Johnny Mars Band – Chatsworth Hotel Hastings 2nd Feb 1982 and Terry Pack’s memories of touring.


supplied by Pete Prescott

Pete Shaw… Peter “Shore”….Just because I live by the sea….!

Phil  Thornton….another great band !!

Yvonne Cleland….I seem to remember Johnny Mars playing a lot in Cherries too.

Pete Shaw….Great gigs at Mr Cherries…packed house, Chris Cozens on keys and sometimes trumpet, Ray Fenwick, Terry the Pack, Johnny and moi on drums…we enjoyed it and had a blast…usually it was during a “South Coast “weekend…Six Bells Chiddingly, Mr Cherries and back to Chiddingly Sunday……!!

Promotional video from 2012

Pete Prescott… I remember singing a song of his on the forcefield album called “fire in the city” he used a word in the song that doesnt exist (hellness) it still made sense.great player.nice guy.built like a brick s*@t house !

Terry Pack… Johnny has a talent for inventing new words! We recorded several different versions of Sonny Boy Williamson’s ‘Don’t Start Me Talking’ (album, TV, radio, etc) and he never sang the same thing twice in one of the verses. I once asked him what he was singing, and in typical Johnny Mars style, he said, ‘I don’t know. I listened to Sonny Boy a hundred times, and I still don’t know what the hell(ness) he was singing!”

Pete Prescott… Johnny was very exciting as a performer. Great on stage..

Terry Pack… At one stage in the 80s, we had three London residencies: Tuesdays at Putney, Wednesdays in the West End and Thursdays in Islington, and spent most weekends in Holland, Belgium or Germany. In the days before the Euro, Johnny always had the wrong currency because he never knew where we were. Johnny once bought a bag for his wife in a store in Barcelona. He was unsure of the exchange rate, and asked me how much the bag had cost, thinking that it had been about £14. It was more like £140. His response was classic John: “Mmm… I hope she likes it!”  John wasn’t the only American struggling with exchange rates. On the same Spanish trip, we found ourselves staying at the same hotel with James Brown and his band. Over a breakfast that consisted mostly of cigarettes and brandy (!), one of the band offered to buy more cigarettes and disappeared for a few minutes to do so. He came back with 5 packs of 20 packets of 20! ‘Man, you bought a lot of cigarettes!’ ‘They’re cheap!’ ‘How much?’ ‘I don’t know.’ ‘If you don’t know how much, how do you know they were cheap?’ A moment of thought… ‘Well, they seemed cheap!’ On another occasion, we spent a week touring with a very fine singer called Larry Johnson. I asked him where he lived. ‘London.’, he said. ‘Where?’ ‘Lancaster Road.’ ‘Where’s that?’ He seemed surprised by my question. ‘London,’ he repeated. ‘Which part?’ ‘I don’t know.’ ‘Well. Is it north or south of the river?’ He looked really puzzled, ‘River?’ ‘Yes. There’s a river. Quite a big one…’ At this, he handed me a laminated card with his address printed on it. ‘I just show this to the cab drivers.’ ‘Have you only moved here recently?’ ‘No, I’ve been here for ten years.’

Martyn Baker… Some great stories Terry!

Terry Pack…American musicians with little or no idea where they were. We used to meet them all the time. Another good one was an Anglo-Dutch driver we had on one jaunt. We were booked on a festival, and had to cross a dyke by chain ferry. We could hear the festival but couldn’t see the best way of getting to the site from the ferry, so I suggested to Richard, the driver that he ask the ferryman if we should go right or left when we disembarked. He spent the ten minute crossing chatting to the guy, and got back in the cab. As we drove off the ferry and up to the T-junction, I said, ‘Right or left?’ ‘Oh!’ he said, ‘I can’t remember!’ Another one. Johnny had taken the details of a venue in Rotterdam over the phone from the Dutch agent, but had lost the address. We found ourselves driving around the city, showing anyone and everyone we could the piece of paper that John had brought with him, which had what looked like part of a postcode and the words Donkey Shot written on it. John insisted that this was the name of the venue, but people just shook their heads, mystified. After the nth attempt, Ray, who spoke Dutch fairly well, cursed loudly, and said the words Donkey Shot in an approximation of a Dutch accent. At this, the man we’d just asked repeated the name, ‘Don Quixote?’ and directed us straight there. At one stage, whilst driving in circles around Rotterdam city centre, I got stuck in the tram tracks, which were the same width as the Minibus I was driving, resulting our doing a couple of extra circuits until someone changed the points ad we regained our autonomy, or as Brexiteers might put it, ‘got our Transit back.’ Symbolic! (of what I know not.)

Leave a comment