mercredi 8 avril 2009
SCREAMING LORD SUTCH
In the early Sixties more and more bands wanted Reg Calvert to manage them including Screaming Lord Sutch & the Savages, so he started an agency in London with agent Terry King, called “Kings Agency”.
From the 9th to the 12th of May 1962, Screaming Lord Sutch & the Savages did a 3 day Tour for Reg Calvert.
Ritchie Blackmore made his debut with the Savages during this tour. He and drummer Carlo Little were paid each other £16.
Dorothy Calvert recalls the beginning of their partnership with Screaming Lord Sutch:
“David was booked to play In Exmouth the first time he worked for us. At that time I was running the Devon venues and it was quite something when David drove up in a van that was coverted to carrying racks of clothes. He worked for us a lot and was always good entertainment. He had a book where he made a note of the acts so that he didn`t repeat tham if he was booked again.”
Susan Moore (nee Calvert) about the character Screaming Lord Sutch:
“I remember him (Dave Sutch) very well. He used to come to stay at Clifton Hall with us. He was quite a character - and my father got on with him very well. They 'bounced' ideas off each other.”
“My father used to pay for most things - David rarely contributed to anything and I believe he didn't pay commission either for the bookings he had.”
“My mother disliked David. She thought he was 'dirty' i.e. he didn't bath enough - and she disliked his greasy black hair that was tied back in a pony tail. Unusual for the times - as all the other singers had short well groomed hair. All the other singers and musicians used their own kitchen - which adjoined our kitchen, and knocked the door when they wanted to come into our 'family' kitchen. David however, had no respect for this, and would come and sit with us in our kitchen - much to my mother's disapproval. Dad did not mind - and we would talk about anything and everything.”
The following year, Reg Calvert and Screaming Lord Sutch plotted a fantastic publicity campaign during the Profumo affair. Reg Calvert suggested Sutch to stand for parliament at the The Stratford-upon-Avon By Election in august 1963. Dorothy Calvert came up with the idea that his campaign should be for 'Votes for 18 year olds.'
And that was the first Screaming Lord Sutch’s political campaign, the first of his long political career that carried on with the Monster Raving Party.
Dorothy Calvert :
“He was playing at Nuneaton for Reg when the news about Profumo broke and Reg Suggested that he stood for parliament as a publicity stunt. That was a lot of work for Reg and me as David didn’t have a clue.”
Susan Moore (nee Calvert)
“I remember my Dad and David planning the first political campaign - round the kitchen table. We thought it was a crazy idea! 18 year olds would never get the vote!! They really enjoyed the politics - and did it as a one-off publicity campaign for David - never expecting him to carry on with the Monster Raving Party.”
Pictured Screaming Lord Sutch & the Savages on the Cornucopia on the Thames, in front of London Bridge, May 1964
left to right: Terry King (Kings Agency), David Sutch, Brian Paul (road manager), Candy Calvert (13 year old broadcaster), Reg Calvert (Sutch's manager) with the Savages, dressed in animal skins and stone age gear - Pete Phillips (drums), ‘Pussy’ Mews (lead guitar), John (the band’s roadie), Paul Dean and Ronnie (bass guitar). At the back is Screaming Lord Sutch pictured on a kite.
Radio Sutch launched at the end of May 1964 from Shivering Sands anti-aircraft fort in the Thames - "Britain’s First Teenage Radio Station" on 194 metres (1542khz).
Brian Paul was the road manager of ‘Screaming’ Lord Sutch who used him for publicity. Sutch's manager, Reg Calvert took the idea of the launch a pirate radio station seriously. So Brian found himself roped into becoming a broadcaster.
First, they decided to do a gimmick to promote Sutch by hiring a fishing trawler Cornucopia and having a Rock’n’Roll party with the Savages and friends on the Thames. They sailed “through London playing Rock’n’Roll - saying that this was Radio Sutch.”
As his daughter, Susan recalls, Reg Calvert had always dreamed of having his own local radio station – “and when the family moved to Clifton Hall - near Rugby - he applied for a Radio Broadcasting licence - although at the time - no one in the country was allowed to run commercial radio.”
“When Radio Caroline started (using 'Caroline' as the theme tune which was recorded by the Fortunes, a group my father managed), Reg knew that his dream could become reality - if he had enough money! Unfortunately - he had just spent all his 'spare' cash trying to get a nightclub started at Loughborough.”
“Dave and my father sat in the car all evening - outside the Co-op Hall in Nuneaton on a Saturday night just after Radio Caroline first broadcast, planning how they could have a station.
On the way home, he was really excited. They couldn't afford to have a 'ship' suitable to run a radio station from - but they were going to hire a boat on the Thames and had a Rock’n’Roll party with the Savages and friends - and do another publicity stunt for David - saying it was Radio Sutch.”
Again - great publicity - which made Screaming Lord Sutch even more 'famous.'
In fact, Screaming Lord Sutch had been using this boat during 2 weeks, to anchor off Shoeburyness in the Thames estuary he broadcast as Radio Sutch, until he discovered the Shivering Sands army fort.
“A little later - my father discovered the war time forts in the Thames estuary - and he and Dave went out and messed about trying to do a broadcast with bits and pieces from the Towers - as a bit of a lark and publicity campaign. David however - soon lost interest and back to performing - but my father was determined to make it a success. He decided to carry on and changed the name to RADIO CITY.”
In late May 1964, along with the Savages, dressed in animal skins and stone-age gear, Sutch set sail from Leigh-On-Sea, Essex on board the Lowestoft registered fishing trawler The Cornucopia. Along with the motley crew, a large amount of equipment and supplies were taken aboard for later use in the station's new base.
Sutch's party boarded the tower, and began transferring the supplies and equipment for the station from The Cornucopia.
On the last trip in from broadcasting on the Cornocopia Sutch and his crew spotted the old wartime gun platforms at Shivering Sands.
On 27th May 1964, Radio Sutch was back on the air with it's first track being Screaming Lord Sutch's very own Jack The Ripper.
In September 1964, fed up with the bureaucratic side of running a pirate radio station (due to touring and recording commitments), Screaming Lord Sutch sold the station to his manager Reg Calvert who changed the name of the station to Radio City and installed new, and better equipment. A new more powerful transmitter was installed and over the months that followed the station gradually grew in power, in proficiency and in revenue.
Unfortunately this big adventure ended with Reg Calvert’s death, 2 years later.
It was a tragic loss not only for Reg's family and friends but also for the whole British music scene and entertainment. It signalled the beginning of the end for British offshore radio as the killing spurred the Government into legislative action.
BBC Radio One started to broadcast in September 1967, using the disc-jockeys from the former pirate radios and playing pop music for the younger audience.
Thanks to Dorothy Calvert and Susan Moore (nee Calvert), respectively Reg Calvert’s widow and daughter for their recollections and photographs
If you want to know more about the subject, Susan Moore has just completed writing a musical play 'THE SCHOOL OF ROCK & ROLL' and the 'DEATH OF PIRATE RADIO.'