Connections: Billy Contreras by Len Smith






supplied by Len Smith. Eastbourne Bands  from 1960 on.

Len Smith… Connections: Lets start with the legend that is Billy Contreras. 1 The Urchins, 2 Beaux, 3 & 4 Kaine & Abel, 5 Pig Bin Band. There are a few more that I dont have pic, including a while in 60’s with The Sabres and 70’s with Blinker. Still going strong a couple of years ago with Colin Pierce and the still gets up on the mike now and then for a guest appearance at local pubs!

Phil Trangmar… My Cousin. Lost touch with him. Like to get in touch.

Colin Fox… Unfortunately Bill passed away I think about a year ago or just over.


The Sabres – Early 60’s Eastbourne Seafront.


supplied by Len Smith Eastbourne Bands From 1960 on.

Here’s when they played the pier in 1964.


Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Roy Penfold… These teenagers and their raves…..I just don’t know what the world will come to!

Alan Esdaile… Lots of the gigs were called raves in those days. I wonder when it first appeared.

Glynn Brown… I have a feeling they were the support band when the Honeycombs performed on Hastings Pier in the early 1960’s.

Andre Martin… You are right Glynn when they changed their name to Shelly…. this week we have The HoneyCombs and the support from Brighton – Shelly – formerly known as The Sabres, who were about to embark on a future playing in Europe, and would become top names in both Denmark and Scandinavia within the next few years. This was to be one of the last appearance from the band in Hastings.


Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Keith Flanigan… Anyone know the names of the guys in the Eastbourne band the Sabres, back in the early 60s.

Alan Esdaile… you were asking about The Sabres line up. Pretty sure its the same line up as Shelley????

Ken Copsey… Love the Wem Watkins Dominator, matching Copicat and Burns Sonic guitar.

Keith Flanigan… 1963?

Eastbourne band 1960’s – Billy & The Urchins and 70’s chat.


supplied by Len Smith – Eastbourne Bands from 1960 on

Len Smith… Here’s one from early 60’s any idea of names, only one I recognise is Billy Contreras!  Looking for photos of bands like Mandragora, Virus, Morticians, MTA, Tall, Dark & Gruesome, etc. for my Eastbourne Bands site.

Colin Pierce… Billy & The Urchins

Tony Ball… Myself Tony Ball on Framus bass, Billy on vocals, Pete Richards guitar and I think the drummer may have been Mike Osullivan?

Chris Brown… Hello Len, hope all is well with you. I have a single titled I Made Her That Way by The Urchins released in 1967. Do you know if this was the group & had Billy Contreras & Roger Salmon in it? They had been The Beaux. I think there were 2 other members, but I have no idea who they are. If you can confirm this & advise any more like who the other 2 were I would be much obliged.

Len Smith… Chris by 1967 Billy and Roger were performing as Kaine & Abel following a spell as Beaux. I do not believe they added any other members until 1970. So unlikely that your 45 is by our Urchins.


supplied by Len Smith

Gary Sykes… I was in an 80s rock band called Taor. Used to jam with simon williams from mandrahora, and coke from virus. Remember playing “rock at the redoubt” and various gigs at the archery tavern.

Dave Nattress… On Eastbourne bands or maybe more accurately, bands that played Eastbourne area pubs. Back in about 1977/78 I saw a band called Ptarmigan (as in the Scottish bird) in a pub in South Street, Eastbourne. Corner pub opposite the Police Station I think? Great sound, recall the singer has very long wavy hair. they did an incredible “Tears of a Clown” – Smokey Robinson. Anyone else recall them? Also at the Gun in Chiddingly, similar time, about 1977/78, a band call Nightrider. Saw them there a few times. Maybe they came from the Newhaven area?

Tim Moose Bruce… I remember a couple of Eastbourne based bands who play at the Star Inn at Norman’s Bay in the late 70s. Band called Boris, who did Eagles and Wishbone Ash songs with good twin lead guitar work. The other band Tuxedo Junction had great vocal harmonies which were used to good effect on songs by Supertramp and 10cc.

