An extremely popular semi-professional band out of Bodmin.
The band started out with a group of friends (Derek Fitzpatrick, Dick Gynn, Nick Floyd, Brian Searle, Paul Thomas and Colin Brokenshire) who all belonged to the Bodmin branch of the T.A. All shared a strong interest in music and after the evenings activities they would get together and play. At this stage they were still very much learning how to play their instruments, but soon they were asked to perform at Bodmin School for a party for some visiting German exchange students.
A very early gig in Bodmin TA centre
The gig went down well and they were soon playing the many village halls around Cornwall. Playing the hits of the day they were soon in demand. They were helped by fellow Bodmin resident Al Hodge. Al at the time was spending much of his time in London and touring the country with The Onyx, but would provide support and guidance to the band during his time off. They would book out Lanhydrock village hall to practice and Al would show them how to play lots of the material The Onyx were playing live.
The band started off being managed by Les Man, but would soon taken over by Dick’s father who continue to book the band into the big venues throughout Cornwall. Ginhouse were one of the few bands in Cornwall not be represented by Pete Brown’s BCD Entertainment. The band was so popular that they didn’t need BCD to secure gigs for them (and take a fairly large cut of any money made!) and were soon playing a hectic six nights a week in the summer seasons, which meant keeping up day jobs near impossible.
While they play all the big Cornish venue’s including Winter Gardens, Barn Club, etc. Ginhouse could often be found packing them in at Newquay’s Blue Lagoon. It was here they supported The Casuals, riding high in the charts with ‘Jesamine’. They also backed up many of the big visiting names in the venue including Deep Purple. The band spent most of their time in Cornwall, but did play a gig at Tavistock’s Town Hall where they shared the bill with Marmalade and Love Affair.
Live at The Blue Lagoon, Newquay
While they starting out playing pop covers they moved into a more progressive direction covering CSNY and Yes. A cover of “Yours Is No Disgrace” by Yes, along with Sabre Dance would help secure them a win at the 1969 Top Groups contest (formally Rock and Rhythm). They were tipped as favourites to win the 1970 event but despite bringing along coach loads of fans with banners to support them they were beaten into second place by Coconut Grove.
The line up of the band would evolve over time. Nick was the first to leave, the busy schedule taking its toll on the asthmatic. They continued as a four piece, but had another line-up change when Brian decided to leave, being replaced by Bill Gill who had had a stint drumming for Al’s band The Onyx. Paul also left the band, and they would continue as a four piece until the end.
L-R: Derek Fitzpatrick, Colin Brokenshire, Bill Gill, Dick Gynn
Like several other local bands they would make some demo recordings in Wadebridge cinema, utilising the acoustics of the toilets for the vocal tracks! While playing St Teath village hall in mid ’68 they were spotted by visiting music industry body. They were offered the chance to make some recordings in a studio just outside London. Packed up in their van they headed up the motorway and recorded a few numbers in a cavernous barn of a recording studio. They didn’t get chance to make a trip into the big city, as soon as the tracks were laid down they hit the road to fulfil a booking at Launceston town hall that evening!
While no record deals came about from the recording they were offered the chance to support the Moody Blues as well as the chance to tour Germany. Unfortunately the band had to turn down the offer as Derek could not spare the time away from his business. They were still only a semi-professional band and all had day jobs to keep going, so could not easily up roots and take a chance on a break that may not come. They also auditioned in Plymouth for a slot on Opportunity Knocks. They were successful in getting a call back, however the call didn’t come through until 3 years later when the band had long since split up!
In late 1970 Al Hodge quit The Onyx and returned to Cornwall, where he took over guitar duties from Colin who had just got married. Colin would occasionally step back into the fold, one occasion being when Al broke his arm and was unable to play. Derek Fitzpatrick was the next to leave the band, to be replaced by John Pearn on bass. The band would continue for another year or so before calling it a day.
L-R: Bill Gill, Dick Gynn, John Pearn, Al Hodge
Al was started to get into his session work around this time, as well as the short lived Brother Susan project. Colin gave up music completely, selling all his equipment and not picking up a guitar for nearly 20 years. In the 80s he picked up a guitar again, playing a one-off gig with Dry Ice. This would end up lasting 12 years with the band eventually calling it a day in the late 90s. He continues to play, but not in bands. Sadly Paul passed away in December 2009.