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When I was 14 years old I started learning guitar at a friend's (Mike Emsley) house in Rawdon (which was also Wadsworth Bakery), along with friends John Patterson, Maurice Kempton (cousin) and brother Kevin O’Hara. Not having a guitar of my own, I ended up playing basic bass lines on a six string guitar belonging to Mike Emsley which he had made at school. A holiday without parents at Butlins Skegness in August 1962 was a big musical awakening for me, as the band who were playing there that week were “Rory Storm and the Hurricanes (with Ringo playing his last week with them, having said yes to the drumming position with the Beatles). I remember watching this great group and thinking...yes this is what I really want to do.
Sometime in 1962 whilst still practicing at Rawdon, we decided to learn a song to perform at my local youth club in Menston.
The song was ”Fallen Leaves On The Ground” by Shane Fenton (Alvin Stardust) and the Fentones.
We borrowed ties shirts and jumpers from a Greenwood’s shop in Bradford where brother Kevin worked, and called in at our local off license to get a small bottle of whiskey apiece for moral support. We used the equipment of a local group (The Senators Rhythm Group) who were playing there that evening and as a result, found myself being asked to join the group as they had no bass guitarist. The group was Geoff Chew (guitar), Dave Jackson (guitar), John Riggott (mouth-organ), Brian Dobson (drums), Doreen Pritchard (singer) and Peter Holland (singer). I went out and purchased a Burns Sonic bass £52:10s (I chose this bass because my sheet metal working associate *Terry Hall (pictured left) who had been in skiffle and pop bands since 1956, had one). With help from Geoff's dad George Chew we put together an old wireless speaker cabinet and amplifier to play the bass through, and immediately I was up and running. I continued to play in various groups and then on 7th June 1966, I joined an existing band called the “Moldy Warp”.
*Terry Hall bass player with the Crescendos, Ricky Seaton and the Avengers and the Kingpins
Butlins Skegness 1962
Rory Storm and the Hurricanes with Ringo as drummer 1962
Highroyds hospital band grandad (right) and great grandad (left)
Menston Youth Club
With the Senators at Bramhope Memorial Hall
Kings Hall Ilkley with Blind Pew and the sights
The Senators at Clifton Villas Otley (rehearsal room) posing for a newspaper article
The Senators at Hernandos Club Leeds
Kings Hall Ilkley with The Senators
With the Kingpins on a bonfire at Rawdon
Top Left to right: Mick Emsley Barney Flather
Next one down: Keith Pullan
Next one down: Ronnie Walsh, bottom Des O'Hara
Blind Pew and the sights on the sidings at Otley station
With the Moldy Warp 1966
Top row left to right: Brian Bailey, Mick Larvin, George Speller
Bottom row: Des O'Hara, Stan Dobson and Geoff Chew
Senators with Johnny Philips on vocals
Karen and the Moldy Warp 1969
Left to right: Des O'Hara, Karen Pickersgill, Geoff Chew and Stuart Pickersgill
My group family tree history from the 1960's (I'm in red)
Other local groups and associates
are shown in different colours
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