Copyright: DAVE CHAPMAN and FEATHERED APPLE RECORDS
It was about 1961, I was in a Christchurch music store Sedley Wells, buying my first electric guitar, a Commodore. I saw there a matching Commodore bass guitar which I commented on and the salesman "Jack" said to me that it was already sold to a guy by the name of Thain. Although I'd heard of him we'd never met. I was 16 at the time and Gary was 13 .I had left school and was working in the city as an office boy, and practicing with my first group The Mustangs. Our drummer was Wayne Allen, who in later years was to work with Gary, who by this time had left school and was working as a lineman.
|ABOVE: Dave's first band THE MUSTANGS|
After a very successful 2-3 years, The Strangers disbanded and Gary teamed up with Paul Muggleston's band The Secrets with Paul on rhythm and vocals, and Wayne Allen, drums and vocals, and Dereck Wright on lead. They were The Secrets and in 1964 -1965 were the resident group for a top Christchurch club, The Plainsman, They played everything popular at the time from Beatles to P.J. Proby. They were also support artists for Del Shannon ,The Searchers, and Peter and Gordon, who toured New Zealand. After some months at the Plainsman, The Secrets went on a lengthy Tour of New Zealand. During this time, early 1965, I had started as lead guitarist for a new group, The Others. It was started by former Strangers drummer Peter Dawkins, and we became resident group along with Les Street and The Alleys at Christchurch's now number one night spot, “The Pride of Place.” We were support group for Tom Jones and Hermans Hermits when they toured New Zealand in 1965.
Two to three months later Les Street and The Alleys disbanded so The Secrets, just arriving back on the scene in Christchurch, started with us at the Pride of Place as the replacement group. This is when I really got to know Gary. Gary was always full of life and laughing he had a great sense of humour and a passion for music. During our time playing at The Pride of Place, Gary and Paul from The Secrets decided that they wanted to go to England. Peter and I from The Others also decided we wanted to go. We had the perfect line up, bass, drums, rhythm and lead, so a new group was born, Me and The Others.
This group was key to Gary’s future success. Previously during the Tom Jones show, Peter and I were talking with Mike Gee lead guitarist from The Squires who were Tom Jones' show band. We told him we were heading for the UK and he gave us a note of introduction to Tom Jones’ agency in London. This would hopefully give us some sort of start. About February 1966 Gary and Paul left New Zealand two to three months ahead of Peter and I on a cruise liner, The Australis, bound for Southampton via Suez Canal, a four week trip.
Gary and Paul arrived in Southampton one month later and decided to try find some part time work together whilst they waited for Peter and I to arrive, so they found their way to Newzealand house and saw that on the notice board that there was an add for horse riders at a place called Cowboy City in the North of England in a small town called Kirby Misperton, so for a laugh off they went to become members of the notorious Dalton Brothers. Cowboy City was a local attraction, there was a Shanty Town like a western movie set, where there was a daily show which drew a crowd of paying spectators. The Dalton Brothers were USA villains from the 1800's; during the show the gang would ride into town and rob the bank and there would be a shoot out. It was then decided for only Paul to become a part of this, as this wasn't for Gary. So a short while later Gary left Paul and went to a nearby town, Scarborough, and found his way into a local band, Just Gigging Around. I do not know who they were or where they played.
In May 1966 Peter and I, after spending four weeks on an Italian cruise liner, The Fairsky, arrived in Southampton. Paul came down from Kirby Misperton to pick us up in his Triumph Heraldand with our suitcases inside and Peter’s drums packed in a big cardboard box tied on the roof rack, we set off for the North of England to cowboy city so Paul could finish off his stint there, as he was on contract. Peter and I were there for one show which I must say was very authentic. That night we stayed in the bunk house then soon headed off for London where we found a house in Clapham Common. Gary arrived two weeks later from the North of England to join us, now we were ready to work on a repertoire.
The original plan was for us to play surf music which was very popular in the USA. The scene in the UK was not for that sort of music, so we went to a record shop on Portobello Road and bought a pile of newly released 45 records. The music on these records was becoming very popular and was about to dominate the music scene in the UK and USA. Some songs included "You don't know like I know" by Sam and Dave, "My Girl", "Hold On I'm Coming" etc. We then spent the next few weeks developing a repertoire of R&B plus Rock ‘n Roll, and the group was starting to get tighter. We contacted Tom Jones' agency as planned but didn't get any real reception as hoped.
|THE PRETTY THINGS with TOMMY ADDERLEY in '65|
Peter and I went down the stairs and Viv just happened to be at the door talking to the doorman. Peter asked "are you Viv Prince?" and Viv replied "Yes". Peter introduced us both and told him we were a group from New Zealand and that Tommy Adderley sends his regards.Viv looked quite blank until Tommy’s name was mentioned, then he shook both our hands and invited us in. We told him we had come as a group and were looking for work. Viv immediately asked if we wanted a job playing here for two weeks. Peter and I took up the offer. That night we stayed at the club until late and met The Easybeats from Australia, who had also just arrived in the UK; we had drinks and a good time together. At closing time Peter and I took Viv and Johnny Banks, the drummer from The Mersybeats home in our van.
