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First published May 2009, last updated February 2011
can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out Gary Thain's tribute page at www.gary-thain.com
It was about 1961, I was in a Christchurch music store, buying my first electric guitar a "Commodore." I saw there a matching "Commodore" bass guitar which I commented on, and the salesman "Jack" told 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 already left school and was working in the city, and practicing with my first group "Mustangs".
About two years later I went to a popular Christchurch club "The Caledonian" where Gary Thain was bassist for his group "The Strangers". They were very polished and had a big following. They were later joined by another Drummer Peter Dawkins and later did some recording work with the release of a single 45. After a very successful 2-3 years, The Strangers disbanded and Gary teamed up with Paul Muggleston's band "The Secrets" and in 1964 -1965 were the resident group for a top Christchurch club, "The Plainsman". They played everything popular for the time and were also support artists for Eden Kane and The Searchers who toured New Zealand.
Soon after The Secrets extensively toured New Zealand. 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 soon became resident at Christchurch's now number one night spot "The Pride of Place". Our rhythm guitarist then was Rob Carpenter, who is now still a very prominent muso here in Christchurch. We were support group for Tom Jones and Herman's Hermits with Paul Muggleston being our front man vocalist, when they toured New Zealand in 1965. Also we opened for "Normie Rowe and the Playboys" when they toured later that year. Soon after "The Secrets" just arriving back on the scene in Christchurch joined us at the "Pride of Place" each playing 30 minute spots.
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 was a key group 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 the UK.
Gary and Paul arrived in Southampton one month later and whilst waiting until Peter and I to arrive they saw an ad in a paper for horse riders at a place called "Cowboy city" in the North of England in a small town called Kirby Misperton. 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 close by 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, arrived in Southampton, and Paul came down from Kirby Misperton to pick us up in his recently purchased car, so 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 cowboy stint there. Peter and I were there for one show which I must say was very authentic. That night we stayed in the bunk house and soon headed off for London where we found a house to stay.
Gary arrived two weeks later to join us, now we were ready to work on a repertoire of current soul music which was then the in stuff to play. 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 solid practice and the group began to get tighter. We contacted Tom Jones' agency as planned but didn't get any real reception as hoped. One night Peter and I were walking around Soho and Peter, who was a real "Viv Prince" fan, spied a newspaper cutting stuck to the window of a Greek restaurant, the headline was "What's Viv up to?". Peter stopped to read this, the paper said that quote "Since Viv Prince the former Drummer of the famous 60's group "The Pretty Things" has disbanded, Viv is now hosting a Soho night club called "Knuckles". The club just happened to be in the basement of the Greek restaurant. The ironical thing about this is that prior to coming to the UK our group "The Others" had been on a tour of New Zealand's South Island as a showband. The top of the bill was a top New Zealand artist Tommy Adderley and Tommy had been on the same show as "The Pretty Things" when they toured NZ in 1965. Tommy knowing that we were going to the UK, said " If ever you bump into any of "The Pretty Things" give them Tommy's regards. So this is all we needed. 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 were a group from New Zealand and Tommy Adderley sends his regards. Viv looked quite blank until Tommy's name was mentioned, he shook both our hands like we were long lost friends 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 spent a few hours with 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 Viv's place in Chelsea, just off Kings Road and Viv took us in to meet some friends of his that lived next door to him. One was "Jet Harris" ex bassist for the "The Shadows" plus Jets lady friend "Billy Davis" who was also a well known 60's pop artist. Jet was living in the room next to Viv and and his room was soon to be vacant. The four of us relocated and Gary and Peter moved into Jets' room, and Paul and I found a room with Viv's help directly across the road.
Viv had us playing at his 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" (Mick sat in and played with us a few times), and ex Shadows drummer Tony Meehan, who we spent some time with, plus many more well known pop artists were patrons there. 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 "Englebert Humperdink", who at that time was unheard of, and Peter said, no thanks, not anyone with a name like that. That's one guy that made it big, True story.
One night soon after Pete and I were in a pub called "The Ship", a famous muso's pub in Soho, and we met Dave backhouse from Cana Variety agency and about the next nite or so we all went with Dave to the Marquee club. We were introduced to "Gary Farr and the T Bones" whose organ player was Keith Emmerson, (soon to be of "Emmerson Lake and Palmer") they were gigging there and we were introduced to Jack Falon, Dave's boss and owner of Cana agency, who had also had many dealings with the Beatles and many other big names. Jack was a muso and played on one of the Beatles tracks.
Jack, soon after, checked us out as a band during an audition at the famous London's "Whisky a go go" and he was, "quote" knocked out with the sound of the band and immediately hired us. From then on we were on the road most of the time around the UK, and over the following months we covered many different clubs. We were contracted for 2 weeks at the Blue Lagoon club in Newquay, Cornwall where our support band for the fortnight was a band "REACTION" whose drummer was none other than Roger Taylor, soon to be with "Queen". I remember we had a great 2 weeks there with them. Only a few recent years ago, Pete Dawkins hosted Roger Taylor in Sydney and Roger told Pete that he remembered very well that time with us. We also played places like Mr Smith's club in Manchester, and the huge Beach Ballroom in Aberdeen where we played to a crowd of hundreds.
