The Band groomed by Michael Black on "Radio Sutch" : May 1964 - February 1965

Once again Screaming Lord Sutch was desperate for a replacement Savages backing band. So he decided to recruit a ready-made band, the quartet groomed by Michael Black: Ronnie Harwood on bass, Geoff Mew on lead guitar, Paul Beuselinck aka "Paul Dean" on piano, and Pete Phillipps on drums. They agreed to come back to Screaming Lord Sutch and to accompany him in his legendary stage act after backing Winston Gork aka "Johnny Apollo" at the Astor Club in early '64 (1).

Soon after, they were involved in the launch of "Radio Sutch" - a pirate radio station presented as the "Britain’s First Teenage Radio Station" on 194 metres (1542khz).

Indeed, at the beginning of May 1964 Screaming Lord Sutch decided to launch himself into the radio field. He originally hired the Lowestoft registered fishing trawler Cornucopia
(2) to anchor off Shoeburyness in the Thames estuary during two weeks until he discovered the Shivering Sands army fort, just off Hearn Bay. 

During the last week of May 1964, along with The Savages, dressed in animal skins and stone-age gear, Sutch set sail from Leigh-On-Sea, Essex on board The Cornucopia. Along with the motley crew, a large amount of equipment and supplies were taken aboard for later use in the station's new base.
A photo of the event was taken when Sutch's party boarded the London Tower Bridge. Paul "Dean" Nicholas fell into the Thames, on that day. In fact, he was pushed in the drink by Colin Dale, an old crony of Sutch’s from his Salusbury Secondary Modern school, who ended up being the general dogsbody - a bit of singing, compering, road manager - and eventually disc jockey on Radio Sutch (3). Shortly thereafter, Dale was rescued by ‘RAF Lifts after SOS’ (4).

Geoff Mew was one of the DJs who worked for the pirate radio station on the gun towers at shivering sands (5), along with Colin Dale and Brian Paull, another Sutch's road manager (6).
At this time,Terry King from Denmark Street - the home of London's music business - took over from Tom Littlewood as Screaming Lord Sutch's manager. While visiting the gun towers at Shivering Sands, he fell into the sea and his Saville Row suit was ruined (7).
Accused of unlawfully occupying a government installation, a Royal Navy task force was sent to eject Sutch's crew who claimed squatter's rights but backed off to avoid bad publicity (8).

A return to Germany followed, including appearances at the Star Club in Hamburg.
Screaming Lord Sutch first visited Australia and New Zealand for three weeks in July and August '64. He toured there alongside Tony Sheridan, both supported by local stars Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs. This three Week Tour started on Sunday July 19th 1964, at the BOAC, Surf City, which was a leading live music venue in the 1960s, on the site of the current Kings Cross Station in Sydney. They notably attracted a record 63,000 punters to a headlining performance at Melbourne's Myer Music Bowl. During his tour of Australia's capital cities, Sutch also made an appearence on the popular Australian television show Johnny O'Keefe's "Sing Sing Sing" (ATN7 TV ).

Future Easybeat Tony Cahill played on a cruise ship in Screaming Lord Sutch's band, for the Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne leg. In fact, Dave Sutch has worked a passage from the UK to Australia with a view to emigrating (9).

While Screaming Lord Sutch was touring overseas, Paul Nicholas suggested the other 3 to go on holiday for two weeks to Italy and France (10).

When Dave Sutch returned to England, they came to the Majestic Ballroom, Birkenhead, and Kidderminsters in late August 1964. Between jobs with The Plebs, Derek "Degs" Sirmon filled in for them over a period of about two weeks when Pete Phillipps was ill around this time. Then BBC TV made documentaries about them in turn: a video filmed on 29 September 1964, showed them doing "Jack The Ripper" before girls with beehive haircuts at the Lotus club, Forest Gate, South London. It was shown on BBC2 on Friday 23 April 1965.

Fed up with the bureaucratic side of running a pirate radio station and due to touring and recording commitments, Dave Sutch sold the station to his manager Reg Calvert in September 1964 who installed better equipment and changed its name to "Radio City". 

Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages, supplemented by Jeff Beck for the lead guitar part, recorded “Dracula’s Daughter”, with the B-side “Come Back Baby”, at Joe Meek’s studio in London’s Holloway Road. This single was released in October 1964.

 Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages toured Germany at the end of 1964, along with Kim Roberts (11), a female vocalist produced by Joe Meek, performing in her own right. Kim was a delightful lady with a great sense of humour as recalls Geoff Mew. They then were back in the UK and Paul Nicholas took the opportunity to begin a career as a solo act, recording on his own as Dangerfield did some months earlier, backed by Pete Phillipps on drums and Stuart Taylor on guitar (at the time, the Tornados disbanded). Supplemented by bass player Harry Reynolds, they then formed The Soul Savages and were lined up not only to support but also to back American acts Del Shannon and the Shangri Las on their British tour during March '65.

When the whole band dispersed after a last gig in Manchester in February 1965, Dave Sutch got Geoff Mew a job with an Irish showband called The Johnny Cliffe Five that went to Turkey for a couple of months doing the American bases there and then did a Tour of Germany. He then went back to Newcastle and joined a local outfit called Chris Warren & The Strangers (12). After this Mew finished with professional band work permanently and went on to become a commercial pilot.


(1) Geoff Mew:

"At the end of 63 we broke up after Ronnie left us. Ronnie then contacted me and asked me to join a new band with Paul Nicholas and Pete Phillips... We had formed up a new band and were looking for work. Ronnie and Paul knew many people... It was Ronnie that got us connected with Winston Gork at the Astor Club agency, in Curzon Street. Michael Black was one of the managers there and Bertie Green was his boss... Winston got a job working with the Astor Club using them as an agency and a base. We were backing him until we got fired from the Astor! We were initially to be called "Johnny Appollo & the Purple Hearts... Later Sutch took us as his new band and we took the name of the Raving Savages..."

(2) Geoff Mew: "The Cornucopia was only used as a supply vessel. The captain was Colin Knapp. He became quite important later on in politics as leader of one of the the seamens unions."

Colin Dale: 
(3) "The photo that most newspapers use is one of the cornucopia with us all on it, Paul Nicholas stood in front of me you can just see my head,  but I got him back later when I pushed him in the drink..."

(4) "During my time on the gun towers, I got taken ill with food poisoning.  I had eaten some duff salmon and I was in agony! I hung on in there for several hours with massive stomach cramps.  Eventually Brian Paull had to put out an SOS and, an RAF helicopter arrived from Manston airbase.  They winched me up into the copter and of we went to Margate Hospital.  They rushed me into emergency where I was kept there for several days..."

(5) Geoff Mew: "As a disc jockey on the Shivering Sands station I played my own selection of the pops of the day: Rolling Stones, Beatles, Searchers etc. I sometimes gave a short broadcast in german in the evenings for 20 mins only."
(6) Brian Paull was working as road manager for Dave Sutch, who used him for publicity, prior to becoming a broadcaster on Radio Sutch. Sadly he died in a swimming accident some years later

Colin Dale:   
(7) "We had been there a few weeks when a guy from Tin Pan Alley, Terry King, came out to the towers.  I remember that as he went to jump onto the ladder to climb up to us, he slipped and fell into the sea!  The boat was rolling about and nearly crushed him against one of the concrete legs.  We dragged him out with a big boat hook.  He was like a drowned rat and his Saville Row suit was ruined.  He never made it up the ladder as he got straight back into the boat and went back to dry land.  We never saw him again!"

(8) "The Navy Lark - ‘This is the Captain speaking. Come out with your hands up or we are going to board you. You are camped on these towers illegally’.  Imagine, it was early in the morning, we were all sound asleep when Her Maj’s ship arrived to try and get us off the towers. David Sutch shouted back, ‘ If you try and climb the ladders to get us, we’ll cover you in chip fat’. The chip fat was two months old and it stunk. I just went back to sleep. When I woke up the navy had gone, leaving us some fresh drinking water and a basket of fruit. They must have thought we had scurvy!"  
(9) Accounts from Nick Warburton & Ben Whitten
According to Tony Cahill, "Dave Sutch was more or less on holiday, trying to immigrate, or didn't have a work permit hence the cruise ship work... and I became a Savage for the Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne leg."

(10) Geoff Mew: "It was not financially viable to take us with Sutch to Australia also the Australian musicians union would have probably blocked our entry... So we took the band waggon and went off to the Côte d'Azure, Nice, Menton etc. and on to San Remo in Italy... "Hippied" about the place!!"

(11) Kim Roberts
Her real name was Rosemary Cottenham. She was married to Savages'guitarist Dave Wendells and was the mother of Savages' drummer Wyatt Wendells. Sadly she died some years ago of cancer.

(12) Chris Warren went on to join "Pickety Witch"


No comments:

Post a Comment