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Snippets of FEELIN' GOOD Issue 18/January 2000
Published with friendly permission of editor John Butterfield.
"Wilko Quits Feelgoods", "Feelgoods replace Wilko", "New Feelgoods shape up"… Headlines from music press in 1977. This created much confusion and concern amongst Feelgood fans who saw Wilko as not only the guitarist but in some cases the frontman and in most cases an equal partner with Lee. The band had at that level run it's course and changes had to made to maintain the bands existence and sanities of the remaining members. We all eagerly watched the "new bloke" Gypie Mayo and compared him to Wilko. Soon comparisons were put aside and he was accepted. Good job really cos as it happens the Feelgoods reached a wider audience with hit singles such as "Milk & Alcohol" and "Down at the Doctors". This would not have happened if Wilko had stayed.
We are now in the year 2000 and in the middle of last year a new frontman Robert Kane was enlisted. I have had many letters and comments asking what happened to Pete and some fans feel Robert is too different from Pete and Lee to make a proper Feelgood. I will explain more about Pete's departure later on (apologies for not saying much in the last newsletter but the dust had to settle and the priority was letting everyone know about the new lineup). Okay……who says Robert is different? ……who says he is not like Lee? …..do people want a frontman who copies Pete or Lee and has nothing new to offer Dr Feelgood? ….It is of course up to you all to decide whether Robert is a good choice or not but let me just say Dr Feelgood have always been an "evolving" band not a "revolving" one and in most cases each lineup has brought improvements whilst keeping the Feelgood spirit. It is true today… Dr Feelgood play in the memory of Lee every show but they are NOT a tribute band. If they were, they would have picked a clone of Lee and performed the same songs night after night. Lee wouldn't have wanted that. He loved the new songs that Steve wrote and the way they fittted into the Feelgood set along with the classics. A new album is being finished this month with more NEW songs to the Feelgoods and who knows what will happen in the future. No one likes change but check the new guy out……… you may like him!
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HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU
Over the past year things were not going smoothly in the feelgood camp. Disagreements on and offstage had created an atmosphere which curdled away resulting in disharmony from which in the spring it was felt it was affecting all the members of Dr Feelgood. Life on the road can be fun but in the main it is very hard work, travelling and living with a group of men for weeks on end can cause problems. If these problems cannot be sorted quickly they grow and grow. Different personalities and behaviour all play a part in how a band can remain united but they can also contribute to a breaking of the waves. The original plan when the feelgoods reformed was to go and give the fans what they wanted but on evaluation it was felt things weren't quite working out so a rethink was necessary. The Feelgoods have many fans in several countries but this means their workload is increasingly more. This led to the band putting their cards on the table and Pete had also realised it was becoming harder for him as a performer to keep up with the workload of the Feelgoods. He tendered his notice with the intention of carrying on playing in a band that didn't spend so much time away from home. This hasn't happened as yet but he did do some rehearsals with Gypie after Kevin passed on Pete's number to Gypie. Anyone who has read Pete's letter to the website will recognise that there is no animosity between Dr Feelgood and himself also on the site is an article from Gabi relating to the danger that Dr Feelgood could have ceased to exist if changes hadn't been made. Let's not forget what contribution Pete made…… he was part of the reformation and what a great album "On the Road" is but as we all know things have a habit of changing. On the ironic side I didn't totally accept Pete as a Feelgood until 1998 after a long drive from Mansfield with just him and myself. That was after seeing him play live in my favourite band many, many times. So I know it will be hard for others to accept Robert but all I can ask is go and check him out. A quote from Robert himself is "you can't have change without things being different". If you can't get to see the Feelgoods soon then order the new album and listen to the difference!
The new album is almost finished and will be titled "Chess Masters". It will feature Feelgood renditions of classic tracks previously released on the Chess record label. Songs recorded so far include Howling Wolf's "Killing Floor", "Hoochie Coochie Man", "29 Ways", "Suzie Q", "Nadine" and a very different version of "The Walk". There will be full details of all the tracks in the next newsletter (April) prior to the release of the album in May on EMI Records.
The Lee Brilleaux Birthday Memorial will this year take place at the Oyster Fleet (site of the now demolished Dr Feelgood Music Bar) on Thursday ??? May. Tickets always sell out and accommodation needs to be booked up in advance so contact Grand Records or see web site www.drfeelgood.de for more details (Noty by Gabi: Visit the Lee Brilleaux Memorials page, it will be updated anytime I get new info.). As usual we do not know who is going to perform but regulars can attest that it is always a great show with many surprises.
