The Past Keeps Popping Back – 1968 Rock Stars and Groupies
Just when you think you are making a new life and leaving the old one behind, up pops the old life….in your face as large as life. I won’t say it is annoying, but it drags up all sorts of weird stuff with it.
I have left most of my previous professional life behind me – bar a few things I have to deal with from time to time – and so imagine my reaction recently when I had to go back and dig deep into my memory to recall a lot of experiences and skills I thought I would no longer need.
I trawled my memory to retrieve the information which I agreed to provide to someone who needed some technical help and thought that was it. But it wasn’t.
Within days one of the bands I used to manage started sending me video footage of them (20 years on) messing around with their old songs – for fun – which sounded really good. We all had a long a chat and a good laugh about old times and they got round to telling me that their children would love to see them playing and would I be able to provide video footage of their shows – which meant another rummage in my head trying to locate just where all those Master Video tapes had gone since my move. Now I have to search high and low for these so they can prove to their kids that ‘Daddy’ really was in a band and used to wear make-up!
Getting my head round all this has taken up a lot of thinking and writing time as you can well imagine, but that was not the end of it…oh no!
So I did some physical rummaging, and as you might have discovered from my previous posts here, my rummaging can lead to a lot of reading and reminiscing as I come across various bits and pieces and photos and memorabilia. Well, what can I say – I had another trip down memory lane. I found stuff I wasn’t looking for.
In a box belonging to my husband I came across a lot of what looked like letters. Now if you know anything about women and boxes containing mysterious letters…….well, I had to didn’t I!
Most of the letters were from fans of his (back in the day when he was the one on stage), and there were various posters, record company documents, and back stage passes – you can imagine I am sure…..old lyric sheets and lots of girl’s names and telephone numbers – well that is no surprise, you should have seen their van back then….all lipstick declarations of love and longing and invitations! So I have seen it all before.
I had a good laugh and was highly amused actually because reading all this many years on, with the benefit of age and experience, made their messages seem so young and innocent Back then I may have had a wobbly if I’d seen some of them. I do recall some of the girls as they used to hang around all the time, but one or two who had written of their undying love and dedication, were new to me. I would love to know if they moved on to some other group or guitarist and how long that love and dedication actually did last.
Then I came across an old Fan Club Newsletter, put out on their behalf by their Fan Club Secretary. Boy, that was so interesting to read. I knew exactly where my husband and his band were during most of 1968 – to the day. It was all laid out there with their gigs, recording sessions and photo shoots, interviews and hotel bookings all listed and commented on. Fascinating.
The paper had a certain smell, musty but with a whiff of perfume or something – the writing was of a certain style you don’t see anymore. The posters were advertising entrance fees of 6 Shillings!! A fortune back then. Even the printing is of an era…the colours fluorescent and glowing, all very psychedelic….amazing to see them again.
Found these posters belonging to a friend’s band back then.
The designs were cool back then – only 60p to get in!!
I knew when he was in Elgin and Wick in Scotland and which venues they played. How many fans were there and which songs were on their set list. Talk about a trip back in time. I knew when they were in Germany, Switzerland, Paris and Casablanca and who got drunk and with whom!
Their fan club secretary had also written a Publicity Release and this was full of descriptions of the band on stage; glowing tributes to each one’s talent and physical attributes (I must not have been looking at the same band back then), and how much the ‘Dollies’ loved these ‘Groovy’ guys and how they screamed and fainted (yep), and – well you can guess the rest.
I had a good laugh but then I started to feel really sad. Sad for the loss of those fun and care-free days of our youth, sad for those fans (not all girls I might add), whose undying love and obsession lifted those ‘Groovy’ guys high on wings of love and music. Where are they (the fans) now? What did life hold for them?
All that energy and emotion expended on four skinny, long-haired, starving musicians, in their tight colourful jeans and skinny ribbed jumpers and bare mid-rifts. Well the loss of the bare mid-rifts is a bonus now, believe me!
All that travel in Britain and Europe, in their faithful (at times), old yellow lipstick covered transit van that once belonged to ‘The Baron Knights’, which had (wait for it) aircraft seats fitted for comfort….yeah right. They went all the way back as I recall, and where two girls hid after a gig and only showed themselves back at the band’s flat – over 100 miles away – so they could stay the weekend….
Look what I have found – the old Transit from 1969 outside a B&B in Paris where the band were staying on one tour – no big trucks in those days. This is the van which once belonged to The Baron Knights, complete with aircraft seats!
Those days came flooding back as I rummaged and read and gasped with surprise and what was akin to joy, finding it all in this veritable treasure trove from the past. A very different past to our most recent one, on the road with the artists we managed, – very different, another era, another way of doing things. None recalled with the same feelings of nostalgia and warmth – well different feelings entirely.
Yep, it has left me feeling a bit sad really. All those years that have passed since the excitement the 1960’s held for those of us who were teenagers back then….so much promise, so much to look forward to. I had a trip back to my youth and how it was then, how it felt to be a music fan, how it felt to be involved in an evolving music scene, a teen scene, on the brink…..all gone and never to be felt again….everything to look forward to and no hint of how it really would be once we arrived in the future. Just as well really.
Anyway, I am still hunting Master Video tapes and Master Recording tapes and next time I decide to rummage around in mysterious boxes I shall do it when I haven’t got to write, cook, or do anything else other than sit and rummage through our youth. Next time I shall have a huge bottle of wine with me and a box of Kleenex – prepared – in case the past comes popping back. I will be ready.
How recording has changed; from Analogue Tape to Digital Tape (DAT) and beyond.