West Side Story


Years active:

Mid 70s





Band Members:

Hughie Rowe (Drums)
Bob Peters (Keyboard)

Sylvia Hellings (Vocals)
Barney Trevivian (Guitar)
Roy Clemens (Bass)


With thanks to Barney, here's the story of the band

The band was put together around 1967-1968 by Hughie Rowe, the drummer, (now no longer with us, think he went to live abroad), Hughie knew Bob Peters (keys - now no longer with us) and persuaded him to join us. Myself (guitar and vocals) and Roy Clemens (bass) were with Hughie in another band which I cannot remember the name of and so with the addition of Bob and Hughie's discovery of Sylvia Hellings (lead vocal) who sang like Aretha Frannklin, we decided to go the Tamla Motown path as that was very popular at the time. Bob was very enthusiastic about Tamla stuff too and with his amazing musical knowledge was the driving force behind song choices. Fact was I learnt so much from Bob and his passion for music that I could never stop after West Side Story.

We played a number of gigs all over Cornwall and were well received. Bob or Roy knew Al Hodge from Onyx and I think it was sometime in 1969 that Al suggested we might think about auditioning with the Bib Potter Entertainment Agency in Mitchett, Surrey with the possibility of going on the road. This we did, and he signed us, immediately giving us a number of contracts for various gigs all over the country. This meant we would be playing every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday so we packed in the jobs and hit the road. Within a number of months we were asked to do a 'shop window' gig with all the other Bob Potter bands for promoters to come along and check out. I remember a band called Rednick Smith, 3-piece, where were superb - think they went on to sign with some record company and changed their name, but don't know to whom! 

It was from the 'shop window' event that we got a 3-month contract for the American airforce bases in Germany, which was at that time really exciting, but when we checked the finer detail of regulations and law in Germany we found that no-one could appear onstage after 10 at night under the age of 18 and this was a problem. We were all young, I had finished an apprenticeship at the West Briton and so I was only 21, but Silvia was only 17. Her voice sold the band, so we were in trouble. We were to play from 10.00pm until 2.00am with 15 minutes break in each hour, so without Sylvia it was a no-no. This led to the contract being cancelled and us back out on the road again.

When we handed off with the Potter agency I remember having great aspirations of fame and fortune, but long roads, bad digs, transport caffs and at times sleeping in a transit van on top of all the gear, with all the other guys, waking to condensation dripping on me from the van roof soon sorted any ego I had! The inevitable travelling of long distances and coming back to Cornwall on a Monday morning only to ship out again on the Thursday early morning took its toll and with the Germany contract gone the band eventually fell apart after only about 2 years. I remember one time when we had to travel from Leicester to Aberstwyth to support the White Plains when they had 'When you are a King'  in the charts and we were all really miffed at the agency for giving us two gigs SO far apart. The only saving grace was the chance to support what was then a really BIG band that we did it, but it as just another 'nail in the coffin'. As aside, I was really impressed with WP as they were quite a heavy rock outfit, and really good - you did not get that impression from their hits!

So we packed it in in about 1970 and Roy suggested reforming as a covers band. Bob had gone back to teaching music and it was only really Roy and I that were left. Roy knew Pete Stanton from the Rimshots and Al Scott and the Klan, who was at that time not playing in a band (I think) and persuaded him to join us. I cannot quite remember where Malc Marshall (lead guitar) came from now (sorry Malc) I think he came from another band though some contact we had when he knew we were looking for a lead guitarist. Anyways, Omen was born and for the next 5 or so ŷears I have never laughed so much with a bunch of guys in a band before. All, but for Simon 'Stanley' Stanton had been on the road and paid our dues so there was no ego issues anywhere, just fun, and we loved it. I got converted and became a Christian and now play in the Worship Band at Truro Baptist Chirch - Christian Music having now come into its own with some great music and the band eventually folded with Roy reforming the band.




Links to other bands:

Hughie also drummed with Globetrotters

Bob played with Legend and Happy Medium

Did you play in this band? If so please get in touch!