Pistols At Dawn – Malcolm McLaren, Sex Pistols & Hastings Pier 3rd July 1976 by Barry Taylor

Copy of the handbill for Budgie/Sex Pistols gig that Barry handed out around the town to create interest.

PISTOLS AT DAWN – Malcom McLaren, Sex Pistols and Hastings Pier  by Barry Taylor

Malcolm McLaren was the visionary who invented ‘Punk Rock’ to the shock and delight of 70’s Britain. He emerged from an art college background. During this time he became fascinated by the ‘Situationists’ , a group of French artists and intellectuals and went on to apply their ideas to his own career. At Goldsmith College he met up with Vivienne Westwood, they open a boutique in Kings Road, Chelsea which eventually became ‘Sex’ and a flagship for the punk moment.

At this point Mclaren began to ‘assemble’ the Sex Pistols. John Lydon, for example, auditioned in the boutique, by singing along to ‘Schools Out’ on the jukebox. Then, he was joined by messrs Jones, Cook and Matlock and this was the line up which graced Hastings Pier ballroom in July 1976.

I had booked the ballroom for a series of concerts, having kicked off with 50p admission, featuring up and coming groups supported by local talent but this was not a great success. One of the best performances was by ‘The Stranglers’ as a support act! Casting around for a support for heavy rockers ‘Budgie’, I noticed the winds of change heralding the arrival of punk rock from the direction of London.

I managed to somehow contact Malcom Mclaren at his HQ and duly booked the Pistols for a modest sum. Prior to the concert, I was asked to arrange a PA system for them, as they didn’t possess one! I will never forget the shock waves when Mclaren and his motley musicians arrived at the pier on July 3rd. Compared to us hippies, they were a bunch of aliens, with their spiky hair and clothes held together with saftey pins but they were nevertheless, quite friendly. I am not sure what the Budgie fans made of the Pistols shambolic, yet exciting set. It was an incongruous pairing of bands, to put it mildly.

I remember there was an unpleasant scene after the gig. John Lydon was not impressed with the P.A, provided by a local musician and expressed his displeasure. I appreciated Glen Matlock’s intervention as peacemaker, as a fracas loomed but there was an intimidating aura surrounding the Sex Pistols at the time.

I tried to rebook them but Mclaren did not return my calls! The famous Bill Grundy TV interview was December 1976 so fame and notoriety was beginning to whisk the Pistols away. McLarens maverick style of management owed something to Andrew Oldhams guidance of the Rolling Stones and he proceeded to sweep all before him. Malcom negotiated a lucrative recording deal with EMI, who didn’t realise what the Sex Pistols were about! After releasing ‘Anarchy In The UK’ he engineered the sacking of the band from EMI but kept the advance and promtly switched them to A&M. That didn’t last and they ended up with a more sympathetic label in Richard Bransons ‘Virgin Records’. All of this, 3 record contracts, in a very short space of time and plenty of money!

By 1977, cracks were appearing within the Pistols and Glen Matlock was replaced by Sid Vicious, generally acknowledged as a mistake by Mclaren. By early 1978 it was over but he left his mark on rock management and influenced others who came later with a similar disregard for civilised behavior at the time!  Like Alan McGee who steered Oasis to success in the 90’s.

Malcolm reinvented himself as an artist and had a hit with ‘Buffalo Girls’ .. but will always be remembered for the Sex Pistols.

Barry Taylor

Morten Of Norway…I attended the Pistols/Budgie gig. I was 15 year old language school student, from Norway, visiting England for the first time. I knew Budgie, but had, of course, never heard about Sex Pistols. Been addicted to punk rock ever since!

Read morePistols At Dawn – Malcolm McLaren, Sex Pistols & Hastings Pier 3rd July 1976 by Barry Taylor

Nazareth plus Mike Hugg Band – Hastings Pier 9th May 1975

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 nazareth 1

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cuttings supplied by Sarah Harvey

Mike Hugg Band photo taken on the night by Clive Richardson

Andy Qunta….Pretty sure I saw Nazareth on the Pier! Can’t be sure it was this gig though. Did they play the Pier more than once?

