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always nice when someone comes up to me after a show and says how much
they enjoy these once-in-a-while newsletters. For my part it`s not so
much what`s in them as rather letting you all know that we appreciate
you and trying to show that we are very much involved in the
relationship with our audience and are more than happy to play our
part. As they say, it takes two to tango and the amount of effort, not
to mention expense, that you put in by trudging all the way to our
concerts is amazing. It was summed up in the nicest way recently
when a gentleman came up to me in the foyer one night and followed his
thanks by saying that it was like having a pen friend. I considered
that a wonderful compliment indeed.
the last time I wrote we have all enjoyed our annual holiday break
although for some the pleasure was just not to go anywhere but simply
to chill out at home and enjoy the family and give them the attention
they deserve for once.
hiatus was definitely the most notable in that he grabbed the chance to
get married. And I do mean grab because here in Searcherland the only
excuse for not being available is death. It`s a very romantic story in
fiancée Sam was a childhood sweetheart, a romance which somehow fizzled
out as they grew up and went their separate ways. But somehow they
managed to connect again in recent years and amazingly the old spark
was still there. (Excuse me while I get a bit emotional here and wipe
away a tear. I may seem a bit cold at times believe me, underneath this
icy exterior beats a heart of pure granite!).
honeymoon took in a couple of nights in Las Vegas staying at the
Treasure Island Hotel. Scott had such a terrific time in Sin City when
The Searchers performed there a couple of years back that he wanted to
return and show Sam the town. From there they travelled on to Barbados,
a destination just made for those who are young and in love.
Back in the eighties I had also holidayed in Barbados with my ladyfriend Lee staying at the luxurious Glitter Bay Hotel. We were no longer young and by that time we had definitely got over all the mushy stuff so the romantic vibe was completely wasted on us but it`s a beautiful island without a doubt.
my break this year I jetted off to Canada to stay with my friends
Barbara and Caroline in London, Ontario, and had a most relaxing stay.
The journey out was extra comfortable because, like last year’s flight
to New York, I opted to fly First Class. Believe me, as a child of
Scottish parents such profligacy does not sit easily but I`ve decided
to lash out in my old age. It`s about time I spent some of my
can`t report anything exciting. Most afternoons were spent with Barb
and I playing the board game Rumikub in the back yard of Caroline`s
lovely condominium while red cardinal birds flitted between trees.
There were plenty of dinners to go to in the evenings and plenty of
spritzers waiting for me back at the house afterwards, with fireflies
lighting up the garden like sparks rising up from the embers of a fire.
I have made a lot of friends there over the years and it was nice to
catch up. I even enjoyed an evening of bluegrass music in the grounds
of a tiny country church.
man Phil Hayes zoomed off to his favourite city New York (it`s mine
too) and made the most of his time which included a 25 kilometre bike
ride round Central Park, a walk on the High Line which is a defunct
overhead railway that has been turned into a tourist route, and of
course a visit to the art galleries.
Phil was flying out at more or less the same time as me I managed to
have him join me in the First Class Concorde Lounge at Heathrow. And I
was pleased that Phil managed to shed his ultra left wing principles
for a wee while and just enjoy the decadent splendour of the
surroundings. But of course Phil is Phil - with complimentary champagne
and a gourmet three course meal on offer he opted for a coffee and a
line roadie John Semark went for Orlando, Florida, in the company of
his mum, his younger daughter Carrie and her boyfriend Ryan. They had
rented a villa for the stay and most days were spent taking on the
hairiest rides of Disneyworld. It is so nice to see John taking such
good care of his mother who is wheelchair bound these days and who
would be quite isolated without him taking on the task of making sure
she is looked after. Full marks to him for that.
an extra treat he was able to catch up with Chubby Checker`s drummer
Harry and his wife who came down to stay with them for a couple of
days. John had palled up with a few of the Chubster`s band during the
Rock The Boat cruise we did out of Brisbane last year and had kept in
touch ever since.
to say John McNally managed to avoid any travel whatsoever during our
two weeks off. His idea of a holiday is up a ladder painting the window
frames or cleaning out the gutters. Well, each to his own. And Spencer
also opted for a staycation when he discovered that his young daughter
Savannah was not at all bothered about a trip to Disneyworld which had
year has really flown by at a most alarming speed and at the time of
writing we are only a hop skip and a jump away from the Sixties
Gold Tour which starts on the last day of September. As you will be
aware by this time, it is officially Gerry Marsden`s farewell tour.
Will it really be the last? Or is he going to do a Frank Sinatra? How
many final tours did Old Blue Eyes take on?
it`s the love of the music or the addiction to the applause that the
audience heaps on you every few minutes it is hard for a dyed in the
wool performer to give up entirely. We`ll just wait and see. But just
in case it really is the end you had better get your tickets now and
catch him while you can. In fact that goes for all of us. There will
come a time when the touring has to stop. Perhaps it will cease to be
enjoyable any more or it may be forced upon us when our bodies just
refuse to function.
those of you who live to the East or South East of London should try to
get to the O2 Indigo at Greenwich on Sunday October 22nd. The O2 has
become the premier concert destination in the capital and although we
are not playing the vast arena which has a capacity of 20,000 the
smaller Indigo seating a little over 1,600 is apparently a superb hall.
