Keith Ivy (Bass)
Keith Towsey (Bass)
Trevor Trudgeon (Keyboards)
Julian Crewes (Guitar)
Chris Pollard (Guitar, vocals and harmonica)
Mike Isaacs (Drums)
Keith Marshall (Drums)
Thank you to Chris Pollard for the info on Angel:
Julian had been working in Holland, Germany and Wales, his wanderings done, he returned to Portscatho and moved into our back shed! I by this time was married with two small daughters, and an even smaller son. Once again our thoughts turned to music. Well actually it had never really gone away, for whenever we got together, we either talked about it or played it! In fact when he came back from his travels, there it was, the battered old guitar case containing his precious twelve string, he had actually dragged it around Europe!
We rigged up an old combo amp and a mike stand which had survived from the 'old days' and set our sights on some more gear. Julian purchased a black Les Paul Copy and I a new microphone and we were off again. With a few old songs under our belts, we set about finding the personnel for what would become a successful band, who would gig up and down the county, in an old group van throughout the mid 70's.
First up was Keith Ivy, we loved Keith! He had moved down here from London and was a bit of a lad, as they say! This is really typical of Julian and I. In those days we would meet someone and become friends and say, "Hey! Why don't you join the band? " . Keith for example, was not a musician but we said "well, we are looking for a bass player ", and that was it! In no time he had got himself a bass guitar, and of course the other thing was, he looked good! He did quite well, all things considered and played with us for a few months. Although we are talking here about the band ANGEL, at that time we were calling ourselves, RIP OFF, a name we found in the back of the Melody Maker. It was a music shop in London as far as I can remember.
The name ANGEL was taken from the Jimi Hendrix song which had been recorded by Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood on guitar. It was at this point that we started rehearsing at Carhayes Village Hall, which became our base for a fair time. This is when various people started turning up. Some of them have been and gone, and some of them thankfully are still around.
These two guys just walked in while we were playing, they were Keith Towsey and Trevor Trudgeon. We got chatting and found out that Trev was a keyboard player, could read music, which none of us could, and would really love to play in a Rock and Roll Band. It was arranged that Julian and Keith Ivy would go around to his house on the following Sunday afternoon to audition him. When they got back to my place afterwards, they were giggling and laughing so much they could hardly talk I thought "Oh, this guy's no good, he can't play!, " no " That's not it " they said, " he's a really good musician, but he didn't have any shoes on! And there was a huge hole in one of his socks. Every time he pressed his foot down on the peddle of his organ, his big toe popped out! ". These two were beside themselves, they thought it was so funny, well I guess you had to be there! But the whole episode reminds me of our sense of humour at the time! (mad!)
Twenty-eight years later, Trev is still with us, a gentle giant of a man, a great musician, and friend.
Keith Towsey continued to hang around, he was Trev's mate and so we didn't mind. It was quite obvious to us that he really wanted to be in the band, only we didn't have a job for him. There was Trev on keyboards, Keith Ivy on bass, Julian on guitar, with yours truly on vocals and harmonica. What we really needed was a drummer. And here we enter another realm of fantasy rock and roll.
These two guys turned up at the Hall, a Scotsman who had put a great deal of effort into looking like David Bowie and a London wide boy. " Hi! I'm a drummer and I just moved to the area" says the London wide boy! " Great, what sort of music are you into "we said. " Well I used to be the drummer with the HEAVY METAL KIDS, you may have seen me on the Old Grey Whistle Test a few weeks ago? "We could not believe our luck, and that wasn't all! He had apparently played on one of Elton John's albums (the one that they recorded at the French Chateau), and had also played bongos on Dusty Springfield's SON OF A PREACHER MAN. We took him on instantly, even though he had no drums with him. A few weeks went by and he kept making excuses. Then one evening he turned up with a very battered drum kit! He set up, and I swear he had never sat behind a set of drums, in his life! Goodbye whatever his name was!
A short while afterwards, Keith Ivy our bass player left the band. Exit one Keith and enter anothe ! Keith Towsey who had been patiently waiting in the wings, surprised us all by filling the other Keith's shoes and he had already learned all the numbers! He just blended right in! It was around this time that I became the lead guitarist to beef up the sound a little. Still without a drummer, we started to play a few gigs. Youth Clubs, Disco's, and booking the occasional Village Hall and just organising it all ourselves. Which was something that would stand us in good stead through the years.
