Derek 'dex' Soulsby (Bass)
Ian Soulsby (Drums)
Tony (Williams?) (Lead Guitar)
Nick Dobson (Rhythm)
Ivor Trewern (Lead Guitar)
Drummer and founder-member Ian Soulsby recalls the story of this popular West Cornwall band.....
We formed the band in the summer of 1965 at a time when new 'beat groups' as we called them were springing up all over the place. The original line-up was myself, aged fifteen, on drums, my older brother Derek (Dex) on bass guitar, Nicky Dobson on rhythm guitar and Tony (Williams?) on lead. Tony was older than the rest of us, more a reminder of the teddy boy era with the haircut to go with it. I can't remember how we found him but he was the sort of experienced guitarist who could just turn up, plug in and no rehearsal necessary. In the early days he was the only one who got paid (!) with the rest of us pooling our gig money to buy equipment. My drum kit was pretty ancient, my brother's bass guitar home made but we bought two PA columns for £75 and a Selmer amp for £67, The bass amp was a Job Morris special (Sentinel Records). Jobies workshop in Newlyn was then the place for local guitarists to hang out and talk about speakers and the rest. We drummers, of course, stayed well clear !
I'm lucky to still have the band's original Account Book as well as the Gig Diary. We played our first date in October 1965 for the Young Liberals at St. Elwyn@s Hall in Hayle. We were paid £4 out of which we bought two sets of guitar strings at 12/6 (62p) each and banked the remainder. Our next gig was on New Year's Eve for Heamoor Youth Club near Penzance but this time we were paid a princely £6. Into 1966 and the band was becoming an established unit in the West Cornwall area and becoming regulars at places like The Barn Club and the Winter Gardens in Penzance. In January 1967 we played our first gig at St.Peter's Youth Club in Newlyn and were to play there every month for the lifetime of the band. On one occasion we took our Grundig Reel-to Reel tape recorder down, set it up at the rear of the hall and some of the local girls kept an eye on it while we did our set. I've still got the tape and a couple of years ago I rescued it from the shed and had the recording transferred to CD. While some sections had deteriorated with age the rest of it isn't too bad and at the very least reminds me of our set. We played the usual classics of the day like Long Tall Sally, Blue Suede Shoes, Johnny B Goode, Hound Dog, Shake Rattle n Roll, Louise, My Babe, Sea Cruise and Wipe Out. We also did Roadrunner, Ride Your Pony, Hideaway and later added our only 'chart' song Baby Come Back (the Equals).
Wipeout Live at St Peter's Hall, Newlyn. 1968
We used to get around in Dex's small Commer van and with so much gear the rest of us would sit in the back with the two doors tied back and facing the traffic behind with our legs hanging down by the rear number plate ! No Health and Safety then and I cannot recall ever being pulled in by the police for it !
In June 1967 the band had a personnel change when Tony left and was replaced by Ivor Trewern from Penzance. The change made no difference to our popularity and we went on to play over 40 gigs that year. By now we had signed up with Pete Brown's BCD Entertainment Agency of Bodmin and he got us into larger venues like Bodmin Jail nightclub , Rosehill Country Club (Wadebridge) ,the Aston Hotel (Newquay), Tall Trees Country Club and the Falmouth's Princess Pavilion. By now we were earning a staggering £13 a gig less BCD's 20% commission ! The furthest we ever went was to The Grand Hotel in Dawlish for £15. The Agency took £3, another £3 went on petrol and we shared 45/- (£2.25) each.........yes.....Penzance to Dawlish and back for only three quid's worth of petrol!
I left in September 1968 to go to University and the band had another personnel shake up with Dex switching from Bass to Drums, Ivor taking over on bass and Bobby Turner coming in on guitar. That didn't prove to be too successful as the band had effectively two lead guitarists which led to Nick Dobson leaving and joining Cellophane Cloud. The remaining three were re-born as Sponge, played about thirty gigs but had ceased to exist by the summer of 1969.
It was all a great experience as well as an unforgettable musical apprenticeship. I've been playing in bands, on and off, ever since while Dex played with Penzance-based Johnny and the Moonlighters during the 1980's and more recently with Mississippi Burning.