mardi 4 novembre 2008
The exact circumstances of Screaming Lord Sutch’s debut are difficult to pinpoint. Dave Sutch didn’t become Screaming Lord Sutch in a day and at the beginning he hadn’t long hair.
In late 1950s, Dave Sutch lived in South Harrow, Middlesex. Originally he had an Elvis Presley look-alike apparel and hopped onto his newly acquired second-hand BSA Bantum 125cc motorbike*, he used to head to Coffee Bars such as Ace Cafe on North Circular Road and the Cannibal Pot Coffee Bar on Harrow Road.
*It seems that it would be legend: David Sutch would never had a motorbike in those days but just a Vesper scooter that had to be push started.
Those places became his favourite haunts.
There he met an acquaintance called 'Big Ginger Bill' who persuaded him to buy his window cleaning round for £15.
Now as self employed and part-time window cleaner but outlandish full-time layabout, he was free to develop his desire to stardom.
“The work gave me the freedom to be myself, let my hair grow long and wear whatever I liked as well as practise songs as I went on my rounds. All the money I earned I kept. I was on my way”.
“I was the first of the longhairs... I had grown my locks to 18 inches long and turned myself into a freak years before the hippies came along”.
There are variations on the derivation of Screaming Lord Sutch’s title.
According to Pete Newman, sax player in one of the very first line ups of the Savages, “Sutch turned up at rehearsal with a top hat and I said, “Hey, Dave, you look like a lord”.”
Although Dave Sutch would apparently use the top hat for something else as Vic Clark, guitarist with him, recalls:
" In 1959/60 men’s hair was generally kept short. So it was really extreme to have long hair. He would pull it up over his head and wore a hat during the day. No-one would be seen in public with hair like that in those days. When he went on stage David Sutch kept his hair under his Top hat and during a song the hat would be thrown off, his hair would fall down and this created quite an impact. Girls would scream from sheer fright."
In 1959, resolved to be a rock'n'roll singer, Dave Sutch attended auditions at the famous Two I's Coffee Bar in Old Compton Street, Soho, London.
The coffee bar run by Tom Littlewood being a mecca to budding pop stars - The hottest place to be - as it was here that Tommy Steele and Cliff Richard were discovered. Apparently Rock star Vince Taylor, who was one of the main acts at the venue, would recommended Sutch to Littlehood after he heard him scream somewhere.
Although auditions were interrupted because the auditioner got fed up with all the Elvis Presley look-alikes who came. Littlewood advised the newcomer: “Get a gimmick, and you’re in”. So Sutch decided to swap his former apparel for the 'wild man of Borneo' look after he saw a pair of old buffalo horns for sale at 15 shillings in a place called "Jack's Second Hand Shop".
The next day, Sutch returned to the Two I's Coffee Bar, disguised with buffalo horns glued to his crash helmet and his aunt's leopard skin jacket, which he tored the sleeves off.
Flaunting his wild man image, he impressed at his audition, singing an old song called “Bullshit Boogie”.
Tom Littlewood remembers his first encounter with SLS:
“One afternoon a strange individual came in, presenting himself as Mr. Sutch and asked if he could do an audition. I was very much amazed when he arrived, looking like a rag-and-bone man. He had with him a large bundle of miscellaneous equipment – sheepskin, pair of Buffalo horns, a man-trap, snow shoes and so forth. He sang an obscure old number called “Bullshit Boogie”.
He therefore landed a spot singing at the Two I's, and began to pick up bookings for gigs. Although he spent the proceeds of his first two gigs reimbursing his aunt the cost of the coat. The material of his debut is impossible to pinpoint though his early influences were Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Bo Diddley. Also impossible to determine: who was backing him at that time? Perhaps guitarist Glen Stoner and his friends who used to performed there as The Two I's Coffee Bar Junior Skiffle Group. Waiting for the big day, David Sutch let his hair grow...
jeudi 9 octobre 2008
On Sunday June 26th, 1960, Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages performed The Top 20 Club, Swindon, where they were supported by Johnny Haynes and introduced as "Britain's Top Rock Group Direct from The Two Eyes Coffee Bar Soho Triumph Recording Artistes."
Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages supported the Playboys, on loan from Vince Taylor The Bongo Club, Canning Town, on Sunday November 27th, 1960 where Lord Sutch was obviously making his East End Debut.
mardi 7 octobre 2008
Chris Dors was studying at the Engineering Department of The Willesden Technical College in 1960, when he joined the Savages as bass player. He stayed with them for 6 months then he signed a recording contract with Phillips records and to form his own band: "Chris Dors & The Del Fi's" who recorded with Joe Meek.
