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FEELIN' GOOD Newsletter Issue 28/July 2002
Published with friendly permission of editor John Butterfield, who can be contacted at:
Dr. Feelgood Information Service
to supply to the newsletter? Look here!
The summer issue of Feelin Good is usually at it's slimmest but I've had trouble cramming all the stuff into this one - must try a different corset! Here's some background on the articles to be found within these pages. In an earlier issue I produced a review of Robert's first gig with the Feelgoods in France and recounted Robert saying to Joe Strummer and many thousands of spectators "je suis un Sunderland fan" (I'm sure there's no need for a translation there!). The power of the web or www resulted in Colin Randall performing a search to find sites with references to Sunderland FC as part of his role in the fanzine "Wear Down South" which broken down is for Sunderland Fans (based on the River Wear) who now live "Down South"( ie South of the North East ). He read the article and contacted Robert to ask for an interview. He has very kindly agreed to let me reproduce it here to give you all another facet of Mr Kane. Anyone wanting a hard copy can do one of the following
1) Write to Ian Todd, 8 Wyke Close, Isleworth, Middx TW7 5PE for a copy of the magazine (Issue Four), enclosing a cheque for £1.50 made out to the SAFCSA London Branch (this includes postage and packing)
2) Email Joan Dawson at J.DAWSON@ponl.com for an email copy of the article. No charge.
3) Send a SAE to Colin Randall, 29 Niagara Ave, London W5 4UD for a photocopy. No charge.
I just had to do a piece on the Butlins weekend but this has meant I could not review the Memorial but if any one wants to supply one I will include it in the next issue. I can however say it was great to see so many "old faces" and "new" members of the Info Service there. The gig itself consisted of a more than generous helping of Dr Feelgood and guests who consisted of Gordon Russell, Johnny Guitar (still managed to remember the songs he played 21 years ago), Paul Shuttleworth, Sparko and a set by Larry Wallis. [9th Lee Brilleaux Memorial]
There will be no Naughty tour so it's back to the old style Dr Feelgood winter tour although some venues had already been booked for a "naughty" show so on these dates the Feelgoods will appear with one or two very special guests. Full details in the October issue. [The Naughty Ryhtms Tour Official WebSite]
Jim Parkes attended the Butlins weekend and asked me if I knew where to get hold of the book "No Sleep til Canvey". On my return I contacted the author Will Birch who told me that Virgin were planning on reprinting it but no dates etc has been confirmed yet so maybe the best bet is to try a "wanted" slot in Mojo or seek out some internet sites such as ebay or maybe some book shops may have the odd copy in stock. He did however tell me that "If anyone can read Japanese, the Japanese edition is available" (in Japan!). (Shinko Music ISBN4-401-61694-4)
There are plenty of songs collected for the next CD and recording dates have not yet been confirmed as there needs to be a period when not only all the band are available but also Dave Bronze who has been asked to produce. The venue will not be The Grand as earlier proposed but will be in a live setting somewhere near Southend. Keep watching this space for up to date news.
A short editorial this issue so until next time
on Feelin’ Good
[John Butterfield's current contact details.]
