People of a certain age might Remember local group Juice who played every major music venue in North East England in the late 1960's and throughout the 1970's, supporting all the big name rock bands who visited the area. We were almost the 'resident band' at locations such as Newcastle Mayfair and Sunderland Locarno (Mecca), places that have become legendary in the region's rock history.
Juice have always been completely independent and never signed with a record label, preferring to do things on our own terms. This old newspaper clipping opposite shows what we thought of the music establishment at the time (and still do). We stuck to our principles and refused to be exploited. Unsurprisingly, we've never been too popular with record company bosses and artiste management agencies.
Consequently, there are no commercial releases of the band, although we have a huge collection of our own recordings of original tracks spanning over 40 years. This is largely down to the efforts of Bill our roadie and sound engineer who made all our early live recordings, performing some amazing technical wizardry with the rather crude equipment available at the time.
We've managed to piece together a few memories from the distant past as well as some more recent endeavours and placed a compilation of them here . . .
In October 1970, we were fortunate enough to meet and work with the (almost) original Deep Purple lineup of Ian Gillan, Jon Lord, Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Paice and Roger Glover. This was at the Indoor Festival of Music, Sunderland Top Rank Suite and right at the start of their career. Here's a recording of us opening the show Heart Made Of Stone
We've always been big fans of Deep Purple and along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, we consider them to be the pioneers of British rock music and heavy metal. At this time they were just beginning to take the world by storm with the huge success of their In Rock album and their hit single Black Night.
This event was organised by the now legendary promoter Geoff Docherty, although Deep Purple's performance nearly didn't take place. They hadn't arrived on time and it didn't look like they were going to show at all, so we filled in by doing an extra set to keep the crowd entertained. But the band did eventually turn up, much to the relief of Geoff and a few thousand agitated fans and they made amends by finishing the evening off with a fantastic, high energy performance including Black Night which brought the roof down.
Geoff Docherty with some posters and memorabilia from those great days
Incidentally, the poster above was sold in auction for £600 at Bonhams auctioneers in 2012. Check out this link
Principal Edward's Magic Theatre were an amazing collection of artistes who performed an eclectic mix of music and dance. Originally from Exeter University, they were the first group to be signed to John Peel's Dandelion record label.
Cochise were a great 'country rock' band with some highly respected musicians in their lineup. They had just released their debut album with a rather risque cover by art design group Hipgnosis. Among the band members was friend of ours guitarist Mick Grabham from Sunderland who later joined Procol Harum.
We supported Edgar Broughton at the Sunderland Locarno (Mecca) in April 1970 at another concert organised by local legend Geoff Docherty. This is a recording of us that night Don't You Worry About Me Edgar had just released his second album Sing Brother Sing and the live recording of his 'anthem' Out Demons Out was having moderate mainstream chart success. Surprising because nobody really gave a toss about the so called top twenty in those days and with Edgar's wildman image and gritty vocal style, he wasn't exactly your typical 'teenage pop idol'.
There were many bands who had a huge following but would never have a hit single or appear on something as demeaning as Top of the Pops. Rock music was labelled 'progressive' and 'underground' back then and most of the bands had their roots in the blues and good old rock and roll.
We worked with Family in February 1971 at Newcastle Mayfair. Check out this recording of us that night Reyrolle Days It was a real honour for us because as far as we were concerned, Family were simply the best band around at the time.
We'd been fans since their 1968 album Music In A Doll's House and we'd even travelled to London in 1969 to the famous Rolling Stones in Hyde Park concert just to watch Family perform. On another occasion, we hitch hiked to Croydon, London to see them at Fairfield Halls. Travelling from Newcastle to London and back in those days was quite a journey, but that's how much we enjoyed their shows.
Although Family had a huge cult following, they somehow never had the worldwide success they deserved and after a few changes in lineup in preceding years, they sadly disbanded in 1973.
The first time we worked with Free was at Sunderland Top Rank Suite in June 1970. What a great live band. Paul Rodgers was such a fantastic showman and all the band members were brilliant musicians.
They had just released their classic single All Right Now from their Fire and Water album which went on to become a huge success. But in the North East, their most popular song at the time was definitely The Hunter from their Tons of Sobs album. Every local band had a version of The Hunter in their repertoire.
In contrast to most of the rock bands of the day (ourselves included), Free didn't have a wall of amplifiers and speakers filling the back of the stage. The band were surprisingly 'quiet' with very little equipment. But this made people listen more intently and what a sound they made and what an atmosphere they created. It almost felt like they were playing to a private audience in your living room. Their performances were so intimate.
