Phoenix City Smash - band members
Phil Gregory aka "The Count"
Bass Guitar 1962-1972
Phil was one of the original members, who stuck in with the band almost to its demise. The leader of the band, his departure (to a cabaret band at Sale Locarno) was probably the catalyst for the eventual split. A solid bass player, who caused much interest with his unique "Gibson" Beatle-bass.
Many is the bassist who spent weeks cruising Reno's, Barretts, Mameloks and other music shops looking for such as item. If only they too had had the Moss Side savvy to glue a Gibson logo onto a Hofner!
As Phoenix went "jazzy", Phil switched to a fretless bass and filled out the sound of the now lead guitarless six-piece - swapping his pre-Madness sunglasses, cool image and almost skinhead haircut for a more shoulder length approach.
Phil - left - with Cass outside a hotel in Teddington, London - Sept 1969, where the band stayed for their Opportunity Knocks appearance
Phil formed a band with fellow PCS Andy to revive those great soul sounds of the PCS. Line up is Phil (bass), Andy (organ), Dave (Guitar), Ray (tenor sax), Rod (trumptet), Al (trombone), Keith (drums) and fronted by Tony Cassidy from another great Manchester band St Louis Union, who had the no 1 hit "Girl" in 1965.
Leslie Eaton aka Lester
Lester was not really a singer from Phoenix City - more like a plumber from Birch Park, Manchester. However, either people couldn't notice the difference between Manchester and US accents or really didn't care.
Lester was popular with the bands following and stayed with the band almost to its last days. Last heard of plumbing in Levenshulme and supping at the Birch Villa.
Sadly, Les passed away in Sept 2019.
Paul joined the band at the same time as Andy, making his debut at Lostock Youth Centre. Originally playing alto sax badly, he moved over to tenor sax badly.
Although a lousy sax player, Paul was a good showman - eventually becoming lead singer for many years with Kent based comedy showband LIFE 'N' SOUL. The band spent many years gigging within the UK and abroad.
Paul can be heard playing sax on a number of earlier recordings with Arthur Kay and The Originals (popular UK ska band) as well as the Last Resort album "A way of life - skinhead anthems" plus Life 'n' Soul (Kent) recordings. The AK recordings are regularly included on Best of British Ska and many similar cd compilations.
Now lives in Bairnsdale, Australia, where he spends his time playing around on the web and teaching information technology at a local High school.
(Paul - left - with Cass outside the George Best Boutique, Bridge St, Manchester, approx Dec 1967)
Ian Andrew Joseph Lesley John Anderson aka Andy
Came to view the band on Paul's debut night and liked what he saw - although we can't mention what he saw here. It involved Les, a table-tennis table and a young lady.
Previously rhythm guitarist with OLIVERS TWIST, Andy moved on to Farfisa organ - later Vox Continental then Hammond as the sixties progressed.
Andy's additional role in the band was as warm-up for the "star of the show - Mr Lester Easton".
On leaving the band, worked for a short time with Paul in HONEYCHILE then joined Salford based three piece SWEET CHARIOT. Heard a rumour he was into marathon running - how odd!
Alan Cassidy aka Cass
Lead Guitar 1962-1970
Lead guitarist with the band for many years and one of the founding members - leaving to become a milkman and then a Policeman.
Formed a PCS Mark II on split of the original band - together with Geoff Wilde, Mike Prophet (bass), Neil Bloorton (tenor sax), Nigel (surname not known, on trombone), Ricky Rodgers (vocalist) and Pete Howarth (drums).
Rickey Rodgers later formed a reggae band and had a record released ' I Never Got To See Bob Marley', which, I am told, made it into the charts.
The band was managed by Roy Crewdson (ex-guitarist with Freddy and the Dreamers).
Tenor Sax 1968-1970
Formerly with the RUMBLE FAT BAND, Ivor added a great sound to the bands brass section. Once always to be seen working for the council putting the scaffolding around the statues in Albert Square in preparation for New Year's Eve festivities, Ivor now lives in Scotland.
