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Angeles Weather

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Markku (Masa) Laamanen

 

One day, back in 1978, as I was walking around Jyväskylä, I was approached by a man riding a bike, with white hair (the man, not the bike) and he asked if he could talk to me. I was very suspicious of him, there were a lot of strange people about and, as I had become something of a small celebrity, a foreign one at that, I was resented by many of the locals and had to keep on my toes. Anyway, we went into a restaurant and sat at a table, he ordered some Lapin Kulta beers, so this allayed my concerns somewhat, and he then started to put forward his proposal to me. His English wasn't all that good, although it was a lot better than my non-existent Finnish, but he managed to make himself understood, which was appropriate enough considering that he had just released a new hit single that same year called ‘Et Kai Ymmärrä Minua Väärin’ (Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood) which, coincidentally, was arranged by none other than Paul Fagerlund and released on Vexi Salmi’s Gold Disc record label. It’s a small world.

He introduced himself as Markku (another Markku, I thought, is everyone in Finland called Markku?) - I called him Masa for short , as I could never pronounce the 'r' in Finnish (there is no 'r' in Finnish?). Anyway they sort of roll them, so whenever I said ‘Markku’, no-one could understand me. He was suggesting that his band would like to back me on stage, and that they had been playing for many years. His band was called Gulliver.


The following day, I arranged to meet Masa in a pub in downtown Jyväskylä, and we discussed various possibilities over a few drinks. I got to like Masa , he told me about his band, Gulliver, who were indeed very successful, and even that he himself had had a number 1 hit in Finland with a cover version of House of the Rising Sun. Masa explained he could ‘fix this’ for me and he could ‘fix that’ for me, and I took it all as I take my fish & chips - with a pinch of salt - but we fixed up a gig in a week’s time anyway, as a try-out. Masa said he knew someone who had an apartment vacant, and that he would ‘fix it’ for me. I was a little short of money as the gigs I had been doing weren't paying too well, and he said not to worry about it, as he would fix everything. True enough, the following day Masa did arrange a place for me to live. He took me to my new apartment a few miles out of town, a place called Lohikoski (which translates as ‘Salmon Rapids'). It was a nice, quiet area, very picturesque, although there was a distinct lack of either salmon or rapids.


The day of our first gig with Masa arrived, and he picked me up from my new apartment in a nice bus, which was a new Mercedes kitted out with tables and seats and a stereo system, TV and video and all kinds of luxuries which I didn't even have in my home, let alone in my little Commer van. It even had  a telephone and an answering machine which would say, "I'm home now, but leave a message and I'll call you when I'm out". Masa introduced me to the band: Jussi Niemi on guitar (whose wife,  Päivi Kautto-Niemi, was a very famous singer at that time, with many top hit recordings, and still is top of the charts to this day), Liri on rhythm guitar, and Ari on drums, also doubling as the driver, and Masa himself on bass.


As we got closer to the gig, I saw large posters of me everywhere in the town. Masa had been advertising the gig, my photo was on every street corner and billboard. We arrived at the town where we were booked to play, and began asking directions to the venue, down a lane and into a forest. Deep inside the forest, many miles in, we finally pulled up outside of an enormous wooden building which they called a 'tanssipaikka' or 'dance place'. I thought to myself that nobody will ever find this place, let alone manage to get there at night. We were stopped at the gate and the security personnel searched the van and our bags. I thought that they were looking for weapons, but was surprised to learn that they were actually searching for alcohol. It was a fact in those days that alcohol was banned from all places of entertainment where there were bands playing. They didn't find my Sorbus as it was inside my piano, where I soon learnt to keep it during my stay in Finland. Having passed the security check, we went inside a massive hall, with a stage at the far end. The roadies started unloading and, after a brief look around, Masa and I went back to town to find a 'restaurant'.

Masa and I played gigs around Finland for the next 10 years.

Jyrki Hämäläinen

Jyrki Hämäläinen was the Chief editor of Suosikki, a teen magazine, from 1968 until his retirement from the publication in 2002. He was well known for interviewing high profile celebrities including The Rolling Stones, Muhammad Ali, Elvis Presley and even me.

Jyrki helped me enormously during my career in Finland in the late 1970's and we became very good friends. We went on many tours together during the 'Twist SM' competition in Finland.

In 1979, Jyrki wrote the sleeve notes for my Album and E.P. 'Rockin' in the Same Ol' Way':

"Dave Taylor, 21, is the most sensational act in Finnish show business today.

He was born in England and after a colourful and wild way of life and a string of smaller hits on the continent he finally settled down in Finland and became an overnight sensation while performing at the Culture House in Helsinki, where the biggest rock’n’ roll event, the 'King of Rock' took place.

 Dave didn’t win the title, because he was still a citizen of Britain, but he was the absolute top of the bill that night and received raves from critics, and the Dave Taylor fever was a fact.

 The secret of Dave Taylor’s success is first class showmanship, excellent ability and a touch of rock feeling in the true fifties tradition. Some people even felt that Dave is a modern 1979 version of the legendary Jerry Lee Lewis, with the same kind of guts and drive. This little giant is without a doubt the most promising and talented performer in years on the Finnish rock scene. And he certainly has something to give to every true rock’n’ roll lover no matter where ever in Europe he is heard".

We would meet regularly in the pub below his office for a few beers. He was exceedingly tall and big with it, also an ex-champion boxer, not the sort of person to mess with. But he was known as the 'gentle giant'. He went on to publish countless complimentary articles and stories about me in the Suosikki magazine. At least once a week I would meet in the pub with Jyrki together with Fred Ohert, Tapani Ripatti and Remu Aaltonen from the band Hurriganes.

 Jyrki died suddenly at the age of 65 at his home in Espoo, Finland, on 18 March 2008. Jyrki had complained of stress and had been hospitalized due to illness for a short time before he died.

 

Rockin Dave with Jyrki and his wife in Espoo, Finland 1982

Listening to Elvis

Rockin Dave with Jyrki & the gang having drinks at my apartment in Greenwich, UK, in 1988

Jyrki in training

 

Jyrki with Muhammad Ali

 Jyrki with Mick Jagger

Jyrki with Ingemar Johansson, Floyd Patterson and Harri Piitulainen 1993

 Jyrki in the ring

Jyrki, Rockin Dave and the gang again in London 1988

Sleepy La Beef

sleepy

SLEEPY LA BEEF & ROCKIN DAVE ON STAGE 1984

Paul Barrett asked if I would go on tour with Sleepy La Beef. Of course I agreed, and the first gig was in Oxford. Sleepy was a huge man that I really looked up to - and anyway, I had no choice! Sleepy stands 6'7" tall and was given the nickname "Sleepy" from the appearance of his eyes. Born in Arkansas, he was raised on a melon farm and moved to Houston when he was 18. There he sang gospel music on local radio and put together a bar band to play venues as well as radio programmes such as the Houston Jamboree and Louisiana Hayride.

His set was fast and furious; at least two hours, without a break. He would go from one song to the next seamlessly, without stopping. It was quite a challenge to keep up, and I really enjoyed it. You’d never know what the next song was going to be or even in what key, and I was singing backing vocals for him as well. As I didn't know all of his songs - we never rehearsed - there were some hilarious results, with Sleepy looking at me and smiling, knowing that I was making up the backing vocals as we went along. He really was a walking jukebox, the audience would shout their favourite songs to him and suddenly we were playing that song. It was fun.

