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24 September 2014
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Where Are They Now?
Dave Dee
Dave Dee reminisces about the halcyon days of dance halls, Butlins and getting groovy.

Sounding more like a Malory Towers' hockey team than a flamboyant '60s quintet, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich hailed from Wiltshire and formed their eponymously-named band in 1961.

After undergoing the dance hall circuit and supporting successful acts such as the Honeycombs, they were signed to Fontana records in 1964. They hit the charts with 'You Make It Move' and enjoyed a succession of memorable singles including 'Bend It', 'Zabadak' and 'The Legend of 'Xanadu'. Their combination of colourful rhetoric, extravagant costumes and camp theatrics secured their fame throughout the sixties and, apparently, a legion of imitations in the fashion outlets of Carnaby Street.Whether it was the accident with the bullwhip or a desire to go solo, in 1969 Dave Dee packed his bags and moved on to pursue careers in acting, presenting and A and R. The remaining four continued for a short period, releasing a minor hit, 'Mr President', but eventually disbanded.

How did you all come together back in 1961?
Dave Dee: I was always in bands before I left the police force and within two weeks of resigning I had joined a local band which was going to be the nucleus of Dave Dee, Mick, Beaky, Dozy and Titch. Titch and Dozy had a different drummer and singer and I joined as a rhythm guitarist. One day the singer didn't show up for a gig and I did most of the singing. He never got back in the band, simple as that.

You mention being a policeman. Apparently you were at the scene of the Eddie Cochrane crash...

Dave Dee: I wasn't at it, we went to it after the crash had happened. I was a police cadet then not a pc. It's been well documented that Eddie Cochrane and Gene Vincent were in the car. We sussed they were musicians soon after we got there because there guitars and gig things all over the road and in the car. We had to take everything back to the station and then realised that it was Cochrane's guitar. I was a huge fan of both him and Gene Vincent.

You quickly became known as much for your rock n' roll as the comic elements to your act. What inspired you? Did that come naturally or were you trying to be different?
Dave Dee: We always were different. We did Hamburg along with the Searchers, Jerry And The Pacemakers and Billy J Kramer but when the Beatles took off in 1962 we got left at the starting point. We were known as Dave Dee And The Bostons then and working five or six days a week but we just couldn't get arrested when it came to record companies. We went to most record companies, because in those days you didn't send anything in, you had to go in and do a record test. You used to pile up outside the studio where there would be about ten other bands waiting to be auditioned. They'd give you fifteen minutes to set your gear up, strut your stuff and get out. We had comments like, "Don't call us, we'll call you", "Gentlemen, we suggest you cut your instruments up because you'll never have a hit record." We didn't let it put us of though as we knew one day we would make it. In those days you had dance halls and we would be the support to the top of the bill. When we were on, noone would dance because there was so much going on on stage, humour, action, all sorts of stuff.

Why was it that so many bands sort to establish and home their skills in Hamburg?
Dave Dee: There were so many bands not getting work and they went to Hamburg because you could work at the German Top Ten Club or Star Club for two months at a time. OK, so the money was lousy but it was a great source of inspiration for the bands because you used to have to play fifty minutes on and ten minutes off. Some days you'd play for fourteen or fifteen hours. I remember when JF Kennedy came into Hamburg harbour in 1963 and the first Beatles album had come out. Out of boredom from playing the same thing every night we got hold of a Beatles album and played everything off it to break the monotony. All the American sailors were coming in and that was their first taste of the Beatles. They used to come up to us and say, "Gee, what's that music you're playing?" We used to tell them it was the Beatles and they'd ask, "Who are The Beatles?"

Read on to find out about their eventual leap to fame ...

  Modern Romance  
  'Two flop records.' Andy's explanation for shift from new romantic to salsa.  
  Mungo Jerry  
  'It just kept selling!' Ray Dorset talks about his seasonal anthem.  
  Dave Dee  
  Dave Dee discusses the hazards of using a bullwhip on stage.  
  Pete Burns  
  We chat to androgynous Dead or Alive frontman about the '80s revival.  
  The Searchers  
  'At the time, I really didn't think it was going to be a lifetime job'.  
  Middle Of The Road  
  Ken Andrew talks about the cheap and chirpy world of Middle Of The Road...  
  Howard Jones  
  We ask the synth wizard a heap of questions, including "What is love?"  
  Paul Hardcastle  
  We speak to the Electro-pop wizard about his TOTP memories...  
  The Stranglers  
  The history of The Stranglers, according to bassist and songwriter JJ Burnel.  
  Mark Moore tell us what he's up to these days.  
  Owen Paul  
  He's back! And music is still his favourite waste of time.  
  Bucks Fizz  
  We speak to Cheryl Baker about Eurovision, Jay Aston and mini-skirts  
  The Foundations  
  We track down Clem Curtis of 'Build Me Up Buttercup' fame  

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