Showaddywaddy do Doo Wah Diddy Diddy

Once upon a time in Leicester there were two bands: The Choise (sic) and The Golden Hammers.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 12th September 2014, 9:00 am

In 1973 two became one as Dave Bartram (lead vocal and guitar of The Choise), along with Romeo Challenger (drums), Trevor Oakes (guitar) and Al James (bass) joined with Malcolm Allured, Buddy Gask, Russ Fields and Rod Deas of The Golden Hammers to form – Showaddywaddy.

Everyone’s favourite rock n roll revivalists will appear at The Albert Halls in Bolton tomorrow night.

And it all began on Opportunity Knocks more than 40 years ago. After an appearance on the talent show the band hit the charts with debut single Hey Rock and Roll in 1974.

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The band struck a chord with their original take on the rock and roll sound.

Dave Bartram, lead singer from 1973 to 2011, and the bands’ manager since 1984, tells me how they developed their image.

“We started doing rock n roll songs and they made up the majority of our set, but instead of the dowdy clothing – drape jackets were usually dark – we decided we needed bright colours to reflect the music we were playing.”

What you might call ‘Glam Rock and Roll’?

“I’d never heard it described as that, but yeah.”

Strangely, the two bands played different styles of rock, as bassist Rod Deas explains.

“We (The Golden Hammers) played rock and roll, while The Choise preferred to play more Prog Rock.”

Unusual for two such different bands to join forces.

Rod said: “Both bands were playing at a pub in Leicester called The Fosse Way, it had a big back room and one night we’d play, and on others The Choise would be on stage.”

“The landlord loved it as he was taking in packets in drinks sales.”

“We decided to get together to do an extra night and it took off from there.”

A string of hits followed, from 1974 to 1986, with both original and band-written material alongside covers.

Fast forward to 2011 and Dave decided to retire from the lead vocalist slot.

“By the end of 2011,” he relates, “I’d been on the road with the band for 38 years.”

“I was finding it difficult and had no time for my family. I also had an ambition to write books so I resigned – although I continue to manage the group – and we brought in Andy Pelos, a great singer.”

A fact, echoed by Rod.

“He’s got a great voice and is a great bloke too.”

Over the years there have been other changes and today, only two original members remain – drummer Romeo Challenger and Rod.

“We keep going because we want to and we’re both fortunate to be able to,” said Rod.

So apart from the hits, what else can we expect to hear at Bolton?

“Oh, we play lots of Rock and Roll standards and we’ve introduced Doo Wah Diddy Diddy into the set, which is really going down well,” said Rod.

And the future?

“Oh, we’ll be touring into next year and beyond,” the bassist says.

“Romeo and I are loving every minute.”

Showaddywaddy appear at The Albert Halls, Bolton tonight, Friday September 12.

Tickets are available from the Box Office on 01204 334400 and all usual agencies.

Martin Hutchinson