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Artiste memories of Friars



Paul Riordan, Mandrake Paddle Steamer, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2008 said:     

"Mike Cooper was one of my inspirations when I was starting out - I have a couple of his EP's' - and of course can remember seeing him at Friars -  I was trying to convince the  band to listen - but none of them were into all that 'blues stuff'"

Mike Cooper, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2008 said:     

 "I'm not good at recalling gigs that far back. I did so many in those days they all blurred into one after a least in my memory. I also have no recollection of that other band at all (that'll be Mandrake Paddle Steamer then ! - Ed). I was probably in the bar...arrogant little fuckwit that I was. Funny you mention Lol (Coxhill) though...he was from Aylesbury. We will tour together as The Recedents in the UK in July...but not Aylesbury alas."

Mike Cooper, after we pointed out that he was an inspiration to the Mandrakes:     

"I apologise to those guys and say thanks!"

Andy Fraser, Free, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2007 said:     

 "I remember we used to really like playing at the Friars mainly because of the audience, which was always very supportive of us. Not being too big, the Friars was very intimate, so one felt a closer connection with the crowd. A great shame the Friarage Hall has been knocked down."

Simon Kirke, Free, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2007 said:     

"I don't really remember too much that far back. Safe to say the club was a favourite of ours and I do remember the crowds were always good to us but other than that 40 yrs was a long time ago! "

Jonathan Kelly, interviewed for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2009 said:     

"We used to have such great parties at Friars. I remember we could have gone on all night. I had to be asked to leave sometimes!"

Brian Godding, Blossom Toes, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2007 said:     

" I tend to remember Friars for what it was in the grand scheme of things rather than specific performances. It was,without doubt, the most revered and sort after venue/ gig to do for bands of our ilk back then. If you like, a safe haven, most UK venues (out of town) were always a lottery and could be quite dangerous to work in ( for instance working men's clubs up north !) I think it's fair to say Friars was the Mecca of the musical movement of the period and bands felt safe in the knowledge that they were among 'like minded people'. So it was a place you could go and try out all your new weird and wonderful Ideas without getting thumped or threatened ! I do remember, for instance, it was at one of our Friars gigs I first saw Genesis and was totally blown away by them and Peter Gabriel.

It was a little like a 'club' that both bands and audiences all belonged to!"

Mick Abrahams, Blodwyn Pig writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2008 said:

"I do remember playing Friars on a few occasions but I really can’t remember anything specifically with the exception that they were all good gigs. I am happy to say some good words about Friars for the website as I am a fairly local boy and played Aylesbury right from the age of 16!" 

Edgar Broughton, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2008 said:

"Gosh! That is all a bit hazy these days. I just remember it being the best gig for miles around and that is about it. I suppose I was always a teeny bit stoned, come to think of it."

Geoff Nicholson, East of Eden, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2007 said:       

 "(Friars)....was one of our favourite places to play."

Root Cartwright, Principal Edwards Magic Theatre,writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2007 said:     

"I remember we played at Friars at least once but it was an awfully long time ago and beyond that I can't really recall anything about it !"

Jim McCarty, Renaissance,writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2008 said:       

" Friars was a good "old fashioned" gig that hadn't changed much since the 60`s. If I remember by 1976 (Illusion gigs) there weren't many of those venues left. There were either little clubs or huge venues. Friars always had that sort of "hippie" vibe. Quite different to the punk thing happening at the time."

Dave Codling (a.k.a. Maha Dev), Quintessence,writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2007 said:     

 "It was a good venue , we were well treated and always got a good response when we played there. The audience was usually pretty meatballed when we got to play. Not much change there, eh!."

Phil "Shiva" Jones, Quintessence, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2008 said:     

 "I'm really liking your website, it brings back all those great memories ....Friars was truly a great venue to play. It always attracted an audience that was open to new and exciting music, and the ambience was unique.I wish there was somewhere else like that now."

Ian Hunter, Mott the Hoople, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website, 2009:

"I was a big mate of Pete Frame’s, who said to come with him to the club. Pete had my dog when we left to come to the States. I always liked Stoppsy, in those days of strange promoters he was one of the good ones at that time.

