Fergy asked me to submit something.. So here we go…
How I got started
As many of you will know, I’m disabled with Polio, when I was about 15 years old, I attended an annual Christmas party at “The League of Well doers”. There was a band on, I wish I could remember who they were, but it was a good night and afterwards my friend, Arthur Brindle, came up to me and said that he was getting up to sing with the band. It was after the usual ribbing that I agreed to get up and play drums, and half an hour later there I was. The devil was in me by that time and when the band asked me what did I want to play (I didn’t know) I just went along with the next song on the list which was the Barrett Strong song " Money". So off we went, everybody was saying hit that drum and that drum, but I just concentrated on the song. At the end the guys of the band said “you did well there that was good, how long have you been playing?” and I replied “How long was the last song?”
I went home to my parents and told them all about how I’d played drums with a band and that I wanted a set of drums. Sadly, they didn’t believe me, even though my mate (who’d come home to stay) told them all about it. They just didn’t believe anyone with my disability could play the drums and they wouldn’t budge. So that was that.
A little while later, I was going through Garston Park when I met an old school friend, he’d been forced to leave school because of his brittle bones. Anyway, he told me that while he’d been laid off, he’d had time to learn the guitar and had formed a new band called “The Rapides”. I told him about my parents not letting me have a set of drums and he asked me if I fancied playing the bass guitar for them instead. So once again, I headed home and asked my parents for a bass guitar. I was gob smacked when they said “yes”. So off we went to Frank Hessys where we purchased a Tuxedo Bass and a 15 watt Stanley bass amp on HP. I made a single appearance (plus one lesson) on the bass, before playing at the Young Cons Club in Garston. Kenny Parry was on lead guitar and Phil Robinson on drums. I must have been bad, because I didn’t have a clue what I was doing (lol)!
Then came the fateful day that changed everything!
It was May the 1st 1965 and Liverpool were playing in the FA Cup Final. My dad had a ticket to go to the match, which meant he and my mum went to stay in Essex with my uncle, while I was left home alone!. Saturday came and I got the amp downstairs and watched the cup final while practising, it was great. My friend, Tony Kehoe, turned up around 6 and I took the amp upstairs and I was showing him what I’d learned – then BOOM! The electric shock sent me flying across the bedroom and through the wardrobe. Luckily Tony pulled the wires out of the wall and saved my life.
My parents came home on Sunday and were shocked at what had happened, they took me back to Hessys on Monday morning. My parents said “you can have this stuff back it nearly killed him”. Mr Hessy agreed to take back the bass and amp but wouldn’t cancel the HP agreement, he offered to exchange the equipment instead. I was just sitting there saying nothing, then I piped in and said “well how about a set of drums you don't plug them into the leccy (electric)”. My mother looked at me and then turned around and said OK! So that was it, I left with a set of Premier white pearl drums and some horrible Krut cymbals, didn't know the difference those days.
On the Wednesday, My mate Jimmy brought Barry (Basher) Robinson to my house, he was a drummer who influenced me a lot (he was with Billy & the Heartbeats, Then the Excerpts/George King Group/the Kop/Almost Blues), he was so loud, but the neighbours were out.
The Saturday I did my first appearance as a drummer at the Young Cons club Garston, backing the piano player and then I was asked to back the guest artist, who happened to be the one and Only Jim Gretty. Every time I went into Hessys after that Jim told everybody in earshot he started me off. After that the Rapides split up and 2 went into the Blue Prints, the rhythm guitarist Greg joined me in starting a new band, we had Alfie Pendleton on vocals, Geoff Langley on lead guitar, there was no bass player, and, once again we played The Young Cons Garston. A friend of Geoff’s walked in with a bass guitar and joined us and he sang some. At the end of the night we asked him (Mike Hurley) to join full time on one condition he never touched a bass guitar again. The Pressure points were born and we did well for nearly two years until Mike eloped to Greta Green with his girlfriend.
I tried to find a new group but most looked at me (disabled) and never bothered I had a couple of one nighter try outs with a couple of bands The Toreadors & The Pastal Shades but it never worked out, I joined a band called Korner Kafe who were planning to have two drummers (i.e Fruit Eating Bears) the present drummer was Johnny Jay Rathbone (ex Masterminds) and we rehearsed on the stage of our local youth club Bankfields House Garston. Johnny said “shall we have a drum battle while they set the gear up?”, so he did something, then I did then vice versa, then he was trying to play really fast to blow me out and one of my friends said “go Arty”, so I did. He walked out and I ended up as the only drummer. The band only did about a dozen gigs then the lead guitarist went in for an emergency op, and we never got together again.
Down and then Reaching for the Sky
I tried again with no luck and ended up on the bottle, drunk every night, until my mother dragged me out to see a wheelchair basketball team, they put me in a chair I didn't fancy it but after a few weeks and I got the hang of it, I went on to play for over 40 years playing for Great Britain, and ended up selling me drums.......
Maybe later I will write how I came back...
Arty Davies – Drummer 11/7/2012