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FEELIN' GOOD Newsletter Issue 27/April 2002

Published with friendly permission of editor John Butterfield, who can be contacted at:

Dr. Feelgood Information Service

How to supply to the newsletter? Look here!
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No April Fool jokes this time but another packed issue about Dr Feelgood.

As you will have read in the last issue the Naughty tour didn't always go as planned and wasn't always the same every night. Here are just some of the differences:
- The running order started with John Otway first and this happened for the first few shows before putting on The Kursaals first giving better continuity to the eccentricity of John and Richard,
- at Newcastle upon Tyne the Feelgoods had a guest rhythm guitarist during ''Back in the Night'' - a certain Dallas from Canned Heat,
- Robert made his guitar playing debut onstage as part of the ''I liked Otway when he was a One Hit Wonder'' band (this only lasted one night as Otway doesn't have a strap so Robert found it pretty heavy to hold in the traditional way and play. The ''I like Otway…..'' band consisted of Kevin Morris, Steve Walwyn, Phil Mitchell all wearing distinctive T-shirts as they backed Otway & Richard on ''You ain't seen nothin yet'' (they even played the guitar behind their back all 4 guitarists). John Otway even showed his bagpipe skills (keep to the theramin John!).
- Unfortunately due to the drummer Fito injuring his arm and then coming down with some virus Canned Heat left the tour in the last week leaving the other acts with longer spots for the rest of the tour. This meant more songs for the Dr Feelgood and on the last run of the tour they introduced a ''Maitland's choice'' spot where the stage manager selected his choice of Feelgood classics from sets prior the naughty tour ensuring a different addition each night.
- On the last week it also meant the Feelgoods could encore with ''Route 66'' with guests ie whoever was still in the building from Otway and the Kursaals - it certainly threw up some different combinations including Phil playing bass with Trevor (Kursaals) playing the chords and the Phil playing chords whilst Richard strummed the guitar strings (different). The keyboard player from the Kursaals also guested on ''Down at the Drs''.

I have heard some people weren't happy about a couple of gigs that did not happen (Leicester and Derby) - these shows were cancelled by the promoter not Dr Feelgood but I'm sure the Feelgoods will try and play shows in their own right this year. In fact Derby has been pencilled in for 12th April at the Flowerpot.

John Otway (the one hit wonder) is planning to celebrate losing this status on October 6th. He has indeed already booked the London Palladium for the gig/party to commemorate this stunning feat (sic). He has very kindly asked Dr Feelgood to be his special guests for that night so a debut for the Feelgoods at the Palladium is on the cards.

Before then though we have the [9th] Lee Brilleaux Birthday Memorial to look forward too on Friday 10th May. As many of you out there will know it really is a great chance to meet other fans from literally all over the world in a real party atmosphere and see some brilliant combinations of Feelgoods past and present along with some very special guests. Johnny Guitar may be making a special journey all the way from the USA to appear and the Big Figure who now lives in France, may return for this concert. Lee's old mate and classic songwriter Larry Wallis is also provisionally booked in. The show itself tries to be non stop (even Gary Lokers spectacular skid off the stage last year only halted proceedings for a few minutes as a replacement guitarist was drafted in as Gary received treatment at the side of the stage) and does indeed last for hours giving great value for money. The money is donated to SCENT the nursing team who cared for Lee in his last days. Fans arrive throughout the day and meet up in the Oyster Fleet bar where no doubt I'll find my way to about lunchtime. I'll be waiting there to greet the walkers who choose to join Whitey on his ''walk'' around Canvey Island with Whitey showing the young Brilleaux haunts and stopping of for refreshments frequented by the adult Brilleaux. Anyone wanting to join the walk which takes place on the Friday morning is asked to contact Grand direct to confirm meeting points/departure time etc. It's the first time the Memorial has been on a Friday so anyone wanting to visit Grand Records will have to do it on the day itself as Grand Records will be closed on the Saturday!!

Keep on Feelin’ Good
John Butterfield
[John Butterfield's current contact details.]

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THE BRONZE MAN

Christoffer Frances very kindly directed me to an interesting web site which featured pages of an interview with Dave Bronze conducted via e mail. The interview is gar too long to reproduce here but tells of all the artistes he has worked with including Dave Gilmour, Leo Sayer, Bryan Ferry et all. Here is just a taster as I've nicked (with kind permission of Steve Shail) the bits relating to Dr Feelgood.

Dave was born in 1952 in the town of Billericay, England and grew up in the town of Stanford-le-Hope, a small Essex town further down the Thames towards London.