We always seemed to have a great time there: One of those gigs which became entrenched in your memory for some stupid reason. We did hundreds of gigs like that but, for some reason, that one would stick out. It just became this very special gig that was up the M1. There were hundreds of ‘em but some that stuck out. Friars was one of ‘em. Great little club. "

Verden ‘Phally’ Allen, Mott the Hoople,  for the Friars Aylesbury website, 2009:

"That’s where it all started off. Our first gig was at an air force base with King Crimson. Ian was dressed in a suit. It didn’t sort of happen. We done the Roundhouse then Aylesbury and something just clicked. That was it. It all started in Aylesbury!"

Ian Hunter, on his website, responding to this website's webmaster in 2008:

"Well, it was Pete Frame, Dave Stopps and Kris Needs territory wasn't it? I met Dave Stopps on the Ringo tour (he manages Howard Jones) and Kris and Pete came to a recent gig in Milton Keynes (Spring 2008 - we were there too!). (Friars) itself was great but like I say I remember the people - 'Zig Zag' and all that"

Ian Hunter, quoted in the Aylesbury Roxette (talking to Radio 1), summer 1976 said:

"Aylesbury is like a little San Francisco. It's one of those places where everything seems to start...I don't know what it is, but the people there seem to sense what's going to happen. I know Mott the Hoople happened in Aylesbury long before anywhere else, and it was the same for David Bowie. Everybody seems to be friendly, and they make you feel good - and whenever I played there, I felt like an old friend being welcomed home. In fact the atmosphere of Aylesbury got to me to such an extent that I was seriously considering moving there at one time...but then I moved to America instead."

Mark Ashton, Rare Bird, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2008 said:

" I remember playing Friars, it was a great gig".

John Otway, interviewed for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2009:

"Dave Stopps was so brilliant and put Aylesbury on the map and part of the reason I have had a career I've loved is down to him and down to Friars."

Martin Pugh, Steamhammer, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2009:

"Thank you for the invite to your 40th, I am sure it was a blast.  Due to my living in California, I was not able to attend. I have many fond memories of playing and watching bands at the club 40 years ago. Currently I am putting Steamhammer back together and hopefully will be able to play at the club again."

Steve Hackett, Genesis, interviewed for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2009:

"friends, almost a family atmosphere. Of course David Stopps was important in spearheading it. Those shows were early victories for us all, affectionately remembered early seventies memories.

David was such a character and really was part of the shows with his top hat and white clothes. I remember Pete Gabriel breaking his leg there. He always gave his all but perhaps that was a bridge too far. There was warmth and enthusiasm from the crowd that acted as a morale booster for the band when other hearts were harder to conquer".

Geezer Butler, Black Sabbath, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2008 said:

"Unfortunately, I don't remember too much about that gig , but I'm sure we were delighted to be asked to play there, as gigs back then before the first album's success were few, and we were always grateful of being asked to play. I'll ask Tony Iommi if he remembers, he seems to have a better memory than the rest of us. Good luck with your project"

Willy Finlayson, Writing on the Wall, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2008 said:

"I remember good vibes about the gig!"

Tony Banks, Genesis, writing in the Chapter and Verse autobiography, 2007 said:

"We played a lot at Friars Aylesbury which was a great venue for us throughout this period, and we were friendly with Dave Stopps who ran it" 

Roger Ruskin Spear, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2009 said:

"Nice site. Louise Longson has dug you out of the internet for us. Yes indeed I remember Friars with affection. Monday 1st June with Wishbone Ash  was near as dammit my first "real" gig through an agent (Terry King @ £30!). So thanks to the "visionary" at Friars for the booking! I also remember a later gig where the compere made a remark about my "long term residency" so that must have been Friars too. "

Ray Laidlaw, Lindisfarne/Jack The Lad, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2007 said:

