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FEELIN' GOOD Newsletter Issue 41/Nov. 2005

Published with friendly permission of editor John Butterfield.

Dr. Feelgood Information Service

How to supply to the printed newsletter? Look here!

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Hello once again and welcome to another issue of ''feelin' good'' (fg), the newsletter about Britain's premier purveyors of live R 'n B - Dr Feelgood.

Thanks to all those who ordered the fashion accessory, yes the FEELGOOD silicone wristband available in Blue or Red. I received orders from all over the world including places the Feelgoods have not visited for some years ie America and Australia. If you haven't got a one yet, they are still available at a greatly reduced price to clear at £1.50 each (inc P&P) or £5 for 4. Just send a cheque to ''J Butterfield'' at the PO Box number on the back page.

We have the Autumn UK tour to look forward to and dates found on page opposite. Please check with the venues for confirmation before travelling or better still buy tickets as some shows sold out on last year's run. One show that always sells out is the Lee Brilleaux Birthday Memorial to be held next year on May 7th. Tickets not available yet but accommodation really needs booking in advance as the Oyster Fleet sold out months before the 2005 memorial.

What a memorial that was - firstly the usual long trek from Sunderland commenced the afternoon before as we left Robert's house at lunchtime with a few stops on route before arriving at a wet and windy Cromer at 6pm on Thursday 5th May. The gig was on the pier in a traditional seaside theatre. It was a lovely venue and after checking in at the hotel on the hill overlooking the pier we met up with the others to go to eat and then back to the pier. Kevin managed to chat about the proposed new set (although this has already happened now) where he told me Phil had drawn up a list of old songs. Phil had given the list to Robert so he could learn the words in time for the new set to be introduced in summer ready for the DVD recording. A great show followed on the pier. We had a very good friend John Carly who provided the support act that night. Next day Robert and I set off after breakfast after I'd had my usual walk around the village getting some well needed fresh air and also soaking up the history of Cromer. The church has the highest spire in Norfolk (useless trivia for you). We arrived at Canvey at 1pm.

There was already plenty of Feelgood fans in the bar and several more still on the walk. Can't list everyone here but as usual great to see everyone. The people filming the DVD were also there along with Chris Somerville interviewing some unlikely suspects throughout the afternoon to include as extras on the DVD which features the Mean Fiddler gig in August. First to arrive on the ex Feelgood front was Pete Gage and then Big Figure. I had tea with Pete and it was really good to see him and chat. We had a lot to catch up on!!!

The show of course went well with Dr Feelgood, Wilko, Lew Lewis, Two Timers and guests such as Figure, Pete Gage etc. The Memorial gigs so far have raised a massive £39476 for SCENT.

The week after it was back on the road and playing a festival in my home town of Guisborough. It's the only time the Feelgoods have played there although Phil, Robert and Lee have all spent time there over the years. The next week I went along to Stanley a new venue for Feelgood in the Lamplight Arts Centre Theatre and once again it was a great venue but instead of having fixed seating there was tables so plenty of dance space. Two sets tonight with firstly ''Take a Tip'', ''Roxette'', ''Don't start me talking'', ''Baby Jane'', ''Milk and Alcohol'', ''Too Much Trouble'', ''Instinct to survive'' and ''Down by the Jetty Blues''. Second set was ''I can Tell'', ''If my baby quits me'', ''All through the city'', ''She does it right'', ''The walk'', ''Going back home'', a song Robert used to do with the Animals ''I'm a Hog for you'', ''Slow Down'', ''Down at the Drs'', ''One More Shot'', before the encores of ''Mad Man Blues'' and ''Bony Moronie/Tequila''.

The following week I met Robert at Northallerton train station and we had a pleasant drive to Ilkley where the band were playing at Kings Hall. We arrived well before everyone else so I was given the choice of eats and an Indian takeaway was selected to consume after the show. In the set were a couple of newies which had been introduced at the Half Moon, Putney the previous week. Both chess masters with ''Date Bait'' and ''Who do you love'' and different key for ''Back in night''.

News from the web site told us of Gypie's new ventures and also some sad news about another death of a Feelgood related person. Here follows the excerpts from www.drfeelgood.de.

