I also told them I knew of a really great bass guitarist named Dave ‘Mushy’ Cooper who was a pal of mine (Mushy or Dave Cooper). He used to play bass with the Undertakers who were a big contender band in Liverpool and for whatever reason Mushy had left and was looking for another band.
We did get the Pawns really well liked and gigs were coming fast and furious. Then Dave Percy said that he wanted to leave the band as his girlfriend was giving him a hard time as she now saw very little of him. It was now “The band or me” syndrome which loads of jealous girlfriends laid on them. Some stars fell by the wayside, whilst others blossomed and found this new popular life with as many girlfriends as you could handle, and they didn’t suffer from earache any more!
Anyway the ‘pop’ industry was now well on it’s way. Everyone in a band found loads of work and got paid too, and they also got to travel not just the full length of Britain but Germany opened up more alleyways with the Star Club.
Manfred Weissleder owned the Star Club and had started opening other ones using the same name. His gig’s always had really big artists and of course some smaller bands as ours from Liverpool.
I first played at the Star Club when a friend of Mushy and me called around to see us to tell us that Lee Curtis had a falling out with his band, so he asked Mushy and me to get a band together. Lee had lots of commitments and as he was to record for Decca Records and he had contracts with the Star Club coming up soon, we both were looking around for a drummer and a lead guitarist.
We came across a drummer named Don Alcyd who was the most competent drummer I had ever seen, he’d previously played a lot of jazz and lots of drum solo’s at gigs as he was really the business, so professional, and just so good. By his standards we had to work really very hard to match his quality work and this became so good for us we improved daily.
We then had to find a guitarist, which we did. His name was Paul Pilnick, a very good guitarist indeed. Mr. Moody was his nickname as we kept calling him the James Dean of Rock. This was because of his stance and his dead pan look while laying some very decent licks on the guitar.
We did the sessions for Decca Records, a number “I’ve Got My Eyes On You,” and the session went like a dream. The Decca people were well impressed and released the record.
Then we were off to Hamburg for a month of working through the night, gigging, drinking, and a couple of drugs may have been consumed as well. It was great, we all just loved it there, life was magic and Germany loved us too. It felt that we had been there months when we got back home and everyone said just how fantastic we now sounded.
But, when everything seems rosy, trouble is always around the corner. Arguments kept breaking out between Mushy and Don. It just seemed that we were reaching a magic situation with everything going our way, and, “I’m leaving the band” words popped out of Don’s mouth. “I’ve had enough of that little shit,” he said. I tried to make the two of them see eye to eye but it wasn’t to be. Then Paul said, “I’ve seen another band I fancy joining and they don’t seem to argue like you lot.” So low and behold here we are again, Mushy and me.
“Hey” said Mushy “let’s get Sid Knapper and re-form the Pawns. We were good when we were together and there were no arguments at all.” I thought long and hard - would Sid come back to us and want to play with us again? Well, would you believe it, “YES” was the word and we started rehearsing. But we still needed a lead guitarist and started looking around. The first guy we decided immediately should be Dave Myers as he was such a good guitarist and a nice personality too. This guy could also drive so if we shared the driving we could save ourselves some of the expenses till we got better known.
We did fall together really well and gigs started flying in fast again, and we later on got Howie Casey to join us. He was a fantastic saxophone player and had been in some great Liverpool bands with Derry Wilke and Freddie Starr. He’d also led bands in his own right.
Talking of Freddie Starr there are so many stories that could be told as Freddie is a one-off guy. If you have ever seen him perform there is no way you could imagine what he will get up to next. I used to be made aware of this as just before Freddie gets up to anything his eyes go just like a kitten before it goes mad, runs around and eventually runs up the curtains.
Freddie has always been this way. One of the tales I remember was when a load of bands played an all-nighter at the Iron Door Club in Liverpool in aid of a children’s charity to help to raise money. It was really successful and did raise quite a lot which caught the press praising the bands. It also caught the eye of Lady Pilkington of the glass company. She had arranged for the Liverpool Echo and a couple of local papers to attend at the Iron Door Club as she wanted to personally shake all our hands and thank us for our efforts in this.
I remember us all lining up as she came along thanking each of us one by one. Freddie was standing next to me and low and behold he had ‘that look’ in his eyes. As I looked down: what met my eyes was his cock hanging out - and it was by no measure a small one. He said to me “I want her to shake my dick as a thank you.” I said, “No Freddie put it away we’ll all finish up in the police station.” Eventually he did put it away to the relief of all of us standing close to him and it all went smoothly after that.
Another time I was out with Freddie we had been to the Tatler Cinema. We used to try to copy all of the cartoon characters voices and the next stop was to be the Kardomah Café for a drink and to see who else might be in there. We met some other members of different bands and were chatting when Freddie walked over to a girl who was serving there.