They later had a couple of releases on the Fontana Label (Phillips subsidiary label): "They call it love" and "That's when your heartaches begin".
Nowadays Chris Dors owned a record label called Candice Records operating from Pelham, Kent.
Early 1960, David Sutch, who now he wore 18 inch long hair, proposed to Carlo to get a Rock & Roll group together.
They recruited two guitarists Rick Brown (aka Fenson) and Bernie Watson then pianist, Nicky Hopkins.
Three months later, despite they were ready for gigs and to tour they finally parted company.
Dave Sutch had auditioned at the 2i's Coffee Bar then the manager Tom Littlewood decided to put him on the road for a summer package tour, backed by the Vince Taylor Playboys.
Although, from June 1960 to Early 1961, Dave Sutch worked with a line up of The Savages that evolved out of a Rock’n’Roll band called Johnny Dark & the Midnighters. This Band was based in Muswell Hill, North London and featured two musicians who have worked with Johnny Kidd: saxplayer Pete Newman and guitarist Vic Clark.
Indeed Both Vic and Pete had played in the Mike West's band and did stand-ins for Johnny Kidd & the Pirates for whom Mike was a back-up singer until late 1959 ("Please Don't Touch" and "Feelin"). Pete Newman had been earlier a member of The Fabulous Freddie Heath Band.
Beside them, The Midnighters also featured pianist Charlie Parker, Baritone Saxophonist Jeff Wickens and drummer Brian Norman.
Basically, they were an instrumental band just covering American records
such as Johnny & the Hurricanes hits. Then they added singer Johnny Dark whose father owned a pub called “The Black Bull” in Whetstone, North London and that allowed them to have free rehearsals and a residency there.
They used to cover songs of Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Cliff Richard and even early Johnny Kidd’s numbers, and some instrumentals:
• Johnnie B Goode (Chuck Berry)
• Sweet Little Sixteen (Chuck Berry)
• That'll Be The Day (Buddy Holly)
• Peggy Sue (Buddy Holly)
• Move It (Cliff Richard)
• Please Don't Touch (Johnny Kidd)
• Red River Rock (Johnny & the Hurricanes)
• Beatnik Fly (Johnny & the Hurricanes)
• Wild Child
“We had a sound unlike anything in England at that time. We were probably ahead of our time. The record companies considered us un-commercial. I guess the best way to describe our sound was the same genre as George Thorogood, but remember we were more than 20 years ahead of GT. So the Midnighters sound became the Screaming Lord Sutch sound.”
In fact, according to Vic Clark, David Sutch came and saw them at The Black Bull.
He introduced himself and said he needed a band for this fantastic Act inspired from the American performer Screaming Jay Hawkins.
So the members of the Midnighters invited him to their next rehearsal at The Black Bull.
According to Vic Clark, Screaming Lord Sutch did his first live gig ever with them the following Saturday at 'The Athenium' at Muswell Hill, North London, the place where Emil Ford had been discovered and where they were playing once a month.
At that first gig, sax player Jeff Wickens introduced David Sutch as the "Wild Man from Borneo". They did their usual act then Sutch did just one song " The Train Kept-a Rolling" to close the show. As Vic Clark said “It absolutely 'brought the house down”!
Once They became The Savages, the vocalist Johnny Dark went, then Pete Newman and Vic Clark took over the vocals With David Sutch finishing off the shows.
After six months Screaming Lord Sutch and the original Savages parted company.
Pete Newman still worked with Screaming Lord Sutch and recorded on his debut single “Till the Following Night”, produced by Joe Meek before joining the Tornados, then the Felders Orioles.
Brian Norman, who went to live in Africa, passed away a few years ago.
Engineering student, Chris Dors joined the Savages as bass player for about 6 months prior to form his own band "Chris Dors & The Del Fi's" in spring 1961. They recorded with Joe Meek and released singles for Phillips record.
(Vic Clark’s Recollections)
The period from June 1960 to April 1961 regards Screaming Lord Sutch’s carrer still unclear.Though, according to rock historian Pete Frame, he was booked by 2i's Coffee Bar manager Tom Littlewood for a summer package tour, this latter seems to omit a line up of The Savages during this period evolved out of a North London based Rock’n’Roll band called Johnny Dark & the Midnighters.
In fact, according to their guitarist Vic Clark, David Sutch approached them one night, while they had a residency at The Black Bull in Whetstone, North London.
He introduced himself and said he had this fantastic Act inspired from the American performer Screaming Jay Hawkins but he needed a band.
