Managing the Bands
When I initially became involved with the Clayton Squares, Bob Wooler and I formed a legally binding joint management team to look after their interests in 1963. The business address was 'Cavern Artists Ltd.' The Squares recorded there just after I left them.
I had also done a brief stint at band room supervision in the Cavern. I was artists escort through the new rear entrance to and from the Grapes and acted as general assistant to Bob Wooler.
My band of scoundrels, the Clayton Squares, Bobby, Terry, Pete and Mike were developing into experienced musicians and became used to the hard slog of 'the road' as they constantly developed their craft and art.
Editor's Note: George was noticeably upset by an entry on the Clayton Squares in Pete Frame's 'The Beatles And Some Other Guys' which read, in part: "None of the group had known each other...they were all individually rounded up by a club bouncer who had lofty hopes of becoming a Brian Epstein! A motley shambling crew, they soon acquired a reputation as the scruffiest band on Merseyside. The recalcitrant (Terry) Hines would appear at Cavern lunchtime gigs in his pajamas...having just climbed out of his bed."
George was to comment, "I suppose Pete Frame's phrase 'rounded up' is as reasonable a description as can be expected from a writer who has never sought me out for an interview. Given that he wasn't there and never asked me how I did this, his research is suspect in that regard. The whole section of Pete's, apart from the bit about Terry, is way off the mark. The bit about Terry is a distortion of Terry's own eccentric reality. Most of all, Terry had more raw talent in his little finger than most people on the scene at the time. I was never a club bouncer and if I had been it would not have disqualified me for the task and I would have still been proud to do what I did."
When George and I renewed acquaintance over the net in 2001, he informed me, "I am a retired Local Government Officer, aged 63, at Leeds City Council Housing department. Our paths, that is yours and mine, crossed over 40 years ago in the following circumstances: I called in at your office on more than a few occasions to place advertisements for Vince & the Volcanoes. They were in the lower echelons at the time. Your office was one of the first of many places that I was to bump into Paul McCartney. On one particular day that I vividly remember, you were showing him and he was selecting some new black and white photos of the group on stage in their leathers.
Yourself, Bob Wooler, Brian Epstein and I once sat together in a public house bar on the corner of Renshaw Street and Oldham Street near your office. You interviewed with a large reel to reel mushroom coloured tape recorder, the size of a briefcase. You placed it on the small round bar table between us and carried out your task professionally. Bob, flamboyantly and loudly sent me to the bar for spirits, soft drinks and a pint for me, waving a £5 note to all and sundry."
Pete Frame's rock tree on the Clayton Squares has them beginning with the following line-up: Brook Williams (guitar/vocals), Mike Evans (sax), Bobby Scott (drums), Geoff Jones - who replaced Megs Meggeson, who had to leave the band after developing a hearing problem (bass) and Terry Hines (Heinz?) (vocals).
Mike Evans was to relate to Radio Merseyside journalist Spencer Leigh how Megs left the group: "Arthur Meggeson, our bass player, was completely tone deaf. I had to tune his instruments for him by turning the machine heads while he plucked the strings until it came in tune with a note I was simultaneously blowing on the sax. This eventually became intolerable, but he was such a nice guy and we were such bastards that we couldn't tell him that he should go.
We devised this dreadful scheme whereby we convinced him that he was going deaf by talking gradually quieter and quieter in his company until it got to the point where we mimed whole sentences in the van. We'd suddenly stop our conversation and he'd put his finger in his ear and shake his head and then we'd carry on as normal. He became convinced that something was wrong with his ears and he went to a doctor who said, "It's because you're playing all this loud music. You'll have to give it up." He said, "I'll have to leave the band because it's doing my ears a lot of harm." We said, "That's a shame, Meg."
I saw him about a month later and I said, "Hello, Meg, how's your ear trouble?" He said, "The doctor was right. Since I left the band I've had no problem at all."
The group was to record and tour around Britain and in 1965 their line-up was: Denny Alexander (guitar/vocals), Mike Evans (sax), Bobby Scott (drums), Geoff Jones (bass), Les Smith (sax). Les settled in Germany for a while before his death in a motorbike accident and Albie Donnelly replaced him. Mike Evans went on to join the Liverpool Scene and also enjoyed a successful career in publishing. Jones became a probation officer, Womersley went into cabaret work, Alexander became a publican and Donnelly joined the Fix.
Regarding 'Shebeens', George writes: "Shebeens were African/Arabic illegal night-spots set up in some of the grand houses on Upper Parliament Street, Princess Avenue and the surrounding areas. Packed with a strange mix of musicians, shady characters, businessmen, pimps, prostitutes, Shebeens were glued together by 'sweat, body heat, hash, watered down spirits, spicy food snacks and African voodoo!"
Vince & the Volcanoes changed their name to the Harlems and became the backing band for the Chants for a while. Dave Preston had previously been with the Cascades. After he left the Harlems he joined the Secrets, then the Kinsleys, then backed Crispian St. Peters. Paul Pilnick joined Lee Curtis & the All Stars, the Big Three, Stealer's Wheel, the Fix and Deaf School.