This was Steve’s first ‘proper’ band.
It was formed with good friends Rob Reid and Chris Pitt, who Steve had been gigging with as 'Sunday Joint', which was an acoustic style band performing a few self penned numbers and covers, more as a bit of a laugh with work colleagues than anything serious. However, it was a lot of fun and it was clear that Rob was a fantastic singing talent in the making, so we looked form a full band. After advertising we got the interest of a few drummers and auditioned a couple but they never worked out, but it was maybe fate as a good friend Pat Power, who was just starting to play drums, offered to stand in. We also got interest from a guitarist called Pete Marshall. We had initially rehearsed with Chris on bass and Steve on guitar, but Chris dropped out. Steve switched to playing bass and the General Dogzbody line up of; Rob on vocals, Pat on drums, Pete on guitar and Steve on bass, was formed.
The sound was pretty much classic rock, as the covers of Free songs showed the style we were moving to. The set was comprised mainly of self-penned songs, with Led Zeppelin, Free, AC/DC, Hawkwind style influences. The band gigged exclusively in Nottingham venues and had a decent local following. there were about 10 gigs with Pete Marshall until differences emerged. Pete left and he got replaced by a very young guitar prodigy Chris Lawes, in fact so young we had to smuggle him into pub venues in the kick drum case! At the time Chris was very influenced by Jimi Hendrix and ZZ top, and songs by them got included into the set as the General Dogzbody sound developed a slightly rawer blusey edge.
The band started to get a bit of a reputation, not only from Rob's powerful and excellent vocals and Chris’s incredible guitar playing (wowing audiences with a rendition of Eddie Van Halen's Eruption as one example) but also from the amazing developing drumming talents of Pat, not to mention his brilliant charismatic stage persona, as perfectly displayed once doing a whole set with his leg in plaster and up in the air, and still sounding like Nottingham's best rock drummer!
The band advertised for a keyboard player and we were very lucky to find Jimmy Mayes, who joined the band on Hammond Organ. His was a lovely person and an incredible keyboard talent and added a new dimension to the band. He was into prog rock and we even did a cover of a song, Pioneers Over C, by one of his favourite bands Van der Graaf Generator/Peter Hammill.
The band did a few concerts outside of Nottingham, as well as still doing all the local venues over the next year. The final concert was at the Nottingham Peace Festival, on a big open air stage at Victoria Embankment, where they were the headlining act.
Steve remembers this band with great fondness and is still friends with some of the members today, who went on to have excellent careers in the music business. It was a (mostly) hugely fun band (‘mostly’ as of course all the normal band ‘musical differences’ surfaced). There had been a couple of VHS Videos recorded but they sadly they seem to have got lost over time (if anyone still has one please get in contact!!). Unfortunately, the band never did any studio recordings, they were wildly expensive things to do in those days and home studio recordings weren’t an option then either, but there are one or two live cassette quality recordings in existence which Steve might try an remaster and release one day, if any demand to.
However, the sad dark part of this biog and memory was the passing away of both Jimmy and Pat some years ago. Pat was not only a brilliant drummer but more importantly a dear close friend and a person that would light up any room he walked into with infectious laughs and smiles. After a break of many years, we started to meet up socially again, which was so good, and there was even talk of doing a reunion. However, before that ever happened we lost Pat, which came as a complete sad shock and surprise.
We did look into doing a General Dogzbody reunion, a year after his passing away, as a way of remembering him. This was extraordinarily aided by having Pat’s young and highly talented niece, Paris Power, stand on drums, which I'm sure Pat would have been incredibly proud of, and it made a very fitting statement. We did a couple of rehearsals in a studio, but the event unfortunately never happened, as much as anything it was complicated by logistics, mostly by Steve living in Cornwall and going through divorce! Steve did video record one of the rehearsals and a couple of videos exist of this on YouTube, playing self-penned songs from back in the day!
A very special mentions must also go to Tim Pollard, a good friend who added some great humour and self-effacing intros to some of our songs, most famously the American General that introduced Steve’s penned song ‘Sitting at the gates’ which was about Greenham Common protests.
Also, to Paul Tainton, who was like an invisible extra member of the band; always there supporting up, helping set up and provide much needed transport, friendship and a great sense of humour …not to mention his calm and grace the night Steve crashed his van into the back of his car!
Also, to Wayne Power, Pat’s younger brother, who would be at most concerts supporting us and was very supportive over a reunion concept in Pat’s memory. He has now gone on to be a great bass player in his own excellent current band, Stagefright - (click for link) with Paris.
Also have to say thank you to Kenny and Diane who would always be there supporting us and doing those thankless background tasks - like sitting on the door and shifting gear about, while we played at being rock stars!
Thank you all - Steve
(I hope to have an easy to use forum/blog/comments add on to the page, if I can or can work out how to do it, but happy to add on any reviews, comments, memories, photos etc anyone wishes to add about General Dogzbody and/or the social circle at the time)