Playing The Cavern in Liverpool & Working to fit in to England’s Psychedelic Rock Scene of the Late 60’s
(Bobby Faulds and The Canadians British Tour)
Now you have to remember we left Victoria wearing nice blazers with a Canadian Maple Leaf Crest on our jackets. At the time that’s what we thought was cool, maybe for here but for England?…Wrong!
Our first gig at Leicester University playing on a stage at one end of a huge gym while another English band was playing on a stage at the other end. The other band was called “The Move” who went on to become “The Electric Light Orchestra”. We would do one set and they do one set. I was feeling good about those extra drum lessons I had taken.
Now at that time over in North America Paul Revere and the Raiders and their cool outfits were considered in. So we dressed with tight white legging pants, boots and a kind of buckskin shirt with leather laces in the collar. We thought this would be a cool outfit to wear on stage…Wrong!
So here we are on first big gig at Leicester University and looking somewhat strange to the Brits. I spoke recently to Rich England, one of our tenor sax players who was on that gig and he recalls watching “The Move”, freaking out on stage to a typical screen show all about acid rock. We stood there gob smacked! We had never seen anything like this. At the perfect moment, Bob our lead singer turned to us and says “Let’s do I Left My Heart in San Francisco”. (a ballad by Tony Bennett at the time) That comment broke our icy stares and we laughed like crazy as we realized we were totally out of our element at this gig. We did go on to do some Motown hits which saved our butts and got us through the evening with a reserved response. We were simply not prepared for that British scene at the time.
Fortunately for us the US Motown scene was beginning to take hold in other parts of England and our timing for being there was a good move. There were only a couple of big band rock groups with horns like ours at the time. |One was Geno Washington and The Ram-Jam Band and the other was Zoot Money’s Band, but we were the real thing from North America.
We started getting good press in Melody Maker Magazine. From the good press we were getting, our agent got us booked into the Cavern in Liverpool. It was a huge thrill setting up on the stage where it all started for the Beatles. The Cavern was literally that. Red brick arches with a low ceiling that had a claustrophobic feel but was great for atmosphere. Our big brass sound filled up the place, like a socks and underwear sale at Walmart and our reviews from the Cavern gig were top notch.
The drug scene at the time was everywhere. Other than our bass player who did a little weed, we were mostly boozers. On one gig I remember being backstage in our dressing room getting dressed for the show and suddenly this scruffy looking dude walks in as if he were invited. And in a (very matter of fact manner) sets down a card table in front of us and lays out the dope. You would think this guy was an insurance salesman as he described the terms, benefits and options surrounding our purchase. He left very disappointed.! Like I mentioned previously, we left Victoria with blazers and a Maple Leaf Crest…Duh!
There were some big dance halls in England left over from the 40’s. These palaces always had the two stages. one at each end and the stages actually turned 360 degrees. One band could finish and start to disappear at the other band came into view. Very cool!
We grew up in the music biz in Victoria playing blues and jazz flavoured rhythms in all the clubs we played. Our tunes would include pieces by Howard Roberts, Mongo Santa Maria, Herby Hancock, Ray Charles, James Brown., BB King etc. Much of what we did in those days were instrumental songs, with vocals by our singer. This was what we cut our teeth on as musicians but we also performed the American hit songs of the day. As rock changed with The British Invasion, we began to perform the more popular British material, Beatles, Stones, Animals etc.
I recall warming up one afternoon at one of the British Ballroom gigs. The other band at the far end were also getting ready to warm up. We started playing “Take Five” by Dave Bruebeck. (a jazz piece in the uncommon 5/4 time.) We then noticed the other band members walking towards us, and at the time we couldn’t understand why. As we continued warming, up with Take Five, the guys from the other band are now on the floor in front of us staring up with very confused looks on their faces. In England at that time you were either a Rock Band or a Jazz Band but the two were quite separate. I couldn’t figure out if these guys were impressed or disgusted.
Our singer Bobby Faulds was also a really good artist and on every gig he would find the time to do a mural type drawing with the name Bobby Faulds and The Canadians featured prominently. I recall a couple of other Victoria musicians who wound up in the English music scene and in later years always mentioned seeing our band’s name all over British dressing rooms. I think that is so cool!
Hope you are enjoying these tall tales of yesteryear. Please mention my name to anyone who may be thinking of taking drum lessons. I love playing and teaching and I’m always on the lookout for new students. Contact me at bcasson@speakfilm,com or 250-721-2113 or go to www.drumboy.ca