According to Vic Clark, Screaming Lord Sutch did his first live gig ever with them the following Saturday at 'The Athenium' at Muswell Hill, North London.
Sutch renamed them The "Savages" whom line up was to be Vic Clark (Lead Guitar), Charlie Parker (Piano), Pete Newman (Tenor Sax), Jeff Wickens (Baritone Sax) and the late Brian Norman (Drums).
According to saxplayer Pete Newman, who later played on Screaming Lord Sutch’s debut single, Dave Sutch came up with the name The Savages, inspired by The Shadows record hit during summer 1960, “Apache”.
At that first gig, sax player Jeff Wickens introduced David Sutch as the "Wild Man from Borneo". They did their usual act - comprising covers of Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Cliff Richard, Johnny Kidd and some instrumentals such as Johnny & the Hurricanes "Red River Rock" and "Beatnik Fly" - and then Sutch did just one song " The Train Kept-a Rolling", a Bradshaw/Mann/Kay number popularized by the Johnny Burnette Trio, to close the show. As Vic Clark said “It absolutely 'brought the house down”!
"When he went on stage David Sutch kept his hair under his Top hat and during a song the hat would be thrown off, his hair would fall down and this created quite an impact. Girls would scream from sheer fright."
According to Vic, It seems that David Sutch never had a motorbike but just a Vesper scooter that had to be push started. "It was quite an experience trying to jump on the back of a moving scooter while holding my guitar with one hand. Those were the days!"
As they had difficulties to get a permanent Bass player, they borrowed Bass players from other groups. They used occasionally a guy nicknamed "Whip" who used to freelance at the 2 I's. Then Chris Dors, who was studing at the Engineering Department of The Willesden Technical College, joined them. He definitely played Bass Guitar with Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages for 6 months.
On Sunday June 26th, 1960, they performed The Top 20 Club, Swindon, where they were supported by Johnny Haynes.
They played the 2I's very frequently where Vince Taylor & the Playboys, featuring Tony Harvey and Bobby Woodman, was the main act at that time.
According to Vic, Bobby Woodman was "an amazing rock drummer who really worked his kick-drum - Carlo's inspiration who responded well. One night when they were watching, Sutch grabbed Carlo and said "Thats how I want you to play the drums".
Both bands also played the same venue at The Bongo Club, Canning Town, on Sunday November 27th, 1960 where Lord Sutch was obviously making his East End Debut.
At the Soho's annual street parade and Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages were on their own float. Vic Clark: "Sutch virtually 'stole the show' as he was jumping off the float and going crazy amongst the crowd lining the streets. This event received media publicity."
Most of the songs they performed were american cover stuff. Sutch changed disguise depending on songs :
• The Train Kept Rolling - Wearing Top Hat;
• Bullmoose - Wearing huge horns;
• King Kong - Wearing a massive crown.
Other numbers were Good Golly Miss Molly (Little Richard), Don't You Just Know It, Honey Hush (Big Joe Turner).
Here is a funny anecdote that Vic related about those seminal days:
"We arrived at a gig and while we were back-stage before the show started we noticed one of our supporting bands looked well equipped, possibly they were being financed by someone. Their stage clothing was immaculate and their instruments were brand new American guitars and amplifiers. Sutch felt intimidated and concerned as he thought they might put on a better show than us. So when no-one was looking Sutch found a pair of pliers and cut off all the jack plugs from their guitar leads. I can still see their faces when they were due to go on stage standing there looking bemused holding their plug-less guitar leads. All they could do was pack their gear and go home. Sutch was happy!"
They used to let roadie Alf get on stage and sing a couple of songs and for that his 'roadie work' was free.
After six months their association with Dave Sutch broke off.
Vic Clark:"The manager of the 2I's Tom Littlewood signed-up Sutch and then asked us how much we wanted to tour with Sutch. We said we wanted 20 Pounds each per week. Tom Littlewood just laughed in our faces saying he has musicians hanging around the 2I's who would do it for half of that. So that's when Screaming Lord Sutch and the original Savages parted company."
Pete Newman went to work with Joe Meek as session musician, still working with Lord Sutch on his debut recordings, then joined the Tornados for a while before they backed Billy Fury who replaced the horn section by an organ.
Vic Clark also worked with Joe Meek, at first with Chris Dors & the Del Fi's, who recorded at RGM studio and Phillips from june 1961 and had a couple of releases on the Fontana Label, then with the Sack'o'Woes whose Sax player Pete Semmens played the long continuous note on clarinet that became the high pitch shrill that was used on Screaming Lord Sutch recording of Jack The Ripper. This band supported The Rollingstones then Jerry Lee Lewis in Brighton circa 1964. Then Vic teamed up with Pete again in a band called The Beat Society who evolved into Felders Orioles.
