfield Studio with Dave Edmunds who at the time was part owner there. The studio is in Monmouth in Wales, it’s pretty well known.

We also made an EP for the Hartrock Festival in Hartlepool and one of the songs was written by musician Kenny Mountain. It was called Pink Pills and it’s recently been picked up and released on a compilation album in Chicago – great stuff to release it, bloody awful song though !’


‘The Brass Alley time was the best as in terms of still having hopes and dreams when you’re young and getting that one big break. You get that beaten out of you after a while and become just another muso.

We always did well, played great gigs, we got radio play through Johnnie Walker, Dave Lee Travis, he had us on his Radio One roadshow but the band did great live but never managed to transfer that to the studio and make that one great record.

We travelled all over the country and made a few records with RCA and Alaska but never had much success’.


‘It lasted until 1976 and I formed another band with Vic Malcolm who had just left Geordie. We were a Brass Alley 2/Geordie 2 but we couldn’t use the Geordie name because it was copyright of the Red Bus record company. We ended up as Brass Alley 2.

We had George Defty on drums, Vic on guitar, Frankie Gibbon on bass, Alan Clark on keyboards who went on to be in Dire Straits and me on vocals.

Jonna (Brian Johnson ex AC/DC) was hanging around as he was original singer for Geordie, and we sang together. But I was having all sorts of problems at home and the band split up after a year’.


Davey (far left sitting) Brian Johnson (far right).

‘Next, I got a knock from a guy called Dek Rootham who had a band called Fogg. I’d known him for a few year and their singer was struck down by an illness so I joined the band.

We recorded a few records and were on TV show The Geordie Scene which can be watched via You Tube’.

‘But that band fizzled out and I was kicking about with Jonna when he had just joined AC/DC and he said why don’t you get a band together and I’ll see who I can introduce you to.

So in came Paul Thompson from Roxy Music on drums, a guy called Peter Morrison on guitar, again Frankie Gibbon on bass and Alan Clark on keyboards. We were called Armageddon and we got picked up by this American who shall I say was a bit shady.

He used to meet us in his room at The Ritz in London and bring a suitcase full of money out from underneath the bed, it was stuffed with dollar bills. He used to give us quite a lot of money for our gear and wages.

We’d get paid more for rehearsing than some of our gigs. He said he was gonna do this and that for us, then one day he just disappeared.

But again that band didn’t last long and I was at a loose end until I met up with former Armageddon guitarist Peter Morrison and we cracked on and formed Talisman. This was around the 1980’s’.


‘We were together for 8 or 9 years and it was the most successful band that I’ve been in. We done some stuff on North East Radio and TV with people like Mike Neville.

We played a lot, some festivals in the North East like Gypsies Green on the seafront in South Shields, Budgie headlined. In fact I’m busy recording an album with Talisman now. We’ve all acumalated songs over the years so we have loads to choose from.

We’re not intending to play live but want to make a decent album. We’re using First Avenue studio in Newcastle, when they have a slot we can jump in there’.


What happened after Talisman ?

‘When we split I joined Three’s A Crowd which was quite successful locally then after that I had time off and went to sea and travelled.

When I came back I formed Pilgrim with my son Dean. Loosely still in them now as we play once or twice every six month. In fact I’m also playing in a Ukele band now, I’m not a music snob, I enjoy any music’.

Any stories from playing gigs ? ‘Well there’s a few but I’m not sure they are suitable here haha’.

Did you use any stage effects ?

‘Yes Talisman once smoked out a venue we were playing. I remember we were at Sacriston Club and Merv the roadie/engineer was rat arsed on Brown Ale. He was an electronic whizz, and worked for Bill White in Sunderland who sold all the amplifiers.

Anyway he pumped out far too much smoke from the machine and the whole club had too be evacuated haha’.

Finally, what has music given you ? ‘I can’t imagine life without it really. It’s what I exist for, I guess. Really, I’ve done a few other things in life and enjoyed them but still every night I sit down and play the guitar and write songs.

I listen to The Eagles or Ry Cooder, all sorts of music I have wide tastes really. I go to see bands, just saw Chris Rea at Newcastle City Hall, he’s struggling now cos I remember how he was but he’s still getting up there playing his music.

Got loads of happy memories, I would never change it you know’.

Interview by Gary Alikivi December 2017.


Steve Dawson (THE ANIMALS): Long Live Rock n Roll, 2nd April 2017.

Harry Hill (FIST): Turn the Hell On, 29th April 2017.

Steve Dawson (SAXON): Men at Work, 28th May 2017.

Trevor Sewell, Still Got the Blues, 21st June 2017.

