Fuzz

August 1965 until August 1966

Previously The Corals from Aug 1963; The Warriors from Oct 1963;The Raging Torrents from Mar 1964; The Zanti Misfits from Jun 1964; The Torrents from Jul 1964; Just Nuthin from May 1965 for 2 months;Then finally FUZZ From August 1965 until August 1966 

Line-up as in all photos:

  • John (Joeb) Fletcher - Guitar and Lead Vocals
  • John Senior - Guitar and Occasional lead Vocals
  • David Faulkner - Bass Guitar and Occasional Lead Vocals
  • Alan Lord - Drums
  • George Bennett - Drums (not on any photo)

George Bennett replaced Alan Lord on drums when Alan left about April 1966.

This was the final line until the band split in about August 1966.

 

 

Live gig photo - left to right: Alan Lord, John (Joeb) Fletcher, David Faulkner, John Senior.
It was taken by the resident photographer at The College Theatre Club Moss Side. It was on Coupland Street in Moss side and was originally The College Cinema. After the College Theatre Club it became The New Ardri.

I remember the night photo was taken. It was 24th Feb 1966 according to my diary and it was the first time we played there and I think it was an audition. 

We were all around sixteen and seventeen years old. It was a strip night and we had to share the dressing room with the strippers; it was normal procedure at the College Theatre Club (no problem). They were all in and out of their kits getting ready to entertain the punters that were out there in the audience. At some point they were larking about and giving were us a sort of preview and a tease from the other side of the room. One of the girls or should I say women (they were much older than us) was prancing about wearing only a see through negligee. She came over to our side of the room went up to Alan, the youngest of us, who was sat on a chair, and she put the front of her negligee over his head trapping his head between the negligee and her enormous tits. The rest of us stood there gorping.

When we played at the College Theatre Club they made us plug our amplifiers into a “Special mains supply socket” for groups. It was fed via some sort of variable voltage rheostat; some contraption, or other, probably made from an old stage lighting dimmer. If we played too loud they used turn the mains voltage down. Every time they stepped the voltage down our amplifier outputs dropped and so we turned our volumes up again,
each time adding a bit more distortion. After repeated cycles of this cunning trick of theirs the pilot lamps on the amps were so dim they were barely on and the distortion coming from the speakers……It sounded like we were all playing through Steve Winwood’s fuzz box. Well we were called FUZZ anyway. It was sort of ironical.

The other photos were taken in a photographic studio by Dave Faulkner’s dad, Jack Faulkner known to everybody as a JD. A great guy.

My guitar on the right in photos 2 and 3 (the studio pictures) was a Rodger or something like that. It was loaned to me by Stock and Chapman when my Gibson 330 that I had recently bought off them had gone away for repair.

We played at Salford Tech (now the University) one Friday night, I think it was on 20th May 1966 but I’m not exactly sure. We had the van full of gear and I think we had been double booked somewhere else in Swinton and turned away from the gig so our road manager Colin Taylor suggested we went to Salford Tech to see if there was a band on and maybe have a night out. When we were driving round The Quadrant looking for a place to park a bloke waved us to a stop and asked if we were the band he was waiting for. We said what? He said he was waiting for the support band to turn up who seemed to have let him down. He gave us a gig on the spot even though he had never heard of us. When we were unloading our gear somebody approached our bass player, Dave Faulkner, and asked him if we would kindly lend their guitarist an amplifier. We all said “sorry no”. We had heard stories about lent out amplifiers that then had been “blown up” or had had their speakers blown. We all struggled to pay for our gear on HP and couldn’t afford to take any chances.

Anyway after some pleading and reassurances of compensation from them should the worst happen, I gave in and lent my Vox AC 30 TB to their lead guitarist. Their band did the first spot. In those days at Salford Tech the top band used to play two sets and the support band (us) played in their break. They were about to start their first set so we went into the audience to watch them.……We didn’t know at the time who they were…….….. It was only Eric Clapton with John Mayall and the Blues Breakers! I’d never heard of them.……. I had heard a lot of old black American blues
players but I had never heard anything like this………….

They finished their set and we went on stage to do our bit. At the time I remember thinking, follow that, (I’ve got a hell of a lot of work to do, I’m so far behind)…… They were from another world……
.
When they finished their first set, I got a pen and marked all the control settings on my Vox AC 30 TB (treble boost) that Eric had set them to. It had 3 tone controls on the bright channel and therefore a wide variety of available tones for a guitar amp at that time. I wanted to try and get that sound. The pen markings are still on the amplifier today. I know Eric’s sound was definitely more to do with his brilliant playing than my amplifier, but I wanted to save the settings to try and get that sound.

