Ramblings from an old man

Fri, 15th June 2018 - Gigging? 

How do you get gigs when you are a band that has some people living far apart from each other? 

Although predominantly from South Wales, three of our seven members live in Southern Spain, Essex and Northants. This makes calendar planning quite difficult, but the real challenge is to actually get the gigs in the first place. 

The band are relatively well known among people of our generation in South Wales, but less so in the rest of the UK. Venues in South Wales seem to be booked months and months ahead. …

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Mon, 11th June 2018 

Just about recovered from a couple of hectic days playing a gig with Rhod Gilbert, at the Globe in Cardiff. 

Playing in part-time bands is always difficult, but when you do it in the twilight of your life, it's extremely difficult.  Back in our 60s gigging years we had amps that were just as big, if not bigger, but had no issues in humping and dumping them from vans into venues.  Yes we had one or two roadies to help but none of us found it a real burden.

Fifty plus years later and it takes two to three…

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Fri 9th March 2018 

Well it's coming up to 6 months since we last played and there's been a few changes to the band lineup. 

Andy, Bob & Phil have decided to call it a day and retire from gigging with the band.  It's almost inevitable that people may want to spend what time they have left on this world, doing other things, so good luck to them.   That means there will be seven of us for any future gigs, with usually six playing at any one time. 

The band went through changes back in the 60 and carried on gigging, at least…

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Sat 28th October 2017 

First gig at the Pen and Wig, Newport

Last night's gig was great at a venue new to us.  We hadn't played since the end of August and went straight into things as if we had only played a day or so ago. 

We were a couple of members short, due to Vic recovering from his heart operation and Ric decided he wanted to go and see John Mayall, down in Cornwall

We even had some ladies, the 'Piecettes' as Andy lovingly refers to them, up on stage to provide backing vocals on the Night time is the Right Time. …

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Born at the Bosco Cover 

Sat, 1st April 2017

When we recorded our first album in 2014, as well as selecting the songs we had to decide on the artwork. We had already decided to title the album 'Born at the Bosco' in recognition of the place that the band really came together in 1963.

St John Bosco Hall was, and still is a hall situated at the back of St Patrick's Church on Cromwell Road, Newport.  Those running the place used to let the band practice in the hall and that's how we laid down the foundations for the type of music we…Read more

Rob Evans Memorial 

Mon, 3rd Oct 2016 

On Saturday, the 1st Oct, we played a memorial gig at the Ebbw Vale Catholic Hall, for Rob Evans who sadly succumbed to the big 'C' last year. 

Rob played with the Pieces for a while back at the end of the 60s and he had a part in suggesting the meet up in 2013, which led to the reunion. Rob was too ill to play with us at the reunion or subsequent gigs, but he did manage to come to some. 

The gig was almost a 50th Anniversary by itself. On Sunday 4th Dec 1966, we played Tredegar…

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Memories of Days Gone By 

Mon, 25th April 2016

It's been a while since I posted something, but this morning I was thinking about the days when there were countless places for bands, or groups as we called them, to play in and around South Wales?  I'm sure those in other parts of the World who are about our ages will have similar memories

Looking back through our 60s gig diary, we were getting bookings (gigs for the young ones) on every night of the week, in numerous venues from pubs to large dance halls and they were always packed. 

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July 2015 Gigs 

Many thanks to all those people, who came to the three gigs, to support a load of people in the twilight of their lives, doing the thing they used to 50 odd years ago.

Needless to say, all our bodies and throats are suffering a bit, but it was well worth the pain to see old and new friends again. We will be doing some more, hopefully later in the year.

Thanks to Dave Peace as well for making the journey and finding the lost recordings from 1968

In the meantime, if any of you enjoyed the music remember you…

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March 2015 Gigs 

We had a hectic 3 days at the beginning of the month. 

On Friday 6th March, Adrian, Andy & Ducksy went to Swansea to join Michael Kennedy on his Welsh Connections show on Oystermouth Radio.  We spent a great couple of hours reminiscing about the 60s whilst playing tracks from our debut album, Born at the Bosco.

After spending the night in Swansea, we returned to our home town and the afternoon was spent getting ready for the gig at Pontypool Workingmen's club.  The three of us were all suffering from upset…Read more

Phil 

It's hard to believe it's almost a year since we lost our dear friend and great drummer, Phil Edwards. 

There are pics and memories at Phil Edwards  however my favourite is this one taken in October 1966 at the Westgate in Newport.  The occasion was Andy's stag night and yes, we got slaughtered.  We don't half look posh.