I invited Sleepy and Ian Wallis (Sleepy's UK manager) round to my London apartment for dinner one night and, as Sleepy is so tall, he could only just fit through the front door. He sat at the dinner table on a bench, which would normally take three people. After dinner, I was playing some music in the living room. Sleepy sat down in my armchair, which slowly sank down and split outward… until he was pretty much sitting on the floor. Sleepy didn't say anything and I just looked at Ian, not knowing quite what, if anything, to say. After much listening, Sleepy and Ian had to leave, and when we said our goodbyes Sleepy said in a low voice "Sorry ‘bout the chair." No problem, I replied, we needed a new one anyway. After the UK tour was over, Sleepy returned to Boston and, in 1991, he invited me to visit him there, at his home.

Palito

Palito was a veteran Filipino slapstick comedian and actor who was at the height of his career in the 1970s and 80s. He was well known for his unusually light and thin anatomy, thus earning him the self-deprecating screen name Palito, which is Spanish for stick, understood in Filipino as matchstick or toothpick.

Rockin Dave & Palito at PALITO'S SPORTS BAR, Angeles City


He was only 21 when he first discovered the world of stage acting. A student of Arellano University in Manila, he decided to choose acting over his studies around 1959. Palito started as an "extra" in the 1960 Prinsipe Amante movie, starring the then superstar Rogelio dela Rosa. One of his early movies was Pitong Zapata in 1965. His first non-extra role was that as a sidekick of Jun Aristorenas in the late 60s film Bingbong at Dodong. At first, he was cast in straight action films. But because of his thinness, he was groomed as a comedian. 

In the late 1970s, the decline of Philippine movies and emergence of "Bomba" films hurt Palito's career. The action and comedy films which Palito made were not being made as they used to. Those were the times when Palito lost many of his investments.


Palito's career had a brief resurgence then later peaked in the 1980s. He starred in several comedy movies parodying American action films, such as Rambuto,a Rambo spoof, the title being a pun of the Tagalog word buto which means "bone", again to capitalize on his being "thin-boned", and a James Bond spoof, James Bone, where he plays an emaciated version of the secret agent. Other popular movies of his were No Blood, Kumander Kalansalay, Walang Matigas na Buto sa Gutom na Aso, and Rambo Tango.

He would also been known as a star in a lot of kitsch Pinoy horror films as a zombie/corpse. His sunken hollow eyes and reed-thin body, while not aesthetically pleasing in the popular sense, fit the corpse-like demeanor that local filmmakers love to utilize.

In the first quarter of 2010, Palito, a known smoker, was being confined at a hospital for a month due to lung problems. After coming home from work on 6 April 2010, he was rushed to the Imus Family Hospital due to complaints of serious stomach pain. He was later transferred to the ward section of Philippine General Hospital on the same night.

 Palito was declared dead at 7:05 a.m. on April 12, 2010 in the Philippine General Hospital from a lung complication.

 

This is Erwin, the owner of Palito's Sports bar, Angeles City.

 


Bert Weedon

 

Influential guitarist Bert Weedon dies

 

Rockin Dave was fortunate enough to back Bert weedon on several gigs in the early 1980's and it was great honour to do so.

Bert Weedon Bert Weedon is credited with helping some of the best-known guitar stars learn the instrument

Influential guitarist Bert Weedon, best known for creating the popular tutorial manual Play In A Day, has died aged 91.

Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney and Brian May are among the stars who learned to play guitar from his books.

Born in east London, in May 1920, he had been ill for some time and died at his home in Beaconsfield, his friend John Adrian said.

He was awarded an OBE in the 2001 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to music.

Singer and guitarist Joe Brown described Weedon as "a lovely man and a great inspiration to many British guitar players, including myself, in the early days".

He added: "My heart goes out to his lovely wife Maggie and the family."

Speaking to BBC News, radio presenter Mike Read said: "He was the guy who showed you how to play a guitar. Everybody bought his Play In A Day book, it was a big deal.

"He became the daddy of British guitarists and he inspired generations of schoolboys to play. His book enabled them to do just that, which was fantastic."

Aged 12, Weedon picked up his first guitar after convincing his father to buy him a second-hand one from a London market.

As a child, he studied classical guitar - a grounding which later enabled him to play any genre of guitar music at sight.

Great demand

He began his career in showbusiness working with Ted Heath, Mantovani and The Squadronnaires, before becoming a featured soloist with the BBC Show Band.

Bert Weedon  
Weedon was awarded an OBE in the 2001 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to music

As a solo guitarist, he had many hits, including Guitar Boogie Shuffle, Apache and Nashville Boogie. In 1976 he became the first solo guitar player to top the Official Top 40 album charts with 22 Golden Guitar Greats.

He was later in great demand with stars such as Sir Cliff Richard and Tommy Steele.

Weedon also accompanied artists such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Nat King Cole and Judy Garland.

Bond composer David Arnold paid tribute to Weedon on the micro-blogging site Twitter saying his passing was "sad news".

He added: "Learned my first chords from Play in a Day."

Stars have previously paid tribute to the musician, thanking him for helping them to learn the guitar.

"Thank you for all those tips on guitar playing that I got from your book, when I was young," Clapton said.

Queen guitarist Brian May called him a "legend" and thanked him for "spreading the guitar and your enthusiasm to all of us".

Sir Paul revealed that both he and George Harrison used Weedon's manuals to learn the chords D and A, and John Lennon admitted he began playing the guitar using Play in a Day.

The Cure, meanwhile, wrote a short instrumental called The Weedy Burtons, which featured as a hidden track on their debut album Three Imaginary Boys in 1979.

"I'd taught myself to play a bit by reading Bert Weedon's Play In A Day books using my older brother's guitar," said Robert Smith. "It's a sort of tongue in cheek tribute to Bert."

The tutorial book begins with simple illustrations of acoustic and electric guitars, before showing the reader how to hold the instrument.

The first pieces of music for the student to learn include Bobby Shaftoe, Jingle Bells and When the Saints Go Marching In.

Joop Visser

ON A HIGH NOTE

Dave Taylor has somehow been part of my life for the last 30 years or so. Dave had been playing in various rock'n'roll bands since the early 1970s but, for me, it all started in 1976, when Dave was a member of The Hellraisers, one of the top rock’n’roll bands that performed at the legendary Pickett’s Lock Festival in May 1976. A festival that embodied the British rockabilly boom of the mid to late 1970s.

We released the best of the live recordings from Pickett’s Lock on a Charly compilation album entitled "Rock’n’Roll is still alive", which sold in excess of 100,000 copies. This album included a track called "Dim Light Boogie", written by the young pianist in the Hellraisers, Dave Taylor.

Dave’s unmistakeable rocker's image and considerable musical talent was soon recognised in rock’n’roll circles, especially after his recording of "Cadillac Car", which narrowly failed to turn into a big crossover top 40 hit.

As long as I've known him, Dave Taylor has been a true citizen of the world, rocking his audiences in Holland, France, Germany Belgium, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Hong Kong, The Philippines, Japan, Macao, the USA, Canada and any other nation I might not be aware of. Yet, Dave always came home from his musical adventures, surprising me with a visit upon his return, that invariably included an English pint or three.

Dave’s musical orientation betrays his eclectic taste. His favourite musicians include piano players like Merrill Moore, Freddie Slack, Count Basie and Neville Dickie, pedal steel player Speedy West and guitarists Jimmy Bryant and Barney Kessel, saxophonists Earl Bostic, Lester Young and Illinois Jacquet, and trumpeter/vocalist Louis Prima.

Dave’s talent to entertain a broad audience made him my obvious choice to provide the music for my 50th birthday party. I hope to share his company and champagne for many years to come. Here’s to Dave Taylor, a rocker through and through.

Joop Visser, August 2006  

 

 

Joop and BB King
Amsterdam in 1966

Jörgen Petersen - Trumpet

RIP - Lill-Jörgen Petersen

Trumpet player Jörgen Petersen passed away Friday, February 13, 2009 in Helsinki at age of 78.