May 3, 2005: A slightly edited excerpt of an email from Gypie Mayo: ''(...) to let you know what I'm doing. At the moment I'm doing as much teaching as I can get (...). I'm also playing restaurants/pubs doing a solo guitar thing (...), it's quite different to my Feelgood/Yardbird style. I'm also putting together a kind of jazz trio with a view to playing gigs and getting maximum enjoyment from music. (...) I'm looking to get away from just playing rock'n roll... don't worry tho' I'll always wanna rock out when the occasion arises - it's in the blood you know! For instance last Wednesday I played at the Eel-Pie Club with Billy-Boy and Dennis Greaves with the house band rhythm section. You would have enjoyed it, there was some magic moments for sure. (...) ... love, Gyp.'' -

July 23 + 26, 2005 - Email from John Potter, with sad news: ''Alan Platt (member of Wilko Johnson's Solid Senders) died on Monday the 18th July 2005. He tripped up on the kerb and hit his head. Alan soon passed into a coma and later he slipped away. Apparently there was no pain. His funeral is on Wednesday 27th July. Alan was a brilliant drummer, who has done much work with Wilko and myself on many occasions.His song 'First thing in the Morning' on the Solid Senders album remains a classic.One of Rocks nicest people, he will sadly missed. Regards John''

In August it was time to record the new DVD at the Mean Fiddler, London. The night before we had travelled to Huntingdon Rockinbeer festival where support act was once again Eddie and the Hot Rods. It was a well organised gig and the lads were on top form which carried onto the next night in London. Gabi came over from Germany so a couple of late nights chatting and drinking wine was on the agenda. The show at London will appear on DVD hopefully in November - keep an eye on Gabi's web site the official Dr Feelgood site www.drfeelgood.de as she will break the news as it happens. The DVD will include some extras as well as the show - there are some surprises here. Anyone wanting to review the DVD are welcome to do so and hopefully get it to me before mid December to include in the first issue of 2006.

In this issue Ian Fawkes sent in 14 questions for my turn on the couch. I have decided to answer the 14 questions in two parts so part one follows with the next one in 2006.

That's it for this issue other than to say thanks to the contributors Ian Fawkes for part one of his ''On the Couch'', Chris Somerville for the Wilko review, Andy C for ??. Next issue due in January 2006 so get your saes in.

Keep on Feelin' Good

John Butterfield

[The current e-mail address from John is available here - please keep you address books up-to-date.]
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On the Couch with John Butterfield (Part 1)

For 20 years John Butterfield has been the inspiration, energy and total enthusiasm behind "Feelin Good" I guess you could call it a labour of love.. John is a Feelgood addict and in that time he has brought together Feelgood fans from all over the world whether through these columns or on the road manning the merchandise stall. I for one have met John many times and he is a "top chap" always keen to carry on the Feelgood cause and keep every one up to date with the latest gigs etc, but it's probably true that the majority of you don't really know John's personal views on Feelgood matters past and present so here goes "On the Couch " this time round I give you "Ladies and Gentlemen, John Butterfield" (big round of applause please)

1.) When was the very first time you became aware of the band Dr Feelgood and why were you so attracted and then hooked too?

An earlier issue of Feelin' Good reported how I saw the Feelgoods on an early programme called "Geordie Scene" where they played some tracks from "DBTJ" live. I had never seen such energy, the way Lee and Wilko moved and sang songs with venom and such originality. I immediately bought the album and knew I had to see this band live. Once I saw them live, that was it and I was addicted.

2.) Did you like RnB before Dr F?

No, I was very much into the glam era of Sweet, Glitter etc. I was still at school and even bunked of school (boarding school) to see them at Leeds and ended up sleeping on the railway station. In fact on the way to Ilkley me and Robert drove past the boarding school and I related the tale to him.

3.) In the early days what kind of fan were you? One who had to be on the front row or were you more reserved standing cooly at the back or were you something other, please tell us?

