merseycats

 

 

rambling of an aging bassman

6. The STAR CLUB - Hamburg

 

Early in 62 there was a 'buzz' going round Liverpool about a new Rock n Roll club that was opening soon in Hamburg Germany and that the very best Stars from the USA and England would be picked to play there. We talked about it and thought, if we get the chance we are good enough so let's go for it! After further discussion, that sounds posh! It means we had a chat! It was decided to add another singer and guitarist to the band but who? Many singers auditioned but none were up to the standard.

 

 

John Frankland

Froggy

 

Back in my early days I played for fun with the two Johns from Bootle, bandit country!

John Frankland and John Gallagher fantastic guitarists plus John F, or Froggy as we knew him, could sing. The stuff we played was magic but not R&R things like the Peanut Vender and Hot Club Jazz ,no three cord tricks here, we could play, 9ths 13ths and pentatonic scales I said to Ted that Froggy should be given a chance as he was a great R&Roller as well as a Jazzer, he did, and John was in, boy did the band sound great with the extra man.

 

 Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes at the Star Club Hamburg

A couple of months later we got our chance. The owner Manfred Weissleder and manager Horst Fascher of the Star Club had come to England to sign bands, reality set in. No one ever thought that you had to be professional, full time, for real, and all that ,wow! Now there were real problems as a lot of lads had apprenticeships that were 'tied' and to break that you had to buy out your contract. I was an apprentice Motor Mechanic which I hated and would be more than happy to leave if I got the chance. The scene was set. Friday night at the famous Orrell Park Ballroom, ten groups all lined up to audition for a place in the history of MerseyBeat, the chance of a lifetime.  "Keep it simple Shally" says Ted, no fancy stuff, what me? Never, give them drums some flipping whelly Dave no ponsing about , Froggy not to fast, sit Sam sit, who do you think you are? filliping Little Richard. "Me thinks Ted was a tad nervous, but it didn't show". Our audition number was "Talking About You" my party piece, a thumping bass line the never stops right through the song. We hit the ground running, spot on, it was so good that all the other bands applauded and we were in!!

 

You may notice in the picture of us on stage at the Star Club that I am hiding behind the head of Ted's guitar this was the photographer's revenge for not buying him a beer in the Beershop.

 

On our way to stardom  Germany Calling,  the start of the biggest adventure of my life but then , I was very naughty.

 hessys liverpool

 

Hessy's Music Centre

 

Up till then I had been using Bernie's Dallas Bass but if I was to be a pro I needed my own. One of the very first Fender Precision Bass's in the country had arrived at Hessys Music Centre in Liverpool and it was in Fiesta Red priced at £195.00 I had to have it! Now my wages as a moto meck at a couple of quid a week meant I was a long way of the mark but I had a cunning plan! I was engaged to be married. Mary and I had been saving to by a house, yes, I know that was unheard of in those days you were lucky to afford rent and I had saved up £150 towards the deposit. After a bit off sweet talking my beloved agreed that I should borrow the money to buy the bass, after all I would be earning mega bucks as a rock star and would soon pay it back (As if).Now Frank Hessy, but the lads had to call him Mr Hessy, liked a nice cash deal, so after a good old haggle for the sum of £152.00 cash, the bass was mine!

 

 

 

 

Bring on the world.............................. KTS and the Doms are on the way!

 

 

Next: THE MAGIC

 

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