We arrived at, Chelsea, just off Kings Road and Viv took us down to a basement flat to meet some friends of his that lived next door to him. Present there was Jet Harris, ex bassist for the UK group The Shadows, also there was Jet’s lady friend Billie Davis, who was also a well known ‘60s pop artist, and TV presenter. Jet was living in the room next to Viv Prince, but was now going to be moving , so his room would be vacant. The four of us vacated our Clapham Common address and Gary and Peter moved into Jet’s room. Paul and I found a room to live in directly across the road. We were now all living in Chelsea, which was where all the ‘60s action was in London. We played at Viv's club" Knuckles" for the next two weeks and now Paul was doubling on Vox Continental organ, this gave us an even bigger sound.
During this time at Knuckles, Viv’s patrons were anyone from Pete Townsend from The Who to Mick Wiltshire from the New Vaudeville Band who quite frequently sat in with us, and ex Shadows drummer Tony Meehan, who we spent some time with, plus many more well known pop artists. We were received very well and got invited back for another two weeks playing, and a short while later whilst at Knuckles we were asked if we would be interested in being a backing group for a new guy going on tour, Engelbert Humperdink, who at that time was unheard of. Peter said no thanks, not anyone with a name like that. That's one guy that made it big. True story. One night Pete met a guy in a pub in Soho called Dave Backhouse. Dave was with the Cana Variety Agency in London, and the next night or so we all wound up with Dave at the Marquee club. We were introduced to Gary Farr and The T-Bones drummer, who along with Dave introduced us to Jack Fallon, owner of Cana Variety Agency.
|ME AND THE OTHERS (pic by Brian Epstein's agency)|
As we progressed the group got better and we were getting more gigs and met many artists. Gary was using a Gibson semi acoustic bass through a Vox amp with a 15 inch Vox speaker cabinet either side of the stage. This gave the group a big driving sound. One night we did a gig in Southampton, along with The Graham Bond Organisation. That was a very memorable night as Graham’s bassist and drummer were Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, who eventually teamed up with Eric Clapton to form Cream.These names meant nothing to us at the time, but Gary, even with his own style of slap picking, was always taking notice of other bassists. I’m sure that night Gary would’ve got some pointers from Jack.
Gary was only 18 years old at this stage and we all smoked cigarettes and had the odd drink. Gary had a passion for brandy mixed with Rose's lime on ice. One night we did a gig, a social night, on an airforce base, somewhere in the north and as the drinks were free we drank our fill of brandy and lime and when it came time to start playing we were all drunk and Gary completely disappeared. We went out to look for him but he was gone. We were looking for so long that the airmen, hungry for some music, picked up our instruments and started playing themselves. We later found Gary collapsed and asleep in a garden flower bed and almost completely out of sight. We didn't get paid that night and no wonder.
|ME & THE OTHERS PN Hithouse '66|
|ME & THE OTHERS PN Hithouse, '66|
|ABOVE: ME AND THE OTHERS in Germany, 1966|
About 1973 Gary returned to New Zealand to see his family. He was interviewed on TV.but what happened to the rest of the band? Well Peter eventually went back to London and sat in with Jimi Hendrix on two gigs at the Speakeasy, a London night club, before returning to New Zealand about 1970 to became an award winning record producer, then later to Australia, where he produced Air Supply's early recordings, plus many other big name artists. Paul came back to New Zealand in 1972 to become a well known radio DJ and also played for a top band, Just Us. Later he went to live in Los Angeles where he was for years, running a very successful advertising agency from his yatch in Marina Del Rey. Paul M came back to New Zealand in 1992 for a reunion where he and I played at the Musician's club with Wayne Allen on drums and another old friend of Gary's on bass, Pete Hansen, almost The Secrets once more. We played to a capacity audience of ‘60s and ‘70s musicians who all knew Gary very well, and Paul paid tribute to Gary and the gig made the newspaper and national television.
|ABOVE: AFN Dj PAUL DRAKE|
Years ago I asked Paul for another copy of our tape but he thought that it had been lost from water damage along with some other tapes, so I took it for granted that our music had been lost forever. But an amazing thing happened only just recently and 42 years later he discovered that he had still had the tape put away safely elsewhere and sent me a copy. More recently my wife Gwen and I spent some time in Sydney with my old mate Pete Dawkins and his lovely wife Penny to celebrate his 60th birthday, and it was great to catch up after all these years. And yes we had an adventure. And we've often thought, wow! we almost nearly made it. The rest is history! Enjoy the music!
|DAVE CHAPMAN / ME & THE OTHERS live at the PN Hit House in '66|