Enter Mike Isaacs. I suppose you could describe Mike as a drinking friend who used to stay at my house on weekends. Julian was already there living in the shed, and so at weekends it would get a little wild, while my first wife Janet tried to look after three small children. "Hey Mike, how about being our drummer ?" "Ya, sure, no problem!" The fact that he had never played the drums before seemed to escape our drunken notice! All things considered Mike did a pretty good job. We played a lot of gigs, got up quite a following, got our own van and some good equipment and went into the recording studio. We recorded Chuck Berry's CAROL, the Temptations AINT TOO PROUD TO BEG, and BAD PENNY which Trev and I had written. The title however was Julian's idea. Trev and I were coming up with some good stuff at that time, and several original numbers were included in our live sets. MIND DANCER, BOOKS, CRUSIFIED AND LOVING CUP, along with BAD PENNY, gave us a little edge on some of the other Cornish bands at the time, who were only playing covers.
Bad Penny by Angel
Carol by Angel
Not all of our tunes made the grade. I'VE GOT TEETH MARKS IN MY BRAIN for instance, was not very popular with the rest of the band, whereas MIND DANCER became very much a part of our act and for some amazing reason or other, prompted Trev to wear a lavatory seat around his neck. He had taken the trouble to paint the seat white, and in bold black letters had written 'ANGEL ' around its circumference! This he wore with pride every time we performed the song!
Back at Carhayes Hall another major player walked into our lives. Alex Tancock. Alex was what I can only describe, as an Arthur Daly figure, who we never quite trusted "Hey, do you lads want a manager? ", well, "yes we did". We were having to find our own gigs and it was a pain in the ass. But could this young guy with the strange blonde hair and large chin get us any work? To cut a long story short, we watched him go into the manager's office at the Penventon Hotel in Redruth and come out grinning! He has secured us a booking every other Saturday night for the next year! He continued to amaze us by following that with a similar deal for our free Saturday's at the Pendeen Minor's Club for the same time span. With gigs on some Friday nights and the occasional Sunday evening, we were suddenly busy boy belting out the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Chuck Berry, etc.
THE SAGA OF THE CAKE !
Or, how Trev just knew a good cake when he saw one! We were booked to appear at the Pendeen Miner's Club one evening and had arrived in Penzance early in order to feed ourselves. We found a restaurant in the main street, there were probably about 12 of us in our party, and we enjoyed a good meal and a laugh which we liked to do before we set up the gear for the evening! The lady brought around the sweet trolley and there it was, a really big Madeira cake!
" How much is that, " enquired Trev. " oh! It's 35p a slice "said this really nice waitress. "Not a slice" says Trev, "the whole thing!". She looked very surprised but gave him the price and his face dropped! Alex piped up and said, "Trev, if you can eat that whole cake without drinking anything, I will pay for it". "No problem!" Trev picked up this huge cake and tucked in! A Madeira cake is by its nature, very dry, and the temptation to stop and have a drink must have been overwhelming. However Trev carried on. By this time, the other diners had downed tools and got out of their seats to watch. The chef had appeared from the kitchen, complete with tall white hat and everyone held their breath as Trev swallowed the final slice! The whole ensemble burst into spontaneous applause! We were back in Penzance a couple of weeks later, unfortunately that particular restaurant was closed. I wonder if they saw us coming?
Trev would eat anything in those days just to get a laugh! Vast quantities of liquorish allsorts, glasses of pickling vinegar, various garden weeds, and small amounts of pet food! Thanks Trev, we all enjoyed it, and you survived it!
Occasionally Alex would book us on a bum gig. One such mistake was the Carlton Club at Redruth. As we set up our gear, a few people started arriving and the juke box was switched on. Then we heard the music coming from the house PA, it was all country and western, in fact this was a country and western club. We played and went down like a lead balloon. The whole evening was really hard work, we didn't want to be there and they didn't want us there! When Alex went to get the money they would only give him half the agreed price. Now this was typical of Alex, not to be outdone he helped himself to one of the upholstered chairs from the bar and loaded it into the back of the van.
