the 70s, Friars was the gig of gigs. We could play 40-date tours of
the UK, to all towns and cities, and still carry that air of
anticipation throughout the bus, waiting especially for
Aylesbury.Dave Stopps was a sensational 'spotter and Promoter;
finger on the pulse, hip to his fingertips to all that was happening
out of everywhere that boasted new bands. In 1974, Cockney Rebel
played Friars four times - in January, in May, in June and again in
August. All sold out and all buzzing. Unforgettable. Good luck with
your site. The old place was unique and deserves such an accolade."
Steve Harley, writing on his
official website in 2004 said:
heard they're tearing down Aylesbury Civic Hall, the legendary
What a shame. What a drag. can it be true? No rock venue of that
type and size in amiable Aylesbury for the first time in ages?
The immortal Dave Stopps was the 70's promoter who brought many good
names to Bucks. He tapped a source there. The London-based music mag
critics would get out to Aylesbury, because it was only a short hop
from The Smoke.
Out of Friars, thanks mostly to the eagle-eye and sound judgment of
Dave Stopps, broke the careers of David Bowie, Genesis, Mott The
Hoople, Roxy Music, many many more and even yours truly.
The first front cover the first Cockney Rebel received from either
the NME or Melody Maker was after a show, early on, at Friars,
There is an important rock audience in that general vicinity, and so
a new hall must be found/built pretty damn soon.
But why? The place can't be more than 20 years old. What on earth
could have happened to it, that it needs demolishing? The mind
boggles and the hackles rise"
Milton Reame - James:
My memories of Friars: Wonderful, it was after our first gig
(January 5th 1974) we knew then Cockney Rebel would break in the UK.
Our first taste of success. I forget exactly how many times we
played and all good gigs. By the time we did the final tour as
you said it was a wonderful reception. After Bowie had had his
initial success there, Steve and our agents/ management knew how
vital it was for us to succeed there. Fans also travelled to
local gigs ( Luton and Dunstable as I recall ) and brought the
Friars effect with them. Wonderful times and before the
difficulties which led to the band breaking up mid tour."
Jean Paul Crocker
do recall the excellent receptions at Friars, but that is about all
I'm afraid (a lot of water etc)"