Monday, October 29, 2012

CBR Organisation - Coventry Music Agency

CBR Organisation was based at Victoria House, 2, Queen Victoria Road, Coventry - the other end of the block to the Coventry Arts Umbrella Club before the Umbrella club was demolished in 1972. The Director was C.L. Ridge.

I can't tell you a lot about CBR, except there is a link between the Umbrella and CBR in the Al Docker, when he was organising the friday night band nights at the Umbrella, at least on three occasions  I went with him to book some Birmingham bands for the Umbrella.

Advert in Coventry Evening Telegraph




The first was Tea and Symphony (follow link for info on this band) booked for the Umbrella little theatre for Friday 21st August 1970 with Coventry folk rock band April as support. April were resident at the umbrella in that they rehearsed there.

http://www.brumbeat.net/teasymp.htm

Tea & Symphony http://www.brumbeat.net/teasymp.htm

Ghost
The next was Ghost, (follow link for more info) another Birmingham band who played on Friday September 18th 1970 with Coventry progressive band Asgard. And later on Audience. I think we might have used them for the proposed second Umbrella Music Marathon in 1971 as we had some Birmingham bands lined up but the event didn't come off as the Umbrella was scaling down in preparation for a change of premises as the Umbrella club building was due for demolition towards the end of 1972.

There may have been more bands from the Coventry / Midlands area that we got from CBR but I can't remember all the sources of bands now. If someone has more information about this music agency, do get in touch!






CBR Organisation Victoria House Queen Victoria Rd Cov.




Direct Enterprises - Coventry Music Agency 1974

Direct Enterprises - Coventry Music Agency 1974

SPREADING THE GOSPEL OF BETTER MUSIC
From Coventry Evening Telegraph 'Pop In' column 1974 - Stuart Kinzett

Most young people who listen to Radio One or Top of the Pops tend to think that what they hear is the full range of contemporary music. As a result they miss out on a whole range of better groups who play rock, jazz, folk, blues and music that defies labeling.

Or without really understanding it, they are likely to dismiss it as rubbish. 

The fault lies with the media. most young people only have access to records which get into the hit parade.This is a problem that Mr James Reilly, a partner in Direct Enterprises, Coventry, well appreciates. And with a new music club in Coventry he is trying to overcome this difficulty and spread the enjoyment of better, non-commercial music.

The club is the Cosmic Music Club and at the moment it is based at the Baginton Oak every Wednesday. "The basic idea of the club is to introduce people to all kinds of music so they won't be stuck with one category all the time" said Mr Reilly. "I like all music from Tchaikovsky to Pink Floyd as long as its good music. From what I've seen of the entertainments in Coventry, people seem to be stuck in a rut where music is concerned. There's a different place for every type of music - folk clubs, soul discos for example. Coventry kids like to pick their music although the students seem to have wider tastes: they have open minds and can appreciate things they couldn't before. But Coventry is alive with good music, brilliant musicians, and good agencies and i think kids are prepared to listen to music rather than noise. i want to shake off the concept that what people hear on the radio is all there is to hear."

The Cosmic features a certain type of music on each night, interspersed with other types. They are hoping people will come to all the concerts and not just pick and choose. They have already had Cosmotheka, a folk group, Wave, a jazz rock group and A Band Called George - who play heavy folk. Future plans include folk, country and western and a whole variety of sounds.

" We hope to build it into a bigger place that will attract big names. But we may not stay at the Baginton Oak. We don't seem to get many people out there, I don't really know why."

Wherever the Cosmic Club ends up, it will be doing a fine job by introducing people to specialist music not catered for by the mass media.
..................................................

Ad from Hobo Magazine 1974
I met Jim Reilly at Rod Felton / Dave Coburn's Rude Bear Folk club at the Hand in Heart, Far Gosford Street early 1974 while running Hobo magazine. Jim was a larger than life character full of enthusiasm and a mover and shaker. he set up the Cosmic Music venue at the Baginton Oak and the Mercers Arms and the Shanty Folk Club at the Charterhouse, Terry Road.  They also arranged folk concerts at the Belgrade Theatre to tie in with the Festival of Britain.