Phil, we all miss you.
 

L to R  Andy, Ducksy, Adrian & Phil (RIP)

Born at the Bosco released 

9th February 2015
The album is finally released today.

It's been available as digital downloads on Amazon and iTunes for a couple of weeks but now people can get hold of a CD from  Amazon UK

It's also available in Diverse Music, Charles Street, Newport

Diverse Music



 

Born at the Bosco 

We have been busy over the last few days, reviewing the Masters and then the artwork so, it's taken us over 50 years, but we are about to finally release our first album.

Back in the 60s we were too busy enjoying ourselves with girls, alcohol and other things so despite offers, we never went into a studio to record anything. The only recording we have is of a live gig back in 1966. It's terrible quality as it was taken using a small reel to reel at the back of a packed hall, but at least we have it.

Back in…Read more

Setup and Sound Check 

On Tuesday 23rd April, I started moving all of my equipment from where it was normally stored into our living room, to save a bit of time the next day. I would be picking up the vehicle from Banbury, which was about 10 miles away and wasn’t sure how long the pick-up process would take.  The next morning Jackie took me into Banbury to collect the van. At this stage, I wasn’t sure what sort of van it would be; only that it was going to be a small one. When we got there, I was relieved to find out that it was…

More Rehearsals and Planning 

I travelled down to Wales, early on the morning of Thursday the 4th April 2013. We had arranged to start the practice at 10 in the morning, so set off at 6.45 allowing plenty of time for traffic. After paying my £6.20 to a private company, for the privilege of entering my own country, I carried on into Wales. A few miles up the motorway, I stopped at the Magor Services for a short break, eventually arriving at the YMCA, on Mendalgief Road, at just gone 9.15.
     
The route, coming from the M4 motorway, took…

More Planning 

The week after the rehearsals, I received a call from Percy. He had managed to get hold of a telephone number for Steve Strong, our original drummer who I had been trying to contact since the middle of January. Percy had asked an old friend of ours, back in January, to find the number, but wires had got crossed and he didn’t follow it up. I rang the number that evening and spoke to Jan, his wife as Steve was out playing darts. After explaining who I was, I told her that I had been trying to find him for a…

Rehearsals 

On Wednesday 20th February 2013, which was the day before our first mini practice at the YMCA in Newport, I travelled down to South Wales. Andy had generously offered to put me up in his house in Pontypool for all the rehearsals and the gig. I am not sure how his cats took my presence, however Andy and Jayne, his wife, certainly made me welcome.

I arrived around midday and after lunch we made our way up to the radio station BRFM Lakeside Studios, in Nantyglo. BRFM are a Community Media Centre based in…

Early Planning 2 

I then switched my attention to Will Lowe. John Bentley, who I remembered from the 1960s, had contacted me and said that Will lived about 10 kilometres from his home in Australia. He said he would mention the reunion, and pass on my details, when he next saw Will. He also posted some photographs that included Will Lowe, one of which was taken at Bullmor Lido. Eventually Will, through his wife’s Facebook account, sent me a message that he had seen the photographs and they had brought back a lot of memories…

Early Planning 1 

I started thinking how I would go about planning the reunion more or less as soon as I got back home on the Friday after the Celtic Manor meeting. How would we find anywhere to play?  Would anyone want to see us after nearly 50 years?  There were 6 of us at the Celtic manor, but how do we find the other people who played in the various versions of the group?  What songs would we play?  What about rehearsals?  These and many more questions were going through my brain, while I tried to enjoy the rest of the…

Seeds are sown 

Sometime in early October 2012, Adrian Williams and Rob Evans were having a drink in a London Pub, when the news of the Rolling Stones having a 50th Anniversary tour was announced on TV. Adrian remarked to Rob that the 50th Anniversary of the Pieces of Mind forming was coming up in the next year and they should try and get as many of the band members together for a drink and perhaps a meal. Adrian sent me the following email on 15th October 2012:  
Hey Ducksy, how you doing?   I was in London last week with

A bit about me part 10 - Music Wilderness Years 

Within 2 years, I was back at RAF Brampton in Headquarters Support Command, this time working in IT. For the next 4 years, until I left the RAF in March 1993, my role was that of a system analyst, analysing and design computer systems for use within the Command. It was during this time that I was introduced to software from the Oracle Corporation who would eventually employ me.     

In late 1988 or perhaps early 1989, my mother became ill and went into a coma. She was admitted to hospital and then released…