Dave: I was just a real music fan until my teens, when I actually started messing with harmonica; after discovering Captain Beefheart. At the time it was the only instrument I could afford. Well, in time honoured style, the day job in the music shop was to help finance the musical career. I actually knew Mickey Jupp before, as he also worked in another local music shop! He was also a bit of a local hero. He came into Tim's shop where I was working one day to buy strings. We were chatting over a coffee when he said he was about to go on tour in Europe and didn't have a bass player, so I volunteered. That was it! When I joined Mickey Jupp, I already knew how to rock, but he taught me how to roll! There is a very elusive and beautiful roll in well played Rock 'n Roll and that is not always obvious to fledgling players. Mickey has it in aces, and that was the first time I was exposed to it full on. It was a most important period for me. Incidentally, I recently played with Mickey again on one off gig in Southend. 1st time for about 15+ years! The guy is still awesome!

Steve Shail: So after a few years and the album ''Oxford'', your tenure with Mickey ended and you found yourself doing session work, playing on jingles and also working at Tim Gentle's music shop when, during a conversation with Robin's younger brother Brad you learn that Robin is looking for a bass player. What happened next?

Dave: Actually Brad Trower was also working in Tim's shop at that time. I was also playing in a local band with him. The band was called ''The Old Pals Act'' and featured Brad on guitar, Bob Clouter on drums, Ian Gibbons (of The Kinks) on keys, and Barry Martin (later of The Hamsters) on guitar and vocals (Beginning to see the links?????). It was during this time that Brad suggested to Robin that he should check me out (I think!). The band was a covers band. ZZ Top, John Hiatt, blues, R'nB etc. Basically an early version of the Hamsters, only better.

Steve Shail: Dave Bronze as a singer?

Dave: When with Robin Trower he got an offer of a US tour. At the time no singer was involved, so he said I'd have to do it! I had never had any aspirations of this kind and was mortified. But I agreed to give it a shot. To this day I kind of regret having agreed to do it, as I knew I was not a great singer. It caused me serious confidence problems for years afterwards. In fact, it was many years after I stopped singing with Robin before I would even agree to contribute backing vocals on stage with anyone. Our first show, and therefore my first show ever as a vocalist, was in Palo Alto. The first song was, (I think) ''Rock Me Baby''. Bearing in mind my reservations regarding my singing abilities, and definitely not seeing myself as a blues singer, imagine this: I was just psyching myself up in front of a packed house. I glanced over to stage right at Robin. In the wings just behind him stood............. John Lee Hooker! I would have given several years of my life if the stage could have opened up and swallowed me whole.

Steve Shail: Well, time wise, we are somewhere in 1989 and you performed at a very special charity event at a place called ''Wintershall House Gardens" with a few well known musicians. Can you tell us a bit about the show and who you were on stage with?

Dave: That was a charity show for The MacMillan Nurses, which is an organisation for cancer nurses. I was asked by Gary Brooker to take part, I flew home to the U.K. especially to do it. The band was as follows: Drums, Phil Collins and Henry Spinetti. Keyboards and vocals, Gary Brooker and Steve Winwood. Guitars, Eric Clapton, Mike Rutherford and Andy Fairweather Low. Percussion Gary Hammond (now with The Beautiful South). Backing singers included Sam Brown and her mother, Vicki (sadly deceased). Plus a horn section. I remember thinking ''What the hell am I doing up here?'' about halfway through the show!

Steve Shail: In 1991, at some point, you ran into a member of a band that I had heard of but had not really checked out, Dr. Feelgood. I absolutely loved what I heard from the samples I got from your friend Chris. This is really entertaining straight forward fun music. Please tell us about this band and how long you were with them.

Dave: The Feelgoods were (and are still) from my area, and I had known them all for a long time. Very tough, hard hitting, no prisoners R'n'B band. They called me in as a session player to finish off an album in mid production after deciding to part company with their bass player. It just went on from there, and I ended up being with them (apart from a short break [Note by Gabi: around autumn 1991, Dave was replaced by Craig Rhind, a long time friend from Steve Walwyn]) until the tragic death of front man Lee Brilleaux.

Steve Shail: The break you mentioned was to fill a commitment with Procol Harum. This was for ''The Prodigal Stranger'' album? You went on tour with Procol and I believe after your tour with Procol you went back and did work on Dr. Feelgoods ''The Feelgood Factor'' which I believe you co-produced. It was about this time that Lee Brilleaux was diagnosed with cancer. I read that as ill as Lee was, he worked hard to finish this album. Watching your friend push himself this way had to have left a lasting impression on you. Can you tell us about it?