Phil Bowen aka Bo-Bo's
Original drummer with MOBILE UNIT - left - then came back again following departure of Dave Holmes.
After Phoenix folded, Bo-bo's spent a year with a band called Pyewacket then on to play with a band called Haghill in Canada.
Infamous for hemorrhoids (not too good for a drummer) and smelly feet (not too good for the rest of the band), Phil now runs his own business in Canada and spends his time flitting between Toronto, and Aruba (just off north coast Venezuela). Well done Bo-bo's!
Richard Priest aka Ashley
Richard didn't last too long as a pop star - Dad thought he would be better off being a butcher than running around the country with the band. In hindsight, probably quite right but a bit hard for a sixteen year old who has suddenly discovered girls. Found playing in a Boy's Brigade band - no idea where he is now, probably Akela in the Scouts.
Last heard of being a butcher - Dad apparently got his own way.
Tenor Sax 1968
"After I left PCS and joined Art Nouveau for a short time. Then, answering an advert in the Melody Maker I joined a band in Southend called the Red River Band who were signed with an agent to back American soul stars they brought over to England and Europe . The singers we backed were numerous and too long to list, but they included Percy Sledge, Ronnettes, Jimmy Rufin and even may I mention Proby just after his trouser splitting episode.
I eventually did go on to music college and studied in London, Royal Conservatoire of Music in Brussels and finally Indiana University U.S.A
Then I worked as a freelance musician, playing in the west end and provincial theatres for variety shows and musicals with lots of recording session work along the way. Finally after numerous years of living in a suitcase I went on to Manchester University to train as a teacher and have been teaching since 1980."
Alan now lives in Co Durham, near Barnard Castle.
Salford based Brian drummed with the band for a short time before moving on. Previously with The Chosen Few. His mate was Kenny Edmunds - a Salford DJ who also owned a record shop.
Brian had a car, which was most unusual in PCS.
A replacement for Les, Mike had a good voice but joined as the band went into decline. Formerly with "TANGERINE"
Drums 1963 - 1967
Original drummer with the band - classmate at Heald Place Primary with Phil, Paul and Steve Reece (trial drummer right at the start of the band). Left to go to Uni. Claim to fame was that he had a car!!!!!!!!
Guitar/Sax 1963 - 1967
Peter switched from guitar to sax as the band switched from MOBILE UNIT to PHOENIX CITY SMASH. A top line musician, he probably felt a little held down (as in the picture) by those mad girl-hunting members who made up the rest of the band and he soon left for the Manchester Youth Stage Orchestra, where he featured strongly on both guitar and baritone sax. The rest of the band continued their search for girls.
Pete had the hand surgically removed from his head in 1968 and both are now doing well.
Geoff joined the band as it entered its "jazz rock" stage. Geoff joined Cass in PCS Mark II and now is a member of the popular Savannah Jazz Band
Chief Roadie 1968 - 1970
Bill was one of one long serving and long suffering roadies. A great DJ (from Rochdale) he abandoned his own search for fame to hump the gear, bear great abuse and all for about one and ninepence a night. What a hero.
Sadly I don't have a picture of him - that hair and moustache were fabulous.
Bill was the band's sponsor on Opportunity Knocks and for once was almost speechless when he couldn't remember where the band was supposed to have played a few nights ago - the show was taped ahead so they hadn't actually played there yet - if you get the drift.
Very sorry to hear of Bill's death in Feb 2003 after a short illness.
Graeme, a Rochdale lad and a bass player with Alan Vernon Set, was with PCS for many years. I fondly remember his floral kaftan and little red leather bolero jacket over the top of it. C'mon, that was really cool in those days - I wore worse.
Graeme had a Bedford van, which we used as a people mover (thirty years before Toyota) for the band.
Ray "Clarence" Stowell
Pictured second on left, Ray was a thoroughly nice guy - who could lift anything.
Sadly passed away some years ago - just weeks after I had made contact. No link I hope.