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I can tell
"I can tell because it's plain to see" that I was gonna have yet another great time at the Festival of Rock 'n' Blues held at Butlins Skegness I was in the "Sun & Moon" which used to be Moonshiners where myself and Steve Smith once presented a morning of Feelgood videos some years ago.waiting to meet up with friends and members of the Info service The circle of friends increase every year and this year several more were invited to join our party and parties! It is always nice to meet members of the Info Service on the road too so great to see and chat with some of you (can't name everyone here as there was at least 30 members there). At 6pm whilst enjoying a drink I realised that Otway was appearing at 8pm so a call on the mobile resulted in me joining John & Richard at the soundcheck and then off to the pub for yet more beer.and then headed off to Reds for the first Otway spot which was as predictable as ever (in other words take nothing for granted and expect the unexpected) After the show I then helped move the stuff over (a busmans holiday?) to the second venue "Centre Stage" which was my favourite due to the size of the stage and we claimed a spot just to the left of the stage where dancing and a great view was had - oh and it was close to the bar too! Otway did his second show at 9.30pm and earlier we had found a rather tall step ladder that the Butlin's crew use to reach the spotlights. Otway's eyes lit up but like a child at Christmas time. The stagehand was reluctant to agree to Otway's request to use it saying that Butlin's cannot be liable if Otway falls off.and he'd have to agree to that. Did Otway care? Not a sausage so during "You ain't seen nothing yet" myself and John (Otways road manager) dragged this ladder that was about 15ft high to the centre of the stage for Otway to jump off Sometime in the set the guitarist of Rod Argent & Colin Blunstone All Star band (they'd played their first set at 8pm) came up to me and asked "Do you think my guitars will be alright?". The guitars were just behind Richard and miles away from Otway so I assured him that Richard was a professional and would not go near his equipment whereas he commented "It's that maniac I'm worried about - the guitars cost £6000". After mulling it over for a few seconds he said " Can you get them off for me" so there I was sneaking round the back to carefully collect his two guitars! It was a good feeling to see someone so relieved when the guitars were in the owner's safe hands .Maybe the next good feeling will be when I see Otway's eyes light up as his birthday present is performed at the London Palladium on October 6th. Met up with some more members of the Information Service and then it was over to Reds again for the 11.15pm appearance of Monsters of Rock. Monsters were a band put together for the weekend having formed on the Wednesday and were now onstage. They were Graham Russell on guitar, Tony Liddell (who replaced Robert in The Animals ) on bass and vocals, Steve Hutchinson (ex Animals keyboards) and the drummer Harry Hill (ex Thin Lizzy and now owner of the Rock Bar, Easington) They played covers of rock songs by artists such as Free, Rainbow, Whitesnake, Sabbath etc The night was still young so it was off to Jaks the night club part of Butlins.
The first gig on Saturday was at 1pm with Steve Hooker's Rumble A good set including "I Can't hold out/Talk to me" - afterwards we were chatted about Lew Lewis and Steve's opinion that Barry Masters or even Lew Lewis would have made a great frontman for Feelgood. Helped Steve by selling the CD's and T-Shirts and we sold out in about 15 minutes! Anyone who can remember 25 years ago, back to November 1977, may recall a tour featuring Wilko Johnson's Solid Senders and the Heat featuring Steve Hooker. To celebrate this anniversary, Wilko and Steve will be appearing at The Cauliflower, Ilford, Essex on August 2nd. Steve is also playing at the all day Rock 'n' Roll festival at Norwich on August 31st. He is also producing a compilation CD of songs about blue jeans and denim, featuring 10 top international bands. Anyone fancying Steve's hairstyle may be interested in knowing that Steve has his own brand of hair grease called "Hair Control - Tough Formula" - more details at www.barbershoprockabilly.co.uk. Eric Bell's Thin Lizzy went onstage at 3pm and guess what they did ………..a version of "I can Tell".
The afternoon was still young (unlike myself) so It was a trip to Riggy's chalet where a group of us sampled his brew "Paradise" which for the purists is o.g.1042 very light in colour, often hazy due to the use of wheat malt has a crisp foretaste followed by a long finish, with hints of grapefruit and pineapple. I like to think after a few it makes you think back to when you were 17 and you start calling every woman you meet Irene! Anyhow Riggy couldn't bring his full collection which I have had the honour of tasting before such as "Brilleaux", "Roxette", "Primo" and his latest brew "Whirlwind" which I tried following the Darlington soiree. Saturday evenings entertainment in Reds was Eddie & Hot Rods, Wilko Johnson Band, Trevor Burton, Monsters of Rock and in Centre Stage it was Trevor Burton, Monsters, Eddie and then Wilko so it was The Rods at Reds at 7.30. with a few new additions to their set including "I can Tell" which is due to appear on their next CD (more details in the next issue).Afterwards got chance for a chat with the lads before Wilko Johnson Band performed their first set including stuff like Dr Dupree, Sneakin, Can I please crawl out your window, along with the regulars "Roxette", "Paradise" and "20 yards behind".