Sadly they disbanded soon after and went their separate ways. Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke formed Bad Company. Paul Kossoff formed Back Street Crawler and Andy Fraser later formed Sharks with acclaimed guitarist Chris Spedding.
Singer songwriter Kevin Ayers was a founder member of Soft Machine which was a pioneering psychedelic group, very popular in the late 1960's. After a short solo career, he then formed The Whole World, an avant garde band of musicians that featured Mike Oldfield on bass guitar. Looking back, it was something of a privilege to have met and worked with them since the band broke up soon after.
Although Jeff Lynne is probably best known to most people from his work with Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), the Traveling Wilburys and as a leading songwriter and music producer, we actually met him in 1969 when he was a prominent member of Birmingham band Idle Race. We shared the bill at the Barnes Hotel in Sunderland.
Idle Race made some great albums, but they never had a lot of commercial success and Jeff's career didn't really take off until he teamed up with Roy Wood and formed ELO. The rest as they say, is history. However, Idle Race were a really good band and gave an impressive performance that night at the Barnes. Jeff is a great guy and a mean guitar player. He showed us a neat little trick of creating a violin sound on the guitar by adjusting the volume control while plucking the strings. A cool effect that we still use today.
One of our very first gigs was at the Cellar Club, South Shields in April 1967. When we arrived, we were amazed to see a poster advertising that Jimi Hendrix was appearing the following night. At the time, Jimi was pretty much unknown to the general public, but everybody in the music business had heard of him and the rumours of what a phenomenal guitar player he was. He was brought over from America by his manager Chas Chandler of the Animals, so Jimi's name had a real local North East connection.
We desperately wanted to see him perform so we rescheduled our next night's gig to go along and watch what was to be an amazing performance. After the show, the club manager introduced us to the great man himself. We were very humbled to meet him and surprised at what a quiet, unassuming and genuine guy he was. Although he wasn't a big star then, it was obvious he was something special and, of course, he went on to become one of the greatest rock legends of all time.
What can we say about Lindisfarne? They are absolutely legendary here in North East England. We worked with them in December 1970 at Newcastle Mayfair. Check out this recording of us performing that night Jumble Of Pearls
They had just released their first album Nicely Out Of Tune and the lads we're definitely on their way up but they hadn't yet had the commercial success that Meet Me On The Corner and Fog On The Tyne would bring the following year.
Being local to the North East, we'd seen the guys in their previous bands (Downtown Faction, Brethren) and seen Alan Hull performing in local folk clubs. It was obvious even then that they were really talented and their song writing was second to none. They have left a huge legacy of music and have rightly earned their place in 'Geordie' folklore.
Way back in March 1969 we supported Pink Floyd at Dunelm House, University of Durham. Check out this recording of us on stage that night You Got The Blues This was one of the venues on their Brain Damage tour. It was a special occasion for us as we were a relatively new group at the time and we felt we were really raising our profile by playing alongside such an important band.
We'd been Pink Floyd fans from the Arnold Lane and See Emily Play days when Syd Barrett was a prominent member of the band, but must admit we found that evening's performance a bit weird. Dropping raw eggs into a bucket wasn't exactly what we called music. But this was the 'psychedelic era' and all sorts of musical experimentation was happening. Pioneers like Pink Floyd have gone on to achieve real superstar status and had a huge influence on the music of future generations.
We worked with Rod Stewart and the Faces in May 1971 at the Newcastle Mayfair Ballroom and what a fantastic gig that was. Check out this recording of us performing on stage that night Empty Promises
Rod was just really starting to take off then as a solo performer and in fact the band were still being billed simply as The Faces (formerly the Small Faces). We've been privileged to meet some amazing people over the years and it's incredible that we were there at the beginning of their careers when they were still relatively unknown. Not even they could have imagined that they would achieve such superstar status, becoming household names and still continuing to be as popular after all this time.
In 1978, we supported Whitesnake at Newcastle City Hall. The band were well on their way to achieving incredible
success, but our story goes back nearly a decade before that. One of our regular gigs from about 1969 onwards had been the Argus
Butterfly Peterlee. Many big names played there but we worked a few times with a great local
band called Government. They had an exceptional vocalist who came from Saltburn, North Yorkshire. In 1973, he answered an advertisement in Melody Maker magazine which led to him
landing the job as lead singer with Deep Purple when Ian Gillan left the band. The singer was, of course, none other than David Coverdale. A real rags to riches story which
proves what can be achieved with a lot of talent, hard work and a little bit of luck.