Geoff Peckham…..We (Factory) supported them too, didn’t we? Was it Folkestone, Andy?

Andy Qunta….Think you might be right, Jaffa! As you may know, I have a diary of all the gigs we did up to Aug’73, but it must have been after that. Lost the 2nd diary unfortunately! Btw, planning to make you a copy!

Geoff Peckham….Great, look forward to reading the diary! I get Nazareth mixed up with Geordie (remember them?) We played with one of the at Torquay Town Hall – massive place full of foreign students, some venturing backstage. Geordie had their wives with them so locked their dressing room door. We didn’t!

Steve Kinch….Having played with them many times over the years, Nazareth have become ‘on the road’ buddies. Sadly, Dan was taken seriously ill last year and has now retired from live work.

Here’s a rare version of ‘Morning Dew’ not sure where this was recorded.

Tim Hayward-Smith… They definitely played Hastings Pier as I was there.  The bit I remember most was the swirling dry ice when they played Shapes of Things, I looked down and couldn’t see my legs; it was my first experience of dry ice.
After the Gig I waited outside with my mate Richard for his Dad who was giving us a lift home to Hawkhurst (no trains or buses). Anyway the Band appeared when their car pulled up and we went over and said hello and they signed a poster for us which I still have.  What struck me, apart from they were nice guys was how short they all were!

Mick Knights… I remember that they were that loud that the beer was oscillating in the can!

Peter Fairless… Great band! Yes, very loud…

Andrea… It was my first concert. I´d stayed in Hastings for 14 days during my last weeks of scool in Germany. It was great and it´s allways in my mind.

Dave Nattress… I’m pretty sure Naz played the pier more than once. Saw them at least once. I saw Hug and have the vinyl album

Pete Fairless… It’s possible they played the pier earlier but I’ve nothing on that

Tim Moose Bruce… They did a lot of recording at Park Gate studio. Used to go for drinks at the pub in Catsfield round the corner from Park Gate.

Pete Houghton… Before the concert Nazareth signed my flyer for me and Hug signed something for me and gave me a Hug on the road t shirt in yellow

Gerry Fortsch… I really enjoyed this gig, one of the best bands l have seen and my mate Graham and me met the guys after the show. The thing that surprised us was just how short they were but what a sound and still one of my favorites.

Climax Blues Band – can you help with new book?

photos supplied by Robert Forsyth

Robert Forsyth… I wonder if any of your readers might be able to help? It was while I was presenting the blues shows on Hastings Rock back in 2016, that I realised that my long-time favourite band, the Climax Blues Band, would be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of their debut album in 2019. For me that was a very good reason to look at the possibilities of writing a ‘biography’ of the band.

The band was formed in 1968 in Stafford as the Climax Chicago Blues Band and comprised Colin Cooper (vocals, sax, hamonica and clarinet), Pete Haycock (guitars), Richard Jones (bass), Derek Holt (rhythm guitar & organ), Arthur Wood (keyboards) and George Newsome (drums) Best known in the public eye for their 1976 hit ‘Couldn’t Get it Right’ and 1981’s ‘I Love You’, the band went through some subtle name changes as well as line-ups, but still play today.

Sadly, two of the band’s founding members, Colin Cooper and Pete Haycock, are no longer with us, but I am delighted to say that the book is now at an advanced stage and many members of the band have supported the project as well as family members, former management, road crew, sleeve designers and other associates. The reason for writing, however, concerns a gig Climax played at the Ballroom on Hastings Pier on 9 May 1998. (see https://ninebattles.com/tag/climax-blues-band/ ) Phil Little wrote a marvellous review of the performance in print, but I was writing in the hope that perhaps some of your readers have recollections of that gig (or any others!). At the time, the line-up comprised Colin Cooper, George Glover (keyboards), Lester Hunt (guitars), Roger Inniss (bass) and Roy Adams (drums).

Many Thanks. Robert Forsyth.

