The webmaster of Metal Gods Website asked me to write this article eons ago. My memory must be faulty because I seem incapable of finishing it. I’ve just come across my notes so I thought I would serialise it here.
In 2003 I decided to keep a picture diary and chart a whole year by taking one picture per day. I’m going to republish them here but hopefully it will not take a full year to upload. The pictures tell a story within a story but only those who were there will know this. Howard Rheingold very kindly wrote a foreward to this story which you can read below or click here to go directly to the story.
|Steve Thompson’s 365 is much more than a collection of photographs — it’s a testament to the kinds of warm human relationships that can develop online between people who may seldom or never meet each other face to face. I’ve never met Steve in person, but I communicate with him online every day. In 2001, he invited me to give a speech in England. I was on my way to the airport on September 11 when the terrorist attacks shut down air travel. Steve was determined to make the connection, despite the obstacles, and managed to facilitate a video tele-conference at the scheduled time. Steve’s story is conveyed by technology, but the connection is a human one.
“What it is —-> is —-> up to us.”
Over the years mine and Mick Whitakers paths have crossed many times. Around 1997-1999 I was gigging in a line-up with him that I thought was really good. The pic to the right shows Mick, Ken and me at the Bierex in Newcastle, one of our regular gigs. For me. this was probably the most enjoyable live performance period of my music career.
Mick Whitaker (Panama Red) Vocals/Percussion
Andy Hawking (Bobby Decent) Keyboards/Vocals
Steve Thompson (Davewudsurvivor) Guitar/Vocals
Ken Goodinson (Harry The Bastard) Drums
Richard Rutherford (Jack Death) Bass
Below is a gig list I found on my PC – I would say this was 1999. Sadly my involvement in this band came to an end when I moved to Teesside. I recall that Ousburn Delta gig outdoors on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I intended recording it but didn’t. I wish I had as it was incredible. It was meant to be me, Mick and Andy performing “unplugged” but Richard and our new drummer Graham (playing brushes) came along too. We were no boy band but as Mick, Andy, and Me, sang an acapella harmony there was a clearly audible sigh from the audience.
11 July Turks Head South Shields
24 July Archer Newcastle
25 July Bierex Newcastle (early afternoon)
25 July The Tyne – Ouseburn Delta Folk & Blues Festival (late afternoon)
31 July Butlers – Nunn St Newcastle
04 Aug Hyena Cafe – Leazes Lane Newcastle
05 Sept Turks Head South Shields
02 Oct Archer – Newcastle
06 Nov Turks Head South Shields
14 Nov Bierex Newcastle
18 Dec Turks Head South Shields
The record company MCA said that a picture disk did not exist (like they should know!) I said it does exist and I’ve got one because my Gran saw one in the shop and bought it for me. They offered my Gran a job in their PR department but she declined.
People contact me all the time about replacing their scratchy vinyl copies. Here’s one story behind such a request.
Back in ’87, my wife (then girlfriend) had to spend 7 weeks in France with her family while I stayed here in the UK. As you can imagine, a disaster for any teenagers in love! Anyway, we wrote to each other loads and in one of her letters to me she wrote out the words to “Hurry Home” to let me know she was missing me and all that… Anyway, I didn’t realise the words had come from a song at all until some time later….
A couple of years later, we had a bit of a break up (as teenagers do), and spent some time apart. I have a habit of listening to the radio as I fall asleep, and on this particular night dozed off to radio 2. About 3am I suddenly found myself wide awake listening to a song I had never heard before, but somehow knowing what the next lyric was – quite a strange experience I can tell you! Having been totally freaked out, I sat up and finally worked out what had happened. The song of course was “Hurry Home” and I had read the lyrics many times, but never heard the song.
Happy ending: This, of course, prompted me to call my girlfriend, and we married a few years later. I managed to get a second hand copy of the 7″ but it was scratchy as Hell – hence my scouring of the net for a digital copy.
|Hurry Home was in the UK charts for 3 months. It was quite an experience for me but I never got to meet the band.
Over the years I have been contacted several times by people looking for the band but I have been unable to help. There was a record label wanting to put the track on a compilation and were obliged to use a photo of me in the end. More recently I was contacted by a researcher for Mark Lamar who wanted a member of the band to appear on his “where are they now” show. Just recently I was contacted via the Internet by Melvin Kirsh of Wavelength who has filled me in on all the details of where they all are now. Well it took twenty years but I can finally thank the guys who paid for my first house!
|Danny Daniels, has an accountancy firm , He’s doing very well , he remains my very close friend , we have known each other for over 40 years.
|John Kirby is a builder , he has his own business , he hates it but it’s a living!
|Ray Howard , does chauffeuring don’t see to much of him but we do speak on the phoneâ€
|Phil Fisher lives out in Suffolk I’m still very close to him
|I drive a London taxi , have done for 29 years , don’t mind it, it’s a good living and gives me a lot of freedom.