Mr. Petersen was better known in Finland than in his native Denmark. In 1960's his instrumental version of "The Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" was a long-time Top Hit on the Finnish Pop List.

Rockin Dave Taylor was extremely pleased to have Jorgen in his line-up during the recording of ROCKIN IN THE SAME 'OL WAY in Helsinki 1979.

At that time Lill-Jörgen played in Ronnie Kranck's jazz and dance band in many high school conventions. I played tenor sax in our school band during their breaks and appreciated the chance to speak with Jörgen at back-stage.

Later, in 2004, our paths crossed after several decades. As a chairman of the Finnish Big Band Association (SBBY) I was involved in rewarding Finnish Jazz musicians for life-time achievements.

At the announcement luncheon I had a wonderful chance to talk with Jörgen, one of the legends, again. He was still a warmhearted himself with wit and sparkle. He reminiscented about some practical jokes they used pull on Raimo Henriksson when he was leading the Big band of YLE (Finnish Broadcasting company).

Mr. Petersen was instrumental in founding the UMO Jazz Orchestra (big band) in 1980's. (I was yesterday night, February 13, listening to UMO with legendary saxophonist Billy Harper as a soloist, but that is a subject for another blog topic.)

Lill-Jörgen Petersen made his mark in big band and rhythm music in Finland. He will be missed by a wide group of music lovers in Finland and by friends and relatives in Denmark.

Michael Gelardi - Michael Gelardi Associates Ltd, London

In my 25 years in the entertainment business, I have produced many good and indeed great artistes from Sammy Davis Jnr., the consumate talent, to Jose Carreras, the prince of opera. Dave Taylor, however, is a one-off. His high energy performance and amazing stage acrobatics, combined with his Rock & Roll piano playing and a jumpin' band, make a good evening great every time. His is 'must dance' music and entertainment with a difference - Dave will even make an entrance to venues from the sky with his parachute display team, the Skyjivers. A rare offering which, deservedly, puts Rockin' Dave Taylor in a class of his own.

Michael Gelardi
Magic

Paul 'Ekke' Fagerlund - Conductor, Arranger

I would like to dedicate my Cadillacs & Moonlight CD to the memory of Paul 'Ekke' Fagerlund, who passed away on 3 July 1994. During our 16-year collaboration, 'Ekke' taught me much about the art of arranging. His knowledge of music was unsurpassed and, as an arranger and conductor, 'Ekke' was afforded enormous respect among musicians and other professionals in the music business. I found that working with Ekke was remarkably effortless in that we both had the same thoughts and aspirations about what was needed in the songs, and had a mutual perception of what the outcome of the music should be. I am only too glad that I had the opportunity to work with 'Ekke' and to record some 50 songs with him, through which his ideas will always remain alive.

Dave Taylor 1994

Screamin' Lord Sutch - The Wild Man of Rock & Roll

"My path first crossed with Dave Taylor's in the mid-70s. We played at many of the same venues - rock'n'roll clubs,

working men's clubs and festivals in England and Europe. I remember Dave caught my attention as a talented young pianist/singer who, like myself, added some gimmicks to his stage appearances. He didn't just 'tinkle on the ivories', he hammered the keys to death, played the piano with his feet, chopped it to pieces and even set fire to it on stage. And they call me a Raving Loony!

In April 1985 I was the compere of the famous Piano Battle staged in Weymouth between Dave and Freddie 'Fingers' Lee, (which Dave won - I might add!) I will never forget this match - the audience took away any tiny pieces left over from the pianos! Throughout the 80s and 90s, I have quite often appeared on the same bill with Dave, even playing together in Helsinki, where I was taken over by Dave to perform at Kaivopuisto, a massive outside musical extravaganza.

Over the past four decades, I have worked with some of the best in the business - Eric Clapton, Charlie Watts, Jeff Beck. Dave, in my opinion, as a musician and showman, falls in the same category with these top guys."

Rock'n'Roll!

Screamin’ Lord Sutch
April 1999    

                                                  

Rockin Dave & Lord Sutch on stage in 1985

Screaming Lord Sutch - The Story

Screaming Lord Sutch (November 10, 1940 - June 16, 1999) was a British politician, musician and maverick. He was born David Edward Sutch on November 10, 1940. In the 1960s, inspired by one of his favourite rock'n'roll stars, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, he changed his name by deed poll to Screaming Lord Sutch, 3rd Earl of Harrow, despite the fact that he had no connection with the peerage.

Following a successful career as an early-'60s pop music attraction, it became customary for the UK press and citizens to refer to him as Screaming Lord Sutch, or simply Lord Sutch. Early works included recordings produced by legendary audio pioneer Joe Meek.

He founded the Official Monster Raving Loony Party in 1983 and fought the Bermondsey byelection. In his career he contested over 40 elections, rarely threatening the major party candidates, but often getting a respectable number of votes. He was an easily recognisable figure at election counts due to his flamboyant clothes.

It was shortly after he polled several hundred votes in Margaret Thatcher's Finchley constituency in 1983 that the deposit paid by candidates was raised from £150 to £500. This did little to deter the legendarily deposit-losing Lord Sutch, who increased the number of rock concerts he performed per year to pay for his mock political campaigns.

Lord Sutch's album Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends was named in a 1998 BBC poll as the worst album of all time, a status it also held in Colin Larkin's book The Top 1000 Albums of All Time, despite the fact that Jimmy Page, John Bonham, Jeff Beck , Noel Redding and Nicky Hopkins among others performed on it and helped to write it.

Screaming Lord Sutch suffered from bipolar disorder and committed suicide by hanging on June 16, 1999, following the death of his mother the previous year, Thursday, June 17, 1999.

Screaming Lord Sutch: Britain's longest-serving party leader. Downing Street has led the tributes to Lord Sutch, the leader of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, who has been found dead at his London home. He was 58.

His body was discovered by his partner Yvonne Elwood on Wednesday. A spokesman for the prime minister said Lord Sutch, "will be much missed. For many years he made a unique contribution to British politics. "Our elections will never be quite the same without him."

A Scotland Yard spokesman said Lord Sutch, whose real name was David Sutch had been found hanged. Leon Hawthorne reports: "His girlfriend found him hanging" A post-mortem has yet to take place and initially the death is being treated as suspicious.

Ms Elwood said: "It is a terrible shock because we envisaged spending the rest of our lives together and it is something that is very hard to come to terms with." Although he fought a long-term battle with depression, the party leader had seemed happy in the days leading up to his death, Ms Elwood, 41, said. But she admitted: "He did suffer from depression but that was a very long-term complaint, of many years."

His friend Alan Hope said he had received the news from Ms Elwood. John Pienaar reports: "He made it impossible to take politics too seriously' Mr Hope, who became the first Loony mayor, at Ashburton Town Council in Devon, said: "I'm absolutely devastated - the whole party is going to be. The Monster Raving Loony Party is Screaming Lord Sutch."

The maverick politician became Britain's longest serving party leader after launching the Monster Raving Loonies in 1963. Mr Hope has now taken over the leadership of the party temporarily until a new leader can be endorsed by the party at its conference in September.

David Sutch Fought a long battle with depression. Mr Hope is leading calls for a statue to be erected to Lord Sutch outside Parliament next to the statue of Sir Winston Churchill - one of the Loony leader's heroes. Mr Hope, who runs the party headquarters from the Golden Lion pub in Devon, said his friend had been in good spirits when they spoke on the telephone 10 days ago. "He was saying he had no money troubles any more, and was sorting out his life and was looking forward to coming down here next weekend."

