The Rainmakers

Many thanks to Alan Doyle, Peter Cowap and Danny Hardman for info & inspiration. Compiled by Olaf Owre, 2004

Following the split in Lee Paul & The Boys in 1963, bassist Pete Kay and drummer Dave Hill joined forces with Alan Doyle from Johnny Masters & The Mastersounds on lead guitar and Colin Smithies, better known as Deke Bonner from The Tremors on lead vocals.

The new group was called The Rainmakers and became a very popular act on the club and cabaret scene, not only in and around Manchester, but also in other parts of the UK.

They had the same management team as The Hollies and The Dakotas at the time, but unlike those acts, who would soon become household names of the 60s music scene, The Rainmakers never had anything released on record and soon fell by the wayside so to speak.

Alan Doyle later became a member of The Toggery Five and Sweet Marriage.  

 Line Up included

  • Colin Smithies (Deke Bonner) - vocals 
    Deke Bonner and The Tremors (59-62)
  • Alan Doyle - Lead Guitar 
    Billie Davis and The Country Gents (63)
    The Toggery Five (1965-66)
    Derek Joys Showband (1966-67)
    Carina & Los Sonida Grande(67)
    Sweet Marriage (1968-69)
    Nektar (1970)
    Hornblower (1972)
    Pete Birrell's Allsorts (1973)
    Alvin's Heartbeats (1975-76)
    Cowap & Doyle c&w duo (80s)
    The Rainmakers (re-unions 90s)
    The Delivery Men (00-02) Pete MacLaine band & other local bands (02-to present) 
  • Pete Kay - Bass Guitar
    Lee Paul and The Boys (62-63) 
  • Dave Hill - Drums
    Lee Paul and The Boys (62-63)

The band that Lemmy joined was originally the Rave-ons. We knew Alan Doyle and the band and in 1964 they either changed their name or split up. We liked the name and so we became the Rainmakers.

We were very popular along the North Wales coast and used to play regularly in Rhyll at the in place to be, a coffee bar called the La'Nor te'k (spelt something like that)

One night Lemmy was in the place sat on the floor with everyone else. He lived not far from the town on a farm with his mum and step dad who I think was a vicar. He was classed as a beatnik with his parker jacket and his rolled up bed on his back. When we'd finished him and his mate asked for a lift back to Manchester. We always had a guitar out playing and singing and on the way back Lemmy played us a few. We liked what we heard so we asked him to join the band.

We had always modelled our selves on the Big Three but time was moving on and we wanted a fuller sound Lemmy became our rhythm guitarist and second lead. He was a great bloke and a real character as you can imagine! He lived in Heaton Moor near Stockport and on gig nights he would make his way to Stockport station and catch the train to Handforth near Wilmslow were I lived. Here the van would pick us up and at the end of the night we would drop him back home. Lemmy spent his money on dodgy substances, food not being a priority. One day he collapsed at the station and people stepped over him and walked round him for a while before anybody helped, such was the public's view in 1964 of long haired revolutionary's.

If someone asked what work you did and you said musician they would always say 'yes but what's your proper job?' (sigh). We broke a lot of barriers in that decade.

My ma used to keep him alive she was always putting half a loaf and a pound of bacon in his pocket to make him eat, something he's never thanked her for since hitting the big time. One night we were playing the Manchester Cavern with Manfred Mann. That was in Cromford ourt which is now under the M'cr Arndale centre. The place was heaving and a sea of faces Lemmy was playing up to the crowd when they grabbed him. We managed to grab his axe before the audience passed him over their heads into the dark like a corps! We played two more songs before they returned him the same way as he went and dumped him unceremoniously on the stage. He picked up his axe and carried on as if nothing had happened to this day I don't know what they did with him all that time. When Lemmy took a solo you could smoke a fag before he'd finished and his image clashed with ours. Eventually we decided to let him go, some thing as you can imagine didn't go down well with him. In the early 70s Les and Dave bumped in to him in London and he was decidedly cool but he went on to achieve what he did. So he had the last laugh I suppose you could say.

The Rainmakers moved on and had our sights on going to Germany. There were lots of reasons for this, following in the footsteps of the Beatles seemed like a good idea but it was difficult to turn professional in England. Germany was ready made for it. There was a problem though. At that time there was a curfew in the country, anybody under the age of 18 had to be in doors by 10.30. You couldn't work a Star club until you were 18. This happened in March 66 when I being the youngest had a birthday. By this time Dave the drummer had left not wanting to jeopardize his day job. And Mike Delaney took his place.

Mike had just returned from Holland were he'd been the original drummer with the Scorpions and had a huge hit with Hello Josephine, the Fats Domino number. The band now became myself, Mike and Les and one other through-out the life on the Rainmakers we had a manager Alan Wetnall. Alan was older than us by a good few years and he could drive. He also had the authority (more like the cheek) to speak to agents and club managers for work so the four of us went to Germany.

Anybody who's been down that route will tell you it was hell. We started at the Star club in Keel on the Baltic. We were on with another band from Birmingham called Bret and the Mavericks. Monday to Friday we would start at 6pm and do five forty five minute spots and they would do the same.

Every hour there was fifteen minute for the change over. Saturday and Sunday it was eight spots starting at around two. It was a baptism of fire and it's no wonder that when we returned we could blow most bands off the stage. I believe the same transformation happened to the Beatles.

On our return things had changed, the northern boom was over. Brass was a feature. Bands like Geno Washington and the ram jam band, Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, Zoot Money's Big Roll band, Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers, Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds and later Amen Corner. This was now hip they were all trying out do Booker T and the MG's and Otis Redding.

We added brass and became the Big City Soul Band thus ending the Rainmakers.

Later the band modified to become Sampson managed By Sharon Osborne but that 's another story.

Dave Robin


Lemmy Kilminster (Willis) of Hawkwind and Motorhead fame was in a later line-up of the band (c1962) according to his autobiography and he says The Rainmakers were past their prime and he was not with them for very long.

John - North-west London
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