Rod & the
The time is
late 1962, October the 21st. to be exact, and we see a young Rod Goodway
embarking on what is to be a career spanning the years of Rock'n'Roll's coming
of age, to the present day. On this date Rod, along with drummer Pat Murphy,
played his first gig (on Rod's 16th. birthday). At this point there was no band
name. This came in the following year when Andy Rickell on lead guitar, Roger
Hartley on rhythm guitar, and Mick Andrews -aka 'Goldfish'- on bass were
recruited to become Rod & the Sceptres. All of the bands members were either
from Calne or the nearby village of Compton Bassett.
The band congregated and practiced above Rod's parents shop in the village of
Goatacre, a few miles down the road from Calne. At this time they were driven to
the local 'village hall' gigs they were playing by Pat's dad, Bill.
|At the same time as
Rod & the Sceptres were giging, Calne also boasted such bands as The
Meteors, The Saints and Tony & the Richelles. The Saints -who were
managed by Kev Tinson's dad- achieved a modicum of notoriety by
appearing on television playing those good old rythm'n'blues in a
church. Heavens above!! Surely it was only taking it back to
its Gospel roots.
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The Sceptres also played
r'n'b leaning to blues then. Rod has said, one of his earliest vocal influences
was Howlin' Wolf. Hardly any wonder then that as time goes on, Rod would get
into Captain Beefheart. But more of that later. Playing bluesy r'n'b in the West
Country at that time was not the normal thing. Most bands stuck to 50s
rock'n'roll. A typical 'set-list' at the time of Rod & the Sceptres would
read... well let Rod tell you himself:
|I used to
come onstage after the group had played a couple of 'instrumentals' like
(Android was a big Shadows, Ventures, etc., fan when he was very young)
and launch into "Sweet Little
by "Fortune Teller",
"Keep Your Hands Out'a My
I Go To Bed"
... by Otis Span ??)) + "Road
"Got My Mojo Working"
Then we'd take a break. The group would wander on & play a couple
more instro's, by this time purely Link Wray -type stuff, before I'd
jump on & launch into "Too
Much Monkey Business"
+ "Memphis Tennesse"
+ "You Be Mine"
+ "Howlin' For My Baby"
(both 'Wolf songs) + "Carol".
Finish that set with an instro'. Take a short break. Come back on
stripped down to waist- coats, shirtsleeves, etc.... smoking &
looking mean. Huh. Start again with "Whiskey
(Hooker) + "Goin' Down
+ "Maybe Baby"
(could this be the old Buddy Holly song?? Seems well out of context?)
+ "Talkin' Bout You"
+ "Around & Around"
+ "Bye Bye Johnny"
(Encore: "Tell Me What'd I Say")
an actual Set from McIlroy's ballroom in Swindon, circa early 1963
By now Rod was driving the
band van as well as managing the band. Yet his van driving landed him in the
Princess Margaret Hospital in Swindon after an altercation with a tree at a
place known as Clyffe Pypard Hollow after a gig at the village hall in Broad
Hinton. Let Rod recall the incident:
"Android Funnel -as Andy Rickell later became known- says he was the first
person to reach me on the night of the accident. He said he thought I was dying,
laying there amongst the mangled wreckage of the van covered in blood. Then the
ambulance arrived and they lifted me on board I opened one eye and grabbed
Andy's sleeve. He said he thought I was going to whisper a few last words to
him; sure enough, just before I lapsed back into unconsciousness I apparently
winked at him and whispered 'it's a publicity stunt!!'. Ha Ha!!"
It is with this incident
that the story moves on and Rod & the Sceptres become The Pack.