The Searchers News

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Issue 127 written exclusively for The Searchers Official Web Site by Searchers front man Frank Allen

ŠThe Searchers Official Web Site. No unauthorised reproduction

Hello again after what has been a fairly traumatic time here in Searcherland. 

For the first time in almost twenty-five years we found it necessary to cancel a bunch of shows. Digging deep into my memory banks the only other instance I could find was of two nights on a Solid Silver Sixties Show back in 1993 when Spencer and I both contracted bad colds which went on to cause laryngitis. The noise coming out of our throats was somewhere between unpleasant and non-existent.  Even though we rejoined the tour three days later the vocals were not much better but we struggled through to the end, and after hearing an explanation at the top of our set each night the audience were always very understanding.

But this time there was nothing we could do. As I wrote in my last newsletter the Australian tour had really knocked everyone for six and in particular John McNally, whose resistance had become so low as to allow a serious chest infection to put him in a position of great danger health-wise.  In mid April, following ‘the show must go on’ tradition he battled rather unwisely through a whole bunch of performances whilst virtually collapsing in the dressing room every night before and after the concert.

Finally we had to admit defeat and our show on 19 April at the Richmond Theatre, a venue we had never played at before, was pulled at the very last minute. At first we decided to take things day by day, that`s what John suggested, but the next morning he was no better and to go on would have been foolish in the extreme, so we immediately had to remove the shows in Solihull, Gravesend, Worthing and Worcester. To anyone who, apart from naturally being disappointed, was inconvenienced by the cancellations please accept our sincere apologies but it was absolutely unavoidable.

Indeed Wendy Burton, having sent out round-robin emails to all the UK fans, received hundreds of messages assuring us we had done the right thing and requesting their best wishes for a speedy recovery to be passed on to John.  I also received an email conveying his good wishes for a fast recovery from Sir Cliff Richard who was relaxing at his home in Barbados.

The following week John, though still far from being fighting fit, felt able to take on shows again and was given a tentative okay by his doctor. In any normal line of work the recovery period would have been much longer but this is showbusiness and everyone in this profession (well certainly the majority) just hates to let their loyal followers down. So now let`s hope the ailing Searcher remains on the up and up and gets back to full strength very soon. Thank you all for your understanding.

All but one of the cancelled shows have been rescheduled and all in the near future apart from The Richmond Theatre which has had to be moved to the early part of 2018.
And since almost normal service has been resumed I have to say the shows have been going extremely well indeed. All the venues have been virtually sold out and the crowd reaction quite amazing. Maybe the short break did us good and there was an extra vitality in the comeback performances. Or maybe audiences, realising that we are all getting older and at some point we will no longer be around to provide the background to their youthful memories, are simply grabbing the chance to catch us while they can. I often joke on stage about us being Rock Gods, which of course we are not. We are in fact Rock Mortals with an indeterminate but still finite time to enjoy what we do. Let`s hope that it is longer rather than shorter.

German fan Norbert Kaase recently sent us a clip of a backstage interview he did with us at a German venue in 1999. Check it out here.  I think you`ll find it interesting.  And to add to it there is a second link  sent by Norbert of the band performing Needles & Pins during the concert that night.

The sound is never quite so good on these basic recordings but it`s nice to at least enjoy the memory, especially if you were at the show. It`s fascinating for us to see how young we looked eighteen years ago. Forget the old movie star trick of being filmed through gauze. It`s coming to the point where we`ll need to be shot through a horse blanket!

Looking at the rest of the year it`s as packed as usual although there is nothing really exciting or unusual to tell you about. No foreign adventures at the moment although you can never tell when the call will come. There is plenty of time. We are not even at the halfway point of the year yet.  Just a long run of our all evening concerts which after all is what most of our followers prefer.

And then the Sixties Gold Tour from the end of September which, as I pointed out in my last newsletter looks like being Gerry Marsden`s Swansong, The final show is certainly going to be very emotional as I imagine will be the Liverpool performance.

So that`s about it. Keep coming and do keep spreading the word to that we can boost our career and keep things going for as long as you`d like it.
Good wishes to you all. Stay safe.

Frank Allen.

VIA THIS WEBPAGE:   If you would like to ask him a question, which will be answered
by e-mail, and might even appear at the end of a future issue of this newsletter, please
e-mail it to:

Question 1:   How does the group decide which guitar sound goes on a record which, after all, is permanent?  Does it depend upon the make or type of guitar currently being used on stage or what?

Answer:  We all offer suggestions but John has more say about recordings than anyone else. Especially guitars. He is certainly the most forthright about getting his way, and justifiably so.
Question 2:   Where and how does the group rehearse any new song when it is to be chosen for a gig, or indeed any old song that is being put back in after a long absence?

Answer:  We grab time at a theatre at the sound check before a performance. We don`t spend long hours rehearsing - we prepare it in our minds and by discussion then put it together over a day or two.

Question 3:  If you were on Desert Island Discs, which book, luxury item and one song to save if others were washed away, would you take?

Answer:  My chosen book would be my own book The Searchers And Me. This is not an ego thing by any means nor do I think it`s a particularly special or important book. It is simply because while I was alone on the island I would be reminiscing about my life and the people in it. TSAM has all my memories in it and pages of photographs to remind me of the people I knew and the places I travelled to.
The luxury item would have to be an acoustic guitar so that I could amuse myself with the music I grew up with.
To choose one song above all others is the most difficult thing. Even with the eight records allowed my selection would be different a day later than my first choosing. Should it be “Don`t Be Cruel” by Elvis or something very sentimental like “Thanks For The Memory” (the Michael Feinstein version? I think for longevity and sentimentality it should be the latter.

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