We supported Mott the Hoople in August 1971 at Newcastle Mayfair Ballroom. Check out this link. Another fantastic band, but they didn't achieve real success until the following year when they released the David Bowie song All The Young Dudes. It was to be their biggest hit record and launched them into super stardom. This came just in time because the guys were very close to splitting up when we met them.
In 1971 we performed at an all night event at Newcastle University with a long list of bands on the bill including the Strawbs with Rick Wakeman, Argent, Blodwyn Pig and Man. This was a real tour de force because we opened the show early in the evening and also had another spot at about 4am. But it was such a great atmosphere and we were working with some of the best bands around so it didn't feel like hard work.
The Bay Hotel (now demolished) was near the seafront at South Bents, Whitburn. This is where promoter Geoff Docherty started his career, bringing big name bands and artistes to the area. We appeared there a few times, but we couldn't know then that the Bay Hotel along with Sunderland Locarno Ballroom (Fillmore North) and the Top Rank Suite would go on to play such a huge part in the rock history of the North East.
Newcastle's Club A'Gogo is arguably the most important venue in the area's musical heritage. During the 1960's, every major blues, rock and soul group appeared there. At the time, the 'Gogo' was the place to be and it will, of course, always be remembered as the launch pad of local band the Animals who went on to become a huge success worldwide.
The story of the Mayfair Ballroom has become a real legend in the rock history of Newcastle. It's a venue we played many times over the years with headlining acts as well as other local groups. The Mayfair opened in 1961 and spanned four decades as the country's longest running rock venue. Just about every major band played there. What a great feeling when you came around on the revolving stage to see and hear an audience of thousands cheering in anticipation as you started playing your music. Sadly, after much protest from fans, the Mayfair was demolished in the 1990's to make way for a new, modern and soulless leisure complex. How times change.
Newcastle City Hall has hosted thousands of events over the years. It was first opened as a concert hall in 1927 and has since become a venue for orchestras, rock and pop bands, and comedy acts, as well as for celebrity recitals, talks and civic functions. In 2012, Newcastle City Council announced that, as part of a wider cost-cutting process, the future of the City Hall was under review. Thankfully, the venue has so far managed to remain open. Fingers crossed that it can survive long into the future.
Sunderland Mecca also known as the Mayfair Suite, Locarno, Fillmore North, Genevieve's and later the Palace. This was a long running rock venue and one we played a number of times. All the major bands appeared there thanks to the efforts of local music promoter Geoff Docherty. Sadly, despite many protests from dedicated fans, the building was demolished in 2012 to make way for a new Tesco supermarket. Another sign of the times.
The Blaydon Races 'disco' (remember them?). The dance area was illuminated by those awful purple fluorescent tubes which showed all your dandruff. It was run by Derek who was also the manager of Club A'Gogo in Newcastle where many a music star's career was launched, including the Animals. There were live bands at the Blaydon Races every Saturday. An entrance fee of 5 shillings (25p) got you into the disco and a free burger or hot dog. The place was always packed at the weekend. A great venue, but sadly demolished long ago and all that remains is a small car parking area.
The Inferno club in Newcastle was a real den of iniquity and was only open for about a year. It was situated in the old Handyside Arcade on Percy Street, not far from the Club A'Gogo. Handyside Arcade was popular at the height of the fashion boutique boom of the 1960's and was dubbed Tyneside’s answer to Carnaby Street. The arcade was demolished in the late 1980's to make way for the new Eldon Garden. What a travesty.
It's hard to believe now looking at this photograph of the old terraced building in Toward Road, but El Cubana, along with it's sister club La Cubana, were real 'trendy' places in Sunderland back in the 1960's.
The Rex Hotel at Whitley Bay was another popular venue for local bands throughout the 1960's and 1970's. I couldn't help but laugh when I read in the local press recently that North Tyneside Council have just approved a £10 million scheme to turn the iconic Victorian building into a modern, state-of-the-art care home. Where's my zimmer frame?
Although it looks like a typical pub on your average British housing estate, the Argus Butterfly in Peterlee was a venue that attracted huge crowds and booked some of the biggest rock bands in the 1960's and 1970's.
More recently, the Sage at Gateshead has become a major music venue here in the North East of England. It has hosted concerts from a huge range of local and internationally famous artistes. The building is an incredible feat of structural engineering with its awe inspiring design of curved glass and stainless steel. Check out another recording of us performing on stage in the Northern Rock Foundation Hall at the Sage Dream On
We've worked with Arlenderre 'the Enigma' many times in more recent years and it's always a fantastic experience. He's a real free spirit and such a great live performer. Check out this track from his Trick of the Light tour Living In This City He operates totally outside of the mainstream and although he's considered something of a maverick and shunned by the corporate music establishment, he tours extensively and has a huge and dedicated following. See him before you die, otherwise, your life has been in vain.