Dave: That is a masterpiece of understatement. In fact, as co-producer (and also a songwriter) on that album, it fell to me to supervise most of Lee's vocal performances. I pushed him very hard, as at that instant I wasn't aware of the gravity of his condition. He, however, did know the full story, but still worked incredibly hard and wouldn't stop until it was done. Naturally I was somewhat shocked when the facts came out, and pretty upset with myself for pushing him as hard as I did. I will never forget that time. I was and will always remain in awe of Lee's determination and professionalism in the face of the ultimate adversity. He was truly a hell of a man, and is sorely missed.

Steve Shail: There is also a very moving story with regards to the final recordings of Lee Brilleaux and Dr. Feelgood that were done in January of 1994 and released as ''Down At The Doctors''. You were involved with setting this up. Would you please share with us how these shows came to be, and, in your mind, what you felt they meant to Lee.

Dave: Well, Lee underwent the torture of heavy chemotherapy, and I visited him in hospital a few times. He was then sent home (very much thinner than he left!) and to my astonishment, after a while, called me and told me he wanted to do a live album. (This is again a measure of the man!). He asked if I would co-ordinate and produce it, and I of course accepted. We rehearsed for a few days and did 2 nights at a small bar he part owned in his home town, Canvey. He had to sit down for much of the time, but performed amazingly. He died not long after this. Tough times, but an honour nonetheless. Melodrama aside, I think he knew it was to be his swansong, and I think that's why he did it. Anyway, I mixed, edited, and mastered the album as quickly as I could, and managed to get a CDR copy to him only a short time before he passed away, but I don't know to this day if he ever heard it. He was in a very bad way by then.

Steve Shail: I also have to mention how much I liked the song ''One Step Forward'' that you wrote. Lee's vocals are great! During the lay off from Dr. Feelgood in 1993, you joined a band you once described as ''Southends hardest working blues -rock band'' ...The Hamsters. This band, I think, was one of the heavier sounding bands you have been with. How did joining this band come about?

Dave: I had known lead Hamster Barry Martin for many years before this, and you will note we worked together with Brad Trower in The Old Pal's Act. When Lee became ill Barry called me and offered me the gig. (The band had been together for many years, but the bass player developed a problem in his hands). I didn't think the band was right for me, but Barry was persistent, and I gave in and joined. It was a mistake.

Steve Shail: Why did you feel the band was wrong for you?

Dave: There were many reasons, and musical differences were definitely there. Like all relationships, (and being in a band is very much a relationship) there were many small things that create incompatibility. The fact is, I should have listened to my instinct in the first place. I knew the band wasn't right for me (and/or vice versa), so I shouldn't have joined. The main problem is that it was not a smooth ride, and the end was not particularly amicable, and the result is I've lost a couple of very long standing friendships.

Steve Shail: In the numerous articles I have read, I kept seeing this comment from you.. ''...and then I got a call to join Clapton''. Every time I read that line I kept trying to picture what your reaction may have been as you got off the phone. I mean, geez,... the opportunity to record with Eric ... freakin'... Clapton!! Even though you did know him, did you react calmly or was it closer to you running around the house laughing and screaming and jumping up and down?

Dave: Truth is, it was Eric's manager who called, and I thought it was one of my friends having a joke, so I just dicked him around for a while. Pretty embarrassing when I realized it was for real! In fact, my answering machine recorded the whole conversation, and I still have it, but don't expect me to let it out while I still draw breath! Also, I should mention that I was only asked to help them out for rehearsals. Nathan East was otherwise occupied for a time just as Eric was preparing for a Japanese tour. I was just filling in for him. Happily, it led on to much greater things, including me playing on the biggest selling blues album in history (so far as I am led to believe!).

Steve Shail: How did you go from coming in as a short term replacement to going into the studio to work on Eric's next release ''From The Cradle''?

Dave: I just got a call to be at the studio. What was going on behind the scenes is unknown to me.

Steve Shail: Tell us about the first live show you did with Clapton. Even though you had played with Eric before, this was not just a one time show, you were on stage as a full time member of the band.

Dave: It was at the Albert Hall, the first of a run of 12 shows. I was so nervous I can't bear to think about it!

Steve Shail: You did a couple of tours of the U.S. with Eric and played everything from arenas to some of the small blues clubs in the south. What was the largest audience you played for?

Dave: Again it's hard to say. Many of the arenas in the U.S. hold up to 20,000 people, and we did most of them.

Steve Shail: While you were touring with EC, Dr Feelgood reunites with new vocalist Pete Gage and releases a comeback album. While you couldn't go on the subsequent tour you still managed to write one song, co-write another, and produce the album for them. How did you come to be involved with this project?

