THE BEGINNING (Jim’s Story)
My involvement with the band began towards the end of 1971. (to read about the band prior to my joining click here to read Steve’s introduction) I was employed as a van driver, working in Newcastle for a large chain of clothing shops whilst at the same time, I was the drummer in a band named Tough Childhood, together with Allen Mechen and Ray Blake.
I had been in this band for some time and I felt that it was going nowhere. They were great blokes to be with but I was ambitious and had dreams to succeed, playing good music.
I had been working for that company for several months when Pete MacDonald (Photo) joined the staff. In due course, I was introduced to him and soon discovered that like me, he was also in a band.
I had never heard of his band but I said that whenever it became possible, I would go and listen to his band performing. He said the same to me, although neither of us probably really meant it. One weekend several weeks later, Tough Childhood was not booked to appear anywhere, so I found myself with a spare Saturday evening.
When the time came, myself and a good friend (Richard Dunbar) decided that we would spend the evening at Bellingham Town Hall. I don’t know how unusual that sounds now but at the time Bellingham Town Hall was a regular venue for most of the local bands. Tough Childhood had played there on many occasions and we had always been well received so I suppose that it was really a bit of an ego trip for me.
When we arrived, we soon discovered that the band that was booked to appear was Bullfrog.
Not anticipating an exciting evening, I remember thinking to myself, “Well at the very least, I will have kept the promise that I made to Pete”.
I spoke with him prior to the start of the gig and as tactful as usual, he made some comment to me about his band obviously being better than my band because his band were playing that evening and my Band wasn’t!
This didn’t put me in a good frame of mind, even though I had desires to leave Tough Childhood. It’s all right me being critical about my own band, but it’s a different matter when some one else decides to have a go.