Someone who has turned up in the past if he is free is the one and only Wilko Johnson. Well there couldn't be another………. could there? His official newsletter "Some kind of a Hero" told of a new drummer Steve Monti who has replaced Salvatore Ramundo who has moved to Japan. The Wilko Johnson Band is also working on a new CD to be released shortly. More details of this and new copies of "SKOH" can be obtained by sending saes to Alan Grundy, 11 Darley Avenue, Farnworth, Bolton, Lancs, BL4 7RU. While I'm talking about Wilko it came as a surprise when Phil & I were watching "The Simpsons" in a hotel in Ipswich when Robert knocked on the door saying "the Feelgoods are on BBC2". We flicked through the channels to find a clip from "Going Back Home" and then Wilko was interviewed about life on Canvey Island. The show was called "The River" but I do not have a copy on video (before anyone asks!).
Any eagle eyed viewers watching Paul McCartney on recent TV shows may have recognised the guitarist as the old friend of Feelgood… Mr Mick Green. Everyone knows what an inspiration Mick was to Wilko and of course he co penned the classic "Going Back Home".
Thanks to the last newsletter a new Feelgood T shirt was produced. The band saw the picture of Robert, that I actually got from the web site with kind permission of the photographer Albert Brunsting, and thought it would look good on a shirt. It is now available from Grand Records under the name "image" shirt.
Another new venture associated with the web is that each of the band has a new e mail address and welcome any questions which they will personally answer. The addresses are:
and finally yours truly firstname.lastname@example.org
[Note by Gabi: Since the release of this newsletter in Jan. 2000 eMail addresses might have been changed or deleted due to spam, so please always use current contact details.]
Please bear in mind that no matter when you send comments/questions to the addresses it will be some time before you receive a reply. This is due to the Feelgoods spending vast amounts of time out on the road and the feelgoodmobile is not wired up for the internet yet so please be patient. Some of the queries may be included in future issues of "Feelin' Good" unless you indicate you do not wish this.
Also due for release next year will be a book I'm definitely looking forward to. The title is "No Sleep till Canvey" and its by our good friend Will Birch so you can be assured there'll be lots of Feelgood related goodies contained within.
Enough of this…… …..read the rest of the news and make sure you have enough saes/ircs for the next issue due out in April 2000 (Detailed supplying info).
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The first newsletter of the new year so for a change it's interview time but who can be interviewed at short notice… ….ummmmmm… ….how about your long standing editor. Well an easy task but I can't really ask myself questions so let's invite Mr Johnny Green to help out.
Johnny. Hi John wanna drink? (totally untrue…..he has never ever asked that question in his life..ed)
JG…When was the FIRST time you saw Dr Feelgood.
JB….I'd never even heard of the Feelgoods until I saw them on a TV programme "The Geordie Scene" back in 1975. They totally blew my mind away…watching Wilko careering around the small stage and the raw sound they produced got me hooked.
JG..What was the FIRST Feelgood record you bought?
JB…After seeing the show I just had to buy "Down by the Jetty" which is full of great songs including some of my favourite tracks "She does it right", "Roxette", "Keep it out of sight" etc. It still gets played on a regular basis today although I now play the CD version. I also collected each and every single as it was released in the 70's although I didn't buy foreign issues like some fans have done to try and compile a complete collection.
JG When was the FIRST time you saw them live?
JB..It was at Leeds University in 1975. But this has already been covered in an earlier issue.
JG What was/is the FIRST thing you do when you go to see them live.
JB In the days before I knew them personally I would get tickets and look forward to the gig for weeks. Once in the venue I would go straight to the merchandise stall and buy the latest T shirt and a badge. I'd then dash into the toilets and put the shirt on. These days it's different as I'm often selling the mechandise so after helping lug all the gear out of the van and onto the stage the first thing I do is look for a suitable place to "stall out". The ideal location is where I can see/hear the show, the people walk past it when coming in/going out and very importantly its close to the bar and the toilets!
JG….When was the FIRST time you met them?
JB…..It was sometime in the Gypie days and I used to see them play at Newcastle City Hall and Redcar Coatham Bowl whenever they played there. I gradually gained courage to go backstage at Redcar and met Lee. Later on when they played Newcastle University I couldn't get in but found Lee in the nearest pub. He very kindly gave me a card (which I still have to this day) where he scribbled a message to the social sec asking to allow me in the gig. This was the beginning of a new relationship where I met Lee at each show following this.
JG….How did the Information Service FIRST get started?
JB….In the 80's the band were not getting the publicity they deserved and whilst Lee would write to me telling me where/when they were going to be in the North East of England I felt there was a lot of fans who did not know the latest news of gigs etc. I spoke to Lee about it and suggested the idea of the Info Service. He thought about it and sometime later contacted me and asked if I wanted to do it. The rest is history as we now are in the 15th year. During this time I have had many dreams come true and had a great time but I've not got time to tell you all about those now.
JG….When was the FIRST time you saw Robert?