Dave: The Feelgoods and I are always in contact. It's natural for them to ask me to produce them. I know what they want to achieve, and I live close by (+ I'm cheap!). Why use anyone else? In fact I've produced all of their albums since Primo.

Steve Shail: You played a special memorial with ex Pink Floyd member Snowy White?

Dave: Every year since Lee Brilleaux died there is a memorial gig, and all sorts of people turn up to play. I think it was about 2 or 3 years ago that Snowy, Feelgoods drummer Kevin Morris and myself did a set together. It was fun, Snowy's great.

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Friends of the brewery, 'Day Trip To Darlo'
Dr Feelgood - Darlington Arts Centre, February 23rd 2002

An idea mooted when the 'Feelin' Good' gig list came out in issue 26, was for the Brewery Support Group, (a happy band of Feelgood type chaps and chapesses, ranging in numbers from two to twenty) to have a pub crawl round the real ale pubs in Darlington, finishing up at the Darlington Arts Centre to witness a show from our favourite local band Dr. Feelgood. This also served the purpose of getting every one up to speed for the imminent three days of liver and eardrum punishment at Butlins, Skegness.

Phase one: An eager bunch set of in high spirits, from HQ in Billingham, by mini bus to the first hostelry, The Britannia (two pints each, but Jem had three). Next stop, The Tap & Spile (disappointing beer range, one pint each) whiz into the Tapas Bar next door, (much better, one pint each) into the town centre, and a stop of at The Corner café, (a brilliant range of beers, two pints each, although Jem had three). A short walk to the local Wetherspoons (two pints each and some food, Jem had two and a half and sensible Sue had a coffee! very strange). From there to the last stop, Number Twenty Two, (John Butterfield wasn't to keen on his first, every one had at least two and Jem had the most). At this point reinforcements arrived in the form of the Blair's from Hartlepool and the posse was complete.

Phase two: Go to the arts centre. First shock. No real ale, never mind, a pint of John Smiths smooth (whoopee!). Next shock. We were told we couldn't stand on the dance floor unless we were actually dancing. When it was pointed out to the perpetrator of such devilment that there was nothing to dance to yet, he reluctantly retreated, half returned, then went away again when we assured him we would dance the very second anything remotely musical occurred. The scene was then, set.

The compare introduced Dr. Feelgood, making sure to inform the gathered throng that 'no original members were in the band', and we were off, 'Talkin Bout You' with us dancing like idiots to reserve our spot in front of the stage. The scene was made more ludicrous when Robert jumped onto the monitors, only to find them on castors and he briefly skateboarded onto the dance floor before falling off! Hey, it works Robert, leave it in! 'Baby Quits Me', 'All Through The City', 'Milk', 'She's A Wind Up' among many old favourites, finishing the first half off with 'Jetty Blues'.
Another pint of the superb John Smiths smooth (gorgeous) and a brief chat with that purveyor of tee shirts, gentleman and all round snappy dresser, Baldrick, and it was time for the second half. The compare told us that 'it wasn't a concert, it was a blues club'. I was pleased he cleared this up for me and it obviously made him (and a sizeable proportion of the seated audience) happy that this point had been made.
Bang up to date now with 'Nadine' and we're off on another roller coaster ride through Feelgood history finishing of with 'Route 66'.

After a quick chat with one or two people, and a cheery 'thanks for coming and come back again' from the organisers, (are you sure ?) it was into the Blair's space cruiser and back to Brewing HQ for beer and Pork Parmo's.

All in all, a worthwhile exercise, Roll on Skeggy! Thanks to the Blair's as always, for transport, sorry's to the Arts Centre for causing trouble by standing in the wrong place, but mainly thanks to me for having the idea in the first place. Oh yes, congratulations to Jem for drinking four bottles of brown in the Arts Centre, at least two more pints of 'Whirlwind' at HQ, and eating a whole Parmo himself. Well done.

RIGGY (Head Brewer)

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The original (printed) version of this newsletter also contains
a funny interpretation of ''The Feelgood Factor'' lyrics
and 3 gig reviews
(Nov. 20, 2001 - Dr Feelgood at the Pavilion, Hemel Hempstead/UK
Oct. 13, 2001 - Mickey Jupp at Riga Music Bar, Southend/UK
Oct. 14, 2001 - Wilko Johnson Band at the Oysterfleet, Canvey Island/UK)

Go to Newsletter Issue 28/July 2002

Next Issue features:

Interview with a celebrity Sunderland supporter (wonder who that can be?)
News on Otway's next hit single
Review of the Memorial
News on Dr Feelgood's next CD

 

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