As soon as they finished it was off to Centre Stage for my second dose of the Rods and it was a much better performance as the stage was so much bigger so Dipsty got quite excited and ended up ripping his shirt off and throwing it into the audience at the end. No sooner had they finished then Wilko came over to play another set at midnight. As he was aware some people had already seen him earlier so he changed the set to give some variety. Cindy Bird kindly listed the songs for me and pointed out that there were 13 songs each set and only 3 repeats! The second set highlights were "Don't let your daddy know", "Back in the night", "Everybody's carrying a gun", "barbed Wire Blues" and "She does it right".
Off to Jaks and then party time at the Blairs where I remember staggering back to the chalet at 4am.
The last day was Sunday and the first gig of the day was at 1.15 an outfit known as The Animals & Friends featuring Creedence. The Animals were John Steel who is almost 60 years old and gets a mention in "No Sleep til Canvey" as he was one of the instigators in the pub rock scene back in the 70's, and Dave Mayberry (keyboards). On vocals we had Creedence vocalist/guitarist Pete Barton who actually is the man that books all the bands for the R&B weekends. Pete had only got to the campus at 2am in the morning following a gig with The Animals & Friends.. From possibly the oldest (in age) to the youngest with a Skegness band The Melt came on at 3pm but I was chatting to the Monsters before they headed off back to the North East so missed most of their set. However I was told they had a good harmonicist and played songs such as "All along the watchtower" and "Hoochie coochie man".
I then had to get the Feelgood keys for them and as their chalets were near the Blairs (who are renowned for their hospitality) I just had to call in. Several drinks later and I'd given up the idea of tea and then Kevin rang to say they were just approaching Skegness having been collected at lunch time from Stansted Airport where they had flown to from Finland.
At 7.30pm in Reds they started with "Nadine", "Sneakin", "All through the city" before the Chess Masters "Don't start me talking". Robert dedicated "Baby Jane" to the Teesside contingent although I think by now another name can be granted (any ideas?). The closing numbers were "Milk", "Jetty Blues", "Back in the Night", "Roxette", "She does it right", "Down at the Drs" before "One More Shot" then the usual encore "Mad Man Blues".
Then whilst Climax Blues Band followed it was over to Centre Stage to say hello to Dennis from Nine Below Zero before they went over to Reds (they played their sets at the same time as the Feelgoods so it was impossible to see both bands more than once - complaints were voiced from fans who liked both bands) and then John Coughlan's Quo played at 9pm before Feelgood's second show at 10.30pm. Once again a much bigger stage and that really suits Robert's style. The first few songs were different opening with guess what …….."I can Tell" before "Sneakin", "The Walk", "Don't start me talking" before "Milk" etc closing the set with the same songs as at Reds. More music from Climax before off to Jaks and the Blairs where Baldrick and Phil joined the party. I left at 3am due to the long drive home. Next day I called for Robert at 10am and off we both went getting to his home at 3pm where after a quick cup of tea it was back down the road for me. All in all a great weekend where Feelgood fans show their unity on and offstage. There's another weekend planned for next year on Friday 31st January to Sunday 2nd February - check the new Butlins brochure (out in August) for more details.
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Wear Down South
~ Celebrity Supporters ~
Nicole Kidman does not support Sunderland. But COLIN RANDALL shamelessly drags her into the story of Dr Feelgood's lead singer, ROBERT KANE, who does.
As the band left stage at Newcastle Opera House, one more treat lay in store for the cheering fans. "Robert has something he'd like to show you", the compere, John Otway, told them.
With one bound, Robert Kane was back. Only this time he was wearing a Sunderland top. In that instant, he went so completely from hero to villain that the Hamsters, due on next, feared the booing was for them. "One of their guys was setting up his kit, and couldn't believe what he was hearing", said the Feelgood frontman. Looking back, he can see why the crowd seemed cross. The concert was on Dec 7, 2000. Three weeks earlier, our lot had descended from the clouds (officially known as the St James' Park away end) with 'two' and 'one', in that order, on their lips. "But I only did it for a laugh, thinking it would be taken in that spirit", he insisted. "How wrong I was. I just took a bow and walked off." Born in Brandling Street, in the shadow of Roker Park, Robert Kane is living testimony to the notion that being Sunderland Till I Die takes many forms. He talks with real passion about the Lads, knows all the arguments about what has been going wrong and hopes as fervently as anyone for a quick turnaround.
