supplied by Sarah Harvey
Support at the caves in 1976.
Sarah Harvey…..Farmers Lung – Probably from around 1975/76 – Farmers Lung played some gigs locally such as at The Palace Bars although probably little known in Hastings. Photo is the handsome David Kent and left to right Steve Turner (Bass), Richard Walsh (Guitar and latterly drums), Graham Barrett (Vocals and Guitar – RIP) and (hiding) Dave Kent (Keyboards and Guitar. There was also Richard’s brother Roddy Walsh – (Not pictured – Guitar – Roddy). Steve, Graham and Dave went on to join forces and form the 2nd or 3rd line-up of Samisen. Particularly liked their rendition of ‘Pearls A Singer’ …. a good band but little known.
Alan Esdaile…..How did you come up with the name ‘Farmers Lung’?
David Kent….It was my idea. I’d seen a documentary about this particular occupational disease and thought it would be a good band name. Astonishingly, the rest of the band agreed to it. I’ve made a bit of a speciality of being in stupidly-named bands that no-one remembers. Anyone remember The Twice Amorous Maniac Douglas Baders? Thought not. When that picture of the band was taken, we were called Westland Bone Circus and had previously been Johnny Sprogg & The French Letters. Just to prove that I still have no talent for picking good band names, I am thinking of releasing some songs using the nom de plume “One Magnificent Eye Wobbles”. No wonder I still have a day job. Incidently, If you’d heard Steve and me taking lead vocals after Graham left, you’d have thought we may have been suffering from Farmers Lung. I’d forgotten to mention The Sprouting Love Bumps.
Sarah Harvey… Great find with the Caves ad.
Mick O’Dowd…. Is this the same Dave Kent who worked for John Humphries at one time?
Karen Sweatman was Blackman… That’s him Mick, although I never knew him with hair! 🙂
Mick O’Dowd… No Karen he was nearly as sparse as I am now.
Dicky Walsh… Wow! This brings back memories! I did play some guitar, but mostly drums. Dave came up with some great names, didn’t he?! I am also now follically challenged! Dicky Walsh
Sarah Harvey… I remember you playing some guitar Dicky. Also remember your dad who was my manager for 13 years at Senlac Metal Casements in Battle
Roy Penfold… What about ‘Cunning Stunts’? I remember sitting in with them for a gig or two and seeing them in the Crypt in the early 80s.
Wendy Weaver… Flat Battery and the Jump Leads. Early 80s local lads.
letter supplied by Mick O’Dowd
Tony Davis… We ought to see if we could put something on at the caves now. Of course its so far from the road we’d need hundreds of roadies.
Terry Corder… When Die Laughing played the caves, Lol & I carried all the gear in on our own. We worked out that we each walked 3 1/2 miles each. Don’t want to do that again!
Terry Hardwick… You get the gig I will put the gear in.
Tony Davis… As it’s the caves we ought to make it a rock night (sorry bad gag) so I could organise Hastings Rock Djs
Mick O’Dowd… Good venue but with access problems! At least no neighbours complaining about the noise!
Mark Randall… Back in the early 70s when the Randall family used to hire two sherpas and trek to Pelham Crescent for our summer holiday: we visited St Clement’s cave for a tour. The guide said that it still hosted bands and had a night club there on occasions. Anyone here gigged there/went to gig?
Phil Gill… Seen a few bands down in the caves – The Breathers, and Richard Strange are two that spring to mind. I might even have played there, can’t recall who with but I do have a memory of lugging gear for miles down a path and then inside the caves.
Ann Gill… Did it involve Melanie Stace the sister of singing teacher Emma?
Peter Fairless… Yeah, went to a few gigs there.
Tony Davis… DJ’d there with Merlins Music Box a couple of times. Think it was for Debenhams Social Club. I do have the same memory as Phil about it being a long way to lug gear. Think they were good nights though. Interesting to see if someone could organise something down there now.
Peter Fairless… It’s full of Disney stuff, though, isn’t it?
Harry Randall… Gigged a few times in the caves like Phil said lugging gear several miles and once inside lugging it through narrow passageways Sandstone everywhere took about a week to clean the gear after good times though!
Tim Moose Bruce… Saw Die Laughing down there. Great night.
Chris Baker… Certainly have! Remember “Bear” our drummer complaining that the echo was like playing with another drummer about half a mile away!
Pete Fisher… I have very hazy memories of what would have been my very first gig with an electric band – a one-off engagement for me and my schoolmate John Davis (on bass), organised by a drummer who sounded like he’d trained at Butlins pensioner dances, and provided the only transport, a Reliant three-wheeler…cold, damp and miserably paid…
Dave Nattress… Samisen played there a couple of times. Good gigs, summer, lots of foreign students filling the place up but yeah what an ordeal lugging all the gear down from the road on the top of the West Hill, down the path. I’m thinking none of the cabs had got wheels – no chance, and then down the steps, another narrow path, in, and what seemed like miles down the long descending sandy path to the main cavern where we played. And then, bonus, do it in reverse. So long ago I’m guessing the sound wasn’t great but the bodies would have helped soak up the reverb.