Kev Charlton (HELLANBACH): The Entertainer, 23rd June 2017.

John Verity, (ARGENT): Blue to His Soul 7th November 2017.

BLUE TO HIS SOUL – with musician John Verity

‘I recall one night I left the stage during a keyboard solo in Argent and couldn’t find my way back! I was very popular with the band that night!!! ….but I did make it back in the end’.


Rod Argent and Russ Ballard formed rock band Argent in 1969 and are known for the hit singles Hold Your Head Up and God Gave Rock n Roll to You a song covered by American rock band Kiss in 1991.

In 1973 John Verity joined Argent, I asked him where was the audition and how did you find out about it ?
‘There was no audition. I toured supporting Argent around the time of Russ Ballard deciding to quit. They asked me if I would consider replacing him and I said yes!

John has had a full career since then…

’Right now I am just completing an 80 date tour of the UK promoting the My Religion album, with another busy year planned for 2018. My next album, Blue to My Soul is planned for release in November this year.

We also released a live DVD earlier this year, shot at our show at the Jim Marshall Auditorium, The Stables Theatre, Wavendon, Milton Keynes’.

Since he first picked up a guitar in the early 60’s John has had a very prolific and distinguished career in music…

‘I was in various local bands in the ’60s around my hometown of Bradford, West Yorkshire, playing pubs, clubs and youth clubs until I joined my first fully professional band in ’68.

This was the Richard Kent Style from Manchester, a 6-piece with brass section. Pretty soon we were playing up to 14 gigs a week, twice a night, up and down the country and often abroad.

In ’69 we changed our name to Tunnel when we were offered a gig at a rock club in Freeport, Grand Bahama – close to the U.S coast and frequented by American college kids.

During our time at the club we were approached by a U.S promoter and relocated to North Miami Beach to seek our fortune!

Tunnel opened for many major U.S acts as they passed through Florida, but unfortunately there were pressures developing in the band resulting in a split. Everyone left town, except me.

I felt that the opportunities were too good to waste and set about forming my own band using American musicians from the Miami area, with the aim of fulfilling the dates already planned for Tunnel.

We had Teddy Napoleon on drums, and Mark Troisi on bass. The very first John Verity Band !

So, to the present JV Band – a revolving line-up depending on availability. Either Liam James Gray, Bob Henrit or Steve Rodford on drums. Either Bob Skeat, Jamie Mallender, John Gordon, Roger Inniss or Russell Rodford on bass.

When it comes to recording, everyone features in some way or another, along with various guest musicians/singers.

Who were your influences in music ? 

‘My earliest influences were American blues and R&B artists but also the obvious ones for a young aspiring guitarist at the time – Chuck Berry, Hank B Marvin, Duane Eddy, Elvis.

I loved and still do, the music of BB King, Aretha Franklin, Albert King, and Muddy Waters. The first Led Zep album was a major milestone’.

How did you get involved in playing music. Was there a defining moment when you said “I want to do that” ?

‘I can’t really remember how I first got started. Once I’d discovered the guitar, I really wasn’t interested in anything else – except girls of course, but they seemed to come hand-in-hand with the guitarist thing. A defining moment for me was much later.

Up until this I had always been the guitar player in the band, who would sing the occasional harmony’.

‘My voice has always been high and that didn’t seem to be very fashionable on the ’60s music scene here in the UK. Then we were booked to open a show in Redcar, at The Coatham. The headline band was The Who, and special guest was Terry Reid.

There was a buzz in the industry about Terry Reid but I hadn’t seen him. He absolutely blew me away that night. His voice was out of this world but what really hit me was that he had a really high voice – sort of in the same ballpark as mine.

From that night onwards I was determined to be a singer. A guitarist/singer that is! A while later in Miami I got my chance, and took it’.


What were your experiences of recording ?

‘Probably far too much to mention everything, my earliest experience was EMI Studios in Manchester Square, London in the mid ’60s. Then various independent studios as they sprang up, including Advision, Olympic, Roundhouse.

I started recording my own stuff early on. I wrote and demo’d all the songs for my first album in a cupboard in the apartment in Miami!

The demos for the first Saxon album were recorded in Chalk Farm, London. The album itself was recorded at Livingston Studios. I went on to record many projects there’.

(Nerd alert: Saxon was released in 1979 on the Carrere label. Clocking in at just under 30 mins it contained singles Big Teaser/Stallions of the Highway and Backs to the Wall/Militia Guard. The album helped put Saxon on the heavy metal map).

Was heavy metal a big departure from the music you had done ?

‘Not really a big departure. It wasn’t really ‘Metal’ yet – just heavy British rock. It was great fun working with the lads, though record company and management problems managed to screw it up in the end.

