Recollections from April 1967 by the bass
Simon Dupree and The Big Sound
One of the first gigs we did
for Arthur Howes was with
The Walker Brothers
ABC Theatre Blackpool.
The Walker Brothers were Scott Engel (
Walker ), Gary Leeds and John Maus.
Also on the show were
The Quotations - The Californians
Jimi Hendrix and Cat Stevens
This show was new territory for
Simon Dupree And The Big Sound.
We were used to playing in clubs, not in front of two thousand seated people.
Most of the audience were girls, who were at the show just to scream.
The area was in complete chaos when we arrived.
The theatre was completely surrounded by screaming girls who were after
The Walker Brothers but anybody who remotely looked like they were a member of a
fair game to them, and could be torn apart.
It would've been easy to loose an ear, leg or a more private part of the
body if they could have
got a hold on it.
We managed to get into the theatre and to our dressing room.
room, now that was a novelty.
Looking from this second floor room
we looked down on the chaos below.
The police were having a hard time, controlling the fans so they'd called
in the mounted police.
A few of the girls were prepared for this because they had bags of glass
They would throw a handful of these under the horses hooves.
Marbles on the hard road didn't do the horses hooves any good at all.
These could make the horse buck and throw the rider off.
A stressed Police Inspector came into our dressing room and told us to
from the windows or he would have us arrested for 'Inciting A Riot'.
Getting arrested, now that was a novelty.
Before the show I had a wander around the theatre.
Around the stage area I saw a hysterical girl being pursued by the security
Her face, hands and legs were covered with blood. Later somebody told
me that to
get into the theatre she'd crawled through a small broken window and cut
pieces on the broken glass.
She was eventually restrained and taken to hospital for treatment.
I wandered onto the stage area where they were testing the powerful stage
I thought 'One more thing in life that can make you go blind'.
Back in the dressing room we put on stage make-up.We had been told that
fierce stage spotlights without make-up we would look like corpses.
None of us had been taught how to apply make-up, so we probably looked
like a circus act than a band.
Putting on make-up, now that was a novelty.
In our dressing room was a speaker that the stage director was using to
tell us 'Twenty minutes
to Simon Dupree', next he was saying 'Five minutes to Simon Dupree'.
wasn't doing anything to help already frayed nerves.
Then it was onto the stage.
As the stage curtains
opened I remember Tony counting one - two - three - four,
the rest is just a blur of blinding light and screams.
As the huge stage curtains closed at the end of our act
I got in the way.
I was taken for the first bungy jump in the UK !!
This was the matinee so we had the same show to do again in the evening.
That time I kept well clear of the curtains.
When The Walker Brothers did their act we stood in the wings to watch.
There was so much screaming we never heard a thing that they did, so it was a bit pointless ....
Simon Dupree and The Big Sound also did the Beach Boys and Gene Pitney
tours of the UK.
These weren't as chaotic ....... apart from a gig that we did with
Victor Brox's Blues Band.
The band had one problem, Victor Brox had just left them to join John
They still had his electric violin ( which was painted bright blue! ).
To show their disgust they filled the violin with percussion caps, placed it at the front of the stage,
and blew it to matchwood.
One small problem ..... my head was three feet away from the violin when
it exploded ....
That story is for another day ....