Old Stars

I suppose I was lucky- and stroppy. At Newcastle University I had a confident girlfriend. She lent me a stylish Rollieflex camera and I learned how to develop & print in her (Fine Art Department) darkroom. Professor Rowntree, (“The Queen’s favourite painter”!) saw some of my prints and commissioned me to illustrate the Department catalogue.

Then one day mate told me that The Who were playing at The Bay Hotel Sunderland that night- would I like a lift? I had one roll of film & the Rollei- no flash- ended up behind the speakers leaning over their roadie, Bob Pridden.

Luckily again- we’d met John Peel at Newcastle City Hall. He already knew a poetry-writing flatmate of ours & opted for a bed in Osborne Road rather than anther cold night in his Dormobile. And so began a supportive friendship….which ended up with my picture of himself and his wife-to-be Sheila Gilhooly being used as the cover for his part- posthumous autobiography.

I became a regular at the City Hall- security was run by off-duty ambulance workers at the time – I sort-of remember. Almost all the acts I asked for ‘permission to capture’ were agreeable – many very friendly, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and Captain Beefheart- other less so- David Bowie’s management and Van Morrison.

We spent the summer of 1969 camping out & acting as secretaries to Mr Peel in Upper Harley Street. A host of STARS would drop by…..I went back to finish my degree and my partner stayed in London to do her Masters.

I carried on with the camera for a while- maybe 2 years- snapping Brethren before they became Lindisfarne and accompanying Tyneside favourites The Junco Partners to Paris- as their (ha ha) French translator. Back to London- the relationship had ended- much sleeping on friends’ floors and eventually playleadership….

  • Winter of 1968/9 at the Bay Hotel, Sunderland. John Shaunessy, a photographer from gosforth took me to Sunderland with a borrowed Rollieflex and two rolls of slow film- no flash. This tour was intended towind The Who up in preparation for the release of Tommy.
Sweat ran freely down the Bay Hotel's black walls and the band grabbed your guts. All this series of photographs were taken behind the speakers, sharing  what space there was with the roadie. All the original negatives wre scratched badly at the lab- who in turn retouched prints and rephotographed them. 
The eyes and fingers have it. This is my favourite rock image.
 Simon Danby 1968

    Winter of 1968/9 at the Bay Hotel, Sunderland. John Shaunessy, a photographer from gosforth took me to Sunderland with a borrowed Rollieflex and two rolls of slow film- no flash. This tour was intended towind The Who up in preparation for the release of Tommy. Sweat ran freely down the Bay Hotel's black walls and the band grabbed your guts. All this series of photographs were taken behind the speakers, sharing what space there was with the roadie. All the original negatives wre scratched badly at the lab- who in turn retouched prints and rephotographed them. The eyes and fingers have it. This is my favourite rock image. Simon Danby 1968

  • Radio One Continuity. John & Sheila. From the same evening as the "Margrave of he Marshes" cover image though a bit less dreamy. I mark this as 1969 but it might have been 1970. The same year as the moon landing, anyway. This was really early days for John and Sheila- When we first arrived at Peel Acres with hopeful photos from Newcastle John was noticeably dozzened by concussion. They'd been enjoying life on the studio floor when someone enthusiastically opened the sound-proof door on his head. Simon Danby 1969 All Rights Reserved DACS

    Radio One Continuity. John & Sheila. From the same evening as the "Margrave of he Marshes" cover image though a bit less dreamy. I mark this as 1969 but it might have been 1970. The same year as the moon landing, anyway. This was really early days for John and Sheila- When we first arrived at Peel Acres with hopeful photos from Newcastle John was noticeably dozzened by concussion. They'd been enjoying life on the studio floor when someone enthusiastically opened the sound-proof door on his head. Simon Danby 1969 All Rights Reserved DACS

  • Frank Zappa at the Mothers of Invention afternoon sound-check at Newcastle City Hall. Uncle Meat tour, ?1969.
Zappa stayed in charge of everything- conducting the band's'"free singing'mercilessly. A few old favourites- "Brown Shoes Don't Make It". Crikey, and FRANK'S WEARING BROWN SHOES! What can it all mean? 
During the interval, zappa sat at a table in the understage dressing room- writing music in what looked like at least six parts. he was protected by his manager, Herb Cohen. Herb looked like a NY heavy in his white trench coat.
Meanwhile, in the other half of the dressing room, the other band members messed about with dope and Newcastle Brown Ale. Jimmy carl B;ack obligingly posed behind three bottles. I almost got it in focus. (A fashion feature worth mentioning were Bunk Gardner's yellow flared trousers. Not only were they yellow and too short but they had been IRONED SIDEWAYS!
All bar Cohen & Zappa succumbed to a post-gig invitation to a crumbling art students' flat in Akenside Terrace. They seemed disappaointed at the lack of female company but signed an album and let us into the secret of "Ruben and the Jets" It was "just Frank eight-tracking"
I still know all the words to "Dog Breath in the Year of the Tzar"

