Bashing The Kit
We found a great place to rehearse. It was the band hall in Leadgate, which we shared with a local Brass Band. This became our headquarters for many years.
One day we were rehearsing and in walked a guy who said to Robin “I want my bass guitar back”. “Oops”, I thought, “there goes my bass playing career”. An altercation ensued between Robin and the alleged owner of the bass. Mick Simons saying nothing walked over to the door and opened it. He then said to the guy “are you going to leave?” The guy started to say something. I’m not sure what it was but it was not “YES”. That was enough for Mick, he pounced on the guy and beat the shit out of him. We were astounded, but could do nothing; it was all over so quick. Mick said “are you leaving now?” and the guy crawled out on his hands and knees. We were further astounded when Mick went straight to his kit and played a blistering drum solo. Anyway, I got to keep the bass!
The First Gig
We were building up a set of songs of the time, Hendrix, Cream, Free, that kind of thing. We knew our first gig had to be the Freemasons Arms Ballroom in Consett. This was our stomping ground. We went there every Saturday to scoff at whatever band was on and tell ourselves how much better we were.
This place was like the Wild West with frequent fights breaking out in which chairs, tables and glasses went flying. The agent for that gig was a Mrs Isley of Anfield Plain and we went to see her.
Eventually, we were given a date. As it happened we were there the week before our planned performance and we were invited to do a few numbers using the appearing bands instruments. We did three numbers and I recall one of them was Cream’s “Sunshine Of Your Love”.
This was my first-ever public performance. It was incredible; I knew life would never be the same for me. The following week we did our own show and it was extremely good.
We were homegrown Consett talent and I think that counted for something.