I was DJ at His Excellencies/The Cage.
A great little club, only thing was the stairs. Had great fun.
Charles Eastwood, Stuart Forster, and myself formed the Junkies, then The Silks.
It was by sheer chance that I became a DJ. I had managed a couple of groups (Foot-Tappers / Chosen Few) and in early 1965 happened to meet the owner of the Gaytime Club on Broad Street in Salford, where the group had previously done a gig.
The club had been also known as His Excellencies and the Cage and had been bought by a guy by the name of Ernie a short time before we played there. The club was on the second floor of Burtons and had a main room and smaller coffee bar/soft drinks room.
The place got its new name from some pin tables and the juke box that Ernie rented out, and he thought it was a good idea, because it would save him the trouble and expense of getting signs made.
Anyway, he invited me to call in, and being at a loose end I popped in for a drink. By drink I mean a coffee or Hot / Cold Vimto which was a best seller. There were a couple of dozen customers in the place, listening and dancing to music from a free play juke box plonked on the small stage, which on other nights accommodated groups. The problem was they couldn’t agree what records to play and spent most of the time bickering at each other! After chatting for a while Ernie asked me if I would mind taking control of the machine to stop the arguments which I did. Order returned and at the end of the night he asked me if I would do some more nights.
DJ decks were in their infancy and expensive at this time, so the juke box became an instant solution to the problem.
However, the downside was the silence in between the records whilst the machine changed records. This was solved by connecting a microphone and a volume control to the juke box, on the end of long cables which I then had in my hands as I stood in front of the machine. The knack was then to introduce records as the box changed the music behind me.
It was certainly a Heath Robinson contraption which I came to master quite well eventually. The customer numbers rose steadily until the club needed doormen and eventually reached capacity most nights. At this stage the club could afford proper decks !
Many groups appeared, but The Chosen Few, The Chasers and the Steam Packet with Rod Stewart, Julie Driscoll and the Brian Auger Trinity proved most popular.
In 1966 Ernie went on to buy the Limit Club in Middleton, where I also did guest spots for a while.
Nothing since has quite matched the excitement and spirit of the sixties era!!!
Just been looking at the group pages and seeing Sweet Chariot included, reminded me of when Pete Oliver first started to play the drums. Pete was a Salford lad and was a regular at the Gaytime Club.
When he first started playing drums he practised in a rubbish strewn room below the club, at the back of Burtons Tailors shop. He was exceptional even in his early days, and it was no surprise that he became quite successful.
This use to be call the Hi Fi and was a coffee bar / dance hall. Mmany local bands used to play there including the Stylo's, Fortune Teller's, Tom Rigg, Dave Baron and the Chariots, Chosen Few etc. It was a great scene. Brilliant night out.