Although little known outside of Scandinavia, Fjorst is legendary on the underground circuit and in her home country of Finland. She's a really beautiful and talented lady and an amazing guitarist, capable of playing in any style from classical to hard rock and everything in between. It's always a pleasure to work with her. Check out this recording of Fjorst on stage with us at the Sage in Gateshead As Cold As Ice
Big Jim Gibson and his family are a group of musicians who are resident at the Shack. Their workload is incredible. The place never seems to close. People travel far and wide to be there and the music and dancing goes on all day and night and into the early hours. Gibba's extended family take it in shifts to entertain their audience with a huge repertoire of music that defies belief. From country classics to avant garde rock. There are also many guest artistes who drop by (ourselves included) and perform just to be part of this amazing experience. This is a recording of Juice with Big Gibba's Band live at the Shack Circumstance
Joicey started out as an underground British rock band but have since progressed beyond all recognition to become a whole new alternative lifestyle. The original band came from Stockton on Tees but moved to London where they occupied a disused warehouse building. Over the years, their numbers and stature have steadily grown. They have bought and developed a large area of real estate to the extent that they are now a small 'city within a city'. We've recently been involved in the Joicey Project and this track Run For Your Life was recorded live at the Joicey Centre.
Music therapy programs are now used extensively in prisons as part of the rehabilitation process and This Side Of Life is a program that we are heavily involved in. It is made up of inmates currently serving sentences in a maximum security prison. They have been given special permission to record their music and distribute it via the internet. This is part of a unique pilot program designed to help rehabilitate prisoners who up to now have been totally segregated and kept in continual solitary confinement. Here's a track from the project Riding Out The Storm
In total contrast to our usual performances, we were asked to take part in a benefit concert in Paris for the legendary French cabaret star Camille Dubois who we'd known for some years. She was a truly inspirational lady and left a huge impression on everyone she met. Check out Camille's amazing life story here Certain People
It really is impossible to describe underground singer/songwriter John Norris, so I won't even try. He's a complete one off and although he's very elusive, we've managed to collaborate on a few projects over the years. Check out this track we recorded with him at the 2014 International Peace Festival Take What You Want
For some years now we've been involved in attending concerts in aid of the International Day of Peace (World Peace Day) which is observed each year on 21 September. It was established in 1981 when the United Nations General Assembly declared this as a day of non-violence and ceasefire devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.
Anyone can celebrate World Peace Day. It can be as simple as lighting a candle, sitting in silent meditation or doing a good deed for someone. Or it can involve getting your co-workers, organisation, community or government engaged in a large event. You can also share thoughts, messages and pictures to commemorate World Peace Day on social media. This is another track we recorded at the 2014 International Peace Festival Rosie's Bar
French mime artist Marius is an unbelievably talented entertainer and has performed his spectacular "art of silence" in venues all over the world. As a child, he studied dance and mime under the great Marcel Marceau and has continued to add his own original psychological and dramatic elements to his art.
We appeared at the Cirque d'Hiver in Paris at a special event to celebrate his work when Marius did a wonderful performance to our song Like A Fool
The Cirque d'Hiver was opened in 1852 by Emperor Napoleon III. It is an incredible building and has been the venue for thousands of events over the years. Contained in a polygon of 20 sides, the circus is an oval ring with steeply banked seats like an indoor Colosseum.
Breaking All The Rules is a diverse group of entertainers who tour major towns and cities and give impromptu performances on the streets. They're probably the most unconventional group of artistes we've ever worked with. There's something really exciting about being part of this type of show and it takes courage to stand on a busy street busking in front of an unpredictable crowd. Sometimes they put something in the hat. Sometimes they take something out of the hat. And sometimes they take the hat.
The Tavastia in Helsinki is a legendary Finnish rock club that has played host to domestic and international acts for many decades and is one of Europe's longest running rock venues. The club can hold about 700 people and this relatively small size and great acoustics create an incredibly intimate atmosphere.
This is another track featuring Fjorst Reag on guitar Forever Love You Now
We love playing at Elsie's, it's such a great relaxing atmosphere where the acts can just mingle with the crowd and never get harassed. It's amazing who you meet there. We attended a charity event organised by Arlenderre where we were 'persuaded' to come up on stage and we did this totally unrehearsed number Lonely Nights