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FEELIN' GOOD Newsletter Issue 31/April 2003
Published with friendly permission of editor John Butterfield.
Dr. Feelgood Information Service
How to supply to the newsletter? Look here!
Speedin' Thru Europe
Easington and Wilbarston are officially in Europe. Who says so? The Good Dr, that's who! The long awaited new Feelgood live album is now on it's way some 9 years later than the last live CD "Down at the Doctors" and Dr Feelgood decided to record a selection of gigs at towns/villages not renowned for Live recordings (apart from good old Canvey of course). The gigs were recorded late 2002 And early 2003 in Regensburg, Canvey Island, Bilston, Wilbarston and Easington. The final tracks for this new CD "Speedin' thru Europe" (longstanding fans may recall posters and badges in the 70's bearing this title) are Nadine, Roxette, Don't start me talking, Going back Home, Down by the Jetty Blues (the full 18 minute version!!), Back in the Night, Shake your moneymaker, Down at the Doctors, One More Shot, and encores Mad Man Blues, Bonie Moronie/Tequila. The CD will be available in May and is the first live CD to feature the lineup of Robert Kane (vocals), Steve Walwyn (guitar), Kevin Morris (drums) and Phil Mitchell (bass).
That's not all folks as our good friend Stephen Foster has compiled a CD called "Wolfman Calling - the Blues of Lee Brilleaux" which is as it sounds a tribute to Lee and will also appear in May also on Grand Records.
May is not only the time to restock your Feelgood CD collection but also the time when Dr Feelgood and Grand Records celebrate Lee's birthday by holding the Lee Brilleaux Birthday Memorial concert and also raise money for the team of nurses who supported Lee and his family in his last days. This year it is on the 10th May and as always I will be present and hope to meet up with the usual suspects as well as some new devotees of this annual event. I guess I'll be found in the bar of the Oyster Fleet in the afternoon trying to avoid the attentions of Johnny Green who will probably be "bending my ear" to buy him a drink or two!
So we have the Memorial concert and the "Wolfman" CD to look forward to as we remember that Lee died on 7th April 1994 just over a month before his birthday. Over the past few years there have been other sad occasions such as 3 years ago also on the 7th April the passing away of Heinz Burt. Heinz was a fellow Southender who the Feelgoods backed in their early days when they gave him the opportunity to play the Tornadoes and Heinz hits live by being his band. They learned a lot from this experience as it gave them the chance to play in front of different audiences in a wide variety of venues including Wembley as part of a Rock 'n' Roll festival. More recently though on the 22nd December saw the sudden death of Joe Strummer (former Clash frontman). Regular readers of "Feelin' Good" will recall how Joe witnessed Robert's debut with Dr Feelgood in France on the 14th of August 1999. This issue's cover picture was taken before the concert when Joe visited our dressing room for a pre-gig drink. My memories of Joe was him standing next to me watching the Feelgood onstage and saying about Robert "You've got a good 'un there - Hang onto him!" After the show I remember him getting into his tour bus at 4am and having a bet with Kevin that his tour bus would get to the ferry back to England before the Feelgoodmobile. The Feelgoods won. When one hears of a death it brings back recollections of last words etc and every Memorial I also remember Lee saying to me on the second night of the "Down at the Doctors" recordings in January 1994. He told me that he had really enjoyed the two gigs but admitted that it would be hard to make long term plans as some days he had good days, some days he had bad ones. He didn't want to commit himself to a long tour as he felt he would let people down if he had to cancel dates due to this, but he did want to try and play a few dates in the Summer and he mentioned Scotland as being a possible choice. [see photo below]
The last issue asked which award winner appeared at last years Memorial so I'd better give the answer here. It was Big George Webley the presenter of BBC1 "Inside out" and Sony Gold Award winner for Music Broadcaster 2002. He played bass with Larry Wallis and is mentioned again in this newsletter in the Dic 'n' 'Arry section. During my research into the article I just had to check out if he had a world wide webley site and he does so check out www.biggeorge.co.uk.
Also in this issue we find a review of last year's memorial penned by Tony Stickland. I did have a copy of the review which first appeared in "Blues Matters" but was delighted when I met Tony at the Butlins Festival of Rock and Blues in January as he told me he'd been meaning to send me a copy to include in "Feelin' Good". I thanked him for giving me permission so you will find it on a later page. There were loads of other members of the Information Service there and it was as always great to have a chat and drink with. It would be great if someone could review it for the next issue as I didn't get to see every band that played although I did get to see our rodent friends "The Hamsters" twice and it was the first time for over two years but they played really well and went down great especially in the Centre Stage which has to be the best venue there. Dr Feelgood played on the Saturday night and opened up in the Centre Stage but ended the night at Reds. As the band left the stage the curtains closed and the music from the disco console started. The band were unhappy as they were not given the chance to perform the encore of "Mad Man Blues" so apologies from the band here for that. The band wanted to go back on but couldn't due to the mix up about starting the disco.
