In the early 1970’s a group of musicians were rehearsing in the function room of the Queen’s Head pub in Erdington, Birmingham playing mainly blues based rock music. The band consisted of Tim Holmes (bass), Terry Drew (rhythm guitar), Charlie (drums), and Gbeam (lead guitar) known for his habit of calling everyone he met ‘gbeam’ or ‘smackbeam’.
The band had been looking for a vocalist for some time and someone suggested to Dave Kirby that he auditioned for the position. Dave turned up at the next rehearsal and was duly appointed as lead singer of the band.
At this point the band’s name was Ion Mistress. They were playing around the pub circuits of Birmingham at venues such as Henry’s Blues House. Following musical differences Gbeam left the band to be replaced by Tim Holmes’ cousin Julian Price (lead guitar) and Charlie left to be replaced by Eric (drums). With the loss of Gbeam the band moved away from the blues based style to a more Birmingham style of rock and began writing their own music with a Deep Purple/Black Sabbath feel resulting in the band moving to more mainstream venues such as The Eagle, Barrel Organ and Bogart’s.
In the mid to late 70’s once again musical differences forced changes to the band and Julian and Eric left to be replaced by Pete Butler (lead guitar) and Ray Richmond (drums). Terry Drew also left to follow a spiritual path. This left Ion Mistress as a four piece band with Tim Holmes’ fluid bass riffs complementing Pete Butler’s Richie Blackmore/Jimmy Page style riffs, with Ray Richmond keeping the rhythm section tight and Dave Kirby’s power vocals leading from the front. The band was now set for a new phase and it was felt that a new name was also needed. Bandanna was born.
Bandanna (mk1) 1975-1978 was Dave Kirby, lead vocal, Tim Holmes, bass, Ray Richman, drums and Pete Butler, guitar and vocal
Biog Pete Butler
After the obligatory school bands, in the summer of 1975 I answered an audition and went to the Queens head in Erdington to meet the remaining members of local band Ion Mistress, Dave Kirby and Tim Holmes. I remember it was quite daunting as I had to go to the other end of Erdington High St! ….unknown territory
After beating off the likes of Ozzy Osborne’s younger brother (also called Ozzy) and along with drummer Ray Richman we formed Bandanna (mk1)
We were, of course, very serious and rehearsed 3 nights per week in a room above the station hotel in Sutton Coldfield. We quickly wrote a set of new original material along with 2 covers (Blue Oyster Cult and BTO..let’s rock!!!)
We bought a van and a very nice Cerwin Vega P.A. from Pete Oliver. We had 3 roadies, Steve, Ada and Tony, who loved Jackson Browne (I ribbed him mercilessly about his taste in music as I called it “soft” …one of my favorite songs is now a Jackson Browne!)
Soon we were on the local rock cct, Bogart’s Sat Lunch, then the night club circuit (Barbarella’s, etc), the University cct, Working Mens clubs cct (mostly, not sure why, in the North on England, the M6 was our constant companion / route. We would schlepp all our gear up rickety fire escapes to be told „no one in tonight boys, footballs on”
Tim was very handy in the workshop and we soon had the obligatory drum riser and lighting gantries and our manager, one Pete Wetton, bought some pyro equipment (Pyro Pete as he was from then on referred…The problem was that most of these places couldn’t accommodate this “kit” We would play on tiny stages with drum riser, smoke machines and pyros, many times the drums took up the entire stage.
One night at the infamous Tonypandy Naval Club we nearly killed a headbanger with the pyros, the poor chap had is head directly over it when it went off, obviously had his eyes tight shut, luckily for us. Insurance was something older folks had!
We played London pubs, e.g. the rock garden, Covent Garden with the ex Nice bass and drummer. It was sad to see that Jackson and Davison were in the tiny rock garden and Emerson had gone global by then.
We played support slots for Motorhead at Marquee (5 pound fee) and Strife.
Motorhead anecdote….The band, who were all rather nice, had a group of Hells Angels in tow for “security”; now we were old school and wanted to change into our “stage clothes”…I had seen queen (supporting Mott the Hoople) ! at the town hall that year and my girlfriend at the time (now happily married ), created me a rather fetching Silk Bat-Winged top a la Brian May (see pictures) which I had to wear for the Marquee
The dressing room at the marque is very small and in there were 2 of the aforementioned “security” guys. The head angel was a veritable mountain of a man called Levi and one of his “team” had upset him….when I got into the room I wedged myself in the opposite corner to these 2 and tried to tune my guitar , which I then leaned into the corner while I changed my clothes, I heard the most awful sound and it was Levi beating his friend viciously and then timing how long it took for the little guy to come around, if it was too fast , he got hit again..nice. Then a glass came flying across the room and hit my guitar,,, the indentation is still there, I picked up the guitar and ran onto the stage for cover.
