Monday, 18 November 2013

Guest Blog: 'Memories Of An Ageing Rock Chick' by author Terry Tyler

Having read both of my rock fiction novels, Dream On and Full Circle, my good friend and esteemed reviewer Bodicia asked me if I would like to do a post on her blog about “rock bands I have seen”. I realise that such a subject is of appeal to a niche market only, but this for is for the rocking minority who understand how fab it was to have seen Led Zep at Knebworth in 1979… and I’d love to know about anyone else’s gig memories, in the comments below!

My pride and joy! Me with Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, 1989

I loved rock music from the moment I heard ‘Little Bit Of Love’ by Free in 1972, closely followed by ‘Silver Machine’ by Hawkwind, which was the first single I ever bought. I started going to see bands in 1975, when I was 16. In Northampton, where I lived, the county cricket ground housed a cricket pavillion which became the ‘County Rock’ on Saturday nights, where the entrance fee was just 90p – here I saw such delights as Budgie, and AC/DC and Judas Priest for less than a quid, before they were really big! I also saw the Heavy Metal Kids, featuring the late Gary Holton of Auf Weidersehen Pet fame - I can still remember him crawling across some net that was stretched across the ceiling. In 1976, The Sex Pistols were on, but me and all my chums just said, oh, that’s that punk rock stuff, isn’t it… and didn’t go to see them. I wish I had! Pop culture history on my doorstep - and we stayed in the pub!

From 1977 to 1981 I was with a chap called Ray whose favourite thing in life was going to gigs – we were always going off to the popular venues of the time; the Roundhouse, the De Montfort Hall in Leicester, and The Friars at Aylesbury. I saw UFO, The Slits, Ian Dury tons of times, The Tubes, Kate Bush… loads more.

Ian Dury, De Montfort Hall, 1978 – taken by me!!

Kate Bush was wonderful, with loads of dancers and different backgrounds. That sort of thing is the norm now, but back in a theatre in Oxford in 1979 it was pretty spectacular. Getting backstage to meet people was much easier in those days. Ray was a photographer; I remember one time he gave a roll of film to one of the press photographers who’d run out, and we were thus invited backstage to join in the party with Ian Dury. That was the first time I saw real proper groupies, and I was a bit shocked – innocent me! We also sneaked into the Palladium one afternoon when Kate Bush was rehearsing, and she very charmingly called out that we could stay if we were quiet!

…. which leads me to another memory. You know what? We used to sneak into half these places without paying. That became impossible after the 1970s, of course. Loads of people did it, though. Knebworth festival ground was sectioned off just by sheets of corrugated steel, and someone always had a spanner…! I remember going with my friend Helen to the Stones at Roundhay Park in Leeds in 1982…..

…. by that time we’d started paying! I’m really pleased I’ve kept so many of my tickets.

I didn’t go to any big venues during most of the 80s, but used to go to see local bands in Northampton pubs all the time. Then, during 1988/9, probably as an antidote to getting divorced, going to see a lot of the newer rock bands became my ‘thing’. I can’t pick a favourite – they were all terrific. Please note, all my photographs of the bands on stage at the time were as crap as everyone else’s, which is why I haven’t put any of them on here!

Me with The Quireboys, 1990

Thunder, The Quireboys, Great White, The Black Crowes, Motorhead, The Dan Reed Network… ah, those were the days. It was a really fun time.

My sister Julia with Danny and Luke of Thunder, in some pub, 1990

Julia and I and various others were always at The Town & Country Club (now The Forum), The Astoria, The Marquee, The Royal Standard. Most importantly, though, it was around then I discovered the mighty AEROSMITH, who remain my first love.

It seems weird that this is all nearly 25 years ago, now. I don’t know if bands still do this, but a lot of them did signing sessions in local record shops, then. There was a brilliant record store called Shades, or they’d be at Tower Records in Piccadilly.

Julia with Dan Reed, Shades, 1990

I’ve seen Aerosmith about 8 times, but Julia has seen them more often that I have… let me tell you a story! In the early 90s she joined the fan club, Aeroforce One, and went on a ten day trip along the west coast, organised by the club, in which she went to five gigs and lots of after-show parties. During this time she got friendly with the guy who ran Aeroforce One – and, several months later, he got in touch with her and asked her if she wanted to run the European branch! But that is her story, not mine… we are not worthy!

Milton Keynes Bowl, 1991

I used to love going to the all day things like Donington Monsters of Rock, or ZZ Top and various others at the Milton Keynes Bowl – rarely can I remember the journey home from these outings!

Donington, 1991 (I think!)

Then my life changed, as it tends to, and I stopped going to see bands so much – just the odd trip to Glastonbury (Black Crowes, Lenny Kravitz), or Aerosmith or David Lee Roth at Wembley Stadium. I also have to admit that about three years ago I had tickets to see Paul Rodgers, ex of Free and Bad Company and one of my heroes, together with Joe Perry (Aerosmith)’s new band, and I got the date wrong. The tickets were eighty quid each, and I got them out on April 8th to put them in my purse for the gig on the 10th – only to discover that it had taken place on the 7th….. I’m still gutted about it now!