Another regular at Carhayes Hall was an old school friend Kerry Burns. Kerry sat religiously through months of rehearsals and we thought he should be involved. And so he became our Roadie. Now Kerry was a great roadie type meaning, he looked like one! Well he didn't have a driving licence, but what the hell. One of the band could drive the van and Kerry could do all the lifting and carrying. Well that was fine when we arrived at the gigs, by the end of the evening however, he was always totally legless! And not only did we have to carry our own gear out, we also had to help the roadie back to the van! We really didn't care!
Kerry has become my concert partner through the years, we have clocked up many miles together, queued for endless hours and seen some of the greatest rock and roll shows. The Stones (so many times) Guns and Roses, The Who, Dylan, Clapton, the list is endless. If you bump into Kerry, ask him about the time he fell into the lavatory on the train on the way to see the Stones at Wembley. I'd tell you the story myself but we've got to draw the line somewhere!
Appearing with a disco is something we have done for a long time. It's a good idea, it means you don't, as many bands did in those days, have to play all evening which can be quite exhausting. It is also hard to hold the attention of the audience one hundred percent for that length of time. Just as important is that the music played by the DJ has warmed up the crowd, so that by the time you come on everyone is raring to go! The King Lion Disco was run by a guy called Mike Burns, and to be fair he gave Angel their first gigs. Where he had a gig, we would play. This went on for quite some time and then he more or less decided he had had enough of the whole thing, and wanted to sell up and retire from the lime light. He still had his gear so we asked him if we could borrow it and do it ourselves. Everything was fine until we were returning his equipment. The disco didn't actually fit into whatever vehicle we had at the time, this is before we bought the famous group van. We tied the thing on the roof as best we could, to return it. Picture the scene .... there we were motoring along quite happily, chatting and laughing, when one of the turntables overtook us ! It just kept rolling down the road! It was all down hill from there, literally! After retrieving the rogue turntable and laughing so much we almost wet ourselves, this sounds awful but it was just so funny! When we got to his house, he was out. Great we though, now we won't have to tell him about his dented record deck. Now I'm not proud of this, but we just left the whole thing sitting outside his back door. What we didn't know, was that before he was due to return home, rain was forecast!
We really didn't have the nerve to ask if we could borrow his gear again. A simple solutions we would have our own disco, and manager Alex would be the DJ! It worked quite well! We built the whole thing ourselves, I did the carpentry and Trev did the electronics. When we played a barn dance at Philleigh for the Young Farmers Club, the floor of the building was vibrating so much, that the arm was jumping off the records! With the help of a few ropes we suspended the whole thing from the beams, no more problem.
A lot of our gear was purchased with money we had collected by selling scrap metal. Julian and I had an old left hand drive Cortina. We would take out the back seat and load this thing up with all this stuff, car batteries, lead and copper pipes, along with old radiators etc. You could hardly see over the bonnet, such was the weight on board the car! Then it was off to the scrap yard to collect our money and then down to Camborne where at that time there were so many wicked second hand shops. And most of the stuff we were selling was ours!
So there we were doing all these gigs, and the first one to crack was drummer Mike. He and especially bass player Keith Towsey were often at loggerheads, more often than not I was included. It all came to a head at Redruth one night, and after Mike had thrown a few things at Keith, Mike left the band. We were now in need of a new drummer. As I have already said, all things considered, Mike did very well. It was however not too unusual for him to play completely the wrong rhythm to the song we happened to be playing! He was actually playing another number altogethe ! Or, he would get knackered if a song went on too long, and scream "finish now you bastards, finish now! ".
Our new drummer came in the way of Keith Marshall from St. Austell. As soon as Keith played the first number he had the job. Well we though he played like Gavin. I can even remember that it was the Kinks, YOU REALLY GOT ME. And we are still doing that one to this day! Keith told me years later that when he walked in and saw us with all this gear, he felt like he was auditioning for Led Zepplin. Keith, who's musical career has since those days, far surpassed the rest of us. Playing in many different and varied bands and doing a good
deal of recording work. Back in the days when he joined us, he changed the whole sound of the band and brought with it his own panache.
