I also play mandolin and banjo in a skiffle band (www.StrauBenZee.biz) Line up; Stuart Refold (Lead Vocals and percussion) (Stuart had a hit album in Switzerland with a band called 'Duffy') Greg McGregor (also Sax player in Raz Daz on accordian) and Kirk Riddle (Double Bass also with Phillip Good-
And I play bass (is there no end to this man’s talents) in another Rock-
Line up; Mick Douglas (Bass/ Vocals. Dick Middleton ex Mungo Jerry and Gene Vincent (Guitar/ Vocals) and Willie Fox (drums) previously with Southern Nights and one gig with The Allmann Brothers.
That’s pretty much up to date September 2012 with a wasted but very happy life.
I was a war baby born 23rd March 1941 brought up in a loving home along with a younger sister Maureen. I enjoyed reading and painting, and also was very active playing football and cricket for my school Onslow Secondary in Guildford.
Aged 13, I passed an exam which took me to Farnham Art School. I failed the 11 plus, maths being my downfall. At art school I met kindred spirits and became more extrovert. It was at art school where I became aware of Skiffle and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Needless to say that was the beginning of the end as far as a serious career went. I organized a raffle and with the proceeds bought an acoustic guitar, which I believe cost me £4.00.
I didn’t know how to tune it, so I simply turned the tuning pegs to the same angle that they were positioned in a photo of a guitar I had. It was at least four months before someone pointed out it was far more technical than that.
Move on a couple of years to 1960 and I found myself in the Plaza which was the local Guildford ballroom. That night the group appearing was Pete Chester and The Consulates. (Pete was Charlie Chester the comedian’s son) Also in the band was a Tenor sax player named Al Watson who later joined The Migil 5. Pete was the original drummer in The Drifters, they went on to become The Shadows. Half way through the evening they had a singing contest and all the local likely lads jumped on stage including me (star struck). I sang Cliff Richard’s “Move It” that was the first time I had ever sang in public. To the cry’s of it’s a fix, I discovered I’d won, and the following week after a bust up with his band, Pete Chester and Al Watson asked me, our lead guitarist John Kelly and our bass player Micky(foo)Fitzpatrick to join him and turn professional, of course we all jumped at the chance. We played on the Saturday Club Tour 1961 as backing group to Matt Monro, Bert Weedon, and Dickie Pride. The Alisons (Britains answer to the Everly Brothers) joined the show later. Gene Vincent was also on the tour, but backed by The Outlaws.
In 1961 we were the first British group to tour Israel, playing large theatres and sport stadiums, it was some experience. On our return we braced ourselves for the first of many trips to Germany. We played Frankfurt on New Years day 1962 and this is honest true, we had to play ten forty-
We also backed Sandie Shaw on her debut single 'As long as your happy baby' and 'Ya Ya Da Da' that same year, which sank without trace. Chris Andrews then went full time solo and so the band folded.
I passed an audition in 1964 to join a Lewisham based band called Cool School, this was my first encounter with Gary Unwin (The Hi-
I acted as Ritchie’s best man, we had become good friends whilst appearing at the Star Club. Later me and Ritchie Blackmore also attended the wedding of Albert Lee.
The lineup was Brian Bennett. (vocals/ keyboard). Malcolm Lenny (vocals/ guitar). Malcolm Wright (drums). Gary Unwin (bass/vocals). Mick Douglas (guitar/vocals/front man). The Hi-
When Malcolm Lenny left, he was replaced by Tony Coates from Liverpool and we also had two other drummers Martin Harrison and another, whose name I regret is washed out of my memory bank. After The Hi fi’s folded Tony Coates had success with Liverpool Express. Gary Unwin with Bony M and many others. Brian Bennett & Malcolm Wright both sadly died, which left Malcolm Lenny and me. We met up again and currently play(circa 2012) in a band together called Happy Daze. As time goes by, gigs dry up, so I now currently play with several groups. I front a Rock ‘n’ Roll band called Razzle Dazzle in which I actually play lead guitar (U-
Doing Xmas Gig
Doing PJ Proby
One of the many faces of Mickey
And the Lost Chord
Around 1957 some lads at a youth club Alan Mennie (snare drum on a wash stand), Ian Scott-
They talked me(also on guitar) into forming a skiffle group with them. We called ourselves the Plebians (I was reading Julius Caesar at the time). It must have been the worst group of all time, not one of us could actually play, although we did make a rhythmic racket. As time went on I began to grasp a few chords and things began to progress.
I ended up playing rhythm guitar in a group considered to be quite good in the Guildford area. Johnie Kelly’s Rockin' Crescendoes. John Kelly (Lead guitar),later on he also had success in Germany with a Scottish group called The Fleets. Micky (Foo)Fitzpatrick (Bass) went on to play with The Flintstones and wrote “Can’t Stop Now” for The Marmalade. Kenny Pate (drums) I have completely lost touch with. Claude Wilkins and Tony Spencer (vocals) and Micky Woods (Piano) all died far too young.