Published: 21 April 2011
by DAN CARRIER
A BAND started by school pals in the 1970s has reformed for another taste of life on stage, 35 years later.
Reid Savage, Dan Flowers and Greg Mason met at William Ellis School in Highgate more than three decades ago and enjoyed some success with their band, Sore Throat.
By 1976, they were enjoying five bookings a week and were well-known faces at Camden’s legendary live music venues.
Now, they are back, albeit with a new name, perhaps reflecting the passing of time. Performing as Groovy Dad, the three musicians, along with rock journalist friend Neil McCormick, will return to the stage next month.
Mr Savage said: “In our mid-teens we started knocking about with each other and by the age of 17 we were playing in our band Sore Throat.”
They proved to be mentors to another Camden band with a William Ellis link – Madness were a little younger and would follow them religiously.
In return, Sore Throat asked the young “Nutty Boys” if they would like to join them on the bill at a gig at the Music Machine – the nightclub now known as Koko in Camden High Street.
Sore Throat scored a deal with EMI and cut a record, but failed to follow it up with a hit and the members eventually pursued other careers and projects.
Then, a couple of years ago, Mr Savage was approached by friends who asked if he would play at a party.
He said: “A lot of our friends have been having 50th birthday parties and someone asked if we would reform Sore Throat.”
The idea of getting the entire crew back together was stumped by the fact one member, Matt Flowers, Dan’s brother, was running a successful art gallery which meant he was not available for jam sessions.”
But Mr Savage knew enough other musicians for this obstacle to be overcome.
He added: “Because of the umming and ahhing, I just put together a band and got on with it, and it has worked. One of the funniest things is we get is a lot of old girlfriends from Camden School for Girls and Parliament Hill show up. They suddenly get interested in what we are up to.”
And as well as having the chance to knock around with teenage mates, the band say they are fortunate to have grown up in a era when rock and roll was at its peak.
“Put it this way: we don’t play Abba,” said Mr Savage.
“We perform the great rock music of our youth. We have a great jukebox to choose tunes from.”
The repertoire ranges from Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, tunes from The Beatles’ White Album period, Motorhead, Deep Purple and the Rolling Stones.
As well as Mr McCormick, a rock critic for the Daily Telegraph, other additions to the band include former boy band drummer Steve Alexander, who was in Brother Beyond and more recently played with guitar legend Jeff Beck. Mr McCormick wrote about his failure as a rock star compared to his Irish compatriot of U2 fame in a book called Killing Bono, which was recently turned into a film. He said: “We are fortunate that we cut our teeth during the great era of British rock music. When Groovy Dad rocks, we really rock.”
Groovy Dad are playing at The Castle, Finchley Road, on May 7.