However Vic Clark never played in the Savages along side Carlo Little, they would have a band project together.
"Sometime later, Myself, Carlo, Pete Newman, Johnny (Fruit) Gordon and
Mike West (both from Johnnie Kid & The Pirates) got together to form a band. We rehearsed a few times but it never really worked out. My house was in Federal Road and I suggested the band be called The Federals."
Photo and memories, Courtesy Vic Clark
• Johnny Kidd & The Pirates (1959)
• Mike West Band (Late 1959)
• Johnny Dark & the Midnighters (Early 1960)
• Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages (6 Months, June - Late 1960)
• The Federals (Early 1961)
• Chris Dors & The Del Fi's (Spring 1961 - 1962)
• The Sack'o'Woes (1962 - 1964)
• The Beat Society (1965)
Vic Clark was lead guitarist with Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages during 1960.
He was with them for about 6 months or more.
His first 'Paying' band was the Mike West Group. West was a back-up singer for Johnnie Kidd and the Pirates.
He also did stand-ins for the Pirates when either of their two guitarists were unavailable.
He got to know Mike West through sax player Pete Newman who had worked with Johnny Kidd in his Fabulous Freddy Heath Band during 1958.
Sometime later, Vic Clark, Carlo Little, Pete Newman, Johnny (Fruit) Gorden and
Mike West got together to form a band called The Federals after the Federal Road where Vic lived. They rehearsed a few times but it never really worked out.
The band gradually had a complete change of personnel and went on to record some records for EMI. Mike West went on to become Robbie Hood and his Merry Men, with some success.
Then Pete Newman and Vic Clark formed a band that led to Johnnie Dark being their singer.
As Johnny Dark and the Midnighters, they had a residency at The Black Bull in Whetstone. A pub run by Johnnie’s father that allowed them to have free rehearsals there.
One night Screaming Lord Sutch they were approached there saying he had this fantastic act and he needed a backing band. And they became his new Savages. The first who toured with him as the previous line up just had one gig and soon split up.
As Vic recalls:
“We had a rehearsal and Sutch did his first live gig ever the following Saturday at a place called 'The Athenian' at Muswell Hill North London. He did just one song called 'The Train Kept On Rolling' It absolutely 'brought the house down”
That was the time when Screaming Lord Sutch became an huge attraction at the 2I’s Coffee Bar and finally won his reputation. They obviously played a new music sound.
“We had a sound unlike anything in England at that time. We were probably ahead of our
time. The record companies considered us un-commercial. I guess the best way to describe our sound was the same genre as George Thorogood, but remember we were more than 20 years ahead of GT. So the Midnighters sound became the SLS sound.”
About his gear:
In the early days money was tight. In later days I played Gibson guitars using Vox amplifiers.
The only FX I used was a Copycat. This gave an echo (delay) effect but it could be a nuisance as it required tape loops. The tapes were always breaking and usually in the middle of songs. These were the early days of FX.
At first The Savages had no bass player, then they used occasionally a guy called “Whip” who use to freelance at the 2 I's. They finally recruited Chris Dors who studied at the Engineering Department of The Willesden Technical College.
As Dors signed a Recording Contract with Phillips Records on his own, both Vic and Chris left the Savages to form Chris Dors & the Del Fi's name suggested by Clark from the American record label. During this spell, they recorded at Joe Meek’s studio. Then Vic joined other Meek’s protegees, the Sack'o'Woes who eventually supported Jerry Lee Lewis and the Rollingstone at the Brighton Hippodrome, in late 1964.
He finally joined up with Pete Newman again in The Beat Society, a band that evolved into the Felder Orioles, prior to settle in Australia in 1966.
He’s actually the father of Malcom Clark, drummer of Aussie band Sleepy Jackson who have already release two succesful albums.
About The Sleepy Jackson
Trio from Perth, formed by Steele brothers Luke (vocals and guitar) and Jesse, with drummer Malcom Clark in 1998.
Luke Steele is the main composer of the band. He’s very inspired by the swinging 60s and 70s. They first released 2 Eps prior to record their debut album in 2003.
They have toured Europe twice and visited France in late 2003.
The Sleepy Jackson Releases
• "Lovers" (Virgin - 2003)
• "Personality" (EMI - 2006)
Photos Courtesy Vic Clark