Mr Hope told the BBC: "I've known David since 1957 - we were rock'n'roll singers together. "He was a hell of a character." Mainstream politicians have also paid tribute to the man who was always keen to inject humour into a frequently dull business. Shadow Chancellor Francis Maude said: "He was a great eccentric on the edge of politics." Harry Greenway, the former Tory MP for Ealing North, who was a close friend of Lord Sutch, described him as "the man who brought gaiety to politics and who pricked the pomposity of politicians".

E-mails paying tribute to Lord Sutch have been received by BBC News Online from across the world. Conservative MP Nigel Evans e-mailed saying: "I fought the Ribble Valley by-election in 1991 and Lord Sutch entered the race. He brought a sense of fun and ridicule to what for the rest of the main candid
ates was cut throat. "He was the original and clearly the best. You felt you hadn't really fought a by-election unless Lord Sutch was on the ballot. MPs of all parties will miss him."

Councillor Greg Stone from Newcastle e-mailed saying: "As a local politician myself, I have nothing but admiration for him. Given what passes for sanity in politics today, Lord Su
tch was the perfect antidote."

 
While from Maryland in the United States, Jason Tolbert praised Lord Sutch's contribution to politics. "I hope the party keeps up the work after Sutch's death, and I wish we had a party like that here in the U.S.," he said.

Lord Sutch's musical peak was during the 1960s, when his political crusade began, but he continued playing up to 250 concerts a year up until his death.


Lord Sutch recently suffered the loss of his mother Nancy and said the party could not afford to field any candidates in the past week's elections to the European Parliament. He had also announced his intention to stand down as party leader. Joyce Gray, who runs the Red Cross charity shop where Sutch occasionally worked, said Lord Sutch never recovered from his mother's death. "The last time I spoke to him he phoned me to tell me his do
g Rosie had died," she said. "He said `it's only been two years since mum died, now Rosie. What next?"'

 


Lord Sutch has a son Tristan, living in Texas, from his relationship with American model Thann Quantrill.

Austin Powers - The Spy who shagged me

The amazing British Rock*n*Roller, Boogie Woogie Pianist/Singer, Rockin' Dave Taylor, is renowned for his inimitable piano playing technique and an electrifying Swing Jive & Boogie Woogie beat. Rockin' Dave, with his extraordinary custom-built Rockin' Piano and magnificent show band, brought Hollywood stars to their knees on two consecutive years at the Cannes TV and Film Festival 1998/99 - last May in Cannes.Rockin Dave

 

Rockin' Dave's 1000-strong audience included Steven Spielberg, Charles Bronson, Val Kilmer and Richard Branson at the Austin Powers "The Spy Who Shagged Me" launch party!

Rockin' Dave has entertained ecstatic audiences worldwide and can also drop into his venues by parachute, with his "Skyjivers" parachute display team! It's time to put on your Blue Suede Shoes and Rock Around the Clock - call the coolest name around in Rock*n*Roll, Swing Jive and Boogie Woogie.

 

 

 

 

UK'S HOTTEST ROCK*N*ROLLING SKYJIVER ROCKIN DAVE TAYLOR TO ENTERTAIN
HOLLYWOOD'S ELITE AT THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL


On 15 May 1998, the sky is no longer the limit at the Cannes Film Festival. Rockin’ Dave Taylor will skydive with his ‘Skyjivers’ parachute display team onto the prestigious City’s Palm Beach, to the delight of the high-flying film stars. In the evening, this image of a black-quiffed Rock*n*Roll pianist/ singer and entertainer will step on stage with his 10-piece Jump Jive & Swing show band to perform his inimitable trademark cabaret act - playing his full size piano with virtually every part of his body. Standing on his head. Tilting the 200 kg instrument across his body while lying on the ground. Or perhaps performing an acrobatic somersault off the top of the piano.

SOCIETY'S BEST KEPT SECRET

While performing in a London club, Dave Taylor was approached by a Royal Aide, wondering whether he would be interested in performing at a "Society Bash".

This was the start of Rockin’ Dave’s act as the Society Party Circuit's best kept secret, offering the ultimate in showmanship to an impressive guest list, which might have been copied directly from the pages of Who's Who. He has topped the bill at the wildest Society's all night champagne parties. The floor show is packed with energy and excitement and the electrifying atmosphere generated by him forms a striking contrast to the mechanical, computer-ridden beat of the 90's.

On an occasion when Dave was touring the Far East, he was flown back specially to perform at a birthday party in Surrey, and out again the next day to resume his Asian tour! Another evening, he received a telephone call in the small hours of the night. A distinguished voice at the end of the line said he was arranging a small get-together with some friends and wanted to hire Dave to perform to the lads on his private yacht... that very night!

Rockin' Dave has come a long way since the early days in Nottingham, working on the assembly line in Raleigh. With classical piano tuition behind him, Dave wanted to specialise in Boogie Woogie. He has shared the stage with the likes of Bill Haley and Chuck Berry and eventually found himself in Finland where he was to become an overnight sensation while taking part in a national talent competition! Dave has entertained ecstatic audiences around the world, from Russia to the Philippines, from the Hurlingham Club in London to the 'Fiesta de la Merce' outdoor festival in Barcelona, with an audience of more than 100,000 people.

THE ULTIMATE JUMP & JIVE

When booked at a music festival in Scandinavia, Rockin? Dave challenged fate by skydiving from 10,000 ft. onto the roof of a multi-storey building in the town centre, climbed down a skylight and, to onlookers' delight, found himself behind the bar of a local pub! Not one easily lost for words, with the parachute over his shoulder and still dressed in a full skydiving outfit, he casually placed his order for a pint of beer!

With Rockin’ Dave Taylor, Jump & Jive has reached new dimensions - and no-one does it quite like him...

Don Lang - Trombone

I was indeed fortunate enough to have the legendary Don Lang play trombone in my band on many gigs during the '80's and also to have him play trombone on my release of 'Steppin' Outta Line.

Don Lang who was born Gordon Langhorn, in 1925, died 3 August 1992 after a long battle with lung cancer. He was a British trombone player and singer, who led his own band, Don Lang & his Frantic Five. They appeared on the first BBC Television show for teenagers called Six-Five Special, for which he recorded the theme tune. In 1958 his cover version of "Witch Doctor" reached the Top 10 in the UK Singles Chart, and he played trombone on the song "Revolution 1" on The Beatles' White Album.

He retired at the end of the 1980s, and was only 67 when he passed away.


Terry Smith - Guitar

I was indeed fortunate enough to have the legendary Terry Smith play Guitar in my band on many gigs during the '80's and also to have him play on my release of 'Steppin' Outta Line.

 

Twice winner of the Melody Maker Music Polls, Smith spent the early 1960s playing with the Tony Lee Trio, before becoming Scott Walker's musical director and accompanying The Walker Brothers on their Japan tour in 1968. Returning to the UK, he recorded a solo album, Fall Out (1968), which was produced by Scott Walker, and backed by UK jazz musicians of the day such as Kenny Wheeler, Les Condon, Ronnie Ross, Ronnie Stephenson, Gordon Beck, Ron Mathewson, Chris Karan, and Ray Warleigh. Terry went on to join the U.S. soul singer J.J. Jackson's Greatest Little Soul Band in the Land, with whom he recorded two LPs: The Greatest Little Soul Band in the Land (1969) and J.J. Jackson's Dilemma (1970).

In 1969, he teamed up with saxophonists Dick Morrissey and Dave Quincy, also members of Jackson's band, to form the pioneering British jazz-rock group If.

Around that time he also appeared with Morrissey and other top British jazz musicians on Brother Jack McDuff's Blue Note recording To Seek a New Home (1970).