Biff Byford and Paul Quinn had been in the very final John Verity Band before I joined Argent’.

After Argent split up John formed Phoenix and recorded two albums, the debut on CBS records in 1976 and ‘In Full View’ on Charisma in 1979.
‘There were some gigs with Phoenix. We did a few impromptu gigs in the UK before a European tour with Aerosmith to support our first album but from then on it became a studio project’.

A stint with London based band Charlie followed, they released an album ‘Good Morning America’ on RCA/Victor records.
‘There were no gigs with Charlie during my time’.


That lasted until 1982 when the lead vocal spot was taken up by South Shields musician, Terry Wilson-Slesser (pic.above). The music video for ‘It’s Inevitable’ with Slesser is worth checking out on You Tube – it ends in a pie fight.

Next for John was a tour with former Sweet vocalist Brian Connolly where they supported American female rock singer Pat Benatar on her 1983 ‘Get Nervous’ tour.


Around this time Pat and her band played on the live TV music programme The Tube, the studio was in Newcastle.

I was lucky to be in the audience for that show and witnessed a fantastic performance by Benatar. Again worth checking out on You Tube. But back to the story

‘Yes the Benatar tour was great and a sell out – but no crazy stories I’m afraid. All very well-organised and straight!

The early ’80s I had been very busy recording in Livingston Studio’s in London with Brian Connolly, Russ Ballard, Charley, Phoenix, and my own album Interrupted Journey’.

That band, simply called Verity, had rubbed shoulders with AOR giants Journey/Foreigner. Included was the track ‘Rescue Me’ which was a regular on the early years of MTV.
‘I then built my own studio back in Yorkshire where I wrote and recorded with many people including The Searchers, Mike Rutherford and Steve Thompson.

(Steve is featured in an earlier blog The Godfather of North East New Wave of British Heavy Metal June 27.)

‘Around the mid-’80s I recorded with the Rolling Stones mobile – there was some live Motorhead tracks with Brian Robertson and Pete Gill in the line-up. I recorded four gigs I think, and mixed a selection from those’.

Looking around on You Tube there is some good footage of your band Phoenix on Saturday morning UK TV show Supersonic. Did you record many TV appearances or music videos ?

‘Yep, there was lots of TV here in the UK including Old Grey Whistle Test, Top of the Pops and Supersonic. The Argent ‘Circus’ film was one of the first to feature on MTV.

To arrange the appearances there were various management companies around that time, but usually the record labels arranged TV slots’.

Do you find the internet a help for musicians ?

’I used to be horrified when I spotted someone filming us with a ‘phone but now it’s just a regular occurrence that we put up with. Lots of poor quality stuff on the net but you could waste your life away getting it taken down. I just leave it. They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity’.

What has music given you ?

‘Music has given me everything – but at times it has taken everything away too. It means everything to me. I have a very long-suffering wife, Carole. She lets me be what I am despite the faults and that’s amazing, the way she accepts my obsession with all things music related. Just amazing…’

Launch dates for the new album at Dreadnought Rock in Bathgate, Scotland are November 10th & Ripley Live in North Yorkshire on the 11th November.

For more info, tour dates, merchandise, photo’s and video contact the official website

Interview by Gary Alikivi  October 2017.


Bernie Torme, The Dentist, 21st March 2017.

Steve Dawson (Animals), Long Live Rock n Roll, 2nd April 2017.

Steve Dawson (Saxon) Men at Work, 28th May 2017.

Trevor Sewell (The Revillos) Still Got the Blues, 21st June 2017.

Jon Dalton, California Dreaming, 18th October 2017.

Robb Weir, Doctor Rock, 5th November 2017.

CALIFORNIA DREAMING – Jon Dalton on his journey from Glastonbury to L.A.


A call came in from Los Angeles ‘Hello Gary, it’s Jon here how you doing, I received a message that you have been asking about Gold. Well here is the story’.

Before we go any further let me give you some background. Gold were formed in 1979 in Bristol, UK by guitarists Jon Dalton and Pete Willey.

Like many of their contemporaries, Gold had grown up listening to first generation rock and metal bands Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Free and later Thin Lizzy and Queen.

Gold’s music was a combination of space and glam mixed with heavy rock. Jon has lived in USA for 20 years as a professional musician.

‘I moved out to the US in 1999, I have Native American roots so it was like coming home. I also wanted to move my jazz career along. It seems that was a good call.

I got signed to Innervision Records in 2003 and they released my first CD with them The Gift, and it did very well. The title track reached number 1 on New York’s CIM jazz chart.

