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 ) 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:

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

Uli Twelker…Hello Robert Forsyth! Fortunately, the first volume of your Climax book has come out in 2020. Unfortunately, it’s out of stock everywhere. Do you know when it will be available again? Thanks very much in advance! Uli Twelker, Bielefeld, Germany.

Robert Forsyth… The first volume of my history of the Climax Blues Band – ‘Using the Power 1968-1977’ was published in August 2020. I had no idea how things would turn out as I set off down the path of attempting to writing a book on the band (and didn’t expect much to be honest!), but after nearly five years of research and interviews, I was amazed at how generous, kind, warm and open the former members of the band, their families, friends and associates were. Indeed, so deluged was I with material that in the end I took the decision that in order to get as much information in as possible, rightly or wrongly, I would split the work into separate volumes. So ‘Using the Power’ covers the period leading up to the band’s formation in Stafford in 1968, through the early ‘blues years’ up to the release of the (unexpected) hit single ‘Couldn’t Get it Right’. The book is an A4 hardback and crammed with text and hundreds of rare photos, posters, ephemera etc. I self-published it as a limited edition book and full details can be found at You can read reviews from ‘Blues in Britain’ and ‘Blues Matters’ magazines on the website. I’m afraid Volume One is sold out, but I have a very small number of very slightly less than perfect copies. I would be happy to sell these at a discounted price while they last, so if you are interested, contact me through the website. I hope to release Volume Two next year. My sincere thanks to Alan for kindly lending me the oxygen of interest and support!

Can you help with the forthcoming Suzi Quatro book by Darren Johnson?

Darren Johnson… Following my book on the Sweet published this summer I’ve been commissioned to do one on Suzi Quatro. Was anyone at the gig she played on Hastings Pier in June 73 just after Can the Can became a hit. By all accounts it was something of a riot. This is how the NME reported it. Let me know if you have any memories you wish to share! “In 1066 they had perhaps THE most historic of battles at Hastings. And at the Suzi Q Band gig there the other Friday, certain people had it in mind to stage a re-run at the Pier Ballroom. Rowdies in farmyard boots stomped the boards; there were Teds with lard in their hair; rebel rousers itched at the promise of an innocent stumbling into them. In short, it was decidedly unpleasant. The atmosphere hummed with intended violence. Apes in monkey suits prowled the area, and in the bar leather jackets bustled bronzed muscles in T-shirts. Beer slopped down chests, over heads, and into big gobs. One poor lad was made part of the wall decor, flattened by a wooden gate and two cruds. Another delightful gent peed all over the toilet floor. But the point’s this: Quatro gigs are the subject of untold controversy at present, and not only for the rowdies reason.”

Peter Fairless… Friday, 8th June 1973. Factory were support.

Jim Breeds… If Factory were the support they may be able to give you some memories Darren. Most of ’em are in this group.

Peter Fairless… This is the gig where they declined Mickie Most’s offer to become the next Smokie, Jim. BTW: that seems like a very typical NME review – nothing about the music!

Darren Johnson… I did pull that out of a much longer article but yes very NME!

Stephen Moran… Hi Darren, I am currently undertaking research into the popular music histories of Hastings from 1960-1985 for a PhD I am doing with the London College of Music. I was interested to read your post and the NME review. I did look through copies of the music press at The British Library for the early part of my study but they only seemed to cover gigs in London or festivals like the Isle of Wight. It’s good to know that NME covered the Suzi Quatro gig and perhaps other live music events in Hastings. There was a short review in the Hastings Observer which you might find interesting. Good luck with the book.

cuttings supplied by Stephen Moran

Darren Johnson… Although the official chart says it went from 34 to no 5! They were right about predicting no 1 though.

Tony Pettifer… Saw her at the top rank Brighton supporting Thin Lizzy and Slade great gig!

Tony Court-holmes… i was there seemed a good night

Iain Cobby… I was there, as my mother and father worked at Hastings Pier Bingo in the theater and got me tickets for gigs. I was 18 that year and remember it being a packed audience but wasn’t aware of any “trouble”, however I do remember Suzi in her sprayed on leather jumpsuit (as I dare say most teens would have …. ) being a bassist I was interested in her P Bass and was impressed by her playing and singing, a good rock and roll show. I also remember the lovely Jenni Inness too, who used to write for The Observer, as she knew Tony Bridger RIP, a well known great guitarist who I had the pleasure of playing with.

Andy Qunta… Our band, Factory, were the support band for this gig. Very responsive audience! Suzi was great! Good luck with your book, Darren! The Sweet book sounds interesting too!

Peter Thomson… This is one I missed having been to see Slade at Brighton Dome earlier in the week. I was still at school, in the midst of ‘O’ levels and had to be up for my Saturday job in Woolies next morning. So I would have been skint as well but I’m sure Saturday night I would have made up for it. Good luck with the book.

Paul Cullen… I was at that gig and don’t remember any troubles like reported. I do recall however Factory getting more encores than Suzi. It was a great evening though



Dance With The Devil – The Cozy Powell Story book by Laura Shenton

In stock for immediate delivery ahead of the 20th March Publication date.
Cozy Powell was a talented, reliable and versatile drummer. A drummer of such calibre that he played with Jeff Beck, Rainbow, Michael Schenker, Whitesnake, Emerson and Lake, Black Sabbath and Brian May as well as being a hugely in-demand session player. Cozy Powell’s career as a musician is a story that needs to be told. Order your copy here..

more information from Wymer Publishing...

Terry Pack… He was an excellent player and a lot of fun to play with. I did several sessions with him, including a country album! He was much more than a heavy hitter.

Simon Page…Cozy was the inspiration for me to play the drums. I remember in primary school banging out Dance With The Devil on my school desk! I also had the pleasure of supporting him at the White Rock when he was playing with the Peter Green Splinter Group. I didn’t know he was on the gig until I was setting my kit up in front of his and saw a towel on the stool with ‘Cozy’ on it! x

Pete Prescott… I saw that gig. I spoke to him outside after it. He said he liked the two albums I had sent him ( I had made them with Paul Sinden ) He agreed to play on our next album (I had to sit down when I heard what he wanted for it !)In fact he realised I didn’t have that kind of money and said he would do it for £600 a track (I was going to get a loan and have him on 3 tracks)/ He was a great player. My favourite memory of him was warming up at a session with him, Neil Murray and Ray Fenwick. We played “fly me to the moon” (He was a fine swing player!)

Terry Pack… Yes. He was a good all rounder, as were many of his generation, most of whom were taught by swing players

Reid Mc… Fantastic, distinctive drummer and from a time when most young players were influenced by musicians from outside the (then reasonably new) rock genre

Terry Pack… Most of those guys had a light touch and a swing to their playing that made them groovy. The drums themselves were tuned pretty open, too. They used bigger drums than their teachers and played matched grip but didn’t batter the kit especially hard all the time.

Reid Mc… Terry, yeah, love hearing that open tuning

Catherine Ireland… I remember going to the studio when Ray was working with Cozy and I had my children with me , Cozy gave Adam two drum skins signed and some drum sticks that looked more like tree trunks.

Pete Prescott… His real name was Colin. He called himself Cozy after a jazz player he admired (William “Cozy” Cole I think). He was taught by a jazz player. Check out his playing on the Jeff Beck albums.

Alan King… saw him drumming for Tony Joe White at Crystal Palace (?) Bowl years and years ago (just the two of them, guitar & drums years before White Stripes)