The Feelgoods only ever came up North maybe twice a year and I used to see them at Newcastle City Hall where I would get try and get as near to the front as possible, always buying the latest tee shirt and changing in the toilets straight away. When I could afford a car, I could travel to gigs further afield but was always there at the front. As I've got older I tend to view the proceedings from the side or at the back although sometimes I have been known to still get on down and boogie. If I am manning the merchandise stall I prefer the stall to be in the main room so I can see the show.

4.) The early years laid the foundations for everything else what are your favourite memories of those times?

I didn't actually know the band personally then so my favourite memories were of my first ever gig at Leeds University (again reported in an earlier "feelin' good"), then the day Stupidity got to number one I was in bed around dinner time listening to the chart show and was gob smacked that my favourite band were number one. Every new release was treated with anticipation and excitement. Once purchased I played each track over and over again to learn the words. I used to write them down in an exercise book - the Feelgood never used to put the lyrics on the sleeves apart from one album "Classic". I can remember seeing Lee onstage with two car headlights full on with the Figure's drums in the centre and what a staggering effect it had with something so simple. Today whenever the lighting engineer asks for instructions regarding colours, flashing lights, fade outs etc they are immediately surprised when told the lights to be switched on full at the beginning and then left until the end. The Feelgoods let the music do the talking.

5.) When Wilko left what did you honestly think?

I honestly thought it could be the end of Dr Feelgood as to me Wilko and Lee were a great partnership both on record and obviously live on stage. They were magic together and I felt at the time they both needed each other so could not picture a future. I remember being upset but glad that the band were continuing when I found this out. Wilko also wrote some great songs which of course have to still be included in today's sets.

6.) The band were rejuvenated with Gypie , any particular great memories from that time and did you like them as much as the Wilko line-up?

I honestly did not like Gypie when I first saw them live as he was so much different to Wilko and seemed to be too good a guitarist as Wilko (whilst being a genius) didn't go for long solos etc. I stuck at it though as the band Dr Feelgood were still my favourites rather than individuals. Just like a football team, people support them regardless of changes of players. Gypie grew on me I am glad to say.

7.) Then in the early 80's it seemed the band were no more when Figure and Sparko left, did you think it was over?

As in 6, I stuck with the band and it actually meant it was easier for me to meet up with the band as they were playing smaller venues. Lee used to write to me and let me know when they were up North and arrange to meet up for a drink before the gig. In 1985 I told him that a lot of people didn't know they were still playing and maybe a fan club would help promote gigs. He thought about it and then rang me saying yes but he'd rather it be an information service and asked if I'd be interested in doing it for them. Needless to say, I didn't have to think too long. I knew the band could not be over as the music was too good to die. I didn't think it was over as I knew Lee had a great gang with Kevin, Phil and Gordon Russell who were determined to keep Feelgood alive. I then got asked if I fancied a trip to Holland to sell the Tee Shirts and the rest is history. It's strange to think that when I was at school my dream was to be able to get a job which allowed holidays where I could perhaps follow the band around for a week seeing shows every night in different towns. I have been exceptionally fortunate to be part of the Dr Feelgood camp for over 20 years, visiting several countries and being part of hundreds of shows - It is a great honour and people in the Feelgood camp are all great people. I have met some many people and made some great friendships over the years.

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CD Review: Red hot and rockin'

A fantastically hot and sweaty Polish Club rock night in Bristol - suitably so, for a fantastically hot and sweaty gig by Wilko and his band. Our man took the stage in front of 150 packed into the airless room, and reeled off a seamless string of R&B classics. He strutted, he grimaced, he strafed us with his borrowed Strat (the faithful black and red Telecaster had bust a string three or four numbers in). Norman Watt-Roy looked like Dr Death, his eye-baggage dark and full, his extraordinary features caught forever 'twixt grin and gurn. He thwacked his bass with more energy than most chaps half his age and life-experience. The drummer wasn't Salvatore Ramundo - a shame, as the man's name translates as 'The Saviour Of the World', and that's an impressive personality to be thumping the tubs for you. Whoever it was hailed from Canvey, said Wilko, and he was pretty good too.

When I got home I stank like a brewery with a fag factory in its basement, and my pale grey shirt had transmuted to black. That's how good a night it was.

Christopher Somerville
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Go to Newsletter Issue 42/Jan. 2005
 

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