Motown Sect

previously The Rocking Ravens 

Line-up included

  • Dave Semple - Drums
  • Kevin Smith - Drums (replaced Dave)
  • Stewart Steele - Guitar/vocals
  • Ian 'Lemmy' Willis - Guitar/vocals
  • Les Standing - Bass
  • Glyn (aka Glun) - Bass (replaced Les)




The picture is the Motown Sect line-up after my departure it reads
?-- Stu Steel --Lemmy-- Kev Smith- ? Sorry I don't know the guys on left and right

Les Standing - 21/11/13

Lemmy spent about three years (c 1962 - 1965) in a very good R & B group called The Motown Sect modelled on The Pretty Things.

The band had Stewart Steele on guitar (a Gibson Stereo 345); Les on bass; Kevin Smith on drums (who lived next door to Ian Brady & Myra Hindley!) and Lemmy on guitar, vocals. After about two years Les left and was replaced by Glyn, who the band called Glun. When the band split Lemmy joined The Rocking Vickers.

At this time Lemmy was known as Ian Willis. Willlis being his stepfather's name.

Alan Carter

They were only called the Motown Sect because Motown was very big at the time and got them gigs.

They all had very long hair and it was perhaps the mod season then, striped T-shirts and played harmonica and sang blues. They did covers of Pretty Things and Yardbirds, James Brown and Chuck Berry, and all with only a 30 watt amp between them.

They played a lot of venues at pubs in the Oldham area and at that coffee bar at Mumps, which I always thought was called Catacombs but I seem to have been mistaken - it was downstairs in the cellar underneath a coffee bar. Does anyone remember it?

They also went down a storm at Halifax Town Hall supporting the Pretty Things.

Valerie Parkeinson-Fletcher

Booked them for various gigs Rochdale area 1965. Excellent R&B band. Crazy man.

Frightened most con secs and booking agents with their long hair and Neanderthal looks. Very loud but great for the kids at the time.

One of the first bands of its type to play at Rochdale venues - blew them away. Brilliant. 

Atlas D'Four 14/8/09

The group also played

  • Beat City Fountain St M/C.
  • Big Daddy Club Halifax,York.
  • Heaven & Hell (all nighters) M/c.
Les Standing - 14/2/11

I first saw the Motown Sect one Friday night at Dialstone Lane Youth Club in Great Moor, Stockport. I was with a group of girls from school and we all stood and danced as close to the stage as we could and got talking to the boys after they'd finished playing.

We met up with them several times, besides going to watch them play.

Stuart Steele was in the group, but the drummer was called Dave Semple at that time (unless he gave me a false name!!) and Lemmy wasn't amongst them the first two times we saw them, although he did come to a party at my friend Cath's house with them which must have been shortly after he'd joined them.

I also remember them saying something that Lemmy mentions in his autobiography 'White Line Fever'; they would introduce the next song by saying, 'And now for all you James Brown fans out there' and as those people who liked James Brown cheered, they began to play Rock instead!

Another great group though and yet more very happy memories.

Jen Barnes   6/9/11

Jen was quite right, Dave Semple was the drummer before Kev Smith. Before the Motown Sect, we were called Rocking Ravens

Thanks for that memory Jen 

Les Standing 15/11/13

Lemmy then known as Ian Willis (b. Ian Fraser Kilminster, Monday, December 24, 1945, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, UK), had started out in a Conway, North Wales band The Sundowners, who changed their name to The Deejays. He played guitar, a Hofner Club 50 and was also lead vocalist. The rest of the band was Maldwyn Hughes on drums and Dave X on guitar. They later got in Brian Groves on lead vocals and John X on bass. Willis later joined another local group The Sapphires. 

Then he left North Wales and moved to Manchester with his Eko guitar, which he then swapped for a Harmony Meteor. Here Willis joined The Rainmakers, a band well past their prime. He played guitar with them, not the Harmony, he had traded that in for a Gibson 330. He was not with them for long and then spent about three weeks in another group before in c. 1962 he joined R & B band The Motown Sect (who had been called The Rocking Ravens). Willis stayed in the group for three years. This band had Stewart Steele on lead guitar (Gibson Stereo 335), Kevin 'Kev' Smith on drums (who had replaced Dave Semple (b. David Semple) and Les Standing on bass. Willis had met them from hanging around Manchester. In this band Willis played guitar (the Gibson 330) and did most of the singing too.

After two years c. 1964 Les X left and was replaced by Glyn X (b. c. 1944), who was called Glun. The band played covers of The Pretty Things, The Yardbirds and Chuck Berry. They also played at Halifax Town Hall, Halifax, West Yorkshire, supporting The Pretty Things in c. 1965.

John Warburg  4/2/14


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