Yet Robert has never set foot in the Stadium of Light for a league match. He was in his teens when last a regular at Roker Park. "Then girls and music took over and I became an armchair supporter."
But he did spend much of his boyhood watching the likes of Monty, Charlie Hurley and Cloughie. "One of my earliest memories is of looking out of the window on Saturdays and seeing hordes of people going down the street to the match. A friend of my mother took me to my first game. I'll never forget going through the turnstiles into darkness, then up into the light and seeing this immense stadium and the green of the pitch. It was fantastic, an image that will always stay with me, though I haven't a clue what the match was."
When he was old enough to go on his own, he would help out in his grandfather's betting shop for half a crown. It got him into the boys' enclosure, a halftime pie or Bovril and the fare home to Whitburn, where the family had moved. "I went week in, week out", he said. "First team one Saturday, reserves the next."
Strangely, he cannot recall ever using his vocal gifts on the Roker End. But he has made the most of them in the 30 years since rock 'n roll shifted his priorities forever.
His first real band was the Showbiz Kids, named after a Steely Dan song. They also did one or two Feelgood numbers, notably Milk and Alcohol, and stuck at it for five years. Then there was Well Well Well. Who? Unluckiest band ever. Wet Wet Wet turned up with their first hit just as we were recording our debut album, Dangerous Dreams. We bombed in spectacular fashion."
Next Robert joined the Alligators which evolved into the Animals II, including two founder-members, John Steel and Hilton Valentine. One gig took them to Muscat. During the soundcheck, Robert spotted a familiar face. "Is that Mr Porterfield?" he called out as our 1973 Cup Final scorer, then coaching the Omani national team, walked past the open-air stage. "I told him I was from Sunderland and he understood."
The Animals II stint ended when the call came from Dr Feelgood, who had struggled to replace the face and original voice of the band, Lee Brilleaux, killed by cancer in 1994. For an idea of the scale of challenge, consider the pressure that will be felt by the next-but-one striker after Kevin Phillips, especially if SuperKev's immediate successor doesn't exactly set the place alight.
"Absolutely no regrets, though", said Robert. "I'm having a great time, even if I would like to get home a bit more often."
On Robert's first night with the band, in France on August 14, 1999, the ex-Clash star Joe Strummer, a Chelsea fan, was also on the bill. Think back. A week earlier, we had returned in glory to the Premiership only to be thumped 4-0 at Stamford Bridge. Time to redress the balance. "Je suis un Sunderland fan", Robert yelled as Strummer looked on from the wings. And was the audience impressed? "Um, no. It was a bikers' festival, 20,000 of them all p---ed or stoned out of their heads. It meant nothing to them."
So is Robert any good? For an expert view, I turned to a confirmed Feelgood fan, my Telegraph colleague Charles Spencer, the world's best-known drama critic since he invented the phrase 'pure theatrical Viagra' to describe Nicole Kidman nude on the London stage.
Charlie saw the band live, and had such a good time that he regretted, as a recovering alcoholic, that he couldn't drink.
Kane was terrific: about 20 years younger than the rest, I'd guess, and a lithe, predatory stage presence. He stalks around like a taller Jagger, sporting shades and a black frock coat. He also blows a mean harp. There's a touch of Eric Burdon, though not quite the same grit, but he really energises a group that would seem static, exceptionally portly and middle-aged without him. The band's playing as well as ever, though, and I loved every minute. Just wished I had the booze to go with it.
Robert - at 47, he is actually 'second oldest in the band', running and yoga keeps him fit - should clock up his 500th Feelgood appearance this year. Between tours, he goes home to Sunderland, where his wife, Lynne, works in a health centre. His son, Luke, 15, is more into rugby than football, though Laura, 18, a York University student, has had part-time work at the SoL.
When we first spoke, Robert talked of the luck he has had in life. "It's amazing. I grew up watching the Animals on TV as a kid, did Feelgood stuff in a band and ended up in both." When I called again on New Year's Eve, his luck had changed. "I'm going to the West Brom game", he said.
N.B. Robert did go to the game - and saw West Brom knock Sunderland out of the FA Cup!!
original (printed) version of this newsletter also contains
another Feelgood crossword puzzle
Go to Newsletter Issue 29/October 2002
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