Tich Turner… I performed there in 1967/68 [?], with Deep Purple. Just about the worst get-in ever. But this gig really sticks in my mind for another reason. The place was absolutely rammed. We played the 1st set & by the end of that, the condensation was pouring down the walls. We went back on & got through to the very last number, when there was this enormous ‘THWANG’, I looked round to see what the hell it was & there was Lennie Benton, his face an absolute picture. He had the body of his bass in one hand & the neck in another. Only thing was, they weren’t joined together! He had an old semi-acoustic bass, a Framus or something & the condensation had completely wasted the glue holding it together. My dear old Dad, put it back together & Len swore it played even better afterwards.
Ticket supplied by Mike Mitchell. Cutting supplied by Keith Rodway.
Keith Rodway… I’d completely forgotten about the gig with Richard Strange in the Caves. Proud to have been in the most awful band in the Universe, and our LP, Pylons, finally gets released on vinyl this autumn, 37 years after we recorded it.
Mike Mitchell… The ticket is documentary evidence…I’ve got an old envelope full of old gig tickets and this is just over of many. Sadly I don’t really remember the gig…
Keith Rodway… No, I don’t – though reading the clipping brings back fragments of memories. I do recall seeing Richard doing his thing with the backing tapes, which in those days was unthinkable and I think largely baffled older members of the audience, but I don’t recall the actual music at all. Apparently the Doctors of Madness are reforming for the heritage circuit etc
Alan Esdaile… Always like the track ‘I Won’t Run Away’
David Francis… I’ve got a copy of Deranged In Hastings.
Tony Ham… Same here, bought from Mason’s Music
Keith Rodway… Apparently they’re worth about 20 quid. I had loads of them at one time, I think I’ve got 2 left. Thanks for the missionary zeal cutting Alan. Yes, I remember the Nolans reference! I find it easier to accept worst band in the world personally! Can you let me know if you find anything else? I’m cobbling stuff together for liner notes for the LP.
Tony Ham… The Nolans quote, not written by a fan, I’m guessing!
Mick O’Dowd… Weren’t (Black ) Raven and Rubberband one of the same Alan?
Alan Esdaile… Yes Mick, they were but odd that one poster says Rubber Band tonight and Raven next week. Maybe a different Raven?
Mick O’Dowd… Didn’t Black Raven suddenly disappear and reappear as Rubber Band when a single by RB materialised. Never quite understood that.
photo: John Powys Collection. Supplied by: Robin Butler http://www.jazzpilgrims.co.uk
Chris Watford… The Dolphin Jazzband’s front line of Brian Towers(tmb);Pete Treger(tpt) and Chris Watford(clt) at one of their summer sessions in St.Clement’s Caves, Hastings.(1961). Each summer, we played three times a week in the St.Clements Caves to hundreds of mainly foreign students, plus a Saturday residency in our own Club.
supplied by Jim Breeds. Source: 1960 Hastings Corporation There Is A Cavern In The Town
Jim Breeds… Prince McBride and his Smugglers’ Band. Seen performing in St. Clements Caves, this photo is scanned from my 1960 Hastings Corporation booklet “There Is A Cavern In The Town”. The book says “The sound of music in the caves is a particularly happy addition, and Prince McBride’s Smugglers’ Band provides melody that fits very pleasingly and naturally into its environment. The large main cavern is now a dance floor, lit by lanterns and with sitting-out places all around. With its surrounding caverns and alcoves, this part of the caves lends itself readily to its new purpose, and thousands of visitors have enjoyed the novelty of subterranean dancing there.” “subterranean dancing”. Is that where Dylan got the ideas for Subterranean Homesick Blues?
Janine Anne Hemsley… This is great stuff. Worked with his son Alan. Alan played drums for the Ted Crouch Band .
Matt Thomas… Is this the same Prince McBride who would in the late 80’s/early 90’s would be entertaining upstairs in White Rock Theatre cafe on the organ?
Janine Anne Hemsley… It is Matt. Also the ‘Sunlounge’ , now Azur. Sunlounge would have been late 60s early to mid 70s.
Kim Abbott-Farrant…. Sun lounge was also with Gordon Rider. My grandmother Marjorie Chantler played the piano for them for years there.
Alan Esdaile… Janine & Kim, here’s Prince McBride and Gordon Rider in an advert for the Sun Lounge Easter 1972.
Chrissie Daniels… Hi everyone. I am the manager at Smugglers Adventure and am asking anyone with any pictures they are happy to send me and have displayed at the Caves to drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org. Hoping to collate them all and make some signage with some Caves history. Any tales, information etc anyone has would be greatly received. Thanks for your help!
Chris Baker… My Mum Brenda Baker was an occasional singer with Prince McBride.