Julian and I shared the singing about fifty-fifty at this time. He had an exercise book crammed with words as well as endless pieces of paper. He always sang them straight from the sheet. We told him, tactfully I thought, that it was time he memorised all those words and dispensed with his library of lyrics! We waited a few weeks and nothing had changed, so when he went to the loo Keith Towsey and I set fire to the whole bloody lot, it made quite a blaze! As far as I remember, he did the songs just as well without them!
We were really proud when we were asked to play the Christmas dance for St. Austell college. The gig was held at Carlyon Bay, it was a big gig with hundreds of people there. This place was legendary. We had seen Van Morrison, The Kinks, Manfred Mann, and Procol Harum to name but a few at this venue. We actually played in a refurbished part of the complex, but we were there! It was great, they had the posters printed in several different languages, so that the students from the various countries knew what was going on.
The Red Triangle Club was a gig at a holiday camp, just outside of Helston. It was almost adjacent to the RN Station, so it was a pretty busy place. There was a screen at the back of the stage, I never gave it a thought, it was only when I happened to turn around at some point I realized that a film was being projected onto the screen as we were playing. Because of the nature of this flick, it was very difficult to face the audience for the duration of any song. I just kept having to have a quick peek! Sad really, but it was rather revealing! Strange but true!
The Cousin Jacks were a band we bumped into quite often. They had been around a while, as they remember the Smokey Joe's. Their drummer said to me once "ya, they were the band with the drummer who had the big Salvation Army bass drum" . We got double booked with them one night at the Penventon Hotel. When we arrived, they were already setting up, so we said "that's ok, you guys play, we will just enjoy ourselves!". And we bloody did too!
We used to play at the Penwithick Social Club just outside St.Austell. The guy who booked the bands was called Keith Trudgeon (I think). When we first went there he said "where you party from?" "Oh " we said, " Portscatho !"
That was it ! " Oh lovely down Portscatho !" was his reply. As the evening progressed and he had more and more to drink, Portscatho became more and more lovely to him! But by the end of the evening it was " You party are handsome and I dearly love it down in Portscatho!"
We had to go through this every time we played there!
We carried on with these gigs but slowly we were heading for a change. We needed to rejuvenate the band.
Keith Towsey was always picking up my guitar at rehearsals and playing all these lead guitar licks and it took me no time at all to realise that he would make a far better lead guitar player than I ever would, .As for myself, I would be far more content being the lead singer, something I have done in all the previous bands, and which suited my personality more.
It was that simple. Everyone else continued playing what they were already playing, and we took on another bass player, who's name was Al, with a very attractive wife. I can't remember a lot more about him but he fitted right in.
We learned a whole load of new songs and turned our gigs into more of an act. I suppose a sort of celebration of rock and roll. Which we still do today. We took our name from the Rolling Stones album STICKY FINGERS, and also I must admit a good deal of our act. WE had recently travelled to London to see the legendary band at Earls Court. That was in the summer of 1976 and I guess their influence was just too much to ignore. We made our gigs whenever possible into an event. On the night we unveiled the band to the public, we came on stage at Portscatho, with Tangerine Dream, playing some really spooky thing over the PA and then we were straight into HONKEY TONK WOMAN !
It never ceases to amaze me that other band members remember things that I or others had completely forgotten about. I always think that I've got it locked away in my head, and then Julian will come up with something and slowly it comes flooding back. Talking to Keith Marshall over the past few weeks has brought out a few more gems, like the time we had gone to meet the rest of the band, and to pick up the now infamous group van. We were at that time keeping it in a farmyard next to Keith Towsey's house. We got there all dressed up in our stage clothes and the van had become stuck in the mud. There we were in all this stage gear, ( Keith Marshall and I had become quite the pop star dressers by then ) trying to push the van out of the farmyard with mud flying all over the place. Another good one that Keith had kept buried in the back of his mind for a decade or so, was when we were playing in the Cellar Bar of the Penventon Hotel in Redruth one night. This was normally a very good place to play, with plenty of people dancing or standing on tables around the dance floor to watch the band. This particular evening, people were just sitting around. When we play I like people to dance and have a good time, we give to the audience and hopefully they give it back, the whole thing goes round and round. After a while I got really bored, we were playing really good and they were just sitting there ! " What's the matter with you lot, have you got wooden legs or something " I shouted into the microphone. This guy stood up and tapped his leg " yes, I have mate". Boy did I feel small !