    Frank Zappa at the Mothers of Invention afternoon sound-check at Newcastle City Hall. Uncle Meat tour, ?1969. Zappa stayed in charge of everything- conducting the band's'"free singing'mercilessly. A few old favourites- "Brown Shoes Don't Make It". Crikey, and FRANK'S WEARING BROWN SHOES! What can it all mean? During the interval, zappa sat at a table in the understage dressing room- writing music in what looked like at least six parts. he was protected by his manager, Herb Cohen. Herb looked like a NY heavy in his white trench coat. Meanwhile, in the other half of the dressing room, the other band members messed about with dope and Newcastle Brown Ale. Jimmy carl B;ack obligingly posed behind three bottles. I almost got it in focus. (A fashion feature worth mentioning were Bunk Gardner's yellow flared trousers. Not only were they yellow and too short but they had been IRONED SIDEWAYS! All bar Cohen & Zappa succumbed to a post-gig invitation to a crumbling art students' flat in Akenside Terrace. They seemed disappaointed at the lack of female company but signed an album and let us into the secret of "Ruben and the Jets" It was "just Frank eight-tracking" I still know all the words to "Dog Breath in the Year of the Tzar"

  • Almost certainly at a Blodwyn Pig gig in County Durham, probably 1970. A fine example of gig clothing, too. I delude myself into thinking this was taken during the trademark Cat's Squirrel. Whatever, it was a pleasure to work, ever so briefly, with a decent, worthwhile band. Simon Danby 1970

    Almost certainly at a Blodwyn Pig gig in County Durham, probably 1970. A fine example of gig clothing, too. I delude myself into thinking this was taken during the trademark Cat's Squirrel. Whatever, it was a pleasure to work, ever so briefly, with a decent, worthwhile band. Simon Danby 1970

  • In the Mayfair dressing room, Newcastle- ca 1970/1 Simon Danby 1971

    In the Mayfair dressing room, Newcastle- ca 1970/1 Simon Danby 1971

  • The Junco Partners live in Eldon Square, ca 1970
Bob Sergeant out of shot to L.  John Woods drums, Charlie Harcourt watching Bob, Davie Sproat also. At the brink of the image appears their manager, Joe Robertson. No other names known. Simon Danby 1970

    The Junco Partners live in Eldon Square, ca 1970 Bob Sergeant out of shot to L. John Woods drums, Charlie Harcourt watching Bob, Davie Sproat also. At the brink of the image appears their manager, Joe Robertson. No other names known. Simon Danby 1970

  • In a Lawrence Corner string vest. Jimmy Page at Newcastle City Hall. !969, I think. Someone stole my standard issue 50 mm lend that night, leaving me with a 24mm and 85mm only. Scrabbling around the front row seats after the audience had left-and finding nothing. At least Jimmy Page helped, on his hands and knees. That's when you find out who's a bloated star and who's a decent person. Simon Danby 1969

    In a Lawrence Corner string vest. Jimmy Page at Newcastle City Hall. !969, I think. Someone stole my standard issue 50 mm lend that night, leaving me with a 24mm and 85mm only. Scrabbling around the front row seats after the audience had left-and finding nothing. At least Jimmy Page helped, on his hands and knees. That's when you find out who's a bloated star and who's a decent person. Simon Danby 1969

  • Some people seemed doomed to be for ever standing in a convenient  hair enhancing breeze.  Flock's Jerry Goodman won all the competitions. This was at Bath Folk Festival in, I think, 1970 . Donovan lost his son, briefly. Simon Danby 1970

    Some people seemed doomed to be for ever standing in a convenient hair enhancing breeze. Flock's Jerry Goodman won all the competitions. This was at Bath Folk Festival in, I think, 1970 . Donovan lost his son, briefly. Simon Danby 1970

  • Jimmy Carl-Black. "The Indian of the Group" Martial drummer for The Mothers of Invention. Below the stage at Newcastle City Hall in, probably something like 1969, (The Uncle Meat tour). This photograph speaks volumes and illustrates the focusing problems inherent to the use of smoking materials and Newcastle Brown Ale. It will never be in focus -ask any vegetable. Simon Danby 1969

    Jimmy Carl-Black. "The Indian of the Group" Martial drummer for The Mothers of Invention. Below the stage at Newcastle City Hall in, probably something like 1969, (The Uncle Meat tour). This photograph speaks volumes and illustrates the focusing problems inherent to the use of smoking materials and Newcastle Brown Ale. It will never be in focus -ask any vegetable. Simon Danby 1969

  • The highly thought of Graham Bond c1969 in a small club in Cambridge. Simon Danby 1969

    The highly thought of Graham Bond c1969 in a small club in Cambridge. Simon Danby 1969

  • Bretheren in Jesmond Dene. Under manager Joe Robertson they were to join with Alan Hull to form the "best thing since sliced bread' (J.Robertson), Lindisfarne. He wasn't too wrong, either.  Simon Danby 1969

    Bretheren in Jesmond Dene. Under manager Joe Robertson they were to join with Alan Hull to form the "best thing since sliced bread' (J.Robertson), Lindisfarne. He wasn't too wrong, either. Simon Danby 1969

  • Newcastle City Hall ca1970. This is the only shot I got- hugely unpleasant Bowie-keepers threatened to rip the camera out of my hands if I didn't put it away. Luckier folk had paid for central seats off the front row- and blazed away merrily. Simon Danby 1970

    Newcastle City Hall ca1970. This is the only shot I got- hugely unpleasant Bowie-keepers threatened to rip the camera out of my hands if I didn't put it away. Luckier folk had paid for central seats off the front row- and blazed away merrily. Simon Danby 1970

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Simon Danby - Old Stars