ABOUT/HISTORY

 PART ONE

 The Green Man public house was THE place to hangout in the 1970's if you lived in or around the north east part of London (Leytonstone, Walthamstow,  Chingford, Wanstead, East Ham etc)

 For five local teenagers...Steve Dawson, Steve Hewer, Freddie Ball, Pete Webb and Phil Collen the Green Man was the place to go and see bands and to be  seen.

 Around 1974-75 a band called DEEP FEELING was the resident band who played Thursday through to Sunday every week. DEEP FEELING who were  originally called the Guy Darrell Syndicate and who had a hit in 1973 with 'I've been Hurt' played classic rock covers, but unlike most bands that played the  usual hit covers Deep Feeling played mostly album tracks like: Yours is no Disgrace, The Faith Healer, One of These Days, China Growth, Too Rolling  Stoned etc.  by bands such as Yes, Alex Harvey, Pink Floyd, Doobie Brothers, Led Zeppelin, Robin Trower and so forth. Deep Feeling also had excellent  musicians in it:  Terry Newman on vocals, Dave Green on bass, Derek Elson on keyboards, Graham Jarvis on drums and of course the sensational Martin  Jenner on guitar who later went on to play with Barbara Dixon, Cliff Richard and the Everly Brothers! Martin and Dave have since passed away.

 It was this band Deep Feeling that obviously made a very deep and encouraging impact on the five young teenagers!


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The Green Man, Leytonstone - 1970's

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Martin Jenner & Dave Green

DEEP FEELING

Every year at the Green Man they would have a 'Battle of the Bands' competition for unknown local acts. It was about 1975 that the boys thought that they would 'have a go'

The song chosen to perform was Led Zeppelin's Rock 'n' Roll. Steve Hewer had quite a high pitch voice and was confident that he would be able to do a Robert Plant.

Up to this point they had only ever practised together, they had never played as a band before and for some of them it would be their first ever time on stage with a proper band, miked-up, playing in front of a real 'live' audience! Pete recalls having butterflies and feeling sick in the stomach in the moments leading up to treading the stage.

Because the five of them had been practising hard to learn their parts in the weeks leading up to their slot they had completely forgot to think of a name for the band! So when the compere leaned over to the side where the boys were waiting to go on and asked what they called themselves everybody just looked shocked and stunned staring at each other! To the rescue and quick thinking Steve Hewer was quick to think and shout out 'Sea Goat'. With a sigh of relief the others all turned to the man saying "Yes, that's it, Sea Goat!"

Sea Goat waited patiently to the side of the stage with their guitars in their hands when it was announced "Okay ladies and gents, could you please give a very warm welcome to a young local band who will be playing Led Zeppelin's Rock 'n' Roll for you, please welcome to the stage 'Sea Gull!' A couple of the band tried to catch the man's attention to point out that he had said the wrong name but soon gave up as the sound of the clapping coming from the audience was drowning their screams. Oh well Sea Gull, now's your chance!

The boys were going down a storm and Pete's nervousness had disapeared after the first couple of notes were played, Steve sounded just like Plant, the guitars were spot on just like the record and the crowd loved them!

That night, Sea Goat (or rather Sea Gull) had won the heat!

For the next couple of weeks 'Sea Gull' were hard at practising and rehearsing at Allan Gordon studios in Leyton 'Too Rollin' Stoned' by 'Robin Trower for the semi-finals.

RIGHT: The former Allan Gordon rehearsal studio “underneath the arches” in Midland Road, Leyton, E10. On any one evening there could be half a dozen bands creating an unholy racket behind these doors. Bands like Remus Down Boulevard and a little known band doing the rounds called Iron Maiden. These arches have now been redeveloped, and a little bit of musical history has disappeared forever.

 

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 The band came second so didn't win the semi-finals and so thus their glory was short lived, however the seed  was now sown for a future of uncertainty!

 It was also around this time that Freddie, Steve Dawson & Pete were keeping theirselves busy on another band  project of Steve Hewer's.

 MORDOR was the name of this band and very much like the name suggests the music and lyrics would mostly  be centred around stories from the Hobit and the Lord of the Rings. It therefore wasn't such a surprise if this  'prog-rock' outfit would have songs in the set that would last for at least eight minutes or more!

 The track opposite (just under nine minutes long) taken from a CD entitled 'The Ride to Rohan' was recorded  'live' in an annexe at St. Peters in the Field church, Forest Rise, Upper Walthamstow in 1976. 

 The song is called 'Song for Hieronymus Bosch'

 Nothing more happened with this band but yet again Fred, Pete and Phil were putting together another  band  calling themselves CHEAP THRILL (below) with another local John Newman on vocals.

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CHEAP THRILL

1976

Phil Collen, Freddie Ball, Pete Webb & John Newman

Taken at a 'surprise' party for Pete's 18th birthday organised by his mum & dad

(before the peroxide got a hold!).....nice clothes boys!


