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Friars Interviews

Edgar Broughton
edgar broughton band  the broughtons

friars appearances 21/07/69  03/11/69   08/04/72   01/03/80   01/06/09


Edgar has been in music as long as Friars and co-incidentally the Edgar Broughton Band celebrates its 40th anniversary this year as well. It didn't take Edgar very long to accept the call to play the Friars 40th anniversary concert.

As for the 'Out Demons Out' cutting above, all will be explained as we go along....

Over to you Edgar.....and thanks for your time.

Hi Edgar, thanks for talking to the Friars Aylesbury website. You are one the select number to have played all three Friars Aylesbury venues, along with The Groundhogs and now The Pretty Things. Were you honoured to have been asked to play?

Yes, it was a complete surprise to be asked and a privilege considering the bands that did play there. Back then, everyone who anyone had heard of (back in the first year) must have played.

You were in good company in those days!

It was an exciting time. There were new styles and the such. And bands were starting to write their own stuff and years and years of playing cover versions. They did what they were told. We started as a blues band and by the time we got to Friars, the west coast things had happened. If you went to see a band at Friars then, unless you knew their stuff, you didn't know what they were going to play. It wasn't going to be the pop hits..really everyone was just playing covers rather than having their own hits. It was quite radical...

The bands playing covers or having their own material?

Having your own material. It was a huge departure...quite scary in many ways. Around that time, we hadn't been going long professionally and local bands (in Warwick) attitudes seemed worried about what they were going to play at weddings or at New Year's Eve functions. We ignored it and carried and made the right move really. It was exciting...the clothes and the fashions. The first phase of Friars....if anyone had snapped or filmed it, you would have had a microcosm of life on the rock and roll circuit or the progressive music scene.

I would love some more photographs from those early days for the website! Back to 1969 and the excitement of being able to do your own songs generally rather than the covers, you played Friars twice in 1969..what do you remember of this period?

I remember it for several clubs. One in Manchester, one is Essex and Aylesbury. And Mothers in Birmingham. You would look down your date (gig) sheets and you would think these would be good nights.

It's funny that you mention Mothers, as this was one of the models for Friars when it started.

The clubs of that ilk were great. They were small. When bands got to play bigger venues, you lost that atmosphere that you had at places like Friars.

That first incarnation of Friars at the Friarage Hall had a very small stage and had a capacity of 400 people, tops.

Yes, these (clubs) were packed like sardines.

You came in 1970 and did the three gigs at that first venue. Then you came back to Friars in 1972 and played at the Borough Assembly Hall in the town centre, what are your memories of this era?

I was always pretty stoned to tell you the truth! It was a haze. We used to do a lot of socialising at gigs. There were always people around, journalists, photographers. Certain gigs seemed to be attractive to the intelligentsia of the day. It was good to hang out and then suddenly it was your time to go on. I remember it being good time and the after gig scene...some of the people that used to turn up....we were young and green and it was like going to heaven. These lads from a backwater in the Midlands (Warwick). It wasn't a good place to live, it wasn't exciting. It was Luddite in its approach to the future and very set in its ways. We were on the road playing places like Friars. It was so fascinating as we didn't know who we were going to meet next.

Now (in the current set up) we turn up at gigs, do our soundcheck and maybe meet a couple of people afterwards. They were interesting exciting times.

From seeing people in the queue buying tickets for this gig, there were people who were at the gigs in 1969 coming out to play again. Friars was very special and a great vibe...

Yes there was. I don't remember shows particularly but I do remember the enthusiasm. Whereas now there's more cynicism. You would go back to someone's house in Germany and they would have in their record collection, Edgar Broughton Band, Cream, Taj Mahal, Radiohead, Muse and play them all....whereas over here, we throw so many things away as we are so fashion driven. The big band of two years ago is gone. It wasn't like that back then. It was about creating a scene. That critical analysis by an audience wasn't there then. If someone wasn't having a good time, the rest of audience would bring them round. I remember that about Friars. The drive home to London after a gig at Friars..the adrenalin was up.

Today, and the fact we were invited, makes June 1st stick out on the calendar. The people in Aylesbury want their ears touched.

It should be good as it's clear all the bands know each other!

Are you aware from the early days that you got yourselves into Aylesbury folklore with 'Out Demons Out'....

Oh yes!

You probably know about the press coverage...where some people got carried away after a Friars gig and spray painted 'Out Demons Out' in villages and the like.....even to this day, David Stopps has a copy of one of the newspaper articles on his wall in his office!

(laughs) Those were the days!

After playing in 1972, through the 1970s you changed a bit and regrouped as The Broughtons, playing Friars again in 1980. What happened after that? An extended hiatus?

I had a baby son and I spent most of my time looking after him which is something I said I would do. I spent some time over the next four or fives years doing some community work working with kids and youth clubs. I've only just recently stopped doing that. We were doing a few gigs. About three years ago, EMI decided to re-release remastered albums. We got back together did about six gigs in England, a Rockpalast show in Germany and then Athens and a couple of German tours. It was great. We only do things we want to do now. We don't have anyone filling up a date sheet.

You can pick and choose...?

It's not much to tell you the truth. But we have just come back from Norway where we played a gig at the Arctic Circle which was wonderful and idyllic. A fantastic night there. We did a festival last year which was like being back in the 1960s. We plan to do more in the autumn.

From people I've spoken to and who have mailed the website, they're looking forward to seeing you at Aylesbury. What can we expect from you on June 1st? Out Demons Out I hope!

Absolutely! That, Hotel Rooms and some of the three piece stuff and some of the madder stuff. My son is on keyboards and we use some samples so we now play some (old) songs that have never been played live before. We have lots of new material, and as it's our 40th too, we will do a lot of old stuff that people know. We normally do up to 2 hrs, but at Aylesbury we have just 40-45 minutes. It will whizz by!

Looking forward to it! Edgar, thank you for your time. See you on June 1st.

The Edgar Broughton Band official site

This interview and its content are 2009 Mike O'Connor/ and may not be used in whole or in part without permission.


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