Rory Storm in Hamburg
“We’d never seen violence to the extent where there are fights in clubs with waiters throwing drunks out and gas guns, pocket truncheons, that type of stuff being used.
“The Hurricanes lived as well as performed at the Kaiserkeller. We felt that we’d been done out of it. We knew that Derry and the Seniors were stopping at the Kaiserkeller, and thought we’d move in when they left. It would have been dead handy, the rooms and the living quarters. But we were told, ‘No,’ Rory moved in and took over there. We were still in the Bambi Kino.
“But I think that we probably utilized the rooms at the Kaiserkeller just as much as they did, apart from sleeping in them. We used to use those rooms in between sets, we’d flop down in there and drink beer when they went on stage – so apart from it being the place where they slept at night, it became something of a communal room.
“Rory Storm – I loved him. I liked him as a performer. I was fortunate because he was one of the first bands who came to the Casbah, and I got to know him as a friend and as a performer through the intimacy of the club.
“One night I was playing with the Blackjacks and I bet him that we’d draw more than he would. It was all friendly banter, and I think the bet was massive – like a shilling!
“We played and pulled in about 400. When they were next on, Rory was there as the crowd was coming in, saying, ‘Are you keeping an account of this, Mo?’ All good humoured stuff. He walked off down to the gate, and was saying to people passing by, ‘Come on, get in and see the show.’
“I know at the end of the night we flipped a coin and he laughed and said, ‘Buy me a coke!’
“Rory was always a great showman, an extrovert, and the funny thing was he had this terrible stutter off stage, but on stage he was OK. At the Stadium show where I saw him for the first time, he created such an impression.
“The Stadium was a second home to me. I’d been there as a kid watching the boxing bouts, what with my Dad being a promoter, but it was quite different to be sitting watching a rock show going on in the ring.
“At this show, the music started. Storm was announced, the Hurricanes came on stage. The music kept going on and on. Pow! Pow! But where the hell was Rory? It kept on going. Finally he picked his moment and walked down from the back of the hall where the boxers used to come from. In his gold lame suit, with that blond hair of his, he cut a very impressive figure – the classic showman.
“He took his time walking down; the crowd’s adulation meant he had to go slowly. Then he jumped into the ring and went into his number.
“I was sitting there and I thought to myself, ‘That’s great.’ He basically stole the show with his entrance.
Notes: Liverpool’s ‘golden boy’ Rory Storm was dubbed ‘Mr Showmanship’ by Bob Wooler. Rory was also called the King of Liverpool.’ He lived for rock ‘n’ roll and changed his name by deed poll from Alan Caldwell to Rory Storm – and renamed the family home in Broadgreen ‘Stormsville.’
Rory also devised Western-sounding names for the members of his band – a reflection of the popularity of TV Westerns at the time (he called his first band Al Caldwell’s Texans).
Beatles scribes often make out that the Beatles only became familiar with Ringo in Hamburg (Of course, they already knew each other from Liverpool), intimating that they chose him because he was such a good drummer. The decision was more likely to have been made because the two groups forged such a firm friendship.
Both Rory and Ty were to suffer tragically early deaths, and what ultimately emerges from the Rory Storm story is that the wider world never had the opportunity of enjoying the performances of one of Liverpool’s most distinctive bands. Lu Walters is now the only survivor of the original band.
The Stadium show which Pete mentioned was the Liverpool Stadium show which was co-promoted by Larry Parnes and Allan Williams and took place on Tuesday 3 May 1960.