Danny, Phil and I, are still writing songs together. .We still sound like angels with our harmonies (ha ha). We have a contact in Nashville, who we intend to send some songs of to, always hopeful , music is in our blood ‘ and even at 51 it’s hard to stop singing, it’s good for the soul. Melvin Kirsh
The Caffrey Brothers recording sessions for Phonogram with Gus Dudgeon producing.
Gus (right) and engineer Stuart Epps, during†
The fabulous Mill Studio where we cut four tracks. Now owned by Chris Rea who was once also produced by Gus at the Mill
Relaxing outside the residential part of the Mill
The Caffrey Brothers
Alan Clark and Barry Spence, Alan went on to join Dire Straits (I seem to recall there were a lot of Gus’s records on that juke box!)
Alan demonstrates his versatility
Me at the Mill
Phil demonstrates his keyboard skills (not!)
|Pete Adshead who was to become Baby Ford was sent up to my Whitley bay studio to collaborate with me by his manager Joe Chibley. We co-wrote several songs. The usual way of working was that Pete would send me a bunch of suggested titles in the post and I would work up a track, send it to him and when we got together there would be a framework. One such title was “Disco Me To Estacy”. Now to me, this was a perfectly harmless title but Pete was doing all the London clubs and listening to this acid house stuff so the drug reference can’t have escaped him. Anyway the thing was coming out as a single so the title was changed to Chikki Chikki Ahh Ahh. No probs we thought, that’ll fool the BBC. No such luck, they banned it and it of course became a hit. Don’t know what I am more proud of – the hit or the ban. To the right is another one I did with Peter – Beach Bump, no probs with that title huh?
On October 10th 1974 I got a call from our manager to say there was a gig going that very night supporting Wishbone Ash could I contact everyone and get the band together for the show. I rang round everyone including the roadies and we were ready to rock. When the call came in I had been dying my platform boots (well it was the 70’s) I fancied green but because of that call I had to turn out that night with one green boot and the other still the original cream colour. The show was at Newcastles Odeon Cinema, the one and only time we ever played there. This was before they split it up into smaller cinemas and was a huge venue.
| Now 30 years later I get an e-mail from a guy named Shaun who tells me he was at that gig. He sneaked in a cassette recorder with which to record the show. Shaun tells me he has just one song from my band on his cherished tape recording. He sent me a wav file and I’ve encoded it and added to this site. The wav was pretty distorted at source but prior to encoding I can hear all the performances of the 4 individuals pictured here to the right.It’s clearly one of our own songs but I only vaguely remember it.
Thank you Shaun for the digital memories, where does the time go huh?
UPDATED Jan 21st 2012
Yesterday I visited Newcastle to see the Odeon looking in a sorry state (below). I’ve since learned it has been de-listed and is undergoing demolition. Shame!
The pic below from 1995 is how I remember it.
This pic was taken in the 1940s long before I played there but this was the layout when it was a venue for bands. Once they broke it up into smaller cinemas it could no longer be used as a venue for bands.
This picture shows the scale of the Odeon before it became a multiplex. I believe it was this act of destruction that led to it’s eventual demise. If all those original features were still there it would no doubt still be a listed building.
This trip to Reading for the GDF launch was quite something. Pictured below are me and Adam Francis with that MCI desk from The Mill Studio. I never thought I would see it again. How well I remember our time in that fabulous studio with Gus.
Gus was of the habit of playing the previous bands sessions before starting on a new project. “Go on”, I said full of all the bravado of a NWOBHM producer. So he did ! I was stood right in front of these F***ing huge floor to ceiling speakers and the sound nearly knocked me over. Some plants in front of the speakers were swaying in the volume breeze and my trousers were flapping.
Coincidentaly, the band we were listening to was VOYAGER of which Chris Hook, pictured above was the bass player.
Article and picture courtesy David Stark of SONGLINK
I was always a big fan of The Searchers so I was delighted when, in 1982 they recorded my song “I Don’t Want To Be The One”†
About a year or so later I heard they were performing in my area and I arranged to go. The gig was Castles in Catchgate (NE of UK) Actually it wasn’t that near but it was near the village where I grew up so stayed at my parents house. The gig was just down the road from where I went to school and the venue itself was where my own early band “Bullfrog” had rehearsed.†
When I got to the gig I went into the dressing room and introduced myself to the band. It was the line-up you see in the picture above. It was a great show and it was quite a blast to hear my song in the midst of all those classic tracks. What made it even better was that John McNally (or was it Frank Allen) introduced the song and said “this song was written by a guy who used to go to school around here and he ‘s standing at the bar over there, Steve Thompson”. I got a round of applause, it felt great.
Me and John Verity produced Mikes a single “Its Over” . We didn’t write the song so we made him do one of ours on the B side. The song we gave him “Brothers And Sisters” was pretty crap really and I can’t remember why we didn’t give him something decent but hey, that’s showbiz!