Tom Flynn… I played drums with Billy Contreras and Colin Pierce in Blinker after we disbanded Middlemarch, the folk-rock band with Joe Flynn (electric violin), Tim Morfitt (guitar and vocal), Chris Tunwell (bass), Nigel Barker (guitars and vocals) that played all the Eastbourne and Sussex area pubs in the mid-1970s including the Cavalier near the seafront, The Beach pub opposite the Fishermens Club, The Six Bells at Chiddingly and elsewhere. The other big band at that time was Denis Rayment’s Bandit with Eddie Tutt on bass and Mick ‘The Sticks’  McKiernan on drums. It would be nice to hook up with anyone still around as I moved back to Eastbourne recently. Join me on FB.

Jeni Townsend… Hi Tom, my friend Julia and I came to most of your gigs. I seem to remember she dated one of you guys – but can’t remember who but I do remember sitting for hours in Tim’s parent’s basement listening to you rehearse!

Lynn Graham… Anyone remember Johnny and Bruce who played in The Lord Nelson in the 60s?

Jan De Neef… Dennis Rayment Bandit in Cavalier bar in early 1970… Dale de Neef and his wife Jan now reminiscing in Eastbourne until 10 May 2019 any contacts ?

Keith D Flanigan… Hi there, This the Tony Ball and Pete Richards I played the drums with in the Pete Richards Combo back in 1964/5. I believe Tony or Pete had a brother that played rhythm. I remember Pete had a red sunburst semi acoustic Gibson, and the rhythm guitarist a Gibson Jumbo with pick ups. The Vox ribbon mike I used went through a Selmer amp and a self made Celestion speaker cabinet. I played with a very basic Premier Autocrat drum kit. We had gigs at caravan parks in the Pevensey bay area, as well as some pubs in Eastbourne, Pier Hotel, etc etc. We did a wedding here and there too, and traveled everywhere in a Bedford Dormobile? We practiced in a hall next to a pub at Stones Cross. We also went to the 3rd National Jazz festival in the bands Dormobile, to see the Rolling Stones play in 1963. If any one would like to contact me, it would be great to hear from you, photos maybe? Looking at the photo from Len Smith again. That is definitely Pete on lead guitar and Tony on Bass, but not me on drums. The photo must have been taken just after I left the Pete Richards Combo. Then maybe the band was renamed? The photo supplied by Len Smith may have been taken before I joined the group, and they may have been called the Pete Richards Combo then. I think the photo supplied by Len was taken at the Leaf Hall in Seaside Road Eastbourne, Just before I joined the group as drummer. For a short while it was the groups practice location. I remember coat hooks on the wall. It was the PR Combo. Pete’s initials, and Short for Public Relations I was told. Pete Richards also played the slide guitar.

Eastbourne bands family tree by Len Smith


Len Smith… Another one, Charade, Features, Kaine & Abel, etc. We were blessed with some great bands back then!

Alan Esdaile… Don’t think I remember the group ‘Please’ Robert?

Robert Searle… Alan, ‘Please’ didn’t last long.I believe after we broke up Rev joined up with Centre Page then Looking Back and Bernie started Hill Street

Len Smith… I believe you are correct, Please started and broke up in 1979


Neutrons – Langney Youth Club 1963


supplied by Len Smith – Eastbourne Bands from 1960 on

Len Smith… Neutrons 1963 at Langney Youth Club, Etchingham Road, Ray Harper, Tony Wright (aka Shaw), Colin Pierce, Terry Gell, Clive Amos. Neutrons became 4-bidden in 1965 became St.Johns Wood in 1967, folded in 1970


supplied by Len Smith – Eastbourne Bands from 1960 on

Len Smith… The Neutrons (before changes to 4-bidden then St.Johns Wood) original line-up and very early 1964 job at Birds Eye fete, the Oval, Eastbourne. Clive Amos, Ray Harper, Terry Gell, Colin Pierce, Tony Knight