He went on to record four albums with If's original line-up, as well as touring the U.S. and Europe extensively. Following If's demise, he had a brief spell in another British band, ZZebra, also with Dave Quincy. Best songs include Fibonacci's number and Forgotten Roads.

He met up again with Dick Morrissey and they appear together with Swedish jazz musicians and singer Tommy Körberg for a live recording Don’t Get Around Much Anymore - Live at Bullerbyn (1975).

In 1981, Smith formed his own Blues Band in 1982 with Jo Ann Kelly (vocals), Tony Ashton (organ) and Micky Waller (drums). As of October 2006, he is still active on the UK jazz circuit.

Brian Poole


Brian was so knocked out with Dave's song 'Hey Little Girl' that he recorded his own version of the song (Click on the link to listen).

 

Rockin Dave (right) back in the 80s when he was sessioning and on tour with Brian Poole.

 

Check out Rockin Dave's original version

of 'Hey Little Girl' from 1979 here:

Dave Taylor: Cadillacs & Moonlight

Chris Vadham - Guitar

Chris Vadham was a great singer/song writer in his own right.

Rockin Dave and Chris in London.

I was both surprised and saddened to learn of Chris’s passing. He was truly a remarkable musician and a most wonderful person. I met him in 1985 in Hong Kong and we were inseparable both on stage and off. In Haley’s bar and Mad Dogs we rocked Hong Kong throughout the 80’ and 90’s and I was pleased when I heard that he was to settle here in the UK. I will remember the last time we spent together at my house in Kent when we had Finnish sauna, not to mention a few beers, and we recorded a special version of John Lennon’s “Woman” together - just for fun!

This song had a feeling in it which cannot be produced by music alone and Chris added a special ingredient to that song which I will treasure. I never knew his family apart from a brief meeting with Lorraine a long time ago, but I am sure that if he has made half the impression on her as he did on me, then Lorraine will be very happy. I read an old letter from Chris sent to me many years ago and recall his warmth and friendship and remember the fun we had back in Hong Kong, and now struggle with the reality of his departing, but know his spirit is released to fly.

 

Imagine there’s no Heaven, it’s easy if you try, no hell below us, above us only sky, imagine all the people, living for today. You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one, I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.

 

Thanks Chris and good luck. (Rockin Dave eulogy)

Vesa Enne

Vesa Enne was a good friend of Rockin Dave's. He sang backing vocals on many of Rockin Dave's recordings as well as doing many live performances around Finland. Sadly he passed away in 1997.

 

He was famous as the first child star in Finland in the 1960's.

Filmografia

Giovanni Di Stefano

Giovanni Di Stefano: The Next Time - Limited Edition

The Next Time - Limited Edition

I’m a writer not a fighter. I’m a lawyer not a singer. Yet I can pack a punch or blast out a song if necessary. Music has always been my vocation but of late it’s been a happy vacation.

Taking time out from defending the indefensible I may end up defending myself for this limited edition CD of songs, some I have written and some are cover songs, well known and probably better in the original. Still as always I have done my best and I hope to entertain. The law is actually per se no different to music. Both require attention and application.

I am obliged to many for my work in both camps. To Dec and Con Cluskey of the Bachelors who made my dreams come true. To JustCarmen who started all this off for me. To Bobby Solo who always encourages me. To Dave and Tiina Taylor, without their pushing and shoving I would have stopped at the first hurdle. To all the artists and musicians who never say no to me especially when I make an offer they can’t refuse!... To the sound engineers who have done a great job.

To my new ‘amigo’ Pete Ware whose patience with me seems never ending and without whose constant ‘tweaks’ and ‘re-writes’ I would be lost in space.

To my family who can’t understand where I get the time to do all of this and whose time I have taken without leave. To my mother who forced me to learn music from the age of eight and my father, the true singer of the family sadly now passed away but watching over me, who dug many a garden to pay for my lessons. I hope I have made good. So ‘til The Next Time enjoy!!!

GDS

Carlos Segarra (Los Rebeldes)

I met the multi-talented Carlos Segarra way back in 1980, and we have been friends ever since. Carlos Segarra told me about the Fiesta de la Merce in Barcelona, an open air concert and one of the largest events in the world, with an audience in excess of 300,000, and that the organisers wanted me to play there in 1987. I said I would be very interested, of course, and asked Carlos to get the organisers to contact me.

Carlos is a highly acclaimed Spanish rock & roll singer/guitarist, remembered for his massive hit song Bacho Da Luz de La Luna, for which I wrote the English lyrics with the song title Under the Moonlight. My version of that song was released as a single in the UK in 1988, backed with my composition Won't You, and subsequently released on my CD, Cadillacs & Moonlight. Carlos came to London with his then manager to see me once, we went out on a pub crawl and ended up at the Gandhi Indian restaurant in Lewisham. It was during that meal that I scribbled down the English words to Under the Moonlight. I recall that the waiter, whom I had got to know well through years of custom at his restaurant, challenged us that whoever could tell him Gandhi’s first name, he would give that person a free curry. I proposed 'goosey goosey'. Fortunately, the waiter had a sense of humour.

We lived in the same area of Spain in 2007, before I moved to The Philippines.

Freddie Bell (and the Bell Boys)

Rockin Dave in 2004 with Freddie Bell just after performing at the 'Shake Rattle & Roll festival Great Yarmouth UK.


After meeting with Freddie Bell, Rockin Dave recorded his own jazzed-up version of Giddy-Up-A-Ding-Dong, written by Freddie Bell, whom Dave had worked with as recently as 2004, with superb playing both by John Wallace on tenor sax and Jim Knowler on guitar. Listen out for the real horse whinnying, recorded over the fence of Dave’s back garden!

 

Listen to or purchase Rockin Dave's version of Giddy up a Ding Dong here:

 

Dave Taylor: A Rocker

Jumpin' Gene Simmons

I got on very well with Jumpin' Gene Simmons. he was some character, we’d always end up drinking until the early hours whenever we played together. He had a massive hit in the 50s with the song Haunted House. Gene Simmons was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and began his recording career with Sun Records in 1958, while performing as an opening act for label mate Elvis Presley. One gig we did together was in Weymouth, at the rock & roll festival, in 1986.

An intolerable character called Johnny Hale used to run it in those days and, when I arrived with Gene, Johnny Hale refused to let us in because we didn't have identification with us. I didn't have any with me and neither did Gene, I explained to Johnny that I was playing that night and Gene Simmons was the headliner of the weekender, but Johnny didn't believe me and apparently thought we were just trying to get into the festival without paying! It was all bullshit really as Johnny Hale knew me very well - he had booked me on previous occasions.

Gene had had enough of it and said "Come on Dave, let’s go down the pub." I didn't argue. We sat in the pub all night until Johnny Hale came running in wanting to know what we were doing, as we were due on stage in ten minutes. I reminded him that earlier he wouldn't let us in without identification. He apologised and allowed us in to do the gig.


During the mid 1950s, the Sun recording studio of Sam Phillips in Memphis was a magnet for ambitious young white singers from Tennessee and Mississippi, most famously Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. Among the others who created memorable rockabilly-style recordings was Gene Simmons, who has died aged 69 and who achieved success in 1964 with Haunted House, a schlock-horror number previously recorded by the R&B artist Johnny Fuller.

Born in Elvis's home town of Tupelo, Mississippi, Simmons took up the guitar as a child after his two sisters brought an instrument home. He began his professional musical career at 15, playing with his brother Carl at local dances and on radio as the Simmons Brothers band. Around this time he met Elvis while visiting one of Presley's cousins. "I didn't know who this fellow was," he recalled. "He was real shy. I thought he looked weird. Greased-back hair, tight pants, all that. Hipper than we country boys."