Alan Esdaile… As always, happy to pass on any messages.

Colin Fox… In 2009, Johnny Pugh, (now known as Johnny Sax), and lives about ten minutes from me in Spain, joined Climax Blues Band as vocalist, sax and harmonica player and brought a tremendous amount of quality to the band, leading very much from the front. This is him in the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTzRooW7HX8

This is a photo of the band with Johnny Pugh on saxaphone. He lives close to me and plays local pubs and clubs, as well as going back to his home town in Essex to play sometimes. He now goes under the name Johnny Sax.

Robert Forsyth… Much obliged Colin. Yes, I plan to contact Johnny shortly, as I work through things chronologically. Many thanks again.

Robert Forsyth… Dear all, I am sending this as a (fourth) periodic bulletin/update to everyone who has kindly helped with the Climax Blues Band book project over the past three years. I am conscious that some of you may well have been wondering what’s been happening; well, the good news is that the draft is now finished and runs out to 309,000 words! On top of that is the enormous collection of illustrated material that has been so kindly contributed by many people, detailing various aspects of the band’s history. It really is incredible. As I worked on the closing chapters of the book, simultaneously I was very fortunate to make contact with a small number of people who have been kind enough to offer some amazing photos from their private collections: for example, these include rare and stunning sets of images, most of them previously unseen, showing Climax playing in Switzerland in 1970, in Belgium in 1975, recording in Montserrat in 1979 and at gigs in the US Midwest and West Coast in the mid to late 1970s. I can assure you, that thanks to the generosity and goodwill of certain individuals, it really will be worth the wait. So right now, I have the difficult task of deciding what will not go in the book! But I also have a cunning plan that may, longer term and depending on how the book is received, go some way to solving that problem. Suffice to say that the way things stand, it looks like the book is going to take the form of a large format (poss 303 x 226 mm), coffee table-style and probably quite heavy(!) hardback volume of ca 480-500 pages, with between 600-650 illustrations including black & white and colour photos, plus images of posters, badges, promotional material, stage passes, advertisements and other items of ephemera covering the history of the Climax Chicago Blues Band / Climax Chicago / Climax Blues Band from 1968-2019. I regret the delay, but if I had rushed it, I would have missed some historically important and fascinating interviews, as well as much of the above illustrated material. My hope is that design and layout will commence within the next 5-6 weeks; this can only take place once I have gone through my draft again and worked on the photos and captions.The book will be a limited edition collectors’ volume, with high quality production values and colour throughout and will only be available through the website which I will shortly be setting up for the book. I will also soon be setting up a Facebook page. I’ll let you know when these are up and running so you can stay up to date as we go into the production process and head towards print. Thanks for your patience. Hopefully not long now! For those of us in the northern hemisphere, enjoy the spring! OK – I’m back to it… With best wishes, Robert Forsyth

Who was the most disappointing band….

Sarah Harvey… This is for those of you who frequented The Pier during the 1970s….. what was the most disappointing bands / artists you saw. NO local artists allowed because ALL local artists were and still are brilliant . For me, it was the Sex Pistols, I thought they were dreadful!

Peter Fairless… I agree, Sarah, they were dire. The worst band I saw, though, were Eater, they supported The Stranglers in March ’77, they were even worse!

Alan Esdaile… I will have to think on this one. Mind you if the band were bad, we would end up in the bar getting wasted on cheap cider.

Peter Thomson… There was a Boxer/Crawler/Moon gig and none of them set the world on fire, but one lot spent their time on stage arguing almost to the point of fisticuffs. Not a musical memory to enjoy

Nigel Goodman… Gary glitter no glitter band taped backing suspected miming too

Jim Breeds… I can’t think of any disappointing bands/artists because beer.

Glenn Piper… I agree with Sarah also. There may have been worse bands, but the dichotomy between them and Budgie seemed to emphasise just how bad they were. (If that makes sense 😀)

Dave Weeks… I watched the thunder storm when they were on.