'Bit of a tall order this one. I can't remember much detail but I have very fond memories of Friars, both venues, the first one being the most whacky. I've got a feeling that the first time Lindisfarne played there we were a last minute replacement for another band, it may have been David Bowie (it was The Faces - Ed). I remember a lot of disgruntled punters in the pub grumbling about having to watch 'some bloody folk group'. As it happened a lot of them stayed and we went down really well. I think David Stopps must have had close links with Charisma records because all of the bands on the label, Genesis, Van Der Graaf, Audience etc seemed to get booked at Friars on a regular basis. As I said, I can't recall much detail, just lots of bonhomie, great audience reaction, good crack in the pub before and after, interesting herbal aromas and lots of bearded blokes and rustic hippie chicks.  Happy daze indeed'

Woody Woodmansey, The Spiders From Mars, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2008 said:

'The Aylesbury Friars Club gig sticks in my mind as one of Bowie and the Spiders favourite gigs. I remember the first time we played we'd spent weeks working out the show and it was the first airing of a Bowie and Spiders concert that we then took around the world! The audience reception was the best.'

Teddy Osei, Osibisa, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2007 said:

'One of the favourite venues for Osibisa in the early 70's was Friars Aylesbury.
The vibes was so great and lots of fun to perform to wonderful live music lovers.
I remember at one gig at Friars the place was jamming hot and the band
was in one of their cosmic heights that resulted in some of the fans took their clothes
off and danced naked.
That was the magic of Osibisa and Friars.
Will always remember this'

Steve Harley, Cockney Rebel, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2008 said:

"In 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, Cockney Rebel, writing on his official website in 2004 said:

"Have heard they're tearing down Aylesbury Civic Hall, the legendary Friars' replacement.

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, Aylesbury.

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, Cockney Rebel, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2007 said:

" 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, Cockney Rebel, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2008 said:

"I do recall the excellent receptions at Friars, but that is about all I'm afraid (a lot of water etc)"

Phil Pickett, Sailor, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2007 said:     

      "The infamous Friars Club sticks out in my memory as a really special venue which we'd all heard about before we played there, but never could have imagined how great the audiences were or what an amazing reception we always got whenever we came to Aylesbury.It was wild and during Sailor's 1970's heyday, there was nowhere we played to more enthusiastic audiences anywhere in the UK than Friars. The ecstatic reactions at Glasgow Munich and Hamburg came close but nothing topped Aylesbury and Friars - I've still got the cup we won as "Sensation of the Year" award in pride of place in my studio."

Barry Devlin, Horslips, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2008 said:     

"Enjoyed the gig, really nice lively venue back then. . I remember Sailor's gear stopped the roadies complaining for a few days!"

Ralph Evans, Sassafras, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2007 said:

'I remember playing there and I remember the Phil Collins gig (Brand X) but much else has slithered into the past. We are talking 32 years ago!'

  Chris Sharley, Sassafras, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2009:

      I have fond memories of playing The Friars in 1974 & ''75 with Welsh band Sassafras. one gig in particular stands out when we were on with Bebop Deluxe. What a great band they were? I found a poster on an old Friars site which was a nice bit of memorabilia for my scrap book. Thanks... The drummer from Bebop was originally from Hackensack, with Nicky Moore on vocals. Strangely enough I later became a great friend and did many gigs with Nicky in the 80's and fairly recently the 'Back For A Bit Tour'.

          Good luck with the 'New' Friars and I'll follow with interest.

Mutter Slater and Crun Walter, Stackridge, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2007 said:

"The only one I remember is the last one (30/12/75). It was with Keith Gemmel,Ray Russell, P.V-Hooke and The Greenslade chap.I remember wearing a busdrivers hat, and strangeley enough had just spent Christmas in a cottage in Studland with 3 teetotalers, including James.So I think I must have made up for it at Friars.I remember after the gig we went to a party in London.I think we must have played God Speed the Plough and hey Good Looking amongst others , and surprisingly the venue was well full". 

Barrie Masters, Eddie and the Hot Rods, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2007 said:

"In my humble opinion Friars was the best all round gig in the country. The size is great as you're never too far from stage or bar, acoustics are excellent and from the bands point of view a perfect stage size and great dressing rooms.David Stopps ( promoter in my day ) an excellent host, always looked after us well and also ran a tight ship. I must add that the Iggy Pop gig with David Bowie on keys, rates in my top ten gigs of all time. So as you can tell, you won't get a bad word about Friars from me, and I have done more gigs than most bands in the country, most of them I have forgotten by now, but I always remember the Friars gigs I have done. if only all gigs were as good as....."

