Now in their 29th year as rock 'n' roll crusaders for all that's way, way cool about early '60s Britannia pop, Merseybeat and Shadows-styled instrumentals, The Rapiers—"the best '60s band since the '60s"—are truly worth flying 5,000 miles to see, hear and dig.
Fotografo Stefano Rivoir has a keen eye for Rapier detail. Below are three more colourful moments in time from last summer's riotous Summer Jamboree in Senigallia, Italy. Meanwhile, for good measure, here's an FBI video snippet from said festival.
SNOBS GUITARMAN AVAILABLE: The rhythm player on the original mega-British Beat stomper Buckleshoe Stomp is looking to jam. Says John Boulden in an MSN Shadow Music post: "Experienced lead guitarist with Strat and EOTP. Shadows preferred but have played covers all my life so that could be an option. Some vocals. Can provide mike and stand, etc. Doesn't have to be a working band. Just getting together to work on the numbers is fine. Surrey area preferred but travel to another county for the right people. Age 60 but young at heart."... MR. BLOBBY, HERO: Trawling YouTube for Screaming Lord Sutch vids, I stumbled upon "a large pink humanoid" who rose (ballooned?) to pop fame in the '90s, starring on presenter Noel Edmonds' Saturday night entertainment show Noel's House Party (that's the pair at left), storming the pop charts, raking in merchandising, even standing for political office—watch how Mr. B (105 votes) goes all wobbly when the tally for obvious mate Lord Sutch (782 votes) comes in during that Littleborough and Saddleworth by-election I spotlighted Wednesday. Genius! Blobby, per Wikipedia, "communicated by saying the word 'blobby' in an electronically-altered voice, expressing his moods through tone of voice and repetition." He'd have my vote... LONDON FLAKES: Twice. That's how many instances during my lifetime I remember snow at sea level in my native San Francisco. So being greeted by white stuff from the sky over our Rapiers-Pipeline Easter Weekend really did stick out. Here I steadily brave the elements on a brief but uneventful walk to the Notting Hill Gate Tube station. Brrrr!
[Re: the furor over the edited Walkers Crisps advert] I was very heartened to read most of the [positive] comments on the Shadows MSN site, and the two Scottish papers. It would be great if people could really get behind a move to voice their concerns over a Nanny State in Britain; I'm not entirely sure how that would happen, but I did notice a facility on the Walkers website where people can contact them.
I understand that there were only about 90 people who complained and that the [various] YouTube videos show over 10,000 views—I'm sure most of those didn't even make a connection with anything remotely offensive. If they had, the negative comments would have poured in straight away. What happened is the tragic victims [of an actual bus crash] have seen the advert, made a connection to their own personal circumstances and, Bob's your uncle, the next thing is a move in the Scottish media, which in turn whips up complaints from people who would probably never have thought about it.
"What luck," added Colin Pryce-Jones. "We get our first advert after 25 years and it gets pulled." Curiously, the Walkers site never had the spot, original or modified, on its TV ads page. Did they know it might cause offense? Or is their webmaster on permanent holiday? Meanwhile, fortunately, no Big Brother or Nanny has vacuumed, er, hoovered, the videos off YouTube.
Posing backstage at the Amersham Rock 'n' Roll Club on 22 March 2008 are, from left, Fentone Bill Bonney, Rapier Colin Pryce-Jones, Shadow Bruce Welch and singer Danny Rivers. Ah, the tales these men could tell. Thanks to Nathan J. Hulse for supplying the image.
WHO DIDN'T MAKE AMERSHAM: For weeks, rumours had me glad all over that Dave Clark Five bassist and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Rick Huxley might attend the party, take a bow or join The Rapiers for a number; no word why he begged off (well, it was snowing o'er Britain that Easter weekend). Also no-go, alas, on Kaiser George Miller. Meanwhile, John Leyton sent a classy note, reprinted belatedly here: "I should like to pass on my congratulations to The Rapiers on this their 25th Anniversary in the music business. Unfortunately family committments have made it impossible for me to be with you this evening but I'm sure that this special Anniversary Concert will be a great night for yourselves and your many fans. Congratulations and Best Wishes."... DAVE RAVES: "I have to say that I really enjoyed playing with two rhythm guitars on the last few numbers, a sort of mini-Phil Spector-ish, Sounds Incorporated-ish load of noise!" says Dave Lawes. Speaking of rhythm, I'm glad Colin Pryce-Jones fondly remembered the late Wayne Nicholls from the stage... DO THE NEIL: Finally, the more I watch Neil Ainsby's ultra-zany dash about as "Bootleg Freddie Garrity" on Short Shorts, the more I'm convinced the band should make it part of their stage show, light comic relief at its heaviest!
UPDATE 7 APRIL 2008: Stuart Bailey found this snippet of the edited Crisps advert. Not much is left (singing, message, dramatics, wit, er, point). But our lads made the cut.
UPDATE 6 APRIL 2008: Posted by Phil Jarvis: "I don't watch much TV—so I don't know if this is news or not—but the Walkers Crisps ad, with the offending scene edited out, was shown last night on ITV1 at 19.40 in the break during Harry Hill. The footage of The Rapiers playing on the top deck was in full as orginally broadcast. The crash and the shot of The Rapiers afterwards has been removed."
