Growing up with the music of the 60’s and 70’s it was almost every girl’s romantic dream to be involved with a boy from a band, or group as they were called then.

I was fortunate for many reasons to marry a man who was a rock drummer. Bari has been in almost fifty different bands of all sorts over his long career as a musician, rock and roll, brass, pit orchestras… and of so many different musical genres. His stories are wonderful and anecdotes about great gigs, fall-outs, betrayals and duplicity all set to great music is a true inspiration for me!

The truth about being a drummer… 5% drumming, 95% hanging about

One evening while still living in Oldham, we had a telephone call from the local police station… the officer was a friend of Bari’s and knowing he was a musician told him about a band made up of policemen and traffic wardens who needed a drummer. Very soon he was a member of Classic Gold, a five piece  band… and it wasn’t long before they changed their name, thinking Classic Gold sounded either like a brand of coffee or a brand of condoms… and they became Driving Force.

Driving Force – rehearsing for a gig

Stu and Bari rehearsing

Essential communication between Nigel and Bari

The gig… Nigel’s first number

Rog finishes with a flourish

Driving Force played a variety of different songs from Buddy Holly to the present and included music from a band I had never heard of and for some reason thought were Welsh, The Mavericks. We moved to the west country and brought a couple of CDs with us which Driving Force had recorded and they included some Mavericks numbers. I liked the sound and borrowed a CD from the library…. and I was hooked! I was able to see the Mavericks on a number of occasions; I also saw Raul Malo on his solo tours with different musicians backing him, and Robert Reynolds and Paul Deakin on tour with the Roadtrippers..

Observing the dynamic of a band, a group of excellent musicians and friends, such as Driving Force, or on the bigger stage, the Mavericks and Raul, really helps me write; to say they are an inspiration is not an overstatement! Watching the way the different members of a band work together, work alone, interact, improvise, back each other when the inevitable glitches threaten to disrupt the set, I find ideas about characters, plot, action fizz up like beer in a glass…  I leave a gig bursting with ideas and thoughts, some of which ferment quietly for months and even years before they come foaming out onto the page like a pint of Otter Ale from a pump!

In my next novel to be published, ‘The Stalking of Rosa Czekov’, a band reunion is crucial to the plot.  In ‘Night Vision’, music is also a vital strand of the story-line, and my latest as yet unedited novel about the Portbradden family was inspired by the closeness that develops in a band, and also the friction between the different members!

If I have been inspired by the Mavericks, then I owe that to Driving Force who introduced me to their music!

2 thoughts on “GROUPIE

  1. That’s so true about the ideas. That they ferment for years before finally overflowing into something! I have a sense that mine gestate, then pop out so bright and obvious I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before!

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