I spent some time over 2006-2007 back in the UK touring and recording with a jazz organ trio with my friend John-Paul Gard on Hammond organ. I released the resulting album in the US in 2009 and it’s been very well received among people who like that kind of jazz.

I still come back to the UK from time to time for mini-tours with John-Paul and I love doing that. Gives me a chance to catch up with my UK friends and my family’s mostly over here these days’.


‘I keep myself busy playing live with a residency in Los Angeles. I also have a YouTube channel dedicated to jazz guitar with performance videos, instrument reviews and playing tutorials, that kind of thing.

I just got done completing the first track of my next CD with producer Richard E.

Richard has done a wonderful job on that and a performance video cut will be up on YouTube soon. If things go according to plan, that CD will release on Innervision in 2018’.

When did you pick up a guitar and who were your influences ?

‘We had an 8 track player in the house and I’d listen to the Stones, Bowie, The Doors anything I could get my hands on, I was really into my music.

I was already playing a bit of rock guitar but I was mostly into progressive rock like Yes. Then around 1975 I met Pete Willey and we hit it off straight away.

Pete and I formed a school band called Grafitti we did a few school gigs and played in some pubs in Bristol. One memorable gig was in The Naval Volunteer.

My chemistry teacher came into the pub and saw me playing. Next day at school he said you were quite good last night, maybe that’s why you never do your homework haha.

That band split up after the summer holidays and I started hanging out on the free festival circuit in the west country. I used to like Steve Hillage and the band Gong and they were heavily involved in these festivals.

I think it was 7th day of the 7th month in ’77 when I first went to a festival, yes very mystical ! And there was Tim Blake’s Crystal Machine ’79 Glastonbury with a laser light show I’d never seen anything like it – blew my mind.

I was a complete dyed in the wool Gong fan I couldn’t think of a better thing to do than sit in a damp field and watch them play at a free festival !

I may be wrong on the dates but I think it was 1979 when they started charging, it was a fiver to get in but Tim Blake’s Crystal Machine, Steve Hillage and Mother Gong were on the bill so I think it was probably the best fiver I spent’.

Gold Mk1

Did you form a band again and what venues did you play ?

’I met up with Pete Willey again, he was more of a straight ahead rocker. He liked bands like Thin Lizzy, Queen but in common we liked songs from Free and Bad Company. Pete also had good knowledge of what was in the charts at the time.

He liked a bit pop music, I was a bit more of a rock snob really. We brought this sound together and that formed the early version of Gold. We started getting a few gigs one was at The Granary where all the top rock bands played.

There was Tiffanys, The Locarno, we did have a good following for our spacey rock. This was at the end of the hippy rock era just before the tables turned and in came punk’.

What were your first experiences of recording ?

‘We recorded a 3 track demo Mountain Queen part one – I think the idea behind this song was a trilogy, but I can’t remember a bloody note of parts 2 and 3 haha.

Other tracks were Change for the Better and Is My Love in Vain that was a really popular song a sort of love ballad with a guitar solo in the middle.

We then changed our bass player, the first was Andy Scott who was more of a new waver he played on that demo but he really wanted to do more new wave stuff.

We got another guy in Paul Summerill he was more of a rocker listening to bands like Rush and played a Rickenbacker bass.

We had a guy called Steve Dawson on drums. There was a guy called Al Read who used to run a rock show on Radio Bristol and he played our stuff a lot and get us on for a few live chats’.

Andy and Pete 2

‘But that line up of Gold split up and I started playing in a jazz funk band Climax. I still liked my rock though. I went to see AC/DC on one of their first tours in the UK and I remember the guy on the radio saying they were like a rock band but quite punky.

I couldn’t see how the two would work together and I went more out of curiosity really and wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy it. But by the end of the concert I was dancing and jumping around, they were great.

The name of the band at the time was quite daring plus they were breaking all the rules with this punk thing. Walking outside I thought that’s the future of rock.

The sound was edgier, harder and I could see that society was going that way, politics were changing, Thatcher got in power 1979 the whole landscape was changing and not in a good way.

Bristol had around 250,000 people and in the whole city there were a handful of homeless people. Then suddenly there was a big rise in people living on the streets, it became a different world.

There was a sense that everything had hardened and that transferred over to music with the start of NWOBHM with Iron Maiden and Saxon’.

Were you aware then and now, the impact of the music scene – heavy rock/metal/nwobhm ?

‘Well, I can say that, at the time, music was incredibly important to a lot of young people. What you listened to defined who you were, where you hung out and who your friends were likely to be. Right down to every little sub-set of every kind of music you can think of.

Back then, if you bought an album, that could be the central talking point of your life for months. People would come to your house and listen to and discuss it.

