The Vigilantes (Darwen)

Line-up included

  • Brian Begent - drums
  • Mick Kenlock - lead

From Darwen and dressed in suits in beatle jacket style, my first group The Vigilantes, played most of the working mens clubs in Lancs including Blackburn Locarno in its infancy. This was '63 and at the boom of the northern bands, and so we played on the same billing as some of the famous groups of later times.

I later joined The Little Boy Blues in my 16th year. This was a different career altogether and very full.

We dressed like hippies and my hair grew down to my shoulders. We played the working mens clubs and pubs all over Lancashire and Liverpool and Manchester. We played in Kubiclub, Cavern Club many times, Drumbeat Bolton, Jimmy Saville's club Beat City, M'chester, Twisted Wheel M'chester.

We played Rawtenstall Astoria, Nelson Imperial, Locarno Blackburn, Hammersmith Palais and Fairfield Halls Croyden. We played Kings Hall Blackburn many times. We played in many places, many times and at the best venues, always packed out.

We played all night in some clubs and of course this was due to a very good manager, Derek Greenwood, the same manager as The Hollies. We were an r and b group and included some fifties numbers by Eddie Cochran and many rock and roll singers and crooners with what then was modern equipment and style.

These included 100 watt vox amps, such guitars as hofner verithin, gretsh, hoyer, fender, during the time until i was seventeen I enjoyed playing on the same billing as bands such as The Who, Pretty Things, Them, Wayne Fontana, Ben E King, Wilson Pickett, Herman's Hermits, Animals and many more in many clubs.

We had the old bedford van, a blue one which turned purple with lipstick, so did my white pearl premier drumkit. Many nights were spent tucked up on the Lancs Moors with many bodies inside.

Meanwhile I spent my time half living in a cellar in Darwen at weekends and home whilst doing my electronic apprentiship in Blackburn, across from the Locarno in Mincing Lane, Blackburn.

So for a year and half I had the priviledge of playing with the best at the best venues at the best time.

My memory fails me as to so much happening in such a short time. Our lead guitar and band leader was Mick Kenlock, a very good lead and organiser who worked for Lucas at the time and was an electronic genius and guitarist. He runs a company involved in road transport and storage in Darwen and used to own a nightclub in darwen.

Our band faded out and I joined The Frogs later be to become Wynder K Frog.

I left to move house and have led an extraordinary life since, living in Malta, Marseille and Miami and doing some 70,000 miles on water in big ships and luxury yachts and leading a special forces company in maritime counter terrorism worldwide.

My life has been extraordinary, turning many corners and having many extreme changes but I will always remember my early playing in the bands having extreme experiences for my age and playing with some very talented people of which will never be repeated, the birth of an era.

I still smile when I think about the times I had despite my current 60 years.

We were very loud (due to me) and very good and had a very good following.

I played a five piece white pearl premier set with twin tenor tomtoms on a carpet with a bar of wood to prevent me going offstage. These drums were customised with base drumskin cut out and full of newspaper to damp down. These ended up like me white to start and to end very purple with lipstick, just like me !! Those were the days !!!!! 

Love to all who remember us!!

Brian Begent





Comments powered by CComment