Sunday, 2 April 2017

War Baby ......... stories by Eddy Newport no 33 .............. a confrontation

Another in the series by Eddy Newport taken from his book, History of a War Baby.

The Vampires Rock Band was doing gigs at various places locally and I when I could, I would go and help Ron carry his kit into the venues.

The Band tried set up a rock and roll club in a Woolwich pub where they rehearsed. I would go and take the money at the door. It was not a successful venture. It was very good for rehearsing the band.

I would pester Ron to let me have a sit in and play with the band. I would have to put up with a lot of abuse from the other members of the band, especially the guitar player John Gillard. He did not like me at all. He thought I was a pest and I got no encouragement from him.

He was, in fact, a bully and gave me a hard time and tried to discourage me. I was getting a little bit pissed off with his attitude towards me and it eventually came to a head one evening when a couple of seamen came into the pub to listen to the band, and as they were the only ones there I got into their company.

They were flush with money and they bought me a lot to drink and I got drunk. John got very jealous at this and started to bully me when Ron let me have my usual go on his kit. He started to make nasty remarks about my playing and I lost my temper and told him to shut it up. He said what am I going to do about it and I said I would hit him.

As he was about six foot tall and weighed about fifteen stone and me only weighing eleven stone and five foot six inches tall, my remarks were a little foolhardy to say the least. However he asked me to repeat my remarks and I did. He got off the stage removed his guitar and came up to hit me. I was ready for him and as he came nearer to me I let go with a punch and hit him with all my might in his chest.

We were about to set about each other when Dick Thomas, who was even bigger than John, stepped in and putting his fist in front of my face told me to stop it and go and sit down. By this time, I was very angry and ready to punch John’s lights out. I realise now that Dick had intervened to save me from a beating I would have certainly got from John.

I went over to my new found friends who bought me another drink and said if I wanted to they would get him outside and smash his guitar and do him over. I did not want that to happen and I said if anyone would do it, it would be me.

I went home that evening in a state of anxiety and wondering what would happen the next time John and I met up again. My fears were unfounded as John was to treat me with a new found respect and I had no more funny remarks from him. I learnt that it can be profitable to stand up for oneself, confront the bully and win the case, although I had to be pissed to do it.

Ron and the band were soon to break up and John, Dick and Alan went on to become professional musicians and joined a new group “Sounds Incorporated” with another sax, drummer and a keyboard player.

They were formed in 1961 in Kent. They initially made their reputation backing-up visiting American singers such as Little Richard, Brenda Lee and Gene Vincent.

A widely respected band, they were one of the groups signed by Brian Epstein, and they cropped up everywhere in the mid-sixties, touring with the Beatles in America and recording in their own right, working as session men, and backing-up solo singers on nationwide tours. All this was for the future.

© Eddy Newport 2017

Pictures; courtesy of  Eddy Newport

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