I’m glad to say that my friends and I, though all well over 50, may never really grow up…!

The village of Rock, Northumberland, 2011

Thank you to Bodicia for asking me to do this, and to anyone who has enjoyed sharing my rocking memories!

Terry has written several 5* books, all of which can be found here on Amazon. Terry's website can be found here and watch out for Terry's new short story collection, Nine Lives, which will be free for five days from November 20.  The stories are all in the genre of contemporary romance/drama - scarcely a rock band to be found!


  1. Thanks so much! You've presented it beautifully xxx

  2. Great blog, Terry. Most enjoyable. Love the pics. All those memories are so precious. I still have tickets and stuff and autographs from my rocking days which started in the decade before yours! Sigh... they can bury them with me when I go! Pam. :-)

  3. Thanks for reading and commenting, Pam! Alas, I had Ian Dury's autograph and an Aerosmith album signed by them, which are no nowhere to be found - I gave the album away when pissed!!!!! That's my oldest ticket - would love to see yours, I bet you've got some GEMS!!!

    1. A lot of very early stuff got lost when I emigrated to Canada but I treasure my Who autographs (from 1965) and my Paul and Linda McCartney ones. Maybe one day I'll do a blog and show them off.

  4. Really interesting post Terry, stirred up lots of memories for thousands of people

  5. Terry, so may memories coming flooding back: Vinegar Joe (with Elkie Brooks singing), Arthur Brown, Hawkwind, Mott the Hoople during the early 70s in Birmingham and London; queuing for Led Zeppelin tickets on Oxford Street (the first time I skipped a college lecture - but certainly not the last); Pink Floyd's Wall tour; Dr Hook; The Who and Hazel O'Connor at the Rainbow in Finsbury Park the list goes on. My favourite was The Eagles performing Hotel California at Wembley.

  6. My memories are from the eighties and nineties. Primal Scream, Black Crows, The Cure, Jesus and Mary Chain etc. If you hung around after a gig they'd usually stop for a chat and a photo. Took my 15 year old daughter to a One Direction book signing yesterday - they were lovely but we literally had 15 seconds to say hi before being moved on by security - wasn't like that in the 90s!

  7. Great post, Terry!

    I am bursting with envy that you got to see Led Zeppelin. Robert Plant is my forever Rock God. They didn't tour here during the late 70s, They were in the process of organizing a tour in '80 when Bonham died, so I never got to see them together.

    Missing the Paul Rodgers show is heartbreaking! I'd be crushed, as well. He is brilliant.

    My strangest concert experience came in 1979. My boyfriend at that time loved Punk. We went to see The Tubes, who'd just come out with their album Remote Control. When they did their song TV Is King, they pushed a big console TV out on the stage. Fee Waybill, the singer, climbed on top, laid down on his belly, and proceeded to hump the TV while he sang. Quite a strange sight!

  8. I loved reading all these comments!!!! I wish I'd got to see Mott The Hoople, too, Elizabeth; I used to love them. Oh, and Hawkwind! Thanks to everyone for replying - it's made me want to go and see The Black Crowes again, Alison, too!!! Oh, Chris Robinson in those red velvet loons in the 'Remedy' video.....!

  9. ....oh, and Darcia - my sister's ex is in what is generally considered to be the best Led Zep tribute band, Lets Zep - they play stateside too, so do go and see them if they're ever down your way!!!! (He's an A1 dickhead, incidentally, but really good at what he does!)

    1. I've never heard of Lets Zep, but will definitely look for them. The A1 Dickhead thing is why it's not always good to know too much about the musicians we love!

    2. Agreed - Paul Rodgers is supposed to be a complete wanker, I was gutted when I found that out!!!!

  10. Loved reading this blog, Terry :) You have some fantastic photos and memories. I also keep tickets, autographs, and photos of my favourite bands from over the years. There's nothing like live music. Thanks for sharing your memories xxx PS. you are sooo lucky to have met Steven Tyler!! :)

    1. Ah yes, Maria, but it pales in comparison with Julia's acquaintance with him!!! Thanks - wish I had kept more tickets. Apart from the Stones one, I haven't got any earlier than 1989.

  11. fab photos and great memories. I've heard of most of the bands, so I was quite impressed with that, since I am not a rock chick and was only born in '72. I've never been to a festival, although I've been to open air gigs and concerts. great article.

  12. Brilliant blog Terry - brought some memories back for me too! I started going to gigs in 1983 when I was 13, saw so many bands over the years, too many to mention! Little Angels were my late 80's/early 90's love - seen them over 30 times! Lots more over the years, up to last night seeing Nickelback in Liverpool. Rock on!


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