By autumn 1974, the Cosmic Music Club was closed, pending a re-opening according to Hobo. Jim opened a new and bigger club called The Steam Packet at the Tree Tops club, Foleshill Road on Sunday nights with The Sound of Venus Disco and bands.

Steel Peach commented on the original Hobo Vox thus
"It was great to find this listing of Steel Peach at the Cosmic Club, and although it has us down as a Coventry rock band we actually came from Bath but we were based in Derby and played around the Coventry area a lot. And As I remember The Cosmic Club was always a great place to play."












Comments from Hobo Vox blog




[this is good]
It was great to find this listing of Steel Peach at the Cosmic Club, and although it has us down as a Coventry rock band we actually came from Bath but we were based in Derby and played around the Coventry area a lot. And As I remember The Cosmic Club was always a great place to play.

.............Al
Posted by: Al Jones | 08/15/2007 at 07:28 PM

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Midland Sound Recordings

Midland Sound Recordings studio was based at Meeting House Lane, Balsall Common, Nr Coventry in the 70's.


Began as Midland Sound Recordings but the name was shortened to MSR around 1973 according to this site http://www.7tt77.co.uk/MSR_1.html
"They made many acetates and demos for local bands; it also issued records on its own label from around the mid '60s and throughout the 1970s, presumably as a custom recording service.
An album by the Goodshaw Band, came out in 1979. The label seems to have averaged roughly ten issues a year, which is hardly prolific. The material on offer seems to have been the usual mixture that custom recording operations provided - the few items to which I have seen reference have been Folk, Choral and Pop" Read more on the link above.

From that site - (See more via the link above).


Meeting house Lane, Balsall Common, Nr Coventry


Q ARTISTES - Coventry music / Arts agency 1974

Q ARTISTES Coventry Music / Arts Agency 1974

Q Artistes were among a number of new Coventry music agencies starting up around 1974 but this was an agency with a difference. The couple - Gail and Michael D'Brionne had a theatrical background and were interested in variety acts as well as bands.

I got to meet and interview the couple in the Hotel Leofric for Hobo Magazine but here's what the Coventry Evening Telgraph had to say of them - 

"HOW VARIETY COULD BE THE SPICE OF NIGHT LIFE" 
David Isaccs - Coventry Evening Telegraph - c Feb 1974

" Long eyelashes flutter at you from under a well-groomed head of blond hair. Enthusiasm for Coventry pours from the lips of Gail D'Brionne - "There are lots of talented people in this city" she said "and we want them to be given a chance". She's talking about the local entertainers, comics, singers, dancers, whose growth is being stunted by the absence of any real night life in the city.

Gail has already taken the surname of the man she will marry on Saturday  - a red head extrovert named Michael D'Brionne.

Together they run an organisation called Q Artistes, and if you think that sounds like a parody of some theatrical agency, your reaction won't work the D'Brionnes.

"At least if people think it's a funny name, they'll be talking about us" said Michael "and that's what we want". 

Not that they are theatrical agents - not yet anyway. They've applied for an agency licence to help them to promote shows but the extent of their activities so far is running a discotheque at St. Saviours Hall on Saturday night.

Sounds small? Well at the moment it is. But the D'Brionnes are thinking big. They aim to put on shows with local artists....but with a big name at the top of the bill. 
Michael is an ex-jobbing builder and former transport workers Shop Steward, who has only come into the entertainment business on a full-time basis in the last 8 months. Gail has been singing and dancing in cabaret summer shows and pantomimes for years.

The D'Brionnes have not met with unanimous approval from the local branch of Equity, the actor's union, or from Coventry's Entertainments Secretaries Council. 

Three Stories

"There has been a certain amount of aggro" says Gail. "I don't know why. All we are trying to do is help promote new entertainment in the city and give local artists a chance to gain experience. What's wrong with that?"

There problem at the moment is a lack of premises. They've written to 16 local clubs and haven't received one reply. But they are still exploring other possibilities and if determination is enough, they'll succeed.

It is the sort of determination which makes them confident one day they'll be able to open a really big club in Coventry - one which caters for all age groups. 