Earlier in the evening Lemmy had asked me if he could borrow my amp as his had blown up the previous evening. He was a very nice chap so I agreed; also Phil Taylor borrowed some drum stuff from Ray. When the gig was over I noticed that all of the lent gear was missing, now I had not long before witnessed the dressing room ultravilolence but, I plucked up the courage to approach the roadie who was loading their van and just said “I think you have some of our stuff” “oh sorry” he said and promptly handed it all back, phew!! I didn’t fancy hospital food; I just wanted to get home.
We did support gigs for Budgie who were quite unfriendly, Sassafras, who’s lead singer Terry Bennett was a real gentleman and helped us a lot, Trapeze, Max Boyce the comedian and many more.
The high water mark was undoubtedly our support slot for Budgie at Newcastle City Hall. It was the jewel in the crown of the town hall cct which at the time was THE cct to play. All the big bands did it and it was fantastic to hear our music echoing around these venerable galleries. We had a great reception from the crowd.
In 1978 we supported The Damned at Northampton Cricket Club. By then punk had taken a hold on the agents that we worked with. After this gig we thought decided that this punk was not for us and decided to have a hiatus.
Bandanna Mk2 1980 to 84 was Dave Kirby, lead vocal, Mark Whitehouse lead guitar, Mick Hackett, Bass and synth then Mick Walker, then Paul Prior, bass, Brett Lane then Paul Thurlow, drums , and Pete Butler, guitar and vocal, Kevin Hunt lead guitar and synth.
During the pause I tried out for Working Mens Club band and met Mark Whitehouse; he was quite a character, he had beautiful Les Paul artisan but couldn’t connect his pedals! I Immediately thought “now here’s a chap I could work with” so I asked him to be my co guitar in the reformed Bandanna mk2
I asked Dave Kirby and my old chum Mick Hackett, an ex-colleague in BT , Mick knew a drummer called Brett Lane so that was the 1st line up sorted.
We decided not to use any of the material from Mk1 and so, as we did back then, wrote a whole new set based around the twin guitars and opted for a more pop rock feel. More like Thin Lizzy, Toto, Boston, Journey etc etc
We started Monday nights at the railway, in Curzon St, the Landlord was Bernard and his wife Winnie. We quickly moved to Thursday eve, then to Friday (ever closer to the coveted Saturday night top spot. That was occupied for a long time by Bernie’s favorites, the Dealers, but as soon as they had a break we were in like a shot.
Things had moved up a gear or two when we recruited Paul Thurlow. He brought a tightness that we had lacked before and he was, and still is, one of the best drummers around.
The Railway was then sold to Fred Waite, the father of some of the Musical Youth group. He invested a lot into the pub, new stage, in house PA etc and we continued to get good crowds.
Mick Hackett decided to move to Nottingham so had to leave the band….how parochial is that!! Paul knew Mick Walker who promptly filled Mick Hackett’s shoes and bought some fresh blood.
Towards the end Kevin Hunt and Paul Prior ably filled others shoes. Kevin moved to Australia and formed a very successful Pink Floyd Tribute Band.
Eventually, Paul T decided he needed a break from music. At the time we were disappointed that we hadn’t been more successful. In hindsight it was the correct thing to do as we had gone as far as we could.
Since then I worked with a singer and drummer called John Hopcroft .
We formed a band playing West Coast American covers with Phil Brittle on Drums, Mick Walker on Bass, Pat Geddes Smith on Sax and keyboards and Paul Davis on guitar an vocals We recorded a version of Chaka Khans (Michael Sembello) Eye to Eye which I am rather proud of which may be uploaded.
I also played with a 7 piece Rock on Roll band called the red river rock and roll show featuring Ted “Big Daddy” Lee and “Rockin Roddy” on vocals. It was great fun and have too many stories about them to go into here. Pat the Sax was there too.
I also played with a social club band called Midnight Express who were fab, with Phil Brittle drums, Andy Abbot on bass (From 60s band Muscles), and Mike Munslow on piano (mike is a fab piano player and we were bloody good.
Since then I moved to Bavaria in south Germany and have a little rock covers trio called Francis Collection.
Mick Hackett started in covers bands while still at school in Halesowen, moving to original rock bands at 18 and cutting his teeth with Snakeshead before joining Bandanna after meeting Pete Butler at work. He left when he moved to Nottingham in ’83 where he played with a few original bands but it ain’t Brum and he soon shelved it for a few years. After a couple of bouts of life threatening illness he decided that life is indeed too short and returned to the scene with 3 Above The Shark, a powerful covers band who were an integral part of a thriving East Midlands pub circuit. Forming Not Now Kato, an ‘original covers’ good time band, both bands ran side by side for several years. This was followed by a dabble in rock theatre as Nigel Tufnel with acclaimed tribute show The Spinal Taps, before hitting the pub scene again with The Incredible Skank Brothers, a very successful high energy Ska show, who are currently ruling the roost in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire.