|Chevrolet -and- Crepes 'n' Drapes
Crepes 'n' Drapes:
Addional notes by Danny Hennessy:
Paul Chappell (vocals). Paul had been singing for five years with Crepes 'n' Drapes until he left them in 1978, due to ill health and a full-time day job. In 1980 Paul was asked to be the lead vocalist of Chevrolet, and he had no hesitation in accepting the job of fronting one of the most exciting rock 'n' roll bands around.
Nick Ferris (lead guitar). Nick joined Crepes 'n' Drapes in 1979, when Mike Holder decided to leave the band. Nick had already played in various local groups covering a wide range of musical styles and he quickly adapted to playing rock 'n' roll with great skill and enthusiasm.
Nick's website: http://www.nickferris.co.uk
Johnny 'Sticks' Jozwiak (drums). John had been playing drums for six years. For four of those years he was the driving force of Crepes 'n' Drapes, his drumming providing a solid foundation.
Geoff Hunt (bass). Geoff had been a rhythm guitarist for Crepes 'n' Drapes for a while in 1976. He was also responsible for the recording of the two songs issued on the Sonet album. Actually it was Geoff's idea to form Chevrolet after John, Nick and Ian had become disillusioned with Crepes 'n' Drapes.
Ian Smith (rhythm guitar). Apart from playing rhtyhm guitar, Ian was also the main songwriter of the band, having contributed the above mentioned songs "Boogie Bop Dame" and "Big Black Chevrolet" to the repertoire of Crepes 'n' Drapes, of which he was a founder member.
In august of that same year, 1980, Chevrolet issued their first 45 on the Ricochet label. The songs were "Big Black Chevrolet" (this time, recorded properly in a studio) backed with "Who's that girl". This single, packed in a very nice looking folded cover, has been a much sought after collector's item for a long time now. During 1980 and 1981 the band toured around England and they played many gigs alongside the top outfits of those days as the likes of Crazy Cavan, Freddie 'Fingers' Lee and The Flying Saucers. In november of 1981 Chevrolet made their first journey to the European continent, where they played a number of gigs in Holland. They were ecstatically received wherever they appeared and were immediatly re-booked at all venues they played. This resulted in a five week tour of Holland, Belgium and Germany in april 1982, when the band finally decided to "turn pro".
In October 1982, lead singer Paul Chappell decided to leave the band. The arduous life of a professional musician, always on the road, was too much for Paul and he picked up his old job as a car mechanic. At the same time it was decided to streamline the band, resulting in the departure of rhythm guitarist Ian Smith (who shortly after joined Bonneville). This left Chevrolet without a frontman. After numerous applications from all over the country the group held auditions in december '82 and within a few days Russell Ford was chosen as their new lead singer. Russell was the ideal replacement, having been in the business for many years. His face was familiar to the audience due to many guest appearences on Channell Four's "Unforgettable" TV show.
With Russell as their new vocalist, the band went back into the studio and recorded "Deep Down South" and "I'm Coming In", which were released on 45 in October 1983. Come 1984, Russel was gone, I never knew what happened, but the band had to replace their lead vocalist again on very short notice. The replacement came in the form of a fine rocker by the name of "Blue" (real name: Malcolm Christopher). Blue was formerly lead singer with a band called "Chevy 55" from Wales, following in the footsteps of those other great Welshmen, Crazy Cavan and Shakin' Stevens. It must be something in the Welsh beer that produces such excellent rock 'n' rollers. 1984 was looking real good for the band, with an ever increasing diary of English dates and seven tours to the continent booked. In april 1984 they did a live radio show in Holland for NCRV radio, which was well received.
At the end of 1984 all information stops. What happened to this great band, whom I've seen on stage dozens of times, always enjoying it to the max. It was always a great pleasure to see Nick Ferris perform his marvellous stage show, a great guitarist and a great performer. And Johnny "Sticks" Jozwiak, the friendliest drummer on the scene. And Geoff Hunt, an excellent bass player with great management capacities. Why this band never made it into the charts will always keep puzzling me, they had it all, and they just vanished from the scene. I'm glad I recorded several of their stage performces, these tapes will always be great fun to play and for reminiscing those days long gone...
The BlackCat, 1999
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