Pete with Tarantulas Stoney Lea 1965
Top. l to r- Andrew Horton, Stan Dobson, Clive Steel
Bottom. l to r- Pete Dickinson, Brian Bailey, Tony Idle
Pete was a founder member of the ‘Tarantulas’ when they formed in 1963. He went on to join ‘Charcoal’ a modern folk band in 1969. He then hung his guitar up till the 1990’s when he joined the reformed ‘Moldy Warp.’
The early years!
In the early sixties I learnt a few bits and pieces on my brothers guitar. I recall ‘Walk don’t Run’’ Forty Miles of Bad Road’ and various bits of Shadows instrumentals. I toted the guitar round to parties where I played at unsuspecting partygoers for hours. Having only a small repertoire of about 5 minutes compared to the long length of my concerts I eventually realised that I was probably not the most popular guest.
I decided not to take my guitar to parties anymore much to the relief of the other revellers who were no doubt pleased to see that I began to arrive empty handed although I did keep practicing.
In 1963 I was invited to join a new group called the Tarantulas. We were a band of total novices. The phrase that drummers were folk who hang about with musicians didn’t work in our case. Drummer Andrew Horton was the only member who actually did know anything about music. Guitar tuning before electronic a tuners and the likes was a bit hit and miss to say the least. It comprised of tightening top E till it sounded ‘about right’ (or broke) and then tune the other strings to it and away you go. It was a relevation when Andrew got us to tune to Stan Dobsons front room piano. Suddenly we were able to copy instrumentals note for note although within a year I don’t think we played any at all. This happened for two reasons, first that trends had changed from instrumental to vocal bands but primarly the introduction of vocalist Brian Bailey.
When you join a band for the first time it is a very steep learning curve and I suppose it was through a lot of hard work from all the band members that we went from zero to earning money in only a few months.
Despite the old adage “ If you can remember the 60’s you probably weren’t there ” I certainly do recall most of it. Playing in front of 1500 at Bradford Mecca’s Teenage dance night and appearing with great bands like The Wheels, The Rocking Vicars and The Four Pennies at Ilkley’s Stoney Lea Hotel. Playing the Kings Hall Ilkley at Christmas and New Year was usually interesting. Always a little bit of tension till the Sammy Ledgards late night specials transported the ‘high spirited’ revellers back to Otley or Yeadon.
The mid sixties seemed to have more than its share of band competitions. The Tarantulas entered two and luckily won both. The first against the soon to become famous ‘Grumbleweeds’ the second against quite a number of bands gave us the title of ‘Best Beat Group in Yorkshire’. This was a delight to our Agent who milked it to death in advertising and promotions. However we were realistic about it knowing that it was only the fact that we were the best band that turned up on the night.