Paul Raymond, UFO, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2007:

"It would be easy for me to say, like Rod Stewart on Parkinson recently that I remember nothing about the seventies, however I do, even though I'm sure I was just as drunk as he was!!! I do remember Aylesbury Friars, only because this was the gig that Ron Nevison (producer of our most successful records) came to see us play live in 1976. Unfortunately I don't have any photos to support this, but we were going through our chiffon and spandex era - very glam, I think I was wearing a silver studded suit, a la Keith Richard, and Pete was in his stripes (what else - some things never change!) " 

Peter Gabriel, quoted in the Bucks Herald in 1979 after the show (below) said:

"(Friars) is the best gig in the country"

David Rhodes, Random Hold, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2007 said:

       "I remember supporting Peter Gabriel. It was a very friendly crowd, and a good place. David Stopps was very kind and supportive. Now, just thinking about it, we (RH), played a good version of Montgomery Clift there, very solid and heavy.

 When we supported Peter, I remember watching his show, and wishing I was up there. "

Andy McCluskey, OMD, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2008 said:

Fond memories of both the Numan tour and our own in 1980. Loved the venue... all the best with the site

Jake Burns in conversation with Alan Parker in 2001 on recording Hanx at Friars Aylesbury:

"Friars was a wonderful wonderful venue. I still have incredibly fond memories of the place. It was one of those magical small gigs in a small town yet it was run as if it was Madison Square Gardens. Nothing ever went wrong and everything ran incredibly smoothly. They were such nice people"

and on the Wingnuts episode (July 1980).....

"They were such trusting people...[we had bought some plastic masks].....we managed to convince them we were a band from Ohio called the Wingnuts and we went on and supported ourselves ! It was only when we started playing nonsense like Tiger Feet that the audience realised who we were and stopped throwing stuff at us!"

Tony Gad, writing for the Friars Aylesbury website in 2008 said:

"It was wicked that night. Good Vibes. What a long time seen?! Great night, great memories".

Morgan Fisher, Mott, in interview for this website, 2009

"But Friars is a hotbed of manic rock lust and voracious moshing happiness and we always loved playing there."

Pauline Murray, Penetration, in interview for this website, 2009

"I always remember that Aylesbury Friars was a good gig. It was welcoming and we liked to play there.."

Dave Greenslade, in interview for this website, 2010

"I do remember certain gigs at various Friars venues. One of these was (I think) the first night in the new building (Civic)… I had arranged to meet up with a friend beforehand, who couldn’t make the gig, and have a beer. Afterwards I went back to change but I couldn’t get back in to Friars. The guy on the door said the place was full! I tried to point out who I was and that I was playing. He didn’t believe me, thinking I was another long haired guy trying to get into a gig. He wouldn’t let me in, and this was half an hour before we were due to go on! There was a poster up near the box office and I asked him politely if he would mind having a look at it. He turned around and looked at the poster and then looked at me and then the poster........."

Andy Gill, Gang of Four, in interview for this website, 2010

"Friars was a good gig in that it wasn't your standard little club and it wasn't a sit down theatre, it was somewhere between the two. It was a nice space and kind of wide which is always good rather than being long and deep like a cinema. We felt that was good from our point of view as you could reach the audience. Whereas, playing a place that's long and deep, it's hard to reach those at the back in a way. It's easier with the Friars set up as you can reach everyone. It had a great ambience and we loved playing there"

Steve Diggle, Buzzcocks in interview for this website, 2010

"I remember those early tours and Aylesbury Friars was always a place on the map [to look forward to]. It is a legendary place."

Andy Fairweather Low in interview for this website, 2011

"Friars was such an important gig and seeing those pictures brings back such good memories"

Warren Cann, Ultravox in interview for this website, 2011

"Playing Friars was always an occasion to be reckoned with." 

Chris Frantz, Talking Heads in interview for this website, 2011

"Friars Aylesbury was such a clean newish place. All the staff were very sympathetic, very courteous and treated us really well".

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