David Bowie in the spotlight from Philip John


photo Philip John Mott Road Crew Live

Philip John… You’ve probably seen the much publicized photo of David going down on Micks guitar but this shots a Road Crew Original. It’s one of the few live shots I managed to get before I was sent up into ‘The Gods’ to run DB’s spotlight. With modern equipment like ‘Super Trooper’ portable spots the job was relatively straight foreward, the problems came when ‘The Artiste’ failed to take up his designated position at the mike which could lead to you opening the show on a blank space. Fortunately I have to say David was a total professional and was always in the right place at the right time. If I remember Mick Fussey was running Ronno’s light and we were both linked by headphones to Bob See the lighting director who was controlling all the stage lighting from down at the front. Bob would shout instructions to us for changing the coloured gels in the lights. for example: ( Bowie to red Ronno white, Bowie white head shot Ronno white on guitar neck and we’d flip the gels and and focus the lamps, screwing down the iris’s really tight, at the same time following them as they moved about the stage. Ronno kept Mick pretty busy as he moved around the stage a lot and there was considerable focusing on his guitar playing whilst I often had to follow David’s mime routines. The one i had to pay the most attention to was during ‘Width of a Circle’. Firstly i’d have to focus a small dot on his hands which he held tightly together then he would mime holding a small disc, slowly he would draw his hands apart as I widened the circle of light, we’d got to about a foot across and he’d snap his hands back together, at the same time I snapped my iris shut. Then the performance would be repeated and he would force the circle open until his arms were at full stretch then he would mime climbing through it and I would snap the circle shut behind him.
If you watch the Ziggy Stardust and The Spiiders from Mars concert on DVD you’ll see how it works.
However our biggest challenge was when we played some of the older theatres. Here we were truly stuck up in The Gods and the house equipment we were using was often pre-war. If you’ve ever seen the Italian Movie ‘Cinema Paradisio’ you’ll know what I mean.The spots were huge carbon arc lamps and enormously cumbersome and hard to focus but this wasn’t the main difficulty..
Now I’m not certain that my operating description here is 100% correct but how I remember it we used a foot long carbon rod that you wedged between two power points in the side of the lamp . When the power was on the carbon rod blazed away,literally, sparks showering everywhere, if that wasn’t bad enough I think they only blazed for around 20 minutes then you had to knock them out of the holder and ram another one in its place. This meant you had to time it so that the change over could be done between numbers when the stage was black. I’m going to check with Mick Fussey and hopefully he’ll add a few observations of his own. Often the best effects are the simplest, a good example was in the encores. After ‘Waiting for my man’ David woud roll straight into ‘Velvet Undergrounds white Light, White Heat’ by this time the audience were all on their feet going fucking crazy and Bob would scream over the headphones ‘All lights to white full beam !’ and we’d drop out our coloured gels and just flood the stage with pure light.
This was the only time the carbon arcs came into their own, they were immensely powerful and gave a truly dramatic effect.
Probably got a few more pic’s and tales left from the tour but right now I need to relax. We’ll be back……

Lol Cooksey

Lol biog from the website  www.6ts.co.uk 
Hi, I’m Lol, short for Laurie, short for Laurence and short for my height!   My musical career began in 1955 when,  aged 8,  I joined St. Peters Church choir, Bexhill, and the following 15 years gave me the best musical upbringing anyone could wish for.  Del Shannon’s “Runaway” introduced me to “pop” music in 1961, and from then on I was hooked on the charts.  I had no thoughts of becoming a drummer until I saw Keith Moon of The Who playing “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere” Iive on TV. in 1965 and I thought “I want to be like that!”  Early the following year I bought my first tiny drum kit with £20 borrowed from my parents, and I then learnt my trade in several local groups until being instrumental in forming Hastings rock band FACTORY in 1970.  After several near misses of stardom, we split in 1976 and meeting up with Tel Corder again (we had previously performed together in a band called ROCK MUSEUM in 1969) we formed what was to become the very popular rock band DIE LAUGHING in May, 1977.  Even though we reached the Finals of the national Melody Maker Rock Contest in 1978, and received great reviews wherever we performed, we reluctantly realised that we were not destined to get rich or famous and the band disbanded in December 1984.

At the time, Tel was helping out in a “country” band, and I was asked to join as well – How are the mighty fallen!  It was not easy toning down from breaking an average of 4 drum sticks per hour to what became a total of 3 sticks in 12 years, but I managed without losing too much of my style!  I suggested to Tel that we formed our own 60s band, and thus in 1986 The 6Ts were born.   The “power and the glory” of my heavy rock years may not be there, but, The 6Ts is the most satifying band that I have ever had the privilege to perform with.  Long may we continue to rock!

e-mail:- lol@6ts.co.uk

 The Fabulous 6Ts – Eight Days A Week

Andy Qunta ….The fabulous Lol Cooksey!  Factory was a lot of fun, and a great learning experience, and Lol was a huge part of that! What a drummer, what a showman, what a character! Good pic of Lol there!

Mick O’Dowd… Isn’t that that Moonie chappie from The Who?

Factory – feeling nostalgic


supplied by Andy Qunta

Andy Qunta… Getting down to some jigs back in the day!

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supplied by Lol Cooksey

Andy Qunta… Wow! Don’t know if I’ve ever seen these! Excellent! I’d forgotten about the painting of you, Tone! Where did that come from?

Geoff Peckham…  Goodness me! Yes, I remember that painting. Talk about Dorian Gray….that picture looks older than you look now, Tone!

Tony Qunta… Pretty sure I have never seen these pics! Would love to get a copy! 🙂