The size should suit our audience perfectly and one can still enjoy the
other facilities in the marvellous complex. I went there to catch one
of Cliff`s concerts a few years back (in the main hall of course) and
was amazed at the variety of eateries where you could relax, drink and
dine before the show. Every kind of food is available in the seemingly
endless stretch of restaurants which circle the main hall. The
Docklands Light Railway takes you right to the door and if you feel
adventurous or romantic you can even get there by river taxi.
This is the first time we will have performed at The Indigo and it will be very interesting indeed to find out if it is the right setting for our kind of entertainment. I have a feeling it most definitely will.
once again to our frequent trips to Australia and my mentions of the
extremely long flights out there and back, I thought you might like to
see an old black & white photo of John and myself snoozing on the
journey back from our very first tour there way back in 1964. I think
the flight then was in the region of thirty six hours. I may be a
little out there but it certainly makes the ordeal today pale into
almost insignificance by comparison. By the way, the photo was taken by
Peter Asher of Peter & Gordon.
get a fair amount of requests for Till I Met You, the lovely song
penned by John McNally that was relegated to the B-side of Goodbye My
Love and it looks like it is back in the show at last. By the time you
read this we should have re-learned it and found a space in our already
overcrowded set list. I hope that pleases many of you. And other
changes are due as and when we can get in to have some rehearsal time.
That brings another problem in itself in what has to be removed from
the set list to make way. It`s never easy.
the setting-up time at The White Rock Theatre in Hastings recently John
and I were filmed as ‘talking heads’ for a new documentary DVD about
the early days of the Mersey Sound both in the UK and in Hamburg where
so many Scouse musicians had found a new appreciation for their skills
at The Star Club in St Pauli.
I was not involved in those very early embryonic days in the Pool being
a namby pamby Southerner who infiltrated The Searchers when they were
already at their peak in the summer of 1964, my recollections were in
the main based around the German experience where I played with Cliff
Bennett`s Rebel Rousers and where I first became friends with John,
Mike, Chris and Tony.
enough it was with The Rebel Rousers and not The Searchers that I got
to play The Cavern and The Iron Door in Liverpool. Both experiences
were a little disappointing for us. The Iron Door gig came as part of a
short Northern tour during which our hired van broke down several
times. And one of those breakdowns was on the way to the famous club
that was considered the home of The Searchers. We arrived
somewhat late but eventually got our stuff sorted and did our usual
show. But the Scouse scallys who ran the place took advantage of our
misfortunes and refused to pay us citing our late arrival as
justification. It was hardly justified. They lost nothing and instead
profited handsomely from our unpaid fee.
were no such financial or logistical problems on the day we performed
at The Cavern but the ever changing temperature in the dank basement
played havoc with the tuning of our dual saxes resulting in a few
unplanned pauses for adjustment. On top of that the audience, heavily
populated by the groups we had made friends with in Hamburg, was
arranged for whatever reason on very neatly aligned benches in front of
the stage in a slightly formal manner which was not conducive to a
great atmosphere. All in all it was okay but not the high point we were
hoping for. Ah well, some you win etc……
was in the Grosse Freiheit that I first became aware of the amazing
music scene that existed on Merseyside. Up to that point the city was
just a name on a map to me and of no great importance whatsoever. How
wrong I was. The whole country soon learnt that the group scene there
with its own ratings poll of local artistes and its own music paper,
Merseybeat, had a uniqueness and a vibrancy that London did not.
working title of the DVD is Made On Merseyside and sounds like an
absolute must for all devotees of the genre. I have no idea when it
will be released. That title may not remain. As I said it is just in
use for now and the final product may well have a different title
entirely. The company involved is the same one that
produced a Dusty DVD a couple of years ago to which I contributed a few
memories of a great friend, a superb talent and a truly lovely person.
If I get any more information on when it will hit the stores or become
available for download I`ll let you know.
World Wide Web still seems like of those things that happened just a
few years ago but Wendy Burton pointed out to me that our website has
actually just passed its twentieth birthday although not quite in the
same format that we have now.
Jackson, who does all the clever things to put on line the information
and photos etc that Wendy and I pass on to him, already had his My
Generation site up and running when Wendy first encountered him on the
Isle Of Wight Ferry in July 1997 They were of course both on
their way to a Searchers concert. Gary had already established a
Searchers page on his site and the meeting of these two great minds
gave rise to a separate, and badly needed, Searchers internet magazine
of their own. And boy hasn`t it grown over the years. Congratulations
and thanks are certainly due to Gary and Wendy.
to tail things off here`s a clip from an Italian television show,
Studio Uno, which we appeared on in Rome, 1966. I hope you enjoy it.
All the best from us
HERE ARE SOME MORE ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS SENT TO FRANK
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: email@example.com
Question 1: How does your stage volume today compare with that of past decades?
Answer: It is much louder because of the higher levels and quality of sound available now.. Back then nothing was mic`d up. We were never a loud band but these days even we are much louder. Because of the enhanced quality and hopefully excellent work by pur sound engineer, Phil Hayes, it is altogether a better experience for the listener.
2: With all your international travelling, do the
changes in humidity adversely affect the guitar necks?
Answer: Guitars in the holds of a plane (especially the 12-string) have to have the strings slackened beforehand because the temperature tightens and breaks them. Alternately a hot climate will loosen strings and so the tuning before and even during a show has to be carefully monitored..