THE SAVAGES, A NURSERY OF GUITAR HEROES
Mick Abrahams, founder member of Jethro Tull and Blodwyn Pig, played a few gigs with Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages when he was lead guitarist of Neil Christian & The Crusaders.
At the time, Mick, drummer Carlo Little and bass player Alex Dmchowski were just filling in until Dave Sutch, who had just lost Ritchie Blackmore (of Deep Purple) to Jerry Lee Lewis, got a few new guys in his regular band.
Some months earlier, Christian had lost his previous band (including drummer Tornado Evans, bass player Andy Anderson and on guitar… Blackmore)… to Lord Sutch & The Savages!
The gigs were at Walthamstow Baths (London), The California Ballroom in Dunstable (Bedfordshire) and somewhere in Leeds (Yorkshire), in mid 1965.
Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages took part in the “Big Beat Night”, at Dunstable California Ballroom on June 18th 1965 , supported by The Prowlers and The Knight Errants.
“It was with the Crusaders which was Neil Christian’s Band at the time. I don’t think we did more than around three gigs with him . I seem to remember that at the time, we were just filling in until he got a few new guys in his regular band. The gigs were at Walthamstow Baths ,The California Ballroom Dunstable and the other one was somewhere in Leeds in some dance hall which I believe is now a shopping mall”.
"We had to dress up in orange shirts, tight black trousers and white boots and wiggle our asses. If you saw how fat I was then you'd know why I didn't fancy it"
“David Sutch did exactly the same set as Neil Christian hence it was easy to do it without extensive reheardsal ! Incidentally, he still owes me £15.00 for the last gig!”
After this three-day stint with Screaming Lord Sutch, Mick went on to join a band called the Goodtimers with, amongst others, bass player Dave Cakebread, keyboardist Graham Waller and saxophonist Bernie Etherington who then became the new set of Neil Christian's Crusaders for five months before joining The Toggery Five from Manchester in late 1965.
Adrian Gurvitz and his brother Paul formed the trio GUN of “Race With Devil” Fame.
But his career began to take off when he joined Screaming Lord Sutch and embarked with his Savages for a 9 week stint.
The late Tony Dangerfield (deceased in July 2007) did discover him when he was 18.
Dangerfield first joined the Savages in early 1964, as a replacement for bass player Rick Brown.
He had been groomed for stardom by producer Joe Meek and recorded a single then tour of his own with a band called the Thrills from May 1964 to July 1965. He then found himself back with the Savages in mid 1966, and toured with them in Sweden and Germany as “The Roman Empire”, alongside Ritchie Blackmore, in early 1967.
Tony Dangerfield wanted to go back to being a solo artist and had a deal on the cards with Robert Stigwood.
One day, he came into The Gioconda coffee bar in Denmark Street, London, and asked if anyone played guitar while Adrian was hanging around and having a cup of tea. Gurvitz was hired to play in the Savages, alongside pianist Freddy fingers Lee and drummer Carlo Little. He was bundled into a van and driven off to Newcastle to play with them. Soon after Little left to join the Billie Davis Band and Johnny Banks, formerly with the Merseybeats, took over him.
Then, in summer 1967, Dangerfield, Banks and Gurvitz went on to join Rupert’s People, a band put together to capitalise on the success of the single “Reflections Of Charles Brown/Hold On” (Columbia DB 8226) recorded by Les Fleurs de Lys.
Richard Havers about Rupert's People:
“I have several cross references for Adrian Gurvitz being in the Savages, along with Tony Dangerfeld. As for venues it was I suspect in 1964 so it would have been all the usual clubs… This is from my files: Adrian Gurvitz in their ranks had formed a group Adrian's Wall with Louie Farrell in Dagenham. Adrian was hanging around The Gioconda coffee bar in London's Denmark Street when in walked musician, Tony Dangerfield… asked if anyone played guitar. Within minutes Adrian was bundled into a van and driven off to Newcastle to play for Screaming Lord Sutch's Savages, he stayed with them for 9 months. While on tour with Sutch he met Billie Davis, switching to her group for a few months, before moving on to play with Crispian St. Peters. Then he joined Rupert's People with Tony Dangerfield.”
“We went out to Germany with Neil Christian and we didn’t came back, Ritchie [Blackmore] and I stayed in Hamburg. This is when the idea for Deep Purple came about… We flew back and Ritchie went down to his parents… and I was hanging about in London... For 4 or 5 weeks afterwards Ritchie was sending me letters from Germany asking when am I coming back…”
“Stigwood was trying to sort out a deal for me, but I was in a pub down Denmark Street with Alex Harvey, when the phone rang. "Is there a bass player in there?" That's how I joined Rupert's People with Adrian Gurvitz on guitar, John Trout - later keyboards with Renaissance - and my flatmate Johnny Banks, once the Merseybeats drummer. A single, 'Reflections Of Charlie Brown', had been recorded already as a ripp-off of 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale, and we bubbled under the Top Forty for three weeks, but Rupert's People only lasted for three or four gigs. We were also accompanying people such as Crispian St Peters.”
“Tony came into a coffee bar one day and asked if there was any guitar players.
I was there having a cup of tea and quickly replied yes, in that moment I was hired to play in the Savages, with Tony, Freddy Fingers Lee, and Carlo little on drums… then later John Banks. We played for Screaming Lord Sutch for a considerable time. While on tour with Sutch I met Billie Davis, we switched to her backing group then moved on to play with Crispian St. Peters, who was also managed by my father.”
Brian Gill, guitarist with The Symbols
“Ade did played guitar for Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages… must have been in 1967… I know Ade was playing with Pete Dunton in Please, and he also did a stint on bass with The Symbols in 1968. When Louis left the Gun Pete took over. This would have been in 1968, the year the Gun had the hit. I know because Ade bought a new blue '68 MGC sports car, which had a 'C' registration plate with the proceeds of Race with the Devil.”
Peter Dunton, drummer with The Gun:
“I was the drummer in The Gun after Louis Farrell in 1969...I played with Adrian Gurvitz before and after his stint with Screaming Lord Sutch, in Please and The Gun. However, I lost contact with him while he was playing in the Savages…”
Malcolm Douglas Longstaff, otherwise known as Kylastron Mac, played Lead Guitar for a short time in the Savages during 1964 then some weeks in July 1965. He later went on to play with the Nice, on their second album ‘Ars Longa Vita Brevis’, released in September 1968.
He had earned his nick name from years of playing lead guitar with the popular Newcastle instrumental group, the Kylastrons, both in England and Germany, in the early 1960’s.
Roger Smith, tenor sax player with the Kylastrons
“I first met Mac at the beginning of 1965… when I got a call from him, inviting me for an audition with his band – a reformed Kylastrons.
After the Kylastrons broke up in May 1965, Mac and Bernie Watson, the keyboard player, joined a North East band called the Vermen. I have a note in an old diary dated 18/07/1965 that Mac was playing for Lord Sutch… He may have done some earlier work with Sutch as a stand-in guitarist in 1964. I can remember when I first joined the Kylastrons at the beginning of 1965, Mac told me that he had previously played with the Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages…
A few years later he would play and record with Keith Emerson in the Nice, appearing on the Nice’s ‘Ars Longa Vita Brevis’ album.”
Is there anybody have seen Screaming Lord Sutch & the Savages featuring Malcolm Longstaff in 1964 and in summer 1965, and know their line-ups and material then?
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