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The Shamrocks - Noteworthy Events

by Gary Cowtan

August: (probably a Saturday or Sunday, exact date unknown): supported the Hollies at an afternoon concert at the Circus Krone in Munich, together with the Escorts. In the evening, we all went for a drink to the P.N. Hit House, where the Escorts were playing for the whole month. After we'd had a beer or two, one by one and unannounced, Hollies members Bobby Elliot, Tony Hicks, Alan Clarke and Graham Nash inconspicuously replaced the Escorts on stage during a song, until the Hollies were complete, with the exception of bassist Eric Haydock. Previously, backstage at the Circus Krone, there was apparently bad blood between Haydock and the rest of the band and he hadn't joined us at the P.N. Hit House, so Graham Nash stepped up to the microphone and asked "Can anyone here play bass?" I volunteered immediately, our manager Nick Santer quickly fetched my bass from the van and in no time I was on stage with the Hollies! We played all sorts of well-known songs, such as "Woolly Bully" and "House of the Rising Sun" (sung by Nash in C minor!), but none of the Hollies' hits. We jammed for about an hour and Dave Allen joined us on keys for the latter half.

Sometime in late summer or early Autumn that year: we recorded our second single "Crossbow", augmented by 2 trumpets and 3 trombones, as far as I remember. Perhaps County Press readers can tell me more precisely when that was: "Augmented Shamrocks" was the headline! This time, we finally had two producers who knew exactly what they were doing: Drafi Deutscher, who was then Germany's most successful solo artist, plus Dieter Zimmerman, who later produced Agneta Fältskog as a (German language!) solo artist, before the forming of ABBA.

November 2nd: Dave Allen and I jammed with Colin Manley (guitar) and Roy Dyke (drums) at the Cannonball, Berlin, where the Shamrocks were booked for the whole month. The Remo Four from Liverpool, of which they were half, were due to top the bill there that night, but the other two members, Tony Ashton (keys) and Phil Rogers (bass) missed their ferry from Dover! I really enjoyed jamming with Roy Dyke, a super-tight drummer. The complete Remo Four eventually appeared at the Cannonball on Nov. 4th., while we supported them. They had a hit in Germany at the time with their version of Henry Mancini's "Peter Gunn" film theme. Tony Ashton and Roy Dyke later formed Ashton, Gardner and Dyke, who had a UK hit with "The Resurrection Shuffle".

Later that month, we also supported the Swedish band The Hep Stars, who were also special guests for one night at the Cannonball. The keyboardist was one Bennie Andersson, who went on to much bigger things...

December: Tour of Germany (incl. Vienna, Austria) supporting the Troggs and Los Bravos. (In 1964, we had played twice at the Copper Kettle in Andover, the Troggs' hometown, where these guys used to ask us for our advice in the breaks!) During this tour, two years later, Reg Presley wouldn't let us join them at their (large enough) table in a German motorway cafeteria!

January: met one Klaus Meine, who twice supported the Shamrocks with his band the King Bees and later formed the Scorpions, who are still active today! Klaus is a very friendly and likeable person - and a good singer! After having supported the Yardbirds, then with Eric Clapton, at Kimbell's in Southsea during 1964, we did so a second time in Frankfurt, Germany. This must have been on a Sunday afternoon, well after March 27th 1965, which was two days after Eric's departure, when Jeff Beck replaced him. Jimmy Page had not yet joined. I remember it was warm and the sun was shining, so it must have been during the spring or summer of that year when we supported them once again at the K52 on Kaiserstrasse, in the middle of Frankfurt's red light district. I remember I broke the A string on my bass at our sound check that day and had no spare. Yardbirds bassist Paul Samwell-Smith was kind enough to give me a replacement before we opened. After our set, manager Giorgio Gomelsky, who had accompanied the Yardbirds, introduced each member in perfect German before they, one-by-one, took the stage. I was absolutely stunned by Beck's playing that afternoon. Instead of copying blues players like Muddy Waters and T-Bone Walker etc., like many British guitarists did at the time, he had a style all of his own...