Linda Day… Paul and Barry Ryan

Chris Meachen… I thought Magma were piss poor as far as entertainment went.. They were quite clever musicians, but none of them appeared to be taking a blind bit of notice of what the others were playing…

Phil Gill… Chicken Shack. I spoke to Stan Webb afterwards, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, saying how much I liked his playing and he was a totally miserable.

Pete Prescott…The 2nd gig I ever did was supporting chicken shack at Kemsley town hall (near sittingbourne) yeah he wasn’t the most happy chap… mind you Kemsley would make most people lose the will to live !

Dennis Torrance… I think most of the time if band were bad it might have been down to how without the technology then. I liked curved air and remember quite a lot of feed back. I still look back on them pier days with a smile

Read moreWho was the most disappointing band….

Felix 30th April, Seventh Heaven 15th May, Damaris 22nd May, Glitter Band 4th June – Hastings Pier 1976

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all cuttings Sarah Harvey

Sarah Harvey…..Some Pier adverts featuring local bands… Felix and Damaris from April and May 1976 respectively.

Phil Thornton…..Damaris, were a great band, they supported Stallion a few times.

Yvonne Cleland….Felix! Great band!

Andy Qunta….I  remember Felix – they were excellent!

Chris Meachen…..Seventh Heaven came from the Isle of Wight, they were kind of early jazz funk

Mick O’Dowd…..Keep ’em coming Sarah!

Kev Towner… “Juvenile Fashion Parade” – how things have changed!!

Chris Boorman… Pretty sure I was at the Glitter Band gig!

Claire Triance.. How things change best summer hot

Richard Lavender… Remember the news of the world fishing comp. Won several rods over the years in that.

Dave Lelliott… Packed out at the Glitter Band

Nick Webb… Nice to see the Poster with my friends band Damaris on

Robert Searle… We supported The Glitter Band at the Pier when we were Easy Street,can’t say it was this date though. By the way, they were brilliant.

Iain Cobby… Nice to hear from Nick Webb, was that the Damaris we used green house pellets as smoke bombs and sent the audience of french students back 10 feet coughing and choking? I’m sure that was the gig that I have a recording of………………….

Dave Nattress… Iain, we definitely tried some pyrotechnics a few times – quite possibly your idea old chap or maybe Paul’s. Nick I remember you very well – best regards after 40 years!

Nick Webb… Cheers guys those where the days or night lol

Paul and Barry Ryan – Hastings Pier 29th April 1966

Colin Fox… Didn’t their mum have an affair with Frank Sinatra?

Alan Parker… Their mum was Marion Ryan she used to sing with a band on BBC tv back in the ’50s

Maureen Head… Oh god I’d forgotten all about the Ryan brothers . Thought they were wonderful.

Carol Ann Bolton…  I always remember their Mother, Marion Ryan. Talented family.

Jan Warren… Eloise!

Elaine Stock… Love that song!

Wendy Belton… So do I Elaine. Great song

 

Tom Jones and The Squires – Hastings Pier 24th April 1965

tom jones

Sheila Maile… Can we have him again?

Peter Fairless… It’s not unusual to be dropped suddenly by the BBC…

Jill Caine… More memories! Oh yes. He is another one I saw when working in the Pier bar! Happy days.

Yvonne Cleland… Wow! I didn’t know TJ played the pier!

Carol Ann Bolton… I remember seeing him on TV for the first time. He was a sensational singer but not my type. Too showbizzy.

Sally Evans… I was there and spoke to him afterwards, lovely man.

Colin Fox… We supported him at the Whitehall East Grinstaed in 1965. In fact we played there several times and I used to take one of the posters off the wall at the end of the evening. Unfortunately I threw them all away many years ago. We also supported the Kinks, P J Proby, the Searchers and many more that I can’t remeber at the moment.

Kay Lobb… I was too young to be allowed to see him then. I had to wait over 50 years to see him live in concert on the sands in Cornwall. Still got the voice. He was on stage for nearly two hours.

Eric Harmer… Kay, Two hours. !! Its not unusual