JB…It was during the UK tour a few years back and we were playing a theatre in Milford Haven, Wales. The gig was strange for several reasons…….the stage was set for a pantomime "The Emperors New Clothes" and I remember a giant Thomas the Tank Engine watching Kevin throughout. The theatre was so cosy the Feelgoods played unplugged with only the vocals coming through the PA system. The gig finished quite early…….about 10.30pm but Phil had found out that a couple of miles away there was another gig The Yardbirds/The Animals 2. We jumped into a taxi and caught most of the Yardbirds set. The strange thing was I recognised many of the audience as they had attended the Feelgood gig as I was selling the merchandise. I wonder how many of them knew they were watching Gypie Mayo who had co-wrote the classic "Milk & Alcohol". During the Animals set, Phil told me that Kevin & he had seen Robert perform and had discussed the possibility of having him as the singer if Dr Feelgood ever reformed. After the gig we went backstage to scrounge a lift back to our hotel as someone had said they were staying at the same one. The Animals weren't but the Yardbirds were but we'd missed our chance then. As soon as I entered the dressing room wearing a "face" badge which Robert showed his northern skill of "cadging" by asking me for one. I gave him the one I was wearing and he still wears it today. We told Robert of the plan to invite him and he told us he'd been a Feelgood fan since the Wilko days but couldn't play harmonica. He was also happy with the Animals in that time so probably would have declined. Our paths crossed several times more at the Butlins' weekends over the years until Kevin did make that call and ask him to join.
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AUBREY REX & OTHER STORIES
Yes folks the long awaited new CD from Gordon Russell and Sarah James collectively known as TWO TIMERS. The CD contains 12 tracks or should I say stories from slow meaningful ballads to fast meaningful ballads!! Tracks include such strange titles as "Favourite Fish" and the title track "Aubrey Rex". One of my favourites is "Everybody else" with some great guitar from Gordon and Sarah singing "I'm not like everybody else"… …..an understatement that, who else would play instruments such as harmonica, violin, spoons, snare drum, diverse percussion and unorthodox noises. Gordon doesn't play as many, only electric, acoustic and baritone guitars, mandolin, suitcase drum and additional percussion. Another fave is "Good Glasses" a real rocky song reminds me of the "Drs Orders" album, "My Big Mistake" for the lyrics along with "Lover Street" for the haunting harmonica playing alongside the guitar… ….a great instrumental. Incidently "Everybody else" and "Good Glasses" both could be Dr Feelgoods song but then like most of the others on this CD Gordon and Sarah wrote it.
You can of course buy this classic from: Credo Records, PO Box 58, Crowborough, TN6 2ZT priced £12.50.
Additional info on the Two Timers can be found on the web site www.drfeelgood.de/2timers/index.htm.
They are also planning on touring in the UK in March so if anyone can help with organising a gig in their area please contact them on 01892 662261.
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TRIBUTE TO LEE BRILLEAUX
In 1999 a French CD was brought to my attention from Jean Paul Martin who told me there was a tribute CD out on Outside Records. After contacting the record company they supplied me with a CD and further details.
It contains 24 tracks all of which have previously been recorded by Dr Feelgood. What surprised me was the choice of material by the French bands featured… ..not only the obvious classics but some lesser known tracks. The majority of the tracks are played in the same vein as the Feelgoods versions but there are exceptions. One such exception is Face to Face with a rather strange version of "She does it Right" from the riff to the variation on the chorus. Nice one lads! The CD opens with Little Bob "Down at the Doctors" and closes with "Riot". Sandwiched in between are tracks by Backsliders, Cadillac Jones, Chicano Blues, Dogs, Face to Face, Kingsize, Lee's, Screech Owls, Shaggy Dogs, Sharpers, Venice and Victoire & Co.
Those tracks are:
I'm in the mood for you / Quit while you're behind / Monkey / Feelgood Factor / Wind up / Baby Jane / Roxette / She does it right / Keep it out of sight / My sugar turns to alcohol / Drives me wild / Mad man blues / Tell me no lies / I'm a hog for you / Java blue / I can tell / Sugar shaker / Every kind of vice / Punch drunk / Heart of the city / Best in the world / Rock me baby
Prices for mail order from Outside Records Sarl, Boite Postale 64 - 91801 BRUNOY CEDEX, France.
CD = £10 plus shipping costs of:
European Union & Switzerland £3
Europe, Africa £3.50
USA, Asia, Australia £5
The sleeve notes feature a tribute from Little Bob and Barry Masters who ended his piece with
"A star went out the day Lee Brilleaux died but we luckily have their music to listen to today and that will never fade away. Let's all say a prayer for Lee and do what he would want us to - Have fun and enjoy the show."
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Additional note by Gabi:
This newsletter was opened with a screenshot of this homepage website. I want to say a big THANKS TO JOHN for spreading the word about the Feelgood web pages in his newsletters. --- Hey John, I am really looking forward having a few beers with you when you come over with the Feelgoods to the German dates end of April!!!
to Newsletter Issue 19/April 2000
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