Monday, 20 December 2010

Peter Cook, Guitar Builder and Musician. . . . .

Peter Cook.
From the Horses Mouth. . . . . So to speak!

Tuesday the 7th of December, was a day I had been looking forward
to for some time - Scroll down a couple of posts and you can see how
this all started.

Peter has very kindly taken time to document the facts from our
conversation, so the next few installments are the words of the man, himself.
For anyone who is a fan of guitars, it is a very interesting read, from
someone who very heavily involved in the music industry, when things were
starting to get exciting.
A time when there were a lot of young bands around, with people hungry for
what was new, before the Disco boom and the advent of The Walkman and
later, MP3 players, people would go into town, to the village hall, anywhere
that they could see live bands and hear live music.

For most, who have heard of Peter Cook, their immediate thoughts turn to
his work with John and Pete, from The Who and perhaps don't realise, he
was involved in the music industry, many years before creating the
The Flame,
Fenderbirds, The lightning and several others.

I left school in 1962 when I was fifteen and got an apprenticeship in the
print trade but my heart was in music and I got the sack for bunking off one
time too many.

With my ‘proper job’ working life behind me, I became a ‘professional
musician’, initially with some old school mates (including Chris Jackson)
trying to emulate The Shadows.
Most of the old mates left and Alan James and Tom Newman joined me
& Chris, we started out as the ‘Dreamers’ playing Shadows & then the
Beatles material but with the advent of Freddie & The Dreamers we
became The Tomcats and established ourselves as a Rhythm & Blues
band, ending up being managed by Alexis Korner and became the
resident band at Beat City, in Oxford Street.

We have since found out that one of the demos we recorded at Regent
Sound (a Chuck Berry number) impressed the ‘Stones’ and they stole
our thunder by recorded and releasing it before us.

One of the gigs we did when we first started touring the UK as
The Tomcats, was
'Ma' Regans Ballroom circuit in Birmingham.
We played at the Old Hill Plaza, The Ritz Kings Heath, The Brum Cavern,
the Plaza Handsworth and on one
occasion we played 3 venues in one
night, on the same bill with The Redcaps,
The Brumbeats and The Searchers.

After I left the band they joined up with Tony Duhig and John Field
from another local group ‘The Second Thoughts’ and went to Spain as
‘Los Tomcats’.
When they returned I hooked up with Tom again and we started to write
songs together and seven of mine were recorded and released by Tom’s
new band ‘July’.

During this time Tom and I did many things to earn a buck including stage
managing at the Lyceum Theatre London and guitar repairs.
This was the genesis of my guitar repairing/making period, we made a
number of prototype guitars from some old necks we bought from a junk
shop in Kilburn, one of which the Beach Boys (I can’t remember which one
of them) wanted, unfortunately he didn’t pay for it or return it.
These were the first Ned Callans.
Tom & I call each other 'Ned' so we just added Callen, from the TV show
because we both liked the program and it had a good ring to it.

I think that will do for now, there is more to come, including magazine
cut-outs and more images.
Come back at the end of the week.

Cheers. :)

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