How it sounded in itself, how it compared to previous releases, where the act might be going. I can’t stress how important that kind of thing was to us. It was our lifeblood.

I think today, with the internet and access to a gazillion tunes at your finger tips rather than having to go out and buy it, people are more eclectic in their tastes.

That means that they tend to be less tribal but it also results in a sense of a greater loss of community. People are much more individual and isolated today than they were back in the day.

Many of my friends from Gold days, are still in touch now and we still have the same core interests that we used to have back then. I’m still a Heavy Metal hippie/biker underneath despite the fact that these days, I’m more likely to do a gig in a dinner jacket than a cut-off t shirt and spandex pants’.


‘I would add that, here in the States young people still really revere the classic rock acts of the ’70s. Led Zep, The Who, Pink Floyd. They’re still seen as the classics, rather than that stuff your Dad used to listen too.

That may just have something to do with the sheer size of the place.

New ideas take longer to roll out here to the extent it affects the culture. For instance, dance music and electronica never really took off in the US at all beyond a small cult following.

I can remember in the UK that you had to be really on top of things or people would laugh at you for being dated or old hat. That never bothered me because I couldn’t care less about trends and fashions.

Americans don’t seem to care so much about that. If something’s good, it’s good regardless of when and where it was made or who made it. I guess you need both angles to make the world work’.

How did Gold get back together ?

’I bumped into Pete we had always been good mates, and he said come and have a jam well I thought ok. I’ve seen AC/DC lets have a harder, rockier sound.

There was Phil Williams on drums who had a great laid back powerful sound and that’s what we needed to move forward, it’s what we were looking for.

We went out with this new version of Gold and the crowds we were playing to then were headbangers in their late teen’s. We bought a pa system and rented it out to other bands to make a bit of money because we were broke.

It was all coming together, we got a van and toured around the country. We got all over, up to Reading, Southend, Doncaster we were out a lot and picking up some interest.

I heard we were watched by scouts for the management team from Motorhead and Girlschool, they were looking for a support band for the tours. But one night we got back home at 4am after playing and for once we decided not to unpack our van.

It got pinched. All our cabs, pa, the lot. We didn’t have the money to replace the gear, we had no idea who had done it or where it had gone. Sadly, that was the end of Gold. That’s the story in a nutshell really’.


‘We really had a blast but listening back to recordings just before that happened, I got the feeling I had enough, and it was time to move on. Although that loss of equipment was a tragedy, I didn’t want to be stuck being a rock musician.

I admired great guitar players like Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads. They were brilliant guitarists but some became these crazy virtuosos, and hair metal bored the pants of me.

A band was at its best when you had team players, camaraderie of playing in a group is what I like’.

Compared to the GOLD days what is the feeling you get today going on stage to perform?

’Well I’m a lot less nervous now than I used to be. I’ve always been a bit shy about performing which is odd because I get on well with people and I’m not exactly an introvert.

But my hands used to shake like jelly and I could barely hold a guitar pick for the first few songs.

I did do about eight years on what we used to call the Cabaret circuit, that would be playing covers around the world in bars and hotels and on military bases.

After sometimes, playing five, forty-five-minute sets per night every week and six on Saturdays that kind of work tends to knock that out of you.

I still get the heebee geebees a little today but nowhere near as much because I’ve kind of trained that out of me. I also realize that it’s only a gig. There will be another one tomorrow or maybe their won’t.

As for the upside, that’s never changed. Every now and again you get a stonking gig. You can never tell or anticipate when that’s going to happen, it just does. Your playing kicks up a notch.

The audience senses that something’s going on and focuses more clearly on what you’re doing and something transformational happens.

It’s moments like that, that keeps us musicians chasing the dragon in terms of live music. There’s nothing like that sensation and I’m as much a sucker for it now as I was 40 years ago’.

Jon Now

What has music given you ?

’Music is my life. It has been since as long as I can remember. It’s defined me as a person. Taken me around the world, paid my bills, introduced me to my greatest friends and provided me with years of beauty, solace and wonder.

My greatest inspiration has always been watching my grandmother Ada Dalton who would get up, every year, on her annual church bash on the stage of the Methodist Central Hall in Bristol and sing When I Grow Too Old To Dream in memory of her husband John-Francis who died between the wars from complications of being a soldier.

She passed on in 1974 at the age of 88. She never had much, but her love and passion expressed through music, kept her going. I learned a big lesson from that.

Mostly that you should never give up, whatever the cost. Some things in life are just too important to let slip away. To be honest, I’m still chasing that level of heart and conviction in my work.

I know I’ll never come close, but it gives me a reason to get up in the morning. That’s what music’s given me. Thanks for taking the time to investigate Gold. I’ve really enjoyed sharing these experiences.

