When I’d roadied with Bill Haley and The Comets for six weeks around the UK in the Spring of ’74 they were supported on a few dates by a band from Huddersfield called ‘Remember This’. They were a heap of fun and we became friends. They were led by a singer called Chrissie and the band consisted in the main of her 4 brothers and a sax player who was unrelated.
One day I gave them a cassette of a song that I’d written with my mate Dick and to my amazement they started to perform it in their set.
At the end of the tour I came back to my flat in Trafalgar Road in Moseley and they went back to driving around the country in their beaten up transit van from one show to another staying in dodgy b&b’s if they were lucky.
It was a few months before I heard from them again but what a call! They phoned from Copenhagen to say that I had to join them there now. They wouldn’t tell me why but insisted that I just had to.
A return to Copenhagen then was a few hundred pounds but I scrabbled it together and flew the next day.
On arrival I made my way to a rundown hotel where they were sleeping six to a room but nothing prepared me for the news they shared. In brief they had a week long residency at The Hard Rock Cafe in Copenhagen and on their first night they were staggered when Alice Cooper came into their dressing room after their show. He was performing with KISS in an arena in town and had come after his show and just happened to catch theirs. He’s asked them if they had a manager – no, a record deal – no. He said he’d loved their show and would help if he could.
They were blown away by his visit but thought they’d never hear anything from it and went back to their cold, damp hotel room for six.
The next night a chap came to the dressing room after the show and introduced himself as an exec from Carlin Music’s London office. He explained that Colonel Tom Parker had called him and told him to check out this band immediately and that if they were as good as Alice Cooper said they were then to offer them a management contract…..with The Colonel himself. The man from Carlin right there and then presents them with a 4 page management contract between them and The Colonel.
The night I arrived the story was front page news in the Danish press and they were due to take a call from The Colonel in their hotel room. Seven of us sit amongst a mess of sheets and clothes in this tiny room, the phone rings, Chrissie picks it up and it’s The Colonel who gets straight to the point and tells Chrissie that the first thing he’s going to do is put them on tour in the USA supporting Elvis. Chrissie puts the phone down and we all go crazy.
They insist that I’m going to America with them and I’m not arguing. Here’s a band performing one of my songs, signed to Colonel Tom Parker and we’re all going to America to support Elvis on tour. I left Copenhagen in a daze back to a few hungry days in Moseley until my next job came in.
As the weeks went by Chrissie had calls from various people at Carlin London but then out of the blue she had a telex from The Colonel saying that the guys in Carlin London weren’t handling things the way he wanted and the deal was off. That was it. All over.
The last time I saw Chrissie many years later she was performing a solo skiffle set in bars around Blackpool, dam fine it was too but of course none of her audience knew that her story was nearly so different. She told me she still had the contract from The Colonel in a draw in her bedroom.
And me? I learned that in the business of popular music you believe it when it’s happened.