Well, other than 'A mouse in a Windmill in old Amsterdam' there wasn't
a lot of call for Dutch pop in England. So the manager rented a Circus
Tent, called it The
Beat-tent, and it being portable, we got round the restrictions and travelled about Holland
playing in that.
The first tent he rented was a mistake. It was an
inflatable but the increased air pressure inside caused a lot of
'slap-back' echo and made us sound as though we were playing in the Alps.
This was not good for the Dutch
who were not renowned for their yodelling until their band Focus and
Jan Ackermann had a hit with that song, was it Sylvia?)
digress, we normally used vocal echo via a Watkins Copycat but this
tent was just too much so it had to go and was changed for one with
poles and ropes ... and big hairy arsed blokes to put it up and watch it
fall down, which it did from time to time.
Very dangerous things 'big
One of the conditions of being allowed to get away with the tent idea
was that we gave work to Dutch bands as support acts and maybe Focus
supported us before we changed the tent and thats perhaps where they
got the yodelling idea but anyway, amongst many other Dutch supports,
there was Golden Earing, later to record Radar Love and Shocking Blue
who later recorded the single 'Venus' which was covered many
I remember some time later (before their hit)
being asked to play some bass for Shocking Blue
and at the time saying I didnt want to play with 'any F---ing Dutch bBand'.
Yes folks, another great wise decision with many more to follow -
Meanwhile the Circus tent owner, Toni Boltini, inconsiderately wanted
his tent back but we were having a good time and wanted some more
We'd met a black soul singer named Davy Jones in Holland (he
wanted us to back him) and he'd played in the German Clubs. He (the
lying bastard) said we'd enjoy playing to the Germans.
He said he'd had
The Beatles as his backing band there and though we thought he was
telling 'Porky Pies' (to put it mildly) many years later, sure enough
in various books, we found photos of him and The Beatles standing
behind him, doing the job that we turned down.
Anyway, lambs to the slaughter, off we went to Germany in the J2
Things had been good in Holland. What with all the gear and the weight of
the 'fatted' band members plus new roady Peter Gayle,
(but minus his mate Nick Turner who offered to play sax for us but we
didn't fancy that so instead he went back to England to join some
outfit called Hawkwind and immediately had a hit with 'Silver machine...or
was it washing machine..)
A close shave for Nick Turner there, cos
he nearly joined us - phew.
I remember the van's bodywork almost scraping the road. It looked like
a sick chicken trailing
its wings. There was no room for a sax, let alone some bloke to blow the thing.
Where the heck was Germany anyway? What, no more Rolls Royce?
The Roady luckily had some of those world atlas map pages in the back
of his pocket diary. It did show where Hamburg was but Stalybridge and
Ashton under-Lyne were not listed.
There was no going back!
Whilst in germany, the group played at the Star Club, Hamburg and the Star Palast, Keel.