I told Alan Jackson this story about a year later when he was in my blues band. A few years ago he posted something on the Manchesterbeat website saying I had stuck celotape across the controls to stop them moving. I didn’t do that, all I remember is doing the pen marks, they are still there. I think something has been lost in memory over the fifty years or so.

Anyway Eric had a cheap crystal mic from an old tape recorder stuffed in the back of my AC30 which was hooked up to their PA system. We finished our spot and then it was their set again. In the end I felt honoured to lend my amp to this brilliant guitarist. Off he went again…...shear magic…..I still didn’t know who he was at that point, but I sure did later.

They were of course John Mayall, Eric Clapton, John McVie and Hughie Flint. They were on a tour promoting the The Beano Album that was just about to be released. I always wondered whether he remembered borrowing my amp because he was a bit stuck at the time but I imagine it’s highly unlikely……..the number gigs he’s done in the last 50+ years. It was May 1966 so it was 51 years ago in May 2017. I tried to get an email to him to see if he remembered the occasion. I tried through his fan club but all I got in reply was an auto reply offering me the opportunity to buy a teashirt and a poster from his forth coming tour………oh well. I tried to email John Mayall via his website also but he didn’t answer either.

I bought a copy of the Beano album back then as soon as it came out from Barry’s Records, a sort of shack on Blackfriers St. Manchester, just round the corner from Dial House where I worked at the time. There was a gorgeous blond girl that used to serve behind the counter there. We learnt about half a dozen tracks off the LP including Hideaway and Stepping Out.

Before we had Colin Taylor as our manager/road manager we had a chap called Brent doing the same role. I think they both dropped us when they realised they weren’t going to become a Brian Epstein. Before those two Joeb’s dad, Albert Fletcher another great fellow and a very kind man, used to run our gear to gigs in his Ford Popular while we went on the bus (unless it was local then we used our bogies). After Colin and Brent we had two guys one called Keith Trenell and one called Keith Moores (Batman and Robin)…Alan’s brother, Walter Lord, used to help out also. Once Walter drove us down to Birmingham in a convoy of cars to play at a welcome home from (or going to) Australia party.

One night we played at one of the Takis places on Oxford Street and three girls approached us after we had finished playing and told us they were looking for a backing band to tour with them and offered us the job. We didn’t know who they were and what they did so we went to see them a few days later at Mr. Smiths near Whithworh Street. They were good. They were the Paper Dolls and had a single coming out that was going to be called “Something Here In My Heart”. We (our band) had a discussion and after some thought decided it wasn’t a particularly a good move because we all had apprenticeships and we were only going to be the backing band anyway. That was mid 1966 which doesn’t quite add up to the Paper Dolls history on Wikipedia that puts them active 1967 to 1970 with their hit in 1968. I know the “offer” was in 1966, we split up a few months later, it’s in my dairies.

They were fun days even though we made little money. Looking back most of the bands that made it big played original material and wrote their own songs. There was only Joeb in our band that wrote songs. Perhaps the rest of us should have encouraged him more and then he might have eventually come up with a hit. I, personally, didn’t realise at the time how important it was to have original material. Something that in hindsight is obvious.

Our band played at all sorts of places. Here are a few memory joggers:
Princess Theatre Club, Domino Club, Poco Poco, College Theatre Club, Bury Palais, Stamford Hall, Bodega, The Belle View suites, Coop Hall Downing Street, Skyways Coffee Bar Style Road, Lyndale Eccles, Salford Tech (now the University) All the Takis clubs like Top of the Town, Roundtrees, Disco Takis, Spring Gardens etc. Loads of Labour Clubs, Working Men’s Clubs etc., dozens of youth clubs, and countless pubs including Woodcourt Sale, Yew Tree Sale moor, Church Inn Northenden, Stamford Arms Lymm, Waterloo Chetham Hill, The Southern Hotel Chorlton, The Beehive Swinton, and countless others.

We split up about August 1966. Joeb joined the Chasers. I got a job in a resident Irish Show Band called The International Show Band at The Astoria on Plymouth Grove, later called The Carousel then later still called The International Club.

John Senior - 5 October 2017

 

 

 

 

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