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Bebop Spoken There

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12,393 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 112 of them this year alone and, so far, 112 this month (Jan. 23).

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Two Geordies in New York (Sky Arts)

The Bowery is where it all started. CBGB's at no. 315 to be precise. The Police set out to conquer America and the New York City club is where it all began. Gigging relentlessly on the east coast saw the band break through; chart success, Roxanne, the Copelands (Stuart and Miles), stadium gigs, the rest is history.   

Brian Johnson's A Life on the Road brought together two Geordies - Johnson, in his early days fronting the rock band Geordie, later to find fame and fortune with AC/DC, and Gordon Sumner, school teacher turned copper, fronting the biggest band on the planet.
First broadcast on Sky in 2016, Brian Johnson's series pitched the Newcastle lad as on-screen interviewer of fellow rock stars. In last night's episode we saw Johnson in the back of a limo chatting to Sumner, aka Sting. They were heading to CBGB's (now a music memorabilia/merch store) to revisit the scene where some thirty five years ago Sting was about to become more than famous. 

Rare, grainy footage of Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland on stage seemed like a million years ago. The Bowery back then, according to Sting was, well, The Bowery, suggesting it wasn't the gentrified area it subsequently became. A few doors down, sorry, a couple of blocks down (this is NYC after all) at no. 361 stands Phebe's. Sting recalled walking into the diner between sets to grab a sandwich and a coffee. In a curiously deserted diner our two Geordie boys sat supping pints of Guinness, chewing the fat. Years on from those heady times one sensed they still couldn't believe the way their lives turned out. 

Sting mentioned Last Exit, we saw a shot of the Gosforth Hotel (still standing), a much-seen photo of Sting standing at the door of a house in Newcastle (probably in Jesmond) with (see photo) l-r, Nigel Stanger, Cormac Loane, Andy Hudson, Sting, John Hedley, Ronnie Pearson, Dave Wood). Our man recalled gigging with the Newcastle Big Band. Sting is seen playing bass standing behind Ronnie McLean, trombone and Nigel Stanger, alto sax (see photo). 

Post-Police more success followed as a solo artist. Fleetingly we see on-screen photos of Sting on stage with Branford Marsalis in a band that toured widely, including a concert at Newcastle City Hall (from memory Marsalis, Kenny Kirkland, Omar Hakim) but it was those days, quite literally days, before Sting flew out on a Freddie Laker Skytrain flight to America which were of most interest to those of us who were around at the time.  
Russell

2 comments :

Lance said...

The doorstep photo I think may have been taken outside of Andy Hudson's House in Cavendish Place in Jesmond.

The presence of Dave Wood who ran the Impulse Studio in Wallsend suggests it was probably shot around about the time of the Newcastle Big Band's recording session at Impulse.

Mike Farmer said...

I remember when I went to a Jazz Workshop in Newcastle and had to go to Andy Hudson's house in Jesmond to collect tickets for the Jazz festival that was taking place in the evening. He also sent me round to a Hotel round the corner which was part of the deal. I had to share a room with a drummer from Leeds. I think his name was John O'Hara. Checking in behind me was Michael Garrick who was having a argument with the desk clerk as he didn't want to share a room.

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