Their dream is to have a three storey building. There would be a basement discotheque, a ground floor theatre which local amateur would be able to hire at low rentals and a first floor restaurant and cabaret.

"Variety people don't want to know Coventry at the moment" Says Michael, "Nobody's thinking big enough. there's an audience for this sort of entertainment and the city's not cashing in on it."

........................................  

Dave Eastman - New Face in Coventry
Brian Weeks - Sound Scene - Coventry Review 1974
During a recent show at the new Novotel in Bedworth, organised by Gail and Michael D'Brionne of Q Artistes, one performer out shone the rest in my opinion. The performer in question was a diminutive 20 year old wearing a battered top hot and singing his own compositions behind a piano and guitar.

His name is David Eastman, born in Leeds but resident in Coventry for the past three and half years. Although he has been playing guitar for three and half years and piano for three, he has managed to write 150 songs in the past 18 months and when I spoke to him last week, he announced that he had just put another 24 compositions on tape.

Mungo Jerry

That's not bad for someone who only became interested in music when Mungo Jerry were topping the charts with their single In the Summertime. Of course Dave didn't just walk into show business overnight, like many others before him he went through the 'hard slog with no reward'.

He would go along to pubs and play for free, then he progressed to working mens clubs. But Dave readily admits that the biggest step forward that his career took was when he met Gail and Michael. 

Amusement 

Dave Eastman
They all look back on that first meeting with a certain amount of amusement. The occasion was a talent show  by Watney Mann and Gail and Michael helped to vote Dave through. to the semi-final because they though his act was a big laugh. Dave came on to the stage looking rather odd in a huge white coat, plugged in his guitar and nothing came out. The judges thought that all the following mistakes were done on purpose and they loved it.  

Fortunately his act is a little more polished nowadays and his music,  strongly influenced by Gilbert O'Sullivan and Elton John, is bouncy and bright or soulful and sad as the mood takes him. 

New Faces
As a result of the help that the D'Brionnes have gaven him and his performance at the Novotel concert which was attended by New Faces producer Les Cocks, David will soon be appearing on the programme. Until that time all plans for record releases have been held over, although two record companies have already expressed in a couple of Dave's songs - Spaceman's Blues and Great Train Robbery.

Although there is obvious need for a successful first single from Dave, his personal goal is to record a successful album. if there is any justice at all in the music business, he should be a success. 
...........................................

Q Artistes first promotion was the Zoomie Disco which provided an outlet for local bands like Mad Cat Molly, Warrior and Fission at St. Saviour's Hall near the Butts.










Trev Teasdel met up with Gail and Michael D'Brionne in 1974 at the Hotel Leofric. In addition to their problems with the clubs and Equity, many on music scene were wary of Q, regarding them as a potential 'rip-off' or not understanding their music. The band Fission, led by Johnny Adams, later of Squad (Terry Hall's first band) were taken aback when the D'Brionnes asked them "Do you play the Stones?" "No" said Ant of Fission "The Stones play the Stones, we play Fission!". Perhaps they were concerned about building the audience but on the other hand the D'Brionnes did support original music as can be seen from their support of David Eastman.

Trev found them quite charming, sincere people who believed passionately in what they were trying to achieve. At the time Coventry needed more people with the determination to get things going in Coventry and so included their information in Hobo magazine.

"I the meeting at the Hotel Leofric was nearly forstalled. Trev turned up at Coventry's posh hotel with long blond hair and a hippy boots and blue Beatle jacket! Funds were low and I had enough for a coffee and the couple hadn't turned up by the time it was finished. The waiters seemed to be closing in on me, taking away chairs, the cup and dropping subtle hints that I should leave, Basil Fawlty style. Just then the phone rang and I heard them say 'a man from a magazine'. Suddenly they were falling over themselves to serve me! The D'Brionnes had phoned to say they were running late and that I should order a coffee and sandwich while I waited!

Much of what they told me was similar to what was covered in the Coventry telegraph which came out a few days later, but it was good to meet them and I understood many of their problems and ambitions. We were still campaigning for a venue oursleves for the Hobo Workshop and via Coventry Voluntary services, gained use of the Holyhead Youth centre theatre to hold concerts and workshop sessions and an alternative film club etc. Our perspectives were similar but different."


