I guess it all really started with my father ….the music that is. Mum of course was not Musically incline but all the siblings took varying degrees of interest. Sister Win played piano and in later years sang in a London Choral Society ….and of of course brother
John excelled on Bass and Vocals and became an ace song writer. My Dad, William Lesley Springate, played the Ukulele Banjo as did uncle Alf. My earliest recollections was of Family and friends that loved to get together and busk up a storm. Somebody would be bashin’ away on the upright in an over crowded front room full of aunts and uncles dancing and jumping around.
When I was about nine years old Dad taught me some banjo basics …chords and rhythm techniques.
Left to Right: Dad, Granddad and Uncle Alf
I still have and still play that same Jolli Joe ( U.K. UKE). It must be over 100 years old now.
Early 60’s, this was the era of the budding Tom Jones, Ingelbert and standards my father use to whistle to.
I had just finished secondary school (Fossedene in Charton SE London) when I met drummer Bob Mathews. He introduced me to his band. This was a local all practice-no gig (well very few) band that did a lot of Shadows stuff. They wanted to replace their lead guitarist …I got the job …can’t remember what we called ourselves.
Following that I teamed up with a couple of guys on base & rhythm ( can’t remember their names) ….we bought Wem amps and I picked up Sunbeam Rapier Guitar but the
ensemble was short lived. After that I tried pulling something together with long time friend Susan Mayer Vocalist (always had a crush on her). We tried our hand at a little Duo Folk. We played the Co-op Club in Woolwich. Again short lived but worth the experience.
Around this time brother John had picked up the bass and joined up with a band called Chris More and the Conspiracy (Chris being the brain child of the band). The Band was made up of Chris, John, Jim Still (Rhythm Guitar) and Dave Bunce (Lead Guitar). John would share vocals with Chris. Drummer Bob Neil (1948- 2002) would later leave to form his own band (Shamia Werlitzer). Bob was replace by my old Drummer
Bob Mathews. Dave left and I joined as fill-in on Guitar and vocals and ended up staying full time. This wasn’t your average Pop Band …. if I dare say so. No three chord tricks in this repertoire. The Conspiracy was the resident band at the Co-op Club in Woolwich from January to December 1967. On January 1st 1968 we set out to play our first pro gig in a NATO Base in Germany. Unfortunately no photos of that gig.
We did suffer a minor delay on the way. We were in the frozen country side in the dead of night and pulled over to consult our map when the engine stalled. When we tried re starting it manually the crank handle got miss placed. That’s when our old Austin J2 sprung a radiator leek. Long story short …we arrived a day late at the base which didn’t impress management.
Lot’s more good experience and lessons on keeping GI’s happy. Despite our intentions to stay in Europe for a year and “grow” the Band we ended up returning to the U.K. at the end of January to go our own separate ways.
Late 60’s, this was a
time of “flower power”, Beatles, Motown, Hendrix, Cream and more
February 1968 John and I got together with Drummer Jeff Allette ( a friend of Johns from the Charlton Boys Brigade).
“Olaf Grumps Need”
Believe me we had endless discussions on what to call our selves but it was Ginger, the drummer from Shamia Werlitzer that came up with the name Olaf Grumps Need.
That became our final choice. We did have Bookers and Agencies mess up the name like, Oliver Crumps, Olaf Grumphs Knee and there were many other variations and conjugations.
From February to mid April the three of us spent much time practicing and many sessions at Jeff’s place pouring over Motown and R&B material. That was where we thought the music was at. I think John and Jeff would also admit we were influenced by another local band we used to delight in going to see. Their name was called “The Edwick Rumbold Band. To quote brother John
eed-we where in ore of them!
One of our favorite spots for practices was a pub in Charlton on the Woolwich Rd called The Rupell Arms.
I always kept a diary as well as the books for most of the band I played in …not to mention memorabilia, posters and itineraries. Our first gig was at the Royal Herbert Hospital, Shooters Hill in Woolwich, in April. Believe it was a party for the staff. Also in April we had entered the preliminaries of a talent competition. Shortly after qualifying we received a letter from the Assistant Director, George Hall, saying we’d been selected to appear in the
finals of the Carroll Levis Show which was to be held at the Borough Hall Greenwich on May 13th. Strangely enough he was a Canadian.
In May things really took off. Youth Clubs,
Short Circuit, Uplands Tavern, The Concord Pub and many others. We entered
another talent competition at the Baring Hall Hotel. We went forward to the
finals. Can’t remember where we placed but we won 5 pounds and the Publican liked
us so much we became the resident Band. Later in August we also scored another
residency at the Green Man Plumstead. We were doing just fine.
Photos By Chris (Chumley) Towner
These Photos were taken at the Green Man Plumstead 1968. I believe it is now known as
For just under two years we kept a number of South East London pubs, Clubs and Youth
Clubs alive. Well so we thought. Not to mention the occasional party on the Thames
River Cruses. These boats would depart Greenwich Pier, cruise up to London
Bridge and back. Talk about a life on the ocean wave.
Jeff Allete Died 2008
Here’s a list of Agencies and
Venues we dealt with in 68-69.
