Reg Coates Combo/Experience

 Band members in the three black & white publicity photos in the gallery are Reg & Norman Coates, Maurice Williamson (wearing glasses) and Vic Farrell. 

The Reg Coates Experience became known after the Reg Coates Combo split in the early 70s for a short period. The combo often contained one or more of Reg's brothers. The new band only contained the best available musicians.

Two long standing lead guitarists were Dave Dunne from Wythenshawe and Harry Barber (who sadly died a few years ago) from New Mills. Bass players and drummers came and went regularly due to Reg's high level of ability and low tolerance of alcohol problems but these 2 guys were around for many years.

Jason Coates, Reg's son, joined the band for 5 years as a bass player from 86 to 91 and now lives in Portugal.

"In those days there were loads of clubs all buzzing with people. Some nights we would do 3 clubs in one night - imagine that with the gear we used to use. Massive speakers, 3 way pa systems and amps, guitars, drums and four or five blokes in the band. They were brilliant days, its such a shame to see the scene as it is today"says Reg.

"The clubs were fantastic too. Blightys (Farnworth), The Talk of the North (Eccles), the Candlelight (Oldham), the Broadway, Quaffers, the Poco Poco, Oceans 11, the Heaven and Hell, Offerton Palais - I could go on and on. They were everywhere and when we were there, they were queing up to get in."

"Sometimes I'd look at the Manchester Evening News entertainment page and I must have been playing in nearly every club night after night. In those days it was seven days a week. Even up to the early nineties I was still flying but djs, cheap karaoke acts and the recession destroyed the scene."

"I'm still doing the show mostly for private parties and the odd club but no longer with the band. The clubs that are left cant afford it. Would love to go out with the band - I still feel brill but is there a market? I dont know. " 


First time I recall Reg was about 1971/2.

I was with a duo and we played at Oceans 11 club on Birchfields Road which used to be a skating rink and later the International club. He was with the resident group but subsequently became a touring band around the clubs as the Reg Coates Combo and later, I think, Reg Coates Experience. He was very popular and had a habit of linking two or three songs together in a sort of mini medley.

I am probably one of the few Manchester musicians who did not play in his band at some time!

Bob Ainsworth

I was lead guitar in a resident band at Walker's Club, Warrington. We had a lot of good guest bands on every weekend, but THE FAVOURITE was always Reg Coates and his Experience. Use to 'sell out' on the door everytime.

A great frontman, he would whip the girls up into a frenzy, sort of Tom Jones on speed! All flairs, gold chains, big collars! His big number was always 'Love is in the air'. 

Backstage was a different matter, the band always seem to be arguing about everything, Not sure if he ever paid them.

Also remember his battered PA always playing up. Happy days.

Bob Dufton - 17/11/09

Tommy and me loved Reg. We used to do the same clubs at the same time as him - he was a legend!

Bobby Ball - 4/10/10

Had many brilliant nights with the Reg Coates Experience at The Pembroke Halls, Walkden.....superb!!

Dave Backhouse - 7/2/11

Reg Coates - fabulous group! When they played 'The Haven Club' Hensingham Nr Whitehaven Cumbria - had to queue from 5.30 ish - for their performance at around 8.00 as we had to get a seat. Great times.

LBT 29/10/11

I remember being booked at "Offerton Palace" on Turncroft Lane Offerton around '65ish. We were a young group consisting of a lead, bass & drums setup, with a vocal harmony sound. Our job was to fill the gap before the main act with the usual get up and dance numbers plus a couple of Four Seasons and Beachboy songs we were trying out.

Imagine our surprise when the "Compere" came rushing on stage halfway through our spot waving his arm's insisting we cease playing immediately as we were doing the main act's program - (Reg Coates Combo), after an exciting exchange of words on stage in which the "Compere" resorted to physical threats allegedly passed on from a spokesperson in the Reg Coates Combo.

As Mr Coates had allegedly a certain reputation in getting his own way, we decided, discretion being the better part etc. - to follow the Compere's suggestion and went home, really quite chuffed because a professional band had obviously considered us a musical threat.  Needless to say we refrained from further bookings at the venue, we also made sure we and the "Reg Coates Combo" never appeared on the same bill again. 

D.Rimmer - 27/5/12

I remember Reg Coates in the 60s & 70s in local caberet clubs, Domino, Southern, Broadway just to mention a few, then in the 80s & 90s Manchester clubs and larger working mens clubs, a few years ago he was at Big Wigs a pub/club in Audenshaw.

He still always puts on a great show and is super fit - all the women still love him, keep it up Reg for as long as you can you are a dying breed. I would love to see cabaret clubs make a come back, but thats just wishful thinking.

Len Harte - 3/7/12

Hello to all fans of the Reg Coates Combo - they are the best. Ran with them in the 60s and have to many good times to tell about but did any one know Reg was a fantastic car body repairer?

Ray Hartwell - 12/10/12

I played guitar for Reg in the early 70's- it was my suggestion that "combo" was a bit dated and suggested that as Hendrix had died we could use his old bands name. The band was so popular in Manchester that on my nights off I could go to virtually every club in town and get free admission as all the door staff knew me - happy days! 

Peter Taylor - 30/4/13

I first saw Reg Coates perform in Burnley, the night J F Kennedy was shot. I met him again at the Levensume Sporting Club and the Princess Club.. I was then the fan club manager of the Warriors from Acrington. I did go out with Reg, his full time job was a Panel beater. He lived in Bland Street Moss Side. A real ladies man with lots of charm, I last saw him sing at Bernard Mannings Club shortly before Bernard died. He could still belt out a song. The 60's was a great time to be young as we had such a vast number of Clubs and Pubs with an endless amount of great talent. I do hope Reg is still out and about he was definetly the Elvis of Manchester.

Jeanette (Rhyl) - 1/5/13


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