After you've played your songs, had your post gig chat, loaded the gear back into the van and kissed any girls who were still hanging around, it was back to Snoopy's.
Snoopy's was a small hot dog van which would be parked on Lemon Quay in Truro. If our homeward journey took us through Truro as it often did, we would stop off there for a cheeseburger and a hot drink. We would rub shoulders with other local bands, who like us were on their way home.
" Hi, we've been down to Penzance ", " We were there last night ! We just got back from Redruth ". I can't remember what time Snoopy's used to pack up shop, but whatever unearthly hour we came through Truro, he seemed to be there. I also remember, we used to lean over the wall on the bridge watching the river rats swimming up and down where the Restaurant Boat is now !
The NME Music Paper held a nation wide contest for bands in those days, with a recording contract with EMI plus gear and money as a grand prize. The heats for this went on in many major cities over a period of weeks, the nearest one to us being Plymouth. We travelled up in the van, we entered two years running with the first year becoming a sort of rehearsal for the second. That first year Mike Isaacs was still our drummer. We were told to turn up at Plymouth College and wait around until our turn came. There were bands there from all over the West Country, we were terrified, we were out of our area and once we heard the other bands playing we also felt outclassed. We went on and played Bob Dylan's WATCH THE RIVER FLOW, and our own BAD PENNY. Trevor was so frightened, he was shaking like a leaf. Mike was no better and lost his stick in mid air, somehow catching it and only missing a few beats ! We were glad when it was over and glad to be out of there !
The following year we had a whole different attitude to it, we were in the midst, although we hadn't actually changed the name of the band yet, of becoming Sticky Fingers. The change was not complete as Keith Towsey was still playing bass but I had stopped playing guitar. This left Julian as the sole guitar player and he played brilliantly ! We rehearsed our songs to a fine art. With some embarrassment Trev bowed out. The memories of the previous year had not left him. We didn't mind, we were all very close and understood.
The venue was the Wood's Club in Plymouth. This is where we just missed the Sex Pistols. They had played there the night before and signed the dressing room wall. This was all pretty cool, being in the same place as them as they were on the front page of the newspapers almost every day, for some misdemeanour or other. Keith Marshall and I did catch up with the Pistols a few months later at the Penzance Winter Gardens. We were standing next to the dressing room door when they arrived and exchanged a few words, with a few unintelligible grunts thrown in from Sid Vicious. I must admit that Keith and I just burst out laughing when they launched into their first number which was ANARCHY IN THE UK. They did improve a little as the evening progressed.
We saw a lot of those bands at the Winter Gardens. The Ramones, The Talking Heads, and Eddie And The Hot Rods who we spent a very enjoyable hour or so with in the bar with, something I shall not forget in a hurry. Their singer, Barry Masters ( I think that was his name ) was such a live wire and so full of himself, no girl could walk by without him doing some suggestive movement with the endless larger bottles that passed through his hands that night. It was great for us to be there and accepted by them, they were talking about bands like Dr. Feelgood who we were really into and of volume problems, something which we all had in common.
Anyway, to get back to the Wood's Club in Plymouth, we went on with a good attitude, and full of confidence. First up was a snappy version of WHEN I'M DEAD AND GONE, which we had taken from a slightly folkie record. Then we did GET OFF'A MY CLOUD. This was when Keith Richards had just been busted in Toronto and was awaiting trial. I made the point, " this one's for Keith, cause he's done nothing wrong ". They loved it ! As we left the stage the compare says " I like that little bloke, he says what he thinks ! ". We hung around all day to find out the result. Well we didn't win, a band called Furious Pig did ! But we were told that if we had played our own material, we would have. They were very complimentary and we returned home feeling really good.