In this issue you will also notice there are even more UK dates than usual as the mini tour in May is extended with a few dates in April too. Dates are only correct at the time of printing so it is best to check out with the web site on www.drfeelgood.de or venues direct. The web site will also let fans know of extra dates added to the itineries.
A thank you to this issue's contributers Andy Collinson, Ian Fawkes, Tony Stickland, Pete Amys etc.
Send any articles/reviews etc to myself via the PO Box address or e mail at email@example.com [yep, another one?]
Keep on Feelin' Good.
[Current contact details.]
France on the 14th of August 1999 (Photo courtesy John Butterfield, England)
Joe Strummer from The Clash/The Mescaleros visited Dr Feelgood's dressing room at a
festival to congratulate the band for chosing Robert Kane as new frontman. It was Roberts
first gig with the Feelgoods. By the way, Joe also was very fond of Kevin's drumming. And
this coming from someone who had the great Nicky 'Topper' Headon in his ranks - Wow!
~ IN MEMORIAM OF JOE STRUMMER - A tribute page by Gabi ~
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Doctor on Call
Cast your mind back to 1974 (if you're old enough), I lived in a town in the Peak District called Chapel en le Frith, and as was the norm at the time was into Slade, T. Rex, Bowie and Status Quo, you get the picture. Around about the same time I started to buy the NME, the publication looked exciting. I'd started to play guitar and fancied singing but was far too shy to actually push myself forward for that at the time, so the NME was a great escape to another world. The town I lived was hardly the hub of anything rock'n'roll. They had a section in the NME called ''Teasers'', and I was drawn to the name Dr. Feelgood that kept cropping up it seemed every week. I can't explain why, I'd not seen or heard the band but I was attracted to their name, just call it a magical rock'n'roll thing. I started to look out for them, soon pictures appeared, they looked different. I tried to impress them on my schoolmates but they were unimpressed, they thought my musical ideas were a bit wacky at the time, glam rock was everything. I caught my first sight of the band on a Granada TV show called ''45'' and was hooked, they were like nothing I'd seen before. ''Down By The Jetty'' was out and I played it non stop. I just had to see the band, but being only 14/15 at that time the only way to see them would be by train to Manchester and to the then schoolboy from the sticks, the city at night seemed a daunting place. Nevertheless me and two chums made our way to the Free Trade Hall to witness our first Feelgood gig in November '75 on the Malpractice tour. The band were now hot property, the bees knees front page of music papers and topping readers polls for anything they did. They toured the US and came back to the Free Trade in June '76. Me and a mate went and the crowd went crazy, and I mean crazy. My mate vowed never to see the band again as he feared for his life in the crush (he's now the guitarist in the band I play with). More trips to Manchester followed then Wilko left and it was off to Salford to see the Gypie line up and then back to the Free Trade for the Mink de Ville tour.
In the late 70's I passed my driving test, this enabled me to plan a small tour in the Feelgoods tour. I lived in Buxton now, which is the middle of Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Stoke. We also took in Birmingham which seemed very daring at the time, but a great gig, it has to be said, at The Cedar Ballrooms (anyone remember?).
The early 90's saw a dip in the bands fortunes and for a while it seemed they had disappeared - even finished. The new romantic thing was in, and RnB was out. Then suddenly a small tour with a new line up was announced, and it was off in my car again over the moor to Sheffield Singwalls and Manchester Gallery, and my faith in music was restored and everything Feelgood was awakened from its slumber.
In 1985 a friend of mine collared me in a pub and said Dr. Feelgood were playing in Leek. I thought he was having me on, as Leek, which is only 8 miles from my door, is like Buxton - not on the RnR map. I found the gig was actually a festival. The day of the festival brought with it terrible weather and the event was a bit of a wash out. Driving to the gig I caught sight of Lee walking alone in the pouring rain to the nearest pub. I parked up and went in the drinking spot. It was the first time I'd really talked to Lee, I can't describe how I felt, the only way I can put it as imagine an Elvis fan meeting Elvis and that might be close. My mind went blank and my tongue stopped working, anyhow Lee remembered our meeting and from then on we would often meet up before gigs for a drink. I can tell you even at the busiest of shows he always had time to say hello, he was kind, generous and interested in what you had to say. In short, he appreciated you supporting the band. He was funny as well, I remember he turned to me in a pub in Morecambe before a gig and said ''I've had 9 pints tonight, but I feel alright, I feel alright''. I couldn't believe anyone could drink so much before work, but 15 minutes later he was up on stage, no problem!