Here are various pieces from Hobo magazine -
The entry in Hobo No 3 Feb 1974 was -
Q - SPICE OF VARIETY
"A showcase of talent has been among the activities of Q Artistes club. Talent in a variety of guises emerged on the stage of the Building Trades Hall, including fire eaters, singers, songwriters, dancers etc. They were watched by Les Cocks of New Faces with a view to selecting some of the artists for the next series of the program. The results will not be known until the end of the month. Their disco at St. Saviours Hall is no longer operational and Q are looking for new and suitable premises for providing a variety of activities in the arts."
........................
In Hobo No 4
SPACEMAN DAVE TAKES TO THE AIR
" Appearing on ATV'S NEW FACES, on June 29th, will be Dave F. Eastman. A Coventry songwriter who sings his own compositions, accompanying himself on piano and guitar, on which he is self-taught. The number he will be performing on Faces is called Spaceman Blues. Dave has been writing for over a year and has written over 180 compositions to his credit. His career is being guided by Q Artistes"
Mad Cat Molly

Their daughter, Lady Chantelle D'Brionne told me that Michael went on to start a youth training scheme idea called Nut and Bolts (Fife St Nuneaton), from what I gather he basically started the idea of what was to become the governments Youth Training Scheme. Unconventional and very unauthordox but he did an awful lot for many teenagers with skills but not the qualifications, that were needed for Uni of college. My Mother became a fashion Designer for a design house in Coventry. After they split. A great artist herself (in all sorts of mediums lots of reference at the museum in Nuneaton with her exhibitions) went on to teach art to private groups ending up in Botanical Art.



CLUB GIVES ARTISTS A BREAK
Coventry Evening Telegraph On the Scene Supplement 1974

Liverpool still has the Merseysound. Manchester has its night clubs. London has just about everything and Coventry is a very poor runner up. Gail and Michael D'Brionne hope to put an end to all that. They are directors of a new club which they hope will put Coventry on the map.

They are running a disco every Saturday at St. Saviours Hall, Upper Spon street, Coventry, where their regular pop group, Mad Cat Molly give concerts.

"They are very much like Slade in my opinion. In fact I think they are better." Says Michael. Plans for the Q Artistes are getting adventurous. They plan to get a building where they can have dances, plays and a cabaret and a permanent restaurant.

On Thursday they will be holding their first big cabaret night at the Royal Navel Club when the lord mayor, Lady mayoress and Deputy mayor and Mayoress will be present to see comedian Kenny Canter.

"The idea is that the big name artists attract the crowds, so the local supporting artists can play before  bigger audiences than they would have done on their own." says Gail.

The couple plan to cover all aspects of entertainment ans to help any prospective artists into the business.

"We would like to give them the chance to get on the stage and get paid so that they can join Equity (the actors union). I should not think there is another club that does the same." Says Michael

"With our own hall we would like to have practice and audition rooms to get them really prepared."

Gail wants to have artists giving performances to each other, so that they can give constructive and knowledgeable criticisms before they try out a new song or act on the people.

Michael, who is an MC and comedian says that he wants to provide a "home for for the local amateur dramatic groups who have not got one.".

Gail, a vocalist and actress sums up the aim of the club "we will try and reach every age group and every field of entertainment even the fine arts. There is so much entertainment in the city that just needs a little help."

Comments from the Hobo Vox / Typepad blog




I have no idea who found this and put it on here. This was my Dad and my Mum amazing what you find on the net.

Posted by: Lady D'Brionne | 03/28/2012 at 08:16 PM



Hi there, this brings back some memorys, i used to know your Mum and Dad, My friend and i used to be part of a dance troupe called the mad cat molly dancers. They were a great couple and your Mum was really outgoing, and taught us how to dance with two other girls who i think were from tile hillx Rachel

Posted by: Rachelblonde | 06/30/2012 at 12:48 PM


Coventry Trades Council Songwriting Competition 1989

Coventry Trades Council Songwriting Competition 1989

Lynval Golding of The Specials and Fun Boy Three was one of the judges.