A short time later Elvis's first manager, Bob Neal, booked the Simmons band to open a show for his client in Tupelo. Simmons asked for the rising star's help and an audition at Sun studios was arranged. Simmons recorded 15 songs for Sun, but Phillips, involved with promoting Elvis, Carl Perkins and his other stars, released only two singles in 1955 and 1956. Neither Drinking Wine nor Crazy Woman was a hit.

Meanwhile, Simmons spent the late 1950s touring the US and Canada, gaining the nickname Jumpin' because of his energetic stage act. Returning to Memphis he joined a group led by Bill Black, Elvis's former bass player. The band's saxophonist was Ace Cannon, with whom Simmons was to perform at rock'n'roll revival shows in later years. Simmons also joined Hi Records, a new Memphis label in competition with the now fading Sun Records.

Simmons had learned Haunted House from another Memphis musician, Domingo Samudio, who had an international hit as Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs with Wooly Bully in 1965. Haunted House fitted an early 1960s fashion for monster songs, such as Monster Mash, and reached the Top 20 in August 1964. But Simmons failed to find another song with as much novelty appeal and it remained a one-hit wonder. Several years later, the record inspired Gene Klein to choose Simmons as his stage name in glitter-rock band Kiss, though this compliment was a mixed blessing as Kiss's subsequent notoriety frequently led to Jumpin' Gene Simmons being described as "not the Kiss one".

From the 1970s, Simmons had a dual career. In demand at rockabilly revival shows across the US and in Europe, he also managed a recording studio in Tupelo and wrote country songs after joining a Nashville music publisher in the 1980s. The most successful of his compositions was Indian Outlaw, a co-written 1994 hit for Tim McGraw, one of the "hat" singers of the 1990s. Simmons' recordings for Sun and Hi were reissued on CD during the decade.

Haunted House gained a new lease of life when it was recorded in the 1980s by Brian Setzer, leader of the Stray Cats rockabilly revivalists. Last year Setzer heard a recording of Simmons singing an incomplete number called Peroxide Blonde in a Hopped-up Model Ford. He tracked the singer down to his home in Golden, Mississippi, and asked him to recreate the missing verses to put on his next album. Simmons tried but failed, explaining: "I couldn't get back to that place I was when I was 18 years old." Setzer completed the song and invited Simmons to the studio, where he sang background vocals on what turned out to be his final recording.

He is survived by his mother, his son Cary, a sister and two brothers.

Vexi Salmi

Vexi Salmi has written the lyrics to numerous popular songs for several prominent artists, including Irwin Goodman, Jari Sillanpää, and Katri Helena. His career as a lyricist began in the 1960s, and continues to the present day.

 

In 1979 I was signed up by Levytuottajat Oy, one of the largest Finnish record companies of that time, owned by Vexi Salmi. An abundance of TV and Radio shows followed and I found myself performing on the classic Finnish hit TV show Levyraati based on the hit British show Juke Box Jury. Goin back to 1978, I recall being deported from Finland to the nearest non-Scandinavian country, Germany, for working without a work visa. I stayed there for two weeks. It was with the assistance of Vexi Salmi that I was able to return to Finland (read the full story in my autobiography, The Rocky Road!) and, in the following months, I recorded the singles Dim Light Boogie/Mona Lisa, Peggy Sue/All By Myself and Cadillac Car/Rockhouse, as well as my first solo album, Rockin' in the Same Ol' Way, featuring such tracks as Cadillac Car, Don't Want Tyin' Down Girl, Dave's Boogie, Hey Little Girl and Twelve o'Clock Rock. The album was licensed to Charly Records in the UK and sold around the world. Cadillac Car became a hit among the Rock*n*Roll circles and its sales were boosted by the feature of the track in the Finnish film release 'Life, Here I Come' ('Täältä Tullaan, Elämä').

 

During his prolific career, he has written the lyrics for over 4,000 songs, more than 2,400 of which have been recorded. In addition to song lyrics, he has authored several novels and one collection of poetry. His recent work also includes collaborating with Ilkka Lipsanen on a 60th anniversary album, and he also acts as a judge in a television programme on music lyrics.

Vexi was awarded the Juha Vainio Writer's Award in 1993 for his long and successful career as a lyricist. Another music writer's award, the Vexi Salmi Award, was named after him in 2003.

The Goodfellas

“THE GOOD FELLAS”

Rockin Dave was booked to play a special one-off tour of Italy in 1995 and was supplied with a 9-piece Italian band by the name of the Good Fellas: Lucky Luciano (double bass), Fabrice La Motta (drums), Johnny Costa (guitar),Jimmy Gennaro (keyboards), Rico Romano (trumpet), Charlie Martino (trumpet), Wally di Capua (sax), Benny Marsala (sax), J.J. di Giacomo (trombone). They turned out to be one of the best backing bands Rockin Dave has ever played with and he still works with them now. Dave has recently accomplished many successful tours of Italy, performing at various clubs and festivals and, in April 2006, celebrated his 32 years of playing Rock & Roll at a commemorative gig in Cesena, Italy.

Lucky Luciano on stage with Rockin Dave at Dave's Midnight Rock Club in Angeles City, Philippines.

 

The most cursory glance down the roster of America’s most popular troubadours, immediately reveals one prime and inescapable fact, the majority are of Italian-American extraction. Caruso, Sinatra, Como, Prima, Monte, Bennett, Darrin…the list seems endless. “Why”, many an eager bobby-soxer has asked “are so many of the great singers Italian?” Why, indeed? The answer is, of course, to step into the history and folkways of a people that it would take thousands of words to explain. But, we can briefly say, it’s because of their warm-hearted, unrestrained humour and passion for life. As a part of this good company we can find “THE GOOD FELLAS”. Better known as the “GANGSTERS OF SWING”, dressed in old fashioned, strictly Italian made, double breast Capone suites, wearing two tone shoes, laughing at life like everyone does deep down in the land of pizza and mandolino.


To be a “good fellow” means to be a true gentleman, loyal and respectful of strong heritage and traditions. It means to smell of the full Italian flavour, while always hungry for a lady’s kiss among the scene of a Neapolitan moonlight. What they do best is the well-known, truly genuine, Italian way of entertaining known the World over. Swingin and jokin’ all the time with the audience in that half Italian, half English, macaroni language. This band truly swings from “Oh Marie”, “Tu vuo fa l’americano” to Basie’s “Tickle Toe”, and from Haley’s “A rockin’ little tune” to Lou Monte’s Italian version of Fats Domino’s classic Rock’n’Roll “I’m Walkin”. They walk the junction between Italian American and Afro American music, follow the steps of the giants of swing era, spacing from a shuffle beat to a Philly houserock to Texas blues. Like many of the Italian citizens of the World War II age, the GOOD FELLAS feel the “American Dream”, falling in love with the American brashness, cleverness, then impossible madness, but never really thinkin’ to leave the Country of sea and sun, their food, their roots.


