The Strangers

1962 The Strangers

1962, Hayes, Brom­ley, Kent, Eng­land. My first school band…“The Strangers”, with my mate, Ter­ry Brown. I’m on the right of pho­to with Terry’s mum’s shad­ow loom­ing between us. We both played a Hofn­er Club 40…mine cost 15 Pounds at Selmer Music in Char­ing Cross Rd in London…“Tin Pan Alley”. Our first gig was at school and the kids went wild…even though we both played through one amp, and only knew a cou­ple of tunes. It sowed a seed when I saw Joyce Goram and Dei­dre Bray wait­ing for us in the wings as we left the stage…this band thing has pos­si­bil­i­ties.

I soon formed anoth­er band with my school friend Stu­art Vin­cent who lived in Big­gin Hill…the town that host­ed a famous WW2 fight­er base dur­ing the “Bat­tle of Britain”. We called the band the “Spit­fires” after the famous fight­er plane that helped save our necks. We played at the Big­gin Hill Youth Club…and I remem­ber every­one watch­ing out for the infa­mous rock­er (what we called bik­ers back then) “Pan­sy Pot­ter” who used to like throw­ing peo­ple through win­dows (most­ly the “Nightin­gale Cafe) for no appar­ent rea­son.
We also played “West Wick­ham” near my home­town of Hayes near Brom­ley. David Jones used to sing and play this moth­er of pearl alto sax with a group called the “Konrads”…he lat­er changed his name to David Bowie; he had tremen­dous tal­ent even back then. I became good friends with George Under­wood who also played with David for a while, and he would some­times sit in with us. He went on to paint some of the most mem­o­rable album cov­ers of the 1960’s includ­ing T-Rex, David Bowie, Zig­gy Star­dust, Pro­col Harum, and Marc Bolan. Peter Framp­ton was also on our local scene as a young gui­tarist play­ing with a band called the “True­beats”.
It was basi­cal­ly South Lon­don. We all went off in our dif­fer­ent direc­tions as pro­fes­sion­al musi­cians. Me in 1964.

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