Neophyte Recordings - Peter Every - Coventry Recordings

Neophyte Recordings - Peter Every - Cov Recordings

http://www.aslw12.dsl.pipex.com/

Got a message from Peter Every - Course Leader - Creative Computing Degrees

Department of Computing and the Digital Environment
Coventry University


"I'm enjoying your pages as a research resource as I'm trying to write a memoir of the bands and acts I have played in or recorded since the late 70's.

People that I've played with that you've featured include Kevin Harrison (in Neo and Urban Terrorists), Steve Edgeson - sad :-( Marc Byers, Roddy Byers and, unbelievably, I worked as sound engineer in residence at the Holyhead Youth Centre between 1982(?) and 84-85.

Anyway - just wanted to let you know that I've recently started releasing material again (for free) which you can find here:


The next release will be by the 'Neophyte Steppers' and will include contributions from Kevin Harrison and Panjabi MC.


You can visit Peter's site above - On it it says -

In 1985 it was difficult and expensive to record, release and distribute music. Today it is stupidly easy. So why haven't we been doing it then? It's a bit of a long story ... so check out our history.

The albums available from this site are released under creative commons (except where stated). Please feel free to share or remix the work but please keep the original attributions. If you intend to make money with it then let us know or stuff will happen.

You will find info on Kevin Harrison's Marze Imprints on here too.


Website: http://www.coventry.ac.uk/ec/~pevery/
Courses: http://www.coventry.ac.uk/ec/~pevery/cc/
Blog: http://mysteryweb.blogspot.com
Video: http://www.vimeo.com/neophyte
Music: http://www.aslw12.dsl.pipex.com/

Sonar Music 25th Anniversary - New Re-Releases on a Coventry Label 2009

Re-posted from the original Hobo site on Vox

Sonar Music 25th Anniversary - New Re-Releases on a Coventry Label

http://www.sonar-records.demon.co.uk/

LATEST NEWS
"It only seems like 5 minutes ago when I was sitting on the floor of Cabin Studio with Dave Pepper, glueing and folding the sleeves of the 'Courtiers of Fashion' single which was the first release on the Sonar Label."


Release date - 1st November

Sonar Music - 25th Anniversary Music from Coventry Artists

This is an exciting project releasing our vinyl products to digital distribution via i-tunes, amazon, lastFM, tesco.com, 7 digital and many more. The album will feature bands from the last 25 years and some rare recordings. The final track listing is as follows -

1. Stand Up - gdansk

2. Bed of Roses - She's the leader

3. Living on the edge - Armalite

4. Belladonna - Furious Apples

5. Courtiers of Fashion - Courtiers of Fashion

6. Liz's Song - Chris Aldridge

7. Go for the Jugular - Crokodile Tears

8. Obsessed by you - Blush

9. Freefall - 20 Days

10. Wasted - Laughing House

11. Peace Comin' On (ft Ziggy) Kenny Love

12. Understand You - City Dread

13. Don't be Scared - Viktoria's Sekrets

14. Chinese Whispers - Crokodile Tears

15. I wanna Know - Kenny B

16. Engineering - Furious Apples

17. Cathedral Lanes

http://www.sonar-records.demon.co.uk/buy.html


Comments from Hobo Vox blog



I remember doing those single covers too! how times have changed! Im doing a Courtiers of Fashion thing here in the U.S. Ive just released a new CD, with one track called 'Help me Doctor' the outro is very similar to the old 83 track, tho at the time it was recorded here, I had no idea COF was being re-released! Hope the album over there does well for Cary! It was a great scene at that time! Good learning curve!. Is Cary still playing bass?

Posted by: Dave Pepper | 10/27/2009 at 01:13 AM

Hope and Anchor - Historic Music Venue - Threat of Demolition 2009

Hope and Anchor - Historic Music Venue - Threat of Demolition

This article is from 2009 from the original HOBO site on Vox.

The Hope and Anchor pub in Whitefriars Lane (Central Coventry) is under threat of demolition. Musicians and music fans in the city are protesting the loss of the historic venue that enabled the Enemy and Two Tone bands to get started. 
Now owned by Coventry University, the site is to be demolished to widen the road and provide more car parking facilities!