Being in Sticky Fingers was a bit like ' Let The Good Times Roll ' . We turned up at gigs often with a bus load of supporters. I have visions of drunken lads climbing on top of the bar at the London Inn at Redruth, chicken bone fights on the coach. We had stopped off at Smokey Joe's ( hey, that's a good name for a band ! ), most people had chicken and chips and had saved the bones ( it must have been a rock and roll thing ). When we got back on the bus, these bones were flying through the air like some prehistoric storm ! Don't ask me why, I can't remember. There were minor squabbles on some excursions between these young bucks. I heard a ruckus coming from behind a club in St. Austell, there was Chubby kneeling on an old cigarette machine...."where's Killer Bunny ?" I shouted, " He's under the fag machine !" came the reply " It's the only way I can shut him up ! " I once came off stage to find a couple trying to ' get it on ' in the wings ! Crazy days ! After gig parties, too much of everything, it was all part of it and we all survived.
The Portscatho Hotel, now Escol Nursing Home, booked us. They had a bar, but the licence only applied if they served food. The guy who ran it, was really into the band and I guess he figured he could make a good deal of money if we packed them in. He got over the food thing by handing each person a paper bag which contained a sticky bun. Well he had advertised it as a Sticky night. If anyone asked, everyone who attended the gig had eaten ! These buns were all over the place by the time the band came on. It was a really good gig and was I suppose, like playing in a small club ! The place was jumping ! There were two problems that night however, firstly Keith Towsey somehow managed to put his bum through one of the front bay windows. The window was closed at the time ! Well.........it let in a nice breeze for the rest of the evening ! Secondly ( and far more serious ), bass player Al announced out of the blue, that he was leaving the band. We were all really surprised, especially when he said that he was going back to some comedy band or other ! Luckily, we found a good replacement without too much trouble, his name was Chris and he came from St. Austell.
There were several reasons why we brought the band to a close in 1978. Each band member came to the same conclusion for different reasons. For my own part, it was arriving home after what would be our final gig and finding that my young son Brian had accidentally set himself on fire. He made a full recovery, but I was plagued with guilt. I should have been there, instead my wife Janet who was expecting another baby at any moment, had to cope with the whole thing on her own.
That final gig was at a large pub in Penryn, we played well as far as I remember, but there was a very bad atmosphere in the place and the management seemed hostile towards us. When we went to get paid, we were given only half of our agreed fee and told in no uncertain terms, mostly in four letter words, to accept it or get thrown with our gear down the outside fire escape. We were all very angry and wondering why the hell we were doing it all ! We didn't fold up straight away, Keith Towsey started not turning up for rehearsals, and Trev decided he would rather go fishing ! After a few weeks, we called a meeting. We gathered at the pub in St. Ewe, the atmosphere was a little strained. Julian, Keith Marshall and myself had already decided that we were going to stay together in another form. This would eventually, even though over a period of quite some time, become the Bentones. And so we all agreed that it was time to put Sticky Fingers to rest. We had another pint, all shook hands and it was over.
STICKY FINGERS REVISITED
So many years had gone by, Julian and I still hung out together but neither of us had played any music for a year or so. It was a chance meeting with Keith Marshall that really did it. I was planning my 50th., birthday party and thought it would be great to play just one last time. Mary and I happened to be in Fowey in the summer of '99, when we heard this blues music coming from the quay ! Drawn like a moth to light, we followed the sound. We stood and watched this three piece band for a while, and I kept looking at the drummer ! It had been years, I could not believe it, it was Keith ! A little older, but I would know that drum style anywhere ! In a quiet moment between numbers I shouted, " Hey Keith ! " His face was a picture ! At the end of the set, he came over and we shook hands. I was most impressed when he introduced me to someone as " This is Chris Pollard, the man who introduced me to rock and roll ". We chatted and I told him about my impending 50th., the following June, and he said yes without hesitation. We shook hands and I had no contact with him again for about eight months, but when I phoned him he said, " I know we're going to play again ! ". That's how it is with Keith, always there when you need him, thank God ! As soon as I saw Julian after that fateful day in Fowey, and told him that Keith was in the band, that was it ! We phoned Trev, and he said " Sure, I'll do it ! " My two sons, Brian and Keith who it must be said were brought up in the shadow of Sticky Fingers, and were by this time fine guitar players themselves, were also recruited into the band to give it some youth and some new licks.
