Monday, September 23, 2013

The Mad Classix (Coventry band in 1960's)

Pete Clemons focuses Coventry 60's band The Mad Classix for his latest Coventry Telegraph article.

circa 1964-66 
Pete Chambers Godiva Rocked to a Backbeat

R&B/Beat group
Line up: Brian Fowdrey (Saxophone), Ron Smith (lead guitar), Dave Norris (rhythm guitar), Johnny Wells (vocals), John Davies (bass), Gerry O'Brian (drums)

Formed around 1964, they quickly worked up material, switching from 'beat' to more blues influenced material. They cut demos around the middle of 1964 (including 'Keep On Looking'), hoping to impress EMI or Decca. They Appeared on 'Opportunity Knocks' in June of that year and had their hair dyed specially for the appearance with one white streak!

Toured Germany (where they released a single in December 1965) and added Johnny Williams (Sax) from The Chads whilst there in July 1965.

Ron Smith Left in April 1966 and was replaced by Jeff Lynne for a short while. He left the band and joined the Nightriders in Birmingham who became Idle Race - then to the Moveand ELO.

They split later in 1966 after having their gear stolen.

Single: Honey Bunny (Germany 1965)

Pete Chambers - Godiva Rocked to a Backbeat
"Known for the mad stage antics, they played 6 months in Germany and the above single. Bev Jones was once a member and married lead vocalist Johnny Wells. Ron Smith says " I wouldn't have missed the German tour for the world. It was hard for me because I had a wife and family at home. We worked three to four hours a night, six days a week and rehearsed on the 7th. Yes it was hard work but an opportunity I couldn't miss."

And from Pete Chambers Backbeat article - Cov Telegraph
Outrageous Mad Classix lived up to their name

FAMED for their on-stage antics and a fabled tour of Germany The Mad Classix were a sextet who always lived up to their name.

In 1958 Ron Smith had purchased his first guitar, and the skiffle sound of that era was now giving way to a more sophisticated music that we know as rock 'n' roll.

Ron, along with his new guitar, had become a founding member of the Coventry band The Tornadoes. By 1962 a name change had become incumbent to them when the great Joe Meek had created Telstar by the band he called The Tornadoes.

So Coventry's Tornadoes became The Classics, and they continued to find work in places like the Wyken Pippin and their sleek presentations and acrobatic stage antics gained them a residency at The Walsgrave.

They hooked up with Friary Promotions and took on sax player Brian Fowdrey who was working at the agency.

By now the band had grown to a …" 

Tom Long added in a comment recently

Hi Trev,

Thought you might like to know this, as a addition to The Mad Classix story.

On Saturday 29/9/2012, Brian Fowdrey, the saxman and founder member of The Classix wed his partner of many years.
The original members of the band got together (minus the singer, who died a while back), and gave a half hour performance.
I had the honour of performing with them, as Gerry, their drummer hadn't played for over 30 years! We persuaded Gerry to play a couple of numbers with them, though.
Ironically, the first gig I did with Jason and the Canaenites was as support for The Classix, at The General Wolfe in Foleshill back in the 60’s!

Cheers, Tom Lane

Mad Classix with Bev Jones. Pic via Pete Chambers Godiva Rocked to a Backbeat

No comments:

Post a Comment