Coventry Weavers
Back in the 1850's Coventry Weavers regularly met at the 'Anchor' for union and benefit society meetings and Digger Dave of the Broadgate Gnome raised an environmental question "What will happen to the apple trees in the garden. They are the only local remaining ones of the local variety Wyken Pippin". 
 However it is it's role as a pub venue with historic importance to the Coventry Music scene that has caused protest over its closure and threatened demolition.

The Coventry Music Scene
Pete Willow
In the early 1970's it was one of many city centre pubs that formed a circuit for local and regional bands, folk clubs and discos along with the Colin Campbell, Plough, Golden Cross, Hand in Heart, Three Tons. Councillor Dave Nellist recalls being a DJ there in the early 70's. Folk performer Pete Willow tells us 
" I ran The Magic Lamp Folk Club there in the 70s with Bob Powell. Guests included Joe Stead, Armpit Jug Band, (the late, great) Gerry Lochran, Cliff Aungier, Kev Dempsey & Polly Bolton, Martyn Wyndham Read, Dave Paskett, and many others. Some good memories waiting to be bulldozed."

Two Tone
However it was during the punk and Two Tone days that the pub really cut it as a venue when an explosion of Coventry bands hit the scene. Top local bands, many of whom appeared on the  Sent From Coventry album, appeared at the venue (where, I think, the album was launched - correct me if I'm wrong).The list is endless but includes - Vietnamese Babies, Squad, Urge, Hot Snacks (Machine), EMF, Criminal Class, The Wild Boys, The End, and of course Two Tone bands The Selecter and Specials. Later bands include The Travelling Riverside Blues Band, The Primitives, Naphalm Death and The Enemy.

New Generation of Musicians
More recently one of Coventry's top acoustic artist and promoter Kristy Gallacher ran an acoustic night there, encouraging  a new generation of Coventry musicians and Horace Panter has played there many times in recent years.

Protest
Hobo was alerted to this by Paul Maddocks of the Coventry Society and since then a range of Coventry musicians and fans of all ages and Councillor Dave Nellist have protested the demolition.

Roger Lomas (Ex Sorrows fuitarist and Selecter's Producer) said on Facebook 
Prince Buster with Roger Lomas
" Another venue lost!! When the hell are the powers-that-be in Coventry going to step in and INSIST that this does not keep happening ???"
Roger is remembering that over the last couple of years a number of Coventry music venues were threatened with closure owing issues over noise, including The Golden Cross and The Tin Angel and more and has been an issue in the rest of the country too at a time when the Government is stressing the importance of the Creative Industries.

Coventry's music scene has always been mainly centrally based and cohesive. Young people have traveled into the city centre for pubs and entertainment for decades now. While progress and redevelopment is important it's often done in disregard to the communities that use the City Centre. Locating new residencies next to longstanding  venues with a music licence is not a good idea. The new residents protest the noise and the musicians, landlords and fans protest the closure of the venue.

So What's Happening Now?

The Coventry Society have initiated a protest on a Facebook group and socialist councillor Dave Nellist is leading the campaign with the head of the Coventry Society Paul Maddocks. Bob Brolly is holding a debate on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire Radio. The Coventry Telegraph have covered it at least twice - Campaign to Save Doomed Pub and tonight (October 26th) the day it was originally due to be demolished The Pub should be demolished says Ex Landlord 

Tonight it looks like demolition has been stalled and some discussions have taken place but the fate of the building still hangs in the air. -

The Coventry Telegraph report -" A spokesman for Coventry University confirmed plans were still in place to demolish the pub and said a meeting took place on Friday between university bosses and the council to discuss ways of providing alternative performance venues in the city."

However, Mick Farr, a former landlord at the Hope and Anchor, told the Coventry Telegraph that he thought the pub 'should be closed down'. He claims that while the pub was good in it's heyday, recently the pub wasn't making money and was mostly empty except on Friday and Saturday. Dave Nellist denies that the pub was not used when it was open.

