‘IN 1971 WE SIGNED TO THE BEATLES COMPANY, APPLE RECORDS’ – interview with former Halfbreed guitarist Pete Dodds

I first picked up a guitar when I was twelve years old. My influences were Lonnie Donegan, Buddy Holly, Beatles, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.  My first gig was in 1964 at The Portland Hotel in Ashington, Northumberland. After that it was gigs in clubs, pubs and village halls.

What band were you playing in then ? Played in a band called Halfbreed and the line-up was Bill Elliot, Colin Mason, Les Connolly, Tom Farrier and Bob Purvis – who was a non- playing songwriter. I was a member of the band until 1974 when things happened, but unfortunately the group split. Bob and Billy went on to become Splinter who were famous for the single Costafine Town that was on George Harrison’s label Dark Horse Records.

What was your experiences in a recording studio ? In 1971 we had signed to Apple records and the first time in a studio we recorded demos for  The Beatles company. We did an 8 track demo with George Martin and Mal Evans as producers. I have a copy of the tracks, they have been cleaned up ready for further work.

My first album was recorded in 1987, that was Full Circle. The studio was Baker Street in Jarrow. It was run by Howard Baker who used to be vocalist with Warbeck. I’ve recorded a couple more albums in various North East studio’s since then, like The Cluny. The latest was in 2016.

Have you any road stories ? I was playing a gig when my guitar touched the mic stand, next thing I knew I woke up in the hospital. There was a fault in the electrical system – I must have lit up like a Christmas tree.

We were rehearsing for a gig at the Marquee club in London when my amp blew up. The Beatles roadie Mal Evans, sent our roadies round to Apple to pick up an amp. They came back with John Lennon’s gear – a 200 watt Marshal amp and two Sunn cabinets. One of the cabinets had a revolving speaker, that was an insight into Johns sound.

What are you doing now ? After my mother’s death I came out to Spain to clear my head, write a book and record a new album which I have now finished. My book is finished and is now being proof read and checked for grammar plus just waiting on the art work.

What does music mean to you ? Music has been with me most of my life I hope it will still be there after everything and everyone has gone.

 Interview by Gary Alikivi  April 2020.

 

 

 

APPLE OF OUR EYES with radio presenter & author Nigel Pearce

Radio Presenter Nigel Pearce has released a book on the products of Apple, the company originally founded by The Beatles in 1966…..

The Apple group delved into Records, Films, Publishing, Electronics, Retail, Studios and until now it has been hard to find a complete listing of what actually was done under this banner. Take a look and discover what Frank Sinatra recorded for Apple along with just about everybody from the scene at the time.

What inspired you to write the book ?  The inspiration was quite simple really apart from The Beatles recordings themselves, nobody ever mentions Apple Records, and what the company originally stood for as ‘a foundation for the arts’.

Knowing a fair bit through my own research, I started to dig a little deeper and wow the info started coming.

Also knowing musician Pete Dodds was a huge spur, because his efforts have gone very largely unrewarded, so I thought that would be a real bonus too. So with those two reasons being central, I began my quest.

How long did it take to research and write ?  The whole project took me about a year, due to the checking, and rechecking to quantify everything properly, then finding the correct prose and photographs and finally interesting a publisher.

It all takes time and mounts up to an astonishing degree, which then takes on a whole new ball game and becomes much more than a personal quest. But overall I feel satisfied as this will alert more people to what Apple did, and maybe that was the main reasons why the name was pirated, you never know.

Is this your first book ?  I have written two previous books on Aviation, which has nothing to do with the music scene or The Beatles, both now sadly out of print. The publisher for this book The Apples of our Eyes is United p.c.

Did you find any interesting facts when researching the book ?  There are many surprising and staggering facts uncovered, and that makes the whole scenario that much more incredible in the whole scheme of things. The vision that the fab four had was so far forward thinking for the time, that they are all the more incredible now in 2020. Perhaps it was their united vision that caused so many problems, no-one could keep a handle on things.

What are you working on now ?  Several very interesting projects including Pete Dodds new album, and unearthing some more unknown gems from several quarters including Splinter

(1970’s North East band signed to Dark Horse, George Harrison’s label. Check out their 1974 hit song ‘Costafine Town’).

Also continuing with the radio show Groove Britain which is now in its seventh year, all hard work.

Where is the book available ?  The book is available on Amazon and from all good booksellers so seek it out and enjoy. Go on take a slice and see how much of those halcyon days of the ‘60s still reverberate in our lives. After all The Beatles gave so much to lighten up all our lives, and you know that can’t be bad.

Listen to Nigel, who is based in Norwich, broadcast for Groove Britain, now in it’s seventh continuous year and growing. Find Future radio at 107.8FM. The show is a 2 hour programme that goes out every Sunday at 3pm, also broadcasts for Swindon 105.5FM on a Tues/Wed/Thurs at 1pm with repeats in the early hours.

Also broadcast for Radio Stockton FM and UK Radio via Carol Miller in New York City Q104.3FM and on Soundcloud.

Interview by Gary Alikivi  April 2020.