.... By "Albert" (Main vocalist/bass-rhythm guitarist): - 2011
My first awareness and interest in playing guitar was when I was a pupil at Bodmin Grammar School. My inspiration was seeing "The Druids" play at a school Christmas concert (These concerts were always held one morning during the last week of term... a great school tradition well supported by pupils and staff alike .... a real variety show of talent over the years !) . At the time I was having piano lessons but when I actually saw and heard those electric guitars and drums "live" from a seat near the front at that concert I was "hooked”!
I had my first guitar for Christmas in 1963 (when I was aged 15) and taught myself the basics from a Bert Weedon "Play in a Day" tutor book and by playing on Saturday afternoons in our "front room" with a school friend called Graham Rickard("Curly") who had been having guitar lessons . During that year "Curly" upgraded to a second- hand solid electric guitar and I added a clip- on pickup to my acoustic guitar. We played through an old Tape Recorder and took in turns playing a makeshift "drum kit" (old tins and boxes etc).... luckily we had understanding neighbours ! Our early influences were the Shadows.... the Liverpool sound groups and locally "The Jaguars" and "Rick and the Hayseeds” (we knew several of their band members as they were from our area and school...and we wanted to play like them because they were brilliant !)
By the following Christmas (1964) we were good enough to play in one of those school concerts ....fame at last! We asked "Paddy" Philips of "Rick and the Hay Seeds" to play drums for us and we borrowed their Vox AC-30 and Reslo Mic and stand. Here is a picture of us in that actual first ever performance.
We played under the name "3 by 5" (3 of us from the 5th year) and performed 3 current "hits" ... "Rag Doll", "He's in Town" and "The Rise and Fall of Flingle Bunt". Luckily it went well and we really felt famous!
That Christmas I had a real drum kit for Christmas...wow wow!!!! . I taught my self to play by listening to and playing along with many records and the practices became a little more "serious" ...still in our front room on Saturdays.... but we added more friends who wanted to learn to play and join in .The First was Chris Cloke (Clokey) from Bodmin on Lead Guitar... then Philip Beason "Mush" from Trebetherick on Drums and then John Clews "Clewsy" on Bass Guitar. We experimented and rehearsed a lot of songs.... instrumentals and vocals and gradually had the makings of a real group ready to "play out". Our First Gig (and we were actually paid!!) was for a children’s Christmas Party in 1965 at the British Legion Hall Wadebridge. We called ourselves "The League of Phantoms” Here are some pics of us at that big event. We were scared as hell but it went well ... apart from the electric meter running out half way through Apache!! ... (We didn't mind though as we were running short of new songs to play and it gave us an excuse to start that one again .... those were the days)
After that we decided to change our name (as some adults found our Bass Drum picture of white hooded figures offensive ... reminiscent of the racist Ku Klux Clan very much in the news at the time). Chris came up with the new name when we were in an A-Level Physics lesson: the teacher was talking about the 4th Dimension (Time).... Someone asked her if there was a 5th Dimension and she said "some scientist think so but we don't know what it is in real terms" (or words to that effect!). After the lesson Chris said to me "Why don’t we become The 5th Dimension ...yesssss ... the others liked the name so for the next 18 months (The bands life -span before we went our separate ways all over the country to Universities and employment) that was our name.
When we started playing out at Youth clubs our Fathers took in turns with transporting us and our "Gear" around the area and we added a "Roadie. / Sound Technician...another school friend from our year called Robin Bates ("Batesy")...he was invaluable.
"Clewsy" left during 1966 to concentrate on his studies (he was a year younger than the rest of us and it was his "O-levels" year)
.... and I started playing bass lines more on my EKO semi acoustic which worked well after a little practice.
This is the pic of our new "line up" in summer 1966 at a School Social Club evening. Minimal amplification ... we would have liked more but times were hard! Everything went through 2 amplifiers.... a 30 watt and a 50 watt... and we used a Watkins Echo chamber as a mixer unit (borrowed from Geoff Brenton of the "Electrons".... but for the size of the halls we played in and the material we played it worked!
Here are the last pics I have of our final "Fab Four" taken in 1967 (in our front room) before we went our separate ways to Universities and employment. We keep in touch but have never played together again... (Geographic rather than artistic reasons I hasten to add .... because we sounded good together .... but there again that’s my opinion ...he he ).
This is “Clokey” …..
And “Curly” …
And “Mush” …in the middle of a frenzied drum solo !
And finally me ….“Albert”
My career was being a Maths Teacher but music is still a major part of my life. As a Maths student in London University (1967 - 70) I played drums in a progressive blues band called "Glass Onion".
As a school teacher for 26 years I always ran Guitar Clubs and school pop groups or folk groups in Bude, Okehampton and Wadebridge schools ... I won a national song writing competition in 1986 ..... Many friends and happy musical memories! Now retired I have a digital recording studio set-up in my home where I do multitrack recordings as a hobby. "Curly" has spent most of his life playing in bands and later specialized in lighting rigs... being on tour for many years with big-name artists.... and is still "in the business". "Clokey" has a successful career in Civil Engineering, "Mush"... adventured in the Merchant Navy and Civil Service , "Batesy" is big in overseas banking and John became a very successful classical musician, Librarian and freelance computer software designer before he s died recently after a short illness .... We spent a wonderful half day together that last summer and he is greatly missed by his family and friends and will always be remembered by me for his musical ability, cheerful disposition and wonderful sense of humour.... rest in peace John. I am sure he would have enjoyed seeing details of the "5th Dimension" here on this web site.
(Written by me... Albert Richard Graham Hawke ...... Jan 2011)