As we progressed the group got better and we were getting more gigs and met many artists. 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 and formed "Cream". We toured Scotland and were constantly up and down the country playing more clubs than I can even remember. We then decided that we would look for work in Germany. We auditioned in the famous Marquee club where we played to Ian Smithers, who ran an agency, also present were Micky Most and Spencer Davis, and whilst there we did a couple of numbers backing Jimmy Cliff who sang, "My Girl "and "Midnight Hour". We also played in the "Whisky a Gogo Club" in London. We were auditioned there, which we won, and then were contracted by the PN HIT HOUSE in Munich, the top club in Germany, for one month, the Kinks played there shortly before us.
Prior to setting off for Germany, we did a recording at the famous "Regent Sound" studio in London, this is where everyone from the "Stones" to "Hendrix" recorded. The song we did was called "Love is not a game". The demo disc was done for us by the "Ivy League". The producer Barry Kingston wanted a special sound, a sound like nothing that we had ever heard before, very psychedelic with lots of compression, in fact when I hear it now, to me it is very John Lennon ish. The B side was to be recorded on our return from Germany.
We then did a photo session shoot at Hamstead Heath for Brian Epstein's agency, then off to Germany, we drove via Dover and Belgium. We finally arrived in Munich where we lived in a luxury apartment that was owned by the club, across the road from the PN Hit house club, for the month. Gary's bass playing just got better and better and with 15inch Vox speakers either side of the stage he became a driving force behind the band. We had a very successful month, and had a strong following, and that crowd apparently disappeared when we left. The following month we secured another contract through Jack Falon for 4 weeks in Stuttgart, playing in two night clubs on American military bases. During our gig there I met an American guy Paul Wetterhahn who was a DJ on the armed forces network radio station "Radio Stuttgart". As he loved the band, one night he came to the club with a small portable Grundig tape recorder and recorded one of our sets. From then on, even though a world apart, Paul Wetterhahn, who moved back to Chicago became a life long friend.
Anyway back to the Stuttgart story. After that month I decided that I wanted to return to New Zealand and Paul Muggleston wanted to go back to London. Prior to my departure back to NZ, I contacted Regent Sound and asked Barry for a copy of "Love is not a game", which I was given on an Acetate 45 record. This was about February - March 1967, so Gary and Peter went back to Munich and Paul and I went back to London. Eventually I arrived back in New Zealand. Paul Wetterhahn sent me a copy of the tape that he recorded on his Grundig ,soon after which at a later date I unfortunately recorded over the top of and wiped. How Dumb!
Peter and Gary started another group in Munich with Ed Carter, now a session Guitarist with the Beach boys, they called themselves "THE NEW NADIR" and gigged around Germany France and Switzerland, where they recorded some numbers in a studio there. Later Gary then joined "Keef Hartley's" band in London and then on to "Uriah Heep". About 1973 Gary returned to New Zealand to see his family then returned to the UK. At the peak of his profession Gary sadly passed away. Everyone was shocked at this unforgettable tragedy.
What happened to the rest of the band? Well Peter eventually went back to London and sat in with Jimmy Hendrix on two gigs at London's "Speakeasy" 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, and "Dragon" plus many other artists. Pete won many awards for his recording industry work and hosted many artists over the years from Cliff to Diana Ross. Unfortunately Peter's health has not been good, but I hosted Peter in Christchurch two years ago for him to receive a well deserved award from RockOnz. Paul came back to New Zealand in 1972 to become a well known radio D.J. on Radio Avon, he and also played for a top Christchurch band "Just Us". Later years Paul went to live in Los Angeles where he was for years, was running a very successful advertising agency, doing all Air NZ's stateside advertising and also worked with Alice Cooper, on various projects, and also later, made an underwater movie that was released on video, plus he was also running his own financial investment company from his yacht in Marina Del Rey, where he also became commodore of The Marina Del Rey yacht club.
Paul M, came back to New Zealand in 1992 for a reunion where he and I played with two former "Secrets" musicians which was almost "The Secrets" once more, but with Pete Ward from Ray Columbus's Invaders on drums and Wayne Allen, plus "Secrets" bass man Pete Hansen and Paul Talbot from "Just Us". We played to a capacity audience of 60's and 70's musicians that all knew Gary very well, and Paul paid tribute to Gary, and the gig made the morning newspaper and national television. Paul Muggleston now currently lives and performs in Las Vegas. He is also a life long friend I have also always kept in contact with my dear friend Paul Wetterhahn in Chicago, who incidentally goes by the name of Paul Drake (his mothers maiden name). Paul and his wife Cheryl for years have had their own very well known studio in Chicago "PAUL DRAKE PRODUCTIONS".
Back in the late 80's when my wife and I were staying with him in Chicago, I asked Paul for another copy of our tape that he recorded in Stuttgart, 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 the copy. More recently my wife Gwen and I spent some time in Sydney with my old mate Pete Dawkins and his wife Penny to celebrate his 60th birthday, it was great to catch up after all these years.
And yes we certainly had an adventure and we've often thought - wow! we almost nearly made it!
More recently our "Me and The Others" music plus "New Nadir "recordings were uncovered by Feathered Apple records in Switzerland, whose producer Rolf Reiben was so enthusiastic about it all that it has now been released in many overseas countries, on vinyl (which is now apparently making a world wide comeback), along with limited box set copies with a posters and with a CD to follow in 2010, this album is targeted at 60's enthusiasts that buy and collect previous unreleased 60's UK produced recordings. The titles are "Me and The others Uncovered" and "New Nadir Uncovered" all on one LP. and it all happened 43 years later.
The rest is history!
And me? Well, I just keep on playing and entertaining with "The Shadows" music. Back to where I began all those years ago.
Dave Chapman former lead guitarist with " Me and The Others" Europe 1965-67
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