For more information contact the official website

Interview by Gary Alikivi September 2017.

PLAYED HIS CARDS RIGHT – celebrating a 45 year career with vocalist Pete Allenby

‘Every five years or so I still get very small royalty checks… about enough to buy a bag of chips!’

New Wave of British Heavy Metal band Tarot came from South Yorkshire. They formed in 1979 but folded in late 82′

‘There are no plans to reform. I have a four piece rock band called The Method and we play covers of band’s like Toto, Rush, The Who and Queen. We do about 30 gigs a year, we do it for the love !’


Who were your influences and how did you get involved in playing music ? Was there a defining moment when you said ‘I want to do that’ ?

‘I first got involved in music when I was asked to join a band soon after leaving school, and realised I wasn’t that bad at it! My main influences then were The Who, Queen, Joe Cocker and Alex Harvey.

My defining music moment was probably when I first heard Won’t Get Fooled Again then I bought the album, Who’s Next and played it to death! Also when I first heard Seven Seas of Rye by Queen. I’d never really heard anything quite like it before!’


When did you start playing gigs and what venues did you play. Was it in the immediate area or travelling long distances, and did you support name touring bands ?

‘I started playing in ’72 but my first gig’s with Tarot started in 1979 in working men’s club’s. The line up was me on vocals, Malc King on guitars, on bass we had Brian Redfern and Andy Simpson on drums.

We quickly started playing at recognised rock gigs of the day, Ford Green in Leeds, Boilermakers in Sunderland, in Halifax was The White Lion then over to Jenks bar in Blackpool’.

‘We also supported bands like The Jags, John Parr, Fischer Z, Frankie Miller and Def Leppard -whatever happened to them ! On those gig’s we played the Universities, Newcastle Mayfair, Queen’s Hall in Bradford, we got to Doncaster, played The Cock and Lion in Bridlington and The Pier at Lowestoft.

Back in those day’s we got around the North a lot, we covered a lot of miles’.


What were your experiences of recording ? 

‘From 1979-81 Tarot recorded three demo sessions, first was in Halifax where we recorded five tracks in one day. I can’t remember the studio name but I do recall it was on the fourth floor cos I nearly had a coronary carrying the kit up there !

Our second and third recordings were at September Studios in Huddersfield, where we recorded six tracks in all, three at each session.

I can’t remember how much the sessions in the recording studio cost, but coming from Yorkshire I guess it wasn’t mega expensive. HOW MUCH! Being the Yorkshire man’s mantra!’.


‘The only published song from these sessions was Feel the Power which appeared on the compilation album – New Electric Warriors released in 1980.

I remember seeing the album in the local record shop, was a bit disappointed with the cover. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve seen it.

How that came about was someone got in touch with us via Sounds magazine I think, they had checked our name as we were in the metal chart most weeks.

Streetfighter were also on the album, I met their manager a few times. We did a gig with them at Leeds Uni and the BBC came to film some of it including us.

I’m sure it was something to do with Peter Sutcliffe the Yorkshire Ripper not sure why. I don’t remember it being shown on tv’.


‘We also done a mini promotional tour for the album. To be honest I don’t know how many copies of the album were sold back then. It was re-released as part of a triple box set of NWOBHM, which I bought a copy of.

I managed to by a cd version a few years back of New Electric Warrior’s and also a vinyl copy too! I still get very small royalty checks every five year or so, about enough to buy a bag of chips !’

‘All the Tarot material has just been released for the first time, on a remastered cd Rough and Ready. To order a cd you can contact me directly at or the band via facebook page’.

Interview by Gary Alikivi August 2017.

HOWARDS WAY- interview with North East musician Howard Baker

‘In Warbeck we were playing Germany for seven weeks doing 4 x 45 minute sets a night, and 5 on a weekend, that’s how we learnt our trade. In ’85 we got a record deal with EMI. But that went tits up. More of that later’.


Howard has spent most of his life in the music business from performing to owning a studio.

From early influences, gigs, experiences in recording studio’s, high’s and lows, to the present day – this interview uncovers most of the stories in his career – but some of the riskier one’s never make it in, you’ll have to go and see him he might tell you.

‘I still do a lot of gigs a year and continue to work over in Tenerife and France. Currently we are working on pulling together a show with songs from the 1960’s, not a tribute as such more of putting our own stamp on the tracks. So really looking forward to taking that out to the theatres’.


Who were your influences ?

‘When we were young everybody liked Elvis Presley, but I was more of a rebel, I liked Little Richard. I just loved his antics, I loved Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino a bit bluesy you know.