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Unlike MORDOR, CHEAP THRILL actually acquired gigs albeit locally.

And probably because of watching DEEP FEELING this band would also only play covers that other bands did not attempt.

Songs such as '2112' - Rush, 'The Cops are Coming' - Heavy Metal Kids, 'White Punks on Dope' - The Tubes, 'Under my Wheels - Alice Cooper and of course 'Too Rollin' Stoned' - Robin Trower would all be included in an ever growing set, often played with extended lead guitar solos.

Fred and Pete both recall that Phil's solos were so long at times that they would often have time to get off stage, go to the bar, order a drink or go to the toilet (or both!) and still get back in time on stage to join Phil coming out of his solo to rejoin the rest of the song!

It was quite common to see Pete falling asleep whilst standing up waiting for Phil to finish his solo!

"We had fun in that band" Pete recalls.

"I remember one time we were playing a youth club hall in Priory Court in Walthamstow, the curtains would be closed with us all standing behind with our instruments waiting while the intro music was playing. The curtains would open, the intro would fade and we would all come in with whatever first song it was. Well, on this occassion whoever set the mike stands up didn't realise that they had placed them on top of the curtains, so as the curtains opened, crash, bang, wallop the stands and mikes would go crashing to the floor!

Another time I remember jumpimg back on stage for the second set and my foot got caught on an amp lead and pulled an amp crashing to the floor!"

CHEAP THRILL was an important time for everyone as it gave each member their first experience of playing in front of people on quite a regular basis, 'appy daze!

 

 Above: Phil, Pete, John & Freddie during a rehearsal break at Allan Gordon studios.                                            * Sadly John Newman passed away with throat cancer in 2010*

 (Pete had the Hayman 4040 bass and John had the sister Hayman 3030 guitar)

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 Keeping with the trend of joining or forming as many bands as you possibly can within a year it wasn't long before Phil got restless and answered an ad in  Melody Maker to a band calling themselves LUCY who were based in and around the Dartford area in Kent.

 Phil had gone up a notch! LUCY had more 'prestigious' gigs lined up.

 LUCY regularly played at the Woolwich Tramshed in Woolwich New Road SE18 (Dumpy's Rusty Nuts made their first ever appearance here), universities

 and colleges up and down the country, the Golden Lion in Fulham, the Rochester Castle in Stoke Newington, the Swan on Hammersmith Broadway (where  they played with 'Gaye Advert and the Adverts' and another band who called themselves 'Fruit Eating Bears') 'Upstairs at Ronnies' at Ronnie Scott's Jazz  club and the world famous Marquee club both set in London's Soho.

 Pete remembers hearing a demo of the band that Phil had recorded with them which had three songs on it, 'Gotta Keep Cool', 'No Way Out' and 'What Do  You Want From Life' with original bass player Peter Ferris

 "I remember it sounding really professional, the quality was amazing and unlike anything I had heard up to then from a band that had not been signed"

 LUCY were classed as a punk band, but really they sounded more like a new wave/punky/rock band with catchy riffs and melodic vocals.

 What they had going for them too was that singer Paul Meuse was a rep for Warner Electric Atlantic (WEA) and knew a lot of contacts in the record  industry.

 Led Zeppelin had not long released their album 'Presence' in this year 1976 and working for WEA Paul would often bring home 'freebies' and he had been    given the black 'Obelisk' shaped object that was on the front cover and throughout the 'Presence' album.

 Other members of LUCY were Len Foster - Drums/Vocals and Peter Ferris - Bass/Vocals

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The Tramshed in Woolwich

(a regular gig to play for LUCY)

Left:

LUCY at the world famous Marquee club, Wardour Street in London's Soho

From Left to Right:

Peter Ferris, Paul Meuse, Len Foster and Phil

 With Phil now in LUCY and CHEAP THRILL no more Pete would often go to the band's rehearsals  with Phil in his beaten up old white Ford Escort van and also roadied for the band at their  shows  all around the country, but secretly wishing he too was in the band!

 Well, it seemed within a blink and Pete's prayers were answered, he found himself in the band!

 Another demo was recorded with three more songs 'Old Time Movie Star' (later to be recorded by  the  'Original' Dumb Blondes), 'Never Love Again' and 'Bright Lights'

 LUCY also managed to get a small record deal with 'Lightning Records' a subsidiary of WEA where  they released two songs "Really Got Me Goin' / Oy" and "Never Never / Feel So Good" - 1977

 'Really Got Me Goin' was recorded at Paul's house where the vocals were recorded in the toilet as  the acoustics were excellent which provided a natural reverb!

 "Never Never" was recorded at Berry Street studios in the City of London.