Richard Town was also drafted in for the gig. Richard had been a guitar player some years before but like us, had not appeared for some time.
We booked the church hall in Philleigh and started rehearsing. It was never a problem, as soon as we played one number, we knew we could still cut it !
When we played our first gig after 21 years, the place was buzzing ! Yes, we were nervous but no more I am sure than our wives/girlfriends who had heard so much about this fantastic band we had been in all those years before. We wished each other luck, finished our fags, downed our drinks and took a deep breath and walked out onto the stage.
The place was packed, we opened with SATISFACTION, and I knew there was no looking back. The crowd's reaction said it all. From this gig, I was really surprised how many younger kids loved the band. After all, they weren't even born when we were playing before. But there is something about this music that crosses generations. We played all the numbers we rehearsed, and still they wanted more. We encored with numbers we had already played, and no one cared ! A good quote from Tim Smit, " You guys could play those three songs all night and we would just keep dancing !"
We carefully planned the next show, it would take place at Portscatho, the day before New Year's Eve 2001. All profits would go to the NSPCC, Mary organised a wonderful auction. Not only did local business's donate, but also some big names. David Bellamy, Tim Henman (donated items for auction by the Tortoise Garden). Tim Smit founder of the Eden Project and the one and only Bill Wyman.
Bill's London Restaurant is of course called ' StickyFingers'. Mary emailed him and told him the whole story. He sent us a signed cd complete with a cover note. This was really the icing on the cake. Little did I know that before too long, I would get to meet him in person !
Mary takes up the story " We had arranged with a group of friends to go and see Bill and The Rhythm Kings at Truro's Hall for Cornwall. A fantastic gig indeed ! At the end of the evening we were given one of the official posters, so I had wanted to get it signed by the man himself ! Chris didn't want to wait, but I stood my ground and after a short wait, the band started returning to their bus ! Chris was in seventh heaven when I went up and introduced myself and then Chris as the lead singer of Sticky Fingers ( the band ! ) to Bill ! " Oh, you're the guy from that band ! " Bill said ! He actually remembered us ! Not only did he remember our names but he remembered every detail I had sent him about our NSPCC gig ! He had actually read all the email's I had sent to him via his son Stephen ! After a chat with Bill and some of the other band members, Bill signed the poster and the t-shirt I had bought for Chris and they made their way to the bus with the final words " Bill, if you ever need a good warm up band .....? "
Anyway, enough of all that, back at the gig. As anyone who knows Portscatho will tell you it very rarely gets any seriously bad weather. By the day of the concert, the village was almost cut off. Keith Marshall wrote off his car on the icy roads DJ Karen hit the hedge, plus some of her gear was over in Falmouth and no one was able to get there to pick it up. The paths outside the hall were a sheet of ice as was Gerrans Hill. I kept saying to myself, " we really should do this in the summer ! " Richard Harris, no not the famous film star, our Roadie for the day, worked all afternoon with salt, a shovel and a broom, clearing the walkways. After we had a sound check, we all piled into Julian's Land Rover and headed for St. Anthony's Head where a buffet kindly prepared and provided by his wife Di, awaited us ! Even with the four wheel drive we were sliding all over the place ! Over some great food and a few drinks, we had to face the facts. How the hell was anybody going to get to the gig, let alone get home afterwards ? Well they did, although many people who had bought tickets could not make it. We drew a good crowd and the auction was a great success. We got pretty drunk, played some bloody good rock and roll and everybody had a great time ! In spite of the appalling weather conditions we still managed to raise £555.00 for the charity !
After a short rest I was looking for an excuse and Children In Need was ideal. Same venue, some new songs, and a new bass player. Brian had decided to concentrate on his new band, Pariah. His bass player however agreed to fill his shoes.
This had been one of our best gigs musically. We had so many people in the dressing room that it was difficult at times to find the band members ! A really good atmosphere, many flattering comments and the now familiar lines of teenage girls shouting and screaming every time lead guitarist Keith went into a solo ! He told me with great pride recently that he was recognised in Tesco's ! Now that is fame ! And at the end of the day we were able to send £300.00 to a worthy cause !