All the while I was following the Feelgoods I had been busily immersing myself in playing RnB heavily influenced by the Feelgoods of course, and in 1991 a dream came true for me when - after lots of persistent blagging - I managed to secure two support dates with them at Sheddield and Manchester (where else?). We'd been used to playing to crowds of 50 plus, but all of a sudden we were in front of a throng of 1000. It was great and all the Feelgoods were very supportive to us and very helpful.
Alas, as we all know, Lee passed away and for a while I couldn't contemplate anyone else singing with Dr. Feelgood. He was my hero, and still is, but time goes on, things change, and we have true Feelgoods in Kevin, Steve and Phil. In Robert they have found a confident energetic frontman who, although different to Lee, is now without a doubt a Feelgood. I travelled all over the hills to the next town from Buxton to Macclesfield to see them in 2002, and I can truly say, it was the best Feelgood gig I'd seen since 1992 with Lee at Stoke.
Any regrets? Yes - two. In '75 when I went to my first concert to see Status Quo in Manchester, the Feelgoods were playing the same night at UMIST on their Down By The Jetty tour - it's about 100 yards from the railway station, but being the country, un-street wise schoolboy I was, I was just too scared to venture to it. Scondly, John Butterfield and Lee stopped off in Buxton for a drink at a pub just down the road from my house, John phoned my house to see if I would like to come down, but I was out. Never mind.
O well, we all miss appointments sometimes when the Doctor is on call!
[Small editions have been made by Gabi for easier online-reading.
Only added a few more commata and have cut very long sentences into shorter ones.
- Hope you don't mind, Ian! ~ Gabi]
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@ The Oyster Fleet Hotel, Canvey Island, 10th May 2002
On this dull Friday lunchtime my mate Andy and I set off to Canvey Island (with 25 years of Dr Feelgood on the CD player). All the way down Andy was telling me all about Dr Feelgood, how long he's known them, (and their associates) and who might be there ie All the Feelgoods past and present.
We arrived in Canvey and parked our car in the Oysterfleet carpark and went for a walk to get some grub. After having our fill, it was back to the bar for a couple of drinks and to meet other Feelgood fanatics who have travelled from all over the world. When I say all over, I mean, like Germany, Switzerland, Holland, USA and even Japan (and what a great bunch they were). This gig was a sell out months (possibly years) in advance.
Around 7.30pm the first group to come on (introduced by Paul Shuttleworth from the Kursaal Flyers) was the Larry Wallis Band, and what a super little outfit they were. Only one problem though, they were loud, a little too loud for me. I had to stand just outside the doors in the hall area, where they were selling Larry Wallis CD's and Dr Feelgood merchandise. Larry Wallis used to write songs for Dr Feelgood a few years ago, but his style is a little different to theirs ie Pink Fairies/Hawkwind.
Whilst listening to Larry Wallis & Co, a few Feelgoods past and present were mingling about, with the likes of Johnny Guitar (ex lead guitar) over from the States, Dave Bronze (ex bass player) and Gordon Russell (ex lead guitar). Apparently Sparko (ex bass) was there, but with the amount of people I didn't manage to see him. There was even Sarah James (partner "in crime" with Gordon Russell of the Two Timers. Even the Feelgood's manager (Chris Fenwick) was around. When Larry Wallis came to a close, the (very appreciative) crowd erupted with clapping, whistling and cheering. I'd bought his CD while they played and when he came past I got it signed (as you do) and managed to grab a few words. What a great guy he was. Well they all were tonight, none of this "I am…" snobbery stuff. They are all great people, all willing to stop and have a chat. Nothing was too much trouble.
After a short interval, Paul Shuttleworth was on stage again this time to tell us why we were all here tonight, (that was to celebrate what would have been Lee Brilleaux's 50th birthday) and to raise money for the charity (Fairhavens SCENT). Then he introduced the band: the current line up is Kevin Morris on drums, Steve Walwyn on lead guitar, Phil Mitchell on bass and Robert Kane on vocals. They went into their repertoire of songs doing 3 or 4 numbers before they asked (one by one) the past Feelgood members to join them onstage to continue their catalogue of songs. Gordon Russell was first onto stage. Gordon performed 3 numbers with the current line up before he changed places with Johnny Guitar for a few songs. Johnny came off and Dave Bronze swapped places with Phil Mitchell. Then Johnny came back on??? Everybody was aswappin', and I lost track of who was on, and who was off, until near the end, when they were ALL on the stage. The hall was a heaving, sweaty mass of bodies rockin' to the hard driven sound of the Dr Feelgoods……………What a night…..10/10. I'm still trying to get my breath back.
Tony 'H' Stickland
Following parts of this newsletter have been added to other sections of this website:
- Feelgood Dick'n'arry page
17.Dec.2002 - Guildford Civic Hall/UK - New Gig Reviews page
to Newsletter Issue 32/July 2003
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