 LUCY - Really Got Me Goin'   (1977)

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Phil & Pete in LUCY

Warwick University - 1977

One must remember that this was 1977 and Punk was digging in It's roots, everything was in a bit of a mish mash, glam rock had only recently disappeared, disco was at the back door, heavy metal was always lurking in some dark corner and now with punk hitting the headlines it was hard for any band (unless you was punk through and through) to find an image!

Just by looking at the members of LUCY during a gig you could see that there was some sort of costume crisis. Phil looked as if he had just come down a ladder after cleaning someones windows, Len looked cool and a typical rocker, Pete looked like a glam rock punk cross dresser, and Paul a kind of mix of all three!

It wasn't too long before the band kind of 'slipped away' and Phil (yet again had discovered another band TUSH )

 LUCY - Never Never   (1977)

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 In 1975 a band called SATISFACTION was formed by George Junor (guitar/vocals), Mickey Tickton (bass/vocals) and Bob White (drums).

 They soon changed the name of the band to TUSH and recruited second guitarist Tony Miles to help provide a more contemporary and fuller sound.

 TUSH was known to members of LUCY and CHEAP THRILL after seeing them play at the Spread Eagle public house in London's Shoreditch. They played  a combination of rock covers and original songs and were exceptionally good at creating that 'twin guitar' sound.

 

 During late 1977 the band dissolved when George decided to return to  Scotland for family reasons. However, in early 1978 Mickey Tickton  promptly reformed the band with Tony Miles. Upon hearing this Phil  approached Mickey and Tony and together TUSH was reborn now with  John Newman on vocals and Freddie Ball on drums (both previously with  CHEAP THRILL)

 This new line-up performed a few London gigs but was short-lived.

 Very little recorded material of TUSH remains except for some rough  demo tracks recorded by the original line-up in 1976.


 The manager of TUSH was ex-british boxing champion Victor Andretti  who also managed the Spread Eagle pub where TUSH use to play  frequently and the Ringside Cafe opposite.

Right:

TUSH at the Spread Eagle, Shoreditch, London

Tony Miles, Mickey Tickton, Freddie Ball & Phil Collen

1978

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 Just before TUSH came to an end, one of their roadies (Jeff Hepting) was asked if he wanted to sing and if he would audition for them. He did, and they  played 'Crossroads' by Cream and on hearing this Victor Andretti promptly said "You're in!"

 But TUSH was to be no more and one evening while Freddie, Phil, Pete and new man Jeff were all sitting round Phil's mum and dad's house in Boundary  road, Walthamstow the boys decided that they wanted to form a band but with a difference, they wanted to be noticed, they wanted an image!

 They agreed that they would want to write most of their songs and that they needed a name that would 'stick-out'.

 Freddie suggested WINSTON'S BOGEY which was mentioned in one of the tracks 'the worse job he ever had'(taken from the Peter Cook and Dudley Moore  album 'Derek & Clive' - Live) released in 1976.

 WINSTON'S BOGEY very very nearly got the vote! But when they started talking about the image they all wanted and someone mentioned 'make-up' the  name just didn't go with it.

 Make-up, peroxide hair, jewellery, tarty clothes, pouty poses, the conversation was getting interesting, an image like the 'silver screen' goddesses, you  know,  they call them Dumb Blondes don't they?

 That's it... DUMB BLONDES! but they wanted to put the 'ORIGINAL' in to make it sound more grandeur than just Dumb Blondes and also they agreed to  keep the 'e' in Blondes hoping that when punters saw the name advertised they would think they were women so hopefully attract more of a crowd, of which  they did at first, a very good marketing tactic!

Above:

Derek & Clive (Live) 1976

'The worse job he ever had'

where 'Winston's Bogey' is mentioned and very nearly became the name of the band!

And so it was in 1978, The 'Original' Dumb Blondes was formed.

The band wasted no time on getting their image together, and with help from girlfriends it wasn't long before each member could apply their own make-up with ease.

Friends of the band George Jarvis and Clifford Garrett would hang out with the band and would regulary take photos of the band at their gigs, but it was Al Walter who became their 'official' (unpaid) photographer and took this promotional photo below which was later used in the Def Leppard book - Animal Instinct (1987)

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 This 'Original' Dumb Blondes photo was taken at High Beech in Essex by Al Walter in 1978 which was later used in the Def  Leppard book by David Fricke called Animal Instinct (Right) on Zomba Books 1987 with all photos by Ross Halfin  

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 Phil's mum's house

 223 Boundary Road,  Walthamstow  E17 where most

 of the early rehearsals and band  practice would take place

 

 To the other guys in the band  this would be their second home.  In between the writing, playing  and trying on make-up you  would have Phil's mum 'Connie'  providing refreshments and in  the mornings a full hearty  english breakfast!

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 Pete, Freddie, Phil and Jeff.

 This photo was taken in the back  room at Boundary  Road for the  local  newspaper

 ©The Walthamstow Guardian

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