But my voice was always geared up to the likes of Coverdale and Rodgers, more rocky, that style you know, my tones were that way.

When I was in Warbeck we toured with Free and Argent. Our friends Beckett and Brass Alley were the same, you’d also have John Miles Set on the bill at the Locarno or The Mayfair. I remember playing the Mayfair and supporting Back Street Crawler. I loved that time.

I remember recording at Impulse Studio in Wallsend with Warbeck and after the session Keith Satchfield leaving his black beauty Les Paul guitar outside, it was there all night. Luckiest guy in the world because it was still there next day !’


What venues did Warbeck play?

‘We worked through Mel Unsworth Agency then, it was not uncommon for us to do ten shows a week, clubs like Annabels, Zhivagos, Dontino’s in Hexham.

You were doing workingmen’s clubs, three half hours and finishing half past ten. Then on stage in Hexham for 12.30 or Julies up in Sunderland.

For the support work the agent was Ivan Burchill he had all the contracts for Mayfairs and City Hall’s. I remember supporting The Pink Fairies, a strange rock punky sort of band.

(Nerd Alert: While still a member of the Pink Fairies, in May 1975 Larry Wallis joined a new band, Motörhead with Lemmy and Lucas Fox. In September 1975 Fox left the band and Motörhead recruited a new drummer, Phil Taylor. Wallis recorded an album with the band, ‘On Parole’.

It remained unreleased until 1979 when Motörhead had established some reputation for themselves. In February 1976 Wallis was joined by Fast Eddie Clarke on guitar. Later in the same month Wallis left Motörhead.)


‘The best laugh was doing the City Hall with Alvin Stardust and it was the craziest line up ever. We were a full on rock band supporting the pop star. His single out at the time was My Coo Ca Choo.

Anyway we were in the dressing room while 2,000 kids were screaming outside wanting Alvin. We were worried but he came up to us and said just do your show lads, and don’t worry the fans are screaming so loud they can’t hear what you’re playing anyway.

Afterwards he came back to us and said that was brilliant lads. Then I watched him and the way he controlled the whole show was completely different from us, we were heads down rock you know. I must admit he was really good, a great showman’.


‘Around 1975 a guy called Roberto Donova came up North from London to see us play. He was interested in signing us. We were playing the Barmston Club in Washington and he turned up in his Rolls Royce and parked it outside.

He wandered in, heard us play five songs, bought us a round of drinks and said see ya in my studio in a couple of weeks’.

‘We had a big monitor system, four huge bins we bought off Jethro Tull. First club we played it in was so loud we blew the polystyrene tiles of the ceiling. It took a few gigs to get used to it.

We had some pyro to put on a bit of a show. We used to put the bombs in two small wastepaper bins, but one gig we forgot them so went outside in the back lane and got a big rubbish bin. We put both bombs in there and set it up behind Craigy (Alan Craig) the drummer.

End of the first set the roadies set it off and a big boom ! But they never cleaned the bin out first so there was rubbish, banana skins all sorts all over the stage’.


‘Another pyro story was we were playing Usworth Social Club and we forgot to bring smoke flares. We liked a bit of smoke around the stage. So, we went out and bought some flares nearby. These were for boats, like distress flares.

Again, they were set up behind the drums and were set off at the end of the set just as we played Smoke on the Water.

Well at first, they didn’t look much but the smoke coming out of them just kept on coming until it filled the concert room. Our eyes were streaming, the concert chairman was up in arms, but the worst thing was the smoke was orange.

There was so much smoke we couldn’t see a thing, they rang the fire brigade who eventually found the bin and hoyed it outside.

The concert room was covered in orange stains, all over the chairs, everywhere. Ended up we never got paid just a massive cleaning bill’.


‘Around ’78 Warbeck travelled down to London in our own transit van to support AC/DC at the Marquee. Bon Scott was thin as a rake then and Angus was just a tiny fella but you could just tell they had something about them.

A great sound with a solid rhythm section for Angus to play with. They had a real presence.

We also supported Whitesnake up at Ashington. I remember it was a November, absolutely freezing and the place was chocka block. Our dressing room was tiny with a little radiator and Coverdale’s room was all soft chairs, heaters with lobster thermadore.

I knew him from when he was in a band called Government and he said hello. I thought I need to be at that level. We got close but through bad circumstances, didn’t quite get there.

There was a lot of talent up here in the North East. Some of them should have made it bigger you know. Really good writers and great players I worked with, some wonderful performers up here’.


‘All the Northern rock bands have worked bloody hard but a lot got ripped off. Some had a self-destruct button though, it’s part of the make-up. When we were signed suddenly, we thought we were rock stars, but we had no money.

The record company drove us from the house to the recording studio in Roll’s Royce’s. It was called RG Jones’ studio in Wimbledon.

A guy I mentioned earlier Roberto Danova, he was composer, arranger, the producer there. In the studio next door was the Average White Band recording, across the hall was Queen.

But we were missing recording sessions, the producers saying what’s going on here you know. The studio was £1,000 per day. But it was a case of self-destruct from one of the band, drinking was involved.

There was a tour with Whitesnake lined up. That should have happened. I had worked to get that far but I left in the end and opened a studio’.


‘I had a record deal with Warner Bros in France with my band Nightwalker that was around 1990. A friend of mine called Guierc, he was a big shot in a private hospital, manager I think, but he was a rock star at night!

He was in a music shop in Paris and there were two guys talking one of them was Dominic Ruiz who amongst others, wrote songs for rock band Krokus. He was saying he could do with an English singer and my friend Gieric butted in and said I know just the guy who can help you.

Within two days I had plane tickets to fly to France. When I got there I met Dominic Ruize, he said I like your voice do you want to do some writing. All this through an interpreter because he only knew a few English words, and two of them were McEwans Scotch and Brown Ale’.


‘We came back to my studio Baker Street in Jarrow and wrote together for five weeks, we done about fifteen songs. He went back to France and set up some recording sessions with some really top players. It was brilliant, a great experience.

It was all going well. I thought hey all the North East bands Warbeck, Brass Alley, Lucas Tyson all them bands who worked their socks off and thought we knew our stuff, but I learned a whole lot more when I went to their studio.

I worked with Vanessa Paradis, she said Howard never start a song with a letter P, because it pop’s on the mic and using an S in lyrics. Just little things like that, they were a big help’.

‘We done a video and the single was ready for release. Our producer, John Ducusse who worked out of Harrison Studio, was with Warner Bros who had just been taken over by Sony.

He had an album out, it was doing really well in Europe and he asked for another 25,000 copies of his album, they said no.

He had been with the company for years. After a big row they said John, you’re sacked and you can take your bands with you. Well we were one of his bands.

So they called us on December 23rd to say they had dropped us. I thought the call was going to be about the release of the single because they had already sent the acetates to radio stations. It’s a horrible feeling because I’d worked for years to get to that point. I was gutted’.

‘Around that time we put together a track and entered it into the Eurovision song contest. Sadly not successful but reached the final 20.

We recorded a few sessions with notable North East musicians, Ted Hunter and Shaun Taylor. I played in a band with guitarist Steve Dawson for about three years, that was Riff Raff.

I was also in Ramm with Arthur Ramm from Beckett. Then the JPM Band with a guy called Mark Taylor who went on to play with Simple Minds.

When I had the studio a few people came in and recorded bits and pieces, former Hellanbach members Kev Charlton and Davey Patton came in for a session.

The band Pariah came through here, Russ Tippins and Shaun Taylor he ended up in Nightwalker with me. Also guitarist Dale Carson who is now playing with Borderland. All really good players.

Some did go on to bigger things like Steve Robson he’s wrote stuff for Take That, One Direction, Christina Aguilera, a long list of them, now he’s head producer at Northern Sky Studio’s in London’.


Bringing your story up to date what are you doing now ?

’I released a blues album in Summer 2015 The Paris Files recorded in a studio in Montmagny, north of the French capital. Now I record a lot in Richmond Studio in Durham then send it to producer MrHardearly in Paris who gets in good musicians.

This new album is more laid back and bluesy compared to my rock voice. That went really well.

I’m still very busy doing nearly 200 gig’s a year, we’re currently putting a new sixties show together to tour. I would like to take this opportunity to thank every one of the musician’s, producers, promoters that I’ve worked with through my career.

The likes of Eric Moutard, Kevin Twedddle at Richmond Studio, Shirly Teasdale who was with me in Riff Raff for 17 years. You know, music, I would do it all again. It’s given me a house, a lovely lifestyle, yes I would do it all again’.

Interview by Gary Alikivi  July 2017.


Lou Taylor SATAN/BLIND FURY: Rock the Knight, 26th February & 5th March 2017.

Steve Dawson SARACEN/THE ANIMALS: Long Live Rock n Roll, 2nd April 2017.

Harry Hill, FIST: Turn the Hell On, 29th April 2017.

Martin Metcalfe HOLLOW GROUND: Hungry for Rock, 18th June 2017.

Kev Charlton, HELLANBACH/BESSIE & THE ZINC BUCKETS: The Entertainer, 23rd June 2017.

Steve Thompson,( NEAT Producer) Godfather of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, 27th June 2017.