Lean against his big bass, he’s the boss, Mr. LUCKY LUCIANO, created his own way of swingin’ way back in 1993; always guarded by his “shadow”, boxeur/drummer BUM BUM LA MOTTA. With an experience of more than 100 gigs every year, these great musicians entertained the audiences of England, Germany, France, Switzerland, Wales, Belgium, Slovenjia and every corner of their beautiful Country. Over the Rockin’ scene, they blew the fuse of a spectacular audience at “THE RHYTHM RIOT”, UK, and rocked the house at “SUMMER JAMBOREE” in Senigallia, obtaining massive compliments as top international act. It’s been a pleasure, during the years of their activity to be backing international stars such as  JACK SCOTT, BLUE LOU MARINI, ROCKIN’ DAVE TAYLOR, GRAHAM FENTON, SCREAMIN’ LORD SUTCH, CHARLIE GRACIE, BIG JAY McNEELY, JIMMY CAVALLO, DANNY AND THE JUNIORS, TOMMY SANDS, EDDIE NICHOLS, and they work very often with long time friend fellow musician RAY GELATO. Together, they recorded two albums; GELATO ALL’ITALIANA (1996) and GANGSTERS OF SWING (1998). The GOOD FELLAS have been featured several times on top TV shows and reviews, and played a role in the major Italian movie “I FOBICI” that includes the beauty of international star SABRINA FERILLI. Fall 1999; the Fellas played the most important show in Italy, starring ALDO, GIOVANNI E GIACOMO, “Tel chi el Telùn” seen by over 10 million per night on TV. The “SALUTE!” Cd was released in the year 2k.

 


In 2002 Mr. Lucky is the music director for Aldo, Giovanni and Giacomo’s brand new motion picture movie “La leggenda di Al, John and Jack”. Again in the same year and the following, they play their music on a superb new Variety show headlined by famous comedian Paolo CEVOLI, called “THE RONCOFRITTO SHOW”, which in 2003 became a theatrical comedy show “MOTONAVE CENERENTOLA” starring Russian beauty and Tv star NATASHA STEFANENKO. 2004, the cd “SONGS FOR AL, JOHN AND JACK” hit the market. Year 2005 began with a full swingin feeling. The band performs at “UMBRIA JAZZ WINTER #12”, main Italian jazz festival, selling out every show. Therefore, Carlo Pagnotta, promoter of the event, signs the band immediately for the forthcoming 2005 Summer and Winter editions of the Festival! April 2005, they release ”OLLY MEETS THE GOOD FELLAS”, starring guest singer Olly, leader of ska core Italian top act SHANDON. 2006 brings another great chance; theatre tour aside top comedians COCHI E RENATO, a 13th years’ celebration cd “13 WOMEN”, and “UMBRIA JAZZ WINTER #14”. 2007 starts with tv show “STIAMO LAVORANDO PER NOI”. Wear your best suite, put on your dancin’ shoes, grab your girl and bring your best smile; and WATCH OUT, the GANGSTERS OF SWING are back in town!

BJ Cole - Pedal Steel Guitar

BJ Cole - Pedal Steel virtuoso supreme has featured on many Rockin Dave CD's since the two were thrown together on a gig in Finland during the late 1980's on one of Rockin Dave's many tours there. B.J. Cole was inspired by the instrumental work of the Shadows' Hank Marvin, and picked up a guitar. He worked his way through various versions of the instrument, eventually settling on pedal-steel guitar. During the 1970s, Cole was a sought-after session man, playing alongside Elton John, Scott Walker, T. Rex, and Nazareth.

BJ  has also worked with Shakin' Stevens, Cat Stevens, Kevin Ayers, Billy Connolly, Richard Ashcroft, The Verve, Luke Vibert, Graham Coxon, Roger Waters, Juno Reactor, Depeche Mode, Doll by Doll, Devon Sproule, Björk, Chumbawamba, David Gilmour, Hanson, Ian Siegal, Jah Wobble, The Stranglers, Sting, Icebreaker and Brian Joseph Friel. Cole features on the track "Then I Close My Eyes" on David Gilmour's 2006 album On An Island. He also appears on The Moody Blues' 1981 album Long Distance Voyager playing on the track "In My World".

The Bembol Rockers

MANILA, Philippines -Tired of whiny pop-punk? Had it with self-absorbed emo-screamo? Sick of listening to music that keeps reminding you that your life sucks? (As if you needed reminding.)

Hey man, you?re ready for the Bembol Rockers.

Apart from having the best band name since the Aga Muhlach Experience, the BRs manage to neatly sidestep the pitfalls of the modern rock game by ignoring the last five decades of music evolution and harking back to the dawn of rock'n'roll, when the basics of syncopation, swing and just plain having a good time still mattered.

Lest you think the Bembols are some kind of retro nostalgia lounge act, check out their live stomper, 'Boogie Mo'.

These cats party like it's 1949.

The Bembol Rockers are Marc 'Steady' Liwanag on guitar and vocals, Lakshmi Kirtan Das Ramirez on stand-up bass and vocals, Archie Lacorte on saxophones and Steven Mora on drums and backup vocals.

Marc, Lakshmi and Archie also play in the Brass Munkeys, a horn-driven new swing ensemble. But where the Munkeys play mostly covers in a big-band jazz vein, the Bembols play mostly original compositions and rock a little harder as a four-man combo, with occasional augmentation by keyboards and horns.

Pressed for a label, the Bembols describe their music as a tasty stew of pre- and proto-rock styles: jump blues, swing, doo-wop, latin jazz, with a dash of rockabilly thrown in for good measure. They cite among their influences Louis Jordan, Louis Prima, Ruth Brown, Big Jay McNeely, Plas Johnson, the Treniers, the Harptones and the Cadillacs acts that had their heyday long before Elvis came along.

It's the more negro side of rock'n'roll, when Muddy Waters and B.B. King were still young, says Marc, who served time in the Brownbeat All-Stars before his current gigs in the BRs and the Brass Munkeys.

The Bembol Rockers are a bit more mature, both in years and in musical experience, than the average indie rock band. The members are seasoned and versatile musicians who have backed, among others, a certain well-known bossa nova chanteuse.

They were kicking around the idea of forming a band based on the members? shared love of the aforementioned styles of music as early as 2005, but it was only last year that things gelled. They toyed with the idea of calling themselves the Lay-Rites, Mark Steady Go, and the Barbershop Quartet, before settling on the inspired choice of the Bembol Rockers, both in tribute to the bald-headed actor and because of the name's instant recall.

Amazingly, rock club audiences took to the Bembols' music right from the beginning.

'It still sounds new and fresh to them,' says Marc. 'Besides, it was easy for listeners who were used to hearing ska to accept our music.'

The band could also spark a full-fledged revival of the popularity of Dixie Peach pomade, if Lakshmi's sculpted pompadour ever catches on.

The Bembol Rockers are currently working on their first album, which they hope will see the light of day before mid-year. In the meantime, their demos have seen radio airplay, and the curious can get a taste of originals such as Boogie Mo, Oh Cristine, Song for My Baby, and My Angela on the Internet, or better yet, live at one of the band's club gigs.

'The band's music is positive,' says Louie, their manager. 'The songs are about love, relationships, family and friends. There's no angst, so it's refreshing.'

Julio Madiaga, Bembol Roco's movie alter ego, would definitely approve.

 

Watch the video:

Jumpin' Paralyzers

 

Jari Siekkinen on guitar together with the Jumpin' Paralyzers became my backing band for many years during my time in Finland. We had some great times!!!!

Roberto Celli Wine Cellar

Wine maker of distinction from Predappio, Italy, Rock 'n' Roll lover, - and all round nice guy!!

Via Sergio Celli, 14,

 47016 Predappio Alta, FC Italy

Tel: 0543 922468

felix baumgartner

Felix Baumgartner was born on 20 April 1969 in Salzburg, Austria.

In 1999 he claimed the world record for the highest parachute jump from a building when he jumped from the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

On 31 July 2003, Baumgartner became the first person to skydive across the English Channel using a specially made carbon fiber wing. He also set the world record for the lowest BASE jump ever, when he jumped 95 feet (29 m) from the hand of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.

He became the first person to BASE jump from the completed Millau Viaduct in France on 27 June 2004 and the first person to skydive onto, then BASE jump from, the Turning Torso building in Malmö, Sweden on 18 August 2006.

