In the early 1960s, my ﬁrst professional gig was with Liverpool group The Crescents at Derby Town Hall, playing the hits of Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, The Yardbirds and Spencer Davis. Now 50 years later I still play much the same repertoire in the Gard- Lozère, with my Anglo-French group Rhythm ‘n’ Booze — me on vocals and guitar, Jack Bee (ex-Glory Hogs) on drums and Jérôme Le Grand (ex-Emma Royd’s Painmakers) on bass guitar.
French audiences are fantastic, and love the early 60’s Anglo/ American R'n'B and jiving to the old rock standards — and it’s very heart-warming to see people as old as us "giving it large" on the dance ﬂoor!
I’ve played over 100 concerts since 2000, including festivals and blues events, plus local fundraisers for various charities ranging from Haitian earthquake victims in Le Collet-de-Dèze to the church bell restoration in Sainte-Cécile-d’Andorge. Our next gig is the Royal Wedding Garden Party on 19 May at the Château du Fraissinet, supporting Nepal Remote Villages Trust (see opposite).
However this is a far cry from the heady days of the 1970s when I worked with many of the top British groups of the day, including Status Quo, UFO, Thin Lizzy and Jet Harris.
One of my earliest inﬂuences was The Shadows — but I never imagined that 30 years later, I’d be Jet Harris’s manager! Before I joined The Crescents, I’d spend Sunday mornings playing guitar with Alvin Lee, with his mother on the piano at their home in Nottingham. Alvin’s band The Jaybirds later changed its name to Ten Years After, to international acclaim.
My next adventure was music management in London in the 1970s. I was tasked to transform Status Quo’s image from a pop group to a rock band — and it worked! I booked Quo’s gigs and toured with them.
I worked with Jeff Christie of CBS Records — one of the nicest guys in the business, he’d originally written Yellow River for Brian Poole and The Tremeloes, but then recorded the song himself, which became a hit around the world.
Working with Nucleus Entertainments on Wardour Street, our band UFO became a huge success in Germany and Japan with three top ten hits, yet were virtually unknown in the UK, until some years later when Michael Schenker joined them. I travelled to Germany and played Johnny B Goode as an encore with them in Wuppertal.
What a shame selﬁes didn’t exist in those days — I’d have had some interesting photos to show now! I suffered coronary problems in 2000, which was a wake-up call to change my life — and hence Rhythm ‘n’ Booze and a new life in Lozère!