UPDATE 4 APRIL 2008: Nathan J. Hulse writes: "It seems we are still in the advert—I had a text message last night from someone telling me they'd seen me in it... I'm going to complain when they show Scary Movie on TV, because scenes of people being stabbed upsets me. Do you think they will take me seriously?" Meanwhile, further fogging the "Is it on or is it not?" guessing game, the blog A Transport of Delight reported yesterday: "Walkers Crisps has withdrawn an advert that shows a bus being de-roofed whilst driven by retired footballer Gary Lineker. Walkers apologised for the commercial after numerous complaints had been received."
ORIGINAL RAG! POST
Subject to availability: A still from our lads' Walkers advert, snapped off SKY3 TV in my Notting Hill hotel room last week.
Meanwhile, still no visible or anecdotal confirmation of an edited spot airing around Britain. Wails YouTube poster Denjwj on the kerfuffle: "The Politically Correct Brigade and the Whingers and Moaners have struck again and been on about this advert—BUT I THINK IT IS BRILLIANT!"
If you missed Rob Bradford's recent post on The Rapiers' Silver Anniversary, lodged on MSN Shadow Music, it's reproduced below. Take it, Rob!
As Colin Pryce-Jones is still yet to enter the computer age, he's asked me on behalf of himself and all of The Rapiers to thank all of the people who turned up to make Saturday's concert a complete sell-out success. He has been genuinely touched by everyone's comments, loyalty and messages of support. Here's some of what he had to say:
"I wasn't going to do anything about our 25th Anniversary—but, thank goodness, other people persuaded me otherwise. It was Alan Taylor who was most insistent—so thanks to him for that. Then there’s Ralph Gowling, who's worked so hard with the people at Amersham—it couldn't have happened without his input. I genuinely thought that there wouldn't be sufficient interest and that only a few people would turn up. Well, I've been proved wrong. I’ve been overwhelmed by all the lovely messages and support from the fans.
"Saturday night was very special for all of us. I'm so sorry that Mark Alderton was snowed in up in Lincolnshire and so I'd like to personally thank Mac Poole’s son Matthew for doing a magnificent job on the sound at ultra short notice, plus the people helping him out. Jan [Pryce-Jones] likes to stay in the background—but where would I be without her keeping me going?
"Thanks to all the fans, including many (like Alan and Dave Burke) who have been following us for virtually the entire 25 years. Most importantly, I would like to thank Bruce Welch (who turned out to support us on the evening), and Roger Cover, Billie Davis, Danny Rivers, Bill Bonney, Kytsun Wolfe, Mike Berry and Jet Harris, who all gave up their time and performed onstage with us. It all made for a really special evening for us personally and the fans generally. The Rapiers couldn’t have asked for more. Greg and Andrea travelling all the way from San Francisco... what can I say? The icing on the cake… God bless you all."
I won’t say much about the evening, except that it was absolutely superb from beginning to end. The band was on top form and they, to use one of Col's favourite expressions, were clearly "having a blast!" Simply top class number after top class number. Each one, whether vocal or instrumental, performed with the tremendous verve, skill and energy that only The Rapiers can deliver; 44 fantastic performances covering every aspect and era of the group's remarkable career. Maybe Jet summed it up best from the stage and from the heart: "The Rapiers... I couldn't have had a better group of people backing me. They've stuck by me through thick and thin for the last 15 years. They're just the best."
Amersham attendee Barry Gillam has the knack for catching Rapiers mid-kick, trouser creases just right. Says Barry: "We sure had a great time, the place was really rocking and it was just great to hear all those songs and tunes we don't hear live very often, plus all the usual favourites."
The boys were on fine form. The sound was superb. What a great day my wife and I had, and to have Pipeline the next day was just fantastic. We met Colin Pryce-Jones there for the first time, one of the nicest and most easy going persons we've met in a long time.
Graham "Top Cat" Whelehan
P.S. Top marks to the organisers for both events, they were wonderful.
Well said, Graham. Credit Pipeline's Alan Taylor for cajoling Colin into 1) staging an anniversary celebration for The Rapiers' 25th, and 2) staging it on the eve of Pipeline, giving punters a 1-2 rock 'n' roll punch over Easter Weekend.
Bassist Bill Bonney, who guest starred with The Rapiers at Amersham last week, presented this gorgeous, hand-engraved mug to the band in recognition of their Silver Anniversary.
Nathan J. Hulse: "A big thanks from all the guys to Bill for a really kind thought." Colin Pryce-Jones: "I didn’t know that Bill was a skilled engraver. It's beautiful, we will treasure it."
By the way, for more on Mr. Bonney's illustrious career as an original Fentone behind '60s singer Shane I'm a Moody Guy Fenton, who later morphed into glam rocker Alvin Stardust, visit Adrian Barrett's fantabulous site. Still recording, Bill is part of a cool instrumental duo called Bonney and Buzz with partner Peter "Buzz" Miller, whose CV includes lead guitar for Peter Jay and The Jaywalkers—they hit the UK hit charts in 1962 with Can Can 62, produced by Joe Meek. At Amersham, Bill told me a second B&B CD is due soon. Their first, Rock-Ola [Double Crown Records, DCCD20, 2005], continues to knock me out with majestic creations like Bandido and The Sunburst Kid.