On 12 December 2007 he became the first person to jump from the 91st floor observation deck, then went to the 90th floor (about 390 m (1,280 ft)) of the then tallest completed building in the world, Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan.


Red Bull Stratos


At 12:08 MDT and at an altitude of 39 kilometres (24 mi), Baumgartner jumped from the capsule.


In January 2010, it was reported that Baumgartner was working with a team of scientists and sponsor Red Bull to attempt the highest sky-dive on record. Baumgartner initially struggled with claustrophobia after spending time in the pressurized suit required for the jump, but overcame it with help from a sports psychologist and other specialists.

The launch was originally scheduled for 9 October 2012, but was aborted due to adverse weather conditions. Launch was rescheduled and the mission instead took place on 14 October 2012 when Baumgartner landed in eastern New Mexico after jumping from a world record 39,045 metres (128,100 ft) or just over 39 kilometres (24 mi).

On the basis of provisional data, Baumgartner also set the record for the highest manned balloon flight (at the same height) and fastest speed of free fall at 1,342 kilometres per hour (834 mph) making him the first human to break the sound barrier outside of a vehicle. Baumgartner was in free fall for 4 minutes and 19 seconds, 17 seconds shy of mentor Joseph Kittinger's 1960 jump.

Jack Gegory


Jack, 1 of 200 of the world's most talented skydivers ascended in 9 aircraft over Skydive Perris to break the state record currently held.

Jack was my instructor and good friend in UK back in the1980's.


Olaf Vas

Olaf Vas

 

Born January 29, 1935; Died August 11, 2011.

AN APPRECIATION

OLAF Vas, who has died at 76, came to prominence in the early 1960s as one of the finest tenor saxophone players on the emerging London jazz scene. But he was more than that. To those privileged to have been taught by him, he was a teacher of the highest quality, possessor of the sharpest wit ever to enliven a workshop, and a human being of dignity and grace.

Olaf was born in Nairobi and came to Britain at 25 to study the clarinet at the Royal College of Music. As with his contemporary, John Dankworth, Olaf led a double life of studying an orchestral instrument in a formal institution, as well as playing the saxophone (not recognised as a “legitimate” instrument in those days!) in clubs to support himself and his family.

Olaf was part of the house band in many clubs such as The Talk of the Town where he would frequently find himself playing to, among others, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Sarah Vaughan. One night he saw a familiar face in the audience: “That looks like Stan Getz – it is Stan Getz.” The saxophonist came up to him and passed the comment “nice band”.

Olaf was never interested in anything other than the music and the players. He inspired not only the gifted, but also those for whom music would always be a vital part of their lives, if not a way of life.

A young player in Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra who was moved by Olaf’s commitment said: “He just makes us feel good about ourselves and makes us want to play better.”

Olaf was one of the greatest musicians and teachers I ever met. He set an example to all of us who work in jazz, and in jazz education, always to give of your best. He would often say: “This is where it’s at – just play the music”.

I was fortunate to have Olaf play sax on several of my recordings back in the 1980's.

To a modest man like Olaf, a tribute such as this would have evoked the response: “I can’t take much less of this.”

Procol Harum

In 1976, I met Procol Harum of 'Whiter Shade of pale' fame, back stage at the Kuusrock festival, Oulu, Finland where we (The Hellraisers), played in front of a 60,000 strong audience.

 

In fact, I remember getting drunk with these guys, whilst not even knowing who they were at the time!!

 

 

 

"In 1976, as part of the Finnish tour, the Hellraisers were booked to play at Kuusrock, in Northern Finland. It was the biggest music festival in Finland at that time. We were support to Procol Harum of "A Whiter Shade of Pale" fame, which  reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart in 1967. As there was no piano at the venue, Markku, the promoter, Graham and I went to a local music shop in Oulu, which was the main town nearby, and Markku sold the owner of the shop on some idea about sponsoring the band in return for allowing us to borrow one of his new pianos, and so we returned to the festival area and set up this brand new piano on stage.

 



The gig was electrifying. I was to do the first track, Honky Tonk Train Blues, the classic Meade Lux Lewis track. I  walked on stage, when they announced us, to face an audience of more than 60,000 people. I was completely stunned for a few seconds and then ploughed into the boogie woogie number. After a nerve-racking 5 minutes, the rest of the band followed on stage, much to my relief!

Towards the end of the one-hour show, I was pounding the piano, and the audience was going wild. With the help of Graham, I pushed the piano right up to the edge of the stage, while I continued playing it. The audience, along with Mikko Alatalo (a local famous music producer) and Alvin Stardust, who was to perform the next night, was beckoning us to bring the piano nearer and nearer towards them when, suddenly, we ran out of stage and the brand new piano fell off the edge and dropped about 30 feet into the security area surrounding the stage, smashing into a thousand pieces. With that, the audience broke through the security barriers to collect pieces of the piano. Within seconds, the security guys were engulfed by thousands of screaming fans and, after a quarter of an hour, there was nothing left of the piano except the iron frame.

In all the confusion, I realised on stage that I didn't have a piano to play anymore, but I was still in the middle of my solo! The band continued the playing, working the audience into a frenzy, and I continued my piano solo on a piece of wood on the side of the stage. After the gig was over, there were hundreds of fans, mainly girls, clamouring for my autograph. I recall two beautiful girls coming into my dressing room to chat and to drink a few beers with me. They were identical twins, although one of them was really ugly. I never did find out what Markku said to the shop owner about the piano…"

Coincidentally, I recently read a comment on Facebook from the promoter of that gig, Markku Läärä: Both Rockin Dave and Gary Brooker played a Steinway. Dave had an upright, Gary a grand piano. The grand piano survived, the upright didn't...


 

©The Rocky Road by Rockin Dave

 

 

 The Hellraisers

Left to right. Rockin Dave, Terry Clemson, Graham Fenton, Paul Oldnall, John Hollywood, 1976 Finland.

Heinz

In 1962, the German-born 19-year-old, plucked from bacon slicing in a Southampton grocery, was  one of Joe Meek's studio band, the Tornados, on Meek's five million-selling single, Telstar. A year later, Heinz entered the top 20 as a Meek-created solo artist with 'Just Like Eddie', a tribute disc to the deceased American rock 'n' roller Eddie Cochran.

Rhythm guitarist George Bellamy was a session player in the Tornados at that time, with Heinz Burt on bass. The group went out on the road as the Charles Blackwell Orchestra, supplemented by Pete Newman and Pete Cotton on Saxophone's, and as the Tornados backing one of Britain's biggest stars, Billy Fury.

In 1984, I received a telephone call from Heinz's manager, asking if my band would go on tour with him up and down the length and breadth of the UK clubs. Unfortunately Heinz was suffering from severe alcoholism, which made some of the shows very difficult to get through, - both for him and us.

I remember many trips in our Transit van drinking a bottle or two with him. He was a quiet man but was extremely nervous before a show. Although once out on stage he performed flawlessly.

His single, 'Just Like Eddie', was Heinz's only hit. Heinz was influenced by the US singer Eddie Cochran and started his career playing in a local Eastleigh group, the Falcons, in the 1950s.Working in a Southampton grocery shop Heinz came to the attention of record producer, Joe Meek, becoming his protégé. Meek styled Heinz's image, which included persuading him to peroxide his hair.

Other artists, with whom I worked at that time, were well-known names such as Billie Davis, Cliff Bennett, Wee Willie Harris, Jet Harris (of the Shadows), Otis Grand, Janice Martin and Screamin’ Lord Sutch.

Crippled by motor neuron disease, Heinz died in 2000, aged 57 following a stroke.