Agencies & Venues are not necessarily associated
Ray Brown South
Duke of Wellington Youth Centre
|South Easter Entertainments||Crystal Palace Hotel||Bligh’s Hotel, Sevenoaks|
|South Easter Entertainments||Warwick Hall, Camberwell||Toby Jug Club|
|South Easter Entertainments||Black Prince Hotel, Bexley||Old Dunstorian Club,
|South Easter Entertainments||Community
|The Green Man, Blackheath|
|South Easter Entertainments||King & Queen, Mottingham||Wittington Hotel, Pinner|
|South Easter Entertainments||William Fourth, Greenwich||Fox On The Hill, Dulwich|
|South Easter Entertainments||St. James Church Youth Club, SE.3||Lewisham Park
South Easter Entertainments
|Passfield Hall, Endsleigh Place WC1|
|The Saturday Agency||YMCA||Teen Scene Disco, Ely. Cambs|
|Arthur Howes Agency||Bradford University|
|Peter Harrison’s Star Attractions||Concord Club, Oxford St. W.1
||Staircase, Wardour St W.1|
|College Entertainments||Lyme Park House, Disley|
|College Entertainments||Chicken Inn, Victoria St. SW.1||Oaklands College, St. Albans|
|Sachmo Promotions||Danson Youth Club|
|Peter Robins||The Cole ‘Ole|
|Pub Management||Baring Hotel, Downham||Green Man, Plumstead|
|A McDonald||Royal Herbert Hospital|
|David Gibson||Bexleyheath Youth Club|
|Mr. Mims||Upland Tavern, Dulwich|
|Entravor Limited||Borough Hall,
|Southbank Artist, Kensington||Royal Albert Hospital,
|Total Management, NW10||Colleen Bourn|
|Bridge rd. Com SL/GR|
|The Concorn Club|
|Ron Grindle T/Hall|
|The Magnet & Dewdrop|
|Continental Artist Agent||Samual Montegue|
|Mr. Butler||Gun Tavern, Croydon|
|Abbey Wood Youth Club|
|G R Douglas||Conservative Club, Sidcup|
|St. Mary’s Youth
|Blackfen Youth Club|
|Welling Garden City|
|Amberlee Artists||Wisk Agogo||Amersham Arms, New Cross|
|Roni Scotts||Cue Club|
This Band had a great number of friends and followers. We had no end of
helpers to help set up and take down at the gigs, Good Guy’s like Nick Pitts and Jeffery Barns (who went on to have his own success with his band called Ice Cream). … and of course our stable Roadie, Mick Chumley. Mick’s brother Dave by the way would sit in on
occasion filling in for Geoff Allette on Drums. Geoff left the band in mid 69 to finish
university. John and I did a little session work while looking for the next venture.
Christian And The Creation”
In 69 John and I responded to an add in the Melody Maker and found our self with female singer Liz Christian. We found Scottish drummer Bob Kay, also through the Melody Maker. Bob would travel to London and stay at our place while we practiced with Liz. This would bring us (in July) to Montreal Canada for the first of two extended gigs. On our first trip we had the privilege of performing at one of the city’s top clubs – Georges Place. Impresario and owner George Durst.
After about three months Bob quit and was replaced by Paul Wilmot from Harrow. We would finish the first gig at the end of December. George was please with our performance in the club.
Liz stayed on at the club with a replacement band and George proposed to John Paul and I to go back to the UK and form larger band. Enter The London Scene. John on bass and vocals, my self on Guitar & vocals, Chris on vocals, Paul Wilmot on drums and Pete Fares on Organ.
While rehearsing the band in London, we took on session work. A great break came to the band when we were introduced to Johnny Johnson. We spent a number of months as the Band Wagon Backing Johnny Johnson that year on his tour of the UK.
We placed a call to George when we felt we had enough material and rehearsal. In August we received papers for entry into Canada from George. Our opening night at Georges, Montreal was August 17. This was the start of our second Canadian gig. After three months at Georges we got to play Georges brand new club, Dominic’s for another three months. After that we took on other residences like The Edgwater west island including many one fighter’s at Nymark’s, CEGEPS and even got to play in Gult ON.
We had (as they say) an organization change and a Name change. Chris left and went back to the UK. John went over to vocals. Del Watson (from New Barnet) joined playing base and we brought in vocalist Sharon Maher (Australian). One of Sharons accomplishments was performing a lead part in the London and Glasgow production of HAIR.
Enter Elegy. This line up played George and Dominic’s in Montreal for about six months. Sharon departed shortly after that for another gig. We then recruited Canadian singer Melody Stewart. We made a return to Georges and Dominic’s and played a 2-month gig at the La Fiche (Nevelle Orleans night Club) in Quebec City.
In 72 Melody left and the band returned to the UK.
On our return to the UK John, Paul, Del and I joined Clem Curtis and toured as Clem Curtis and the Foundations.
Brother John joined the Glitter Band as bassist and vocalist (Hockey and Soccer would use the “Rock n’ Roll part II” to emphasis game plays).