rockface play quality live music

rockface played quality live music

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This band was the classic line up - two guitars, bass and drums. Pete Bradley played lead, John Greatorex rhythm and lead vocals with Martin Hall on bass and Bill Ellis on drums.
The very dedicated sixties music was creating a lot of retro interest at that time and what seemed to make it more popular was when agents announced “Sixties music? Well I'm sorry that scene's dead. Can't give you any work.”

Today of course this type of music is more popular than ever with people going to sixties clubs. But back then things were very different and it was a real struggle. Luckily for us these guys decided to persevere and make some really great music.


The Band decided to do their own fixing, setting up a package that they sold as a complete sixties night with very little organisation from the promoters. Live music, recorded music, quizzes, best dressed, competitions etc. depending on what the promoter specified. It took off in quite a big way and it came to the point where the band was having to refuse work because the schedule was becoming too demanding as every member of the band had to hold down a day job.

Unless you're a top pro outfit or a solo act the music business can't sustain a “normal” life style for members of a four piece. And anyway these guys played ninety percent for love and ten percent for money. It tends to work out that any money made in these kind of outfits very rarely pays for buying and upkeep of equipment, sometimes there's enough left over for a drink and a bag of chips!

The group was made up a very compatible set of people and so the work was also good fun. There was always something to laugh about in the dressing room. If anyone had a problem everyone shared in sorting it out. The times were really good. There was never a bad performance and audiences couldn't get enough of the live music. It came to the point where no new was needed because promoters had them back for their annual get togethers and the gig book was adequately filled with return bookings.

Everything went really well up until that dreadful day when Bill became ill.
It started with a rash above the waist. Bill was able to carry on playing for some time at the beginning of his illness. In fact it didn't seem to bother him that much at first. The boys even used to have a good laugh about his rash in the dressing room because to all intents and purpose it looked like it had been painted on because the line where it stopped, just below his chest, was so abruptly defined
.

The high spot almost every night was when the band would play Let There Be Drums by Sandy Nelson, a tune that involved a long and technically tricky drum solo. Bill took it all in his stride, played the solos perfectly and generally wowed the audiences. He was perfectly modest about his skill and just used to say “It was something I learned when I was younger.”
Eventually the illness was found to be more sinister and debilitating and he had to stop playing. The other three carried on for a while, but nothing was the same. It wasn't to do with the dep. drummers that came in, it was more a feeling that the band had lost such an important part that it was permanently crippled.
It ended about eighteen months later when he died of cancer.

Ask anyone who knew Bill Ellis and they'll all say the same,
" Bill Ellis ?"
A lovely man.
A kind man.
A gentle man and a gentleman.
A funny man.
A smart man.
A great drummer.

No one ever said,
“Well that's it we'll finish then.”
And so it just faded away
.