Hamburg [one month residency in September 1965 alternating between the Big Apple & the Tabaris]
This engagement started with two Hamburg residencies in September, which unexpectedly also became a Tour of Star Clubs & Star Palasts from October 1965.
Originally we were on contract to Heinz Barthells of Poppenbuttel, Hamburg, Germany from London Agency, Bob Druce Management of Paddington, via Audition at the Glenlyn Ballroom in Forest Hill.
This was arranged by introduction from entrepreneur Sam Curtis, previously Road Manager for Gene Vincent and the Shadows and later, Tour Manager for various bands working in Germany and Austria including the Kinks.
In Hamburg we met Ritchie Blackmore, ex lead-guitarist with the Outlaws, Deep Purple and Rainbow. He was in the audience while we were performing in one of the clubs there, I can’t remember whether it was the Big Apple or the Tabaris, although I do recall the reflective surface of the Tabaris’ bronze-panelled stage area while we sat conversing at a nearby table, so whichever club it was, we must have concluded business in the Tabaris.
Ritchie was with a bass player and drummer, both of whom he had previously worked while backing Screaming Lord Sutch and together they performed as the Three Musketeers. He approached us and said that he thought we did a good rock and roll act. As a result, we were booked for the Star Club in Bochum and then through Manfred Vittellas we played various Star Palasts over the next month or two following the conclusion of our Hamburg contract.
Whatever we were paid, which would have been in Deutschmarks and pfennigs, it wasn’t enough – either that or I had a hole in my pocket. I returned to England with less money than I’d started out, my dad having to fork out for a return fare I couldn’t afford.
Still, I wanted to go professional and tour Germany and I achieved my aim, even though I was far better-off financially with my combined Partisans gigs and commercial artist post in an advertising agency. You live and learn and if you don’t try to chase your dreams, you may live to regret it. Again, I’m glad I took the plunge and gained the experience, and one that has taught me a great deal and left me much the wiser regarding the important things in life.