For sure a lot of pubs are suffering around the country owing to people paying the price of the machinations of the financial Rude Boys but as Peter Every says, in response to a comment on the Coventry Telegraph article 
"  Hope and Anchor. Post-Thatcher reasoning = "Dave Nellist hasn't got a clue obviously, if the former Landlord states it wasn't making money .. then that's that .. whats the point if these people who are fighting to save it never drank in there anyway! Get a life!" Hey! there are 400 empty rooms in Buckingham palace. BULLDOZERS!!!! Which bit of heritage don't you get? clearly the bit that happens after 1979...

We've Been Here Before! Here's a Meditation.
Holyhead Youth Centre, Coventry
In 1973 we started Hobo magazine in response the bulldozers flattening the Coventry Arts Umbrella Club which had in some way facilitated bands with gigs, rehearsal space and more. It was getting harder for local bands to find venues to play, especially if they were young and new. Our campaign led to Coventry Voluntary Service Council arranging for us to have use of The Holyhead Youth Centre theatre to organise a weekly mixed media gig. So many young bands came to us and some of them told us they were about to give up as there was no where to play by the mid 70's. One 16 year who started off at the Hobo Wokshop, Holyhead Youth Centre was Dave Pepper - who later went on to form the X Certs, his band at the time was Phoenix (as he mentions in the comment below). When we moved to the Golden Cross we gave a first gig to a jazz rock group.The bassist was a young Horace Panter who wrote to Hobo asking if we knew of anywhere they could play (See letter below). 


Hobo Workshop
Back then you wouldn't know the importance of first step venues to artists but two other bands we gave first gigs to in 1974 were Analog and Trigon.  Later those two bands formed the Two Tone band Reluctant Stereotypes out of which came King in the 80's.Midnight Circus was another band whom we put on a few times. Later they became The Flys and appeared on Grey Whistle Test. It's leader Neil O'Connor joined his sister Hazel on the Breaking Glass tour as a guitarist. Meanwhile downstairs in the cellar, Charlie Anderson was youth leading a group of West Indian musicians who even then sounded great. No one would know that five years later most of these shy musicians would be creating pop history in the The Specials and Selecter. Neol Davies came along to help organise a jam session and we tried to encourage some of Charley's group to join in. They were a bit shy but Neol, already knowing Neville a bit,went down and jammed with them in the cellar. A few years late I saw Neol in bands like Chapter 5 and Hard Top 22 with some of them - transitions along the way to the final Two Tone line ups.


Horace Panter's Letter to Hobo Magazine in the 70's
And my point is...
Horace Panter letter to Hobo
I mention all this to illustrate the point that without places to start off, play and grow, develop stage presence and performance skills, make connections such as the one that Neol and Charley made, no new musical developments will happen in the city. At the time, no of us knew what some of the musicians would go on to do, including the musicians themselves and today in Coventry there are a range of impressive bands and acoustic artists coming out of the city. They deserve to be supported and to have a range of venues where they can play, build up a following, learn by mistakes and develop their own cultural heritage.

Whether or not the Hope and Anchor survives, I welcome the discussion that's going on between Coventry University and The Council on how best they can provide alternative performance venues in the city and the discussion on Bob Brolly's show. One important feature though is not to make them all corporate entities with entrance fees that restrict participation. Equally important is the intitative involved in somebody creating a venue or disco, whether they just be organisers or musicians. 

Kristy Gallacher
Good examples currently, are Kristy Gallacher, Emma McGann and Justine Watson who not only promote and play their own music but initiate acoustic nights to encourage others. They are not the only ones of course but without pubs available, these initiatives can't and would never have taken place.

Without them Pete Chambers wouldn't be able to write books like this >-

Comment from Dave Pepper 10/27/2009 (on the old Vox version of this article)
"I'd forgotten I was 16 years old when we played the Holyhead Club? Is that what it was called? It was with my school band from Caludon Castle(Pheonix) We used to open for a rock trio, though I cant remember their name. The drummers mum would take us there! It was the first 'venue' Id ever played, and just using a 500 watt PA at that place started me in music. After a couple of bands between 17 and 19 years old around the Rugby area I then joined Bob Brollys'Calvary'! actual money but not my thing! Then an audition with Gay and Kev (X certs) and I was happy! Great to read this trivia guys! All the best, Dave Pep. www.myspace.com/davepepperband  www.davenchuck.com"