search the friars website

Special reports

Pretty Things and more

Monday June 1st 2009

Photographer credit: David Stopps  Mike O'Connor  Russ Naylor  Paul Freestone Keith Webley Neale Wareham Christian Dietz-Saluz Chris Payne/Radio London  Mike Cooper





From the band.....

The FRIARS show on Monday night was the high spot of our year so far. In an era of sanitised, corporate, portion-controlled music, made on computers and impersonally sold on the internet, to be back in FRIARS re-affirmed why we still do this and still love it.
During its time in operation, Friars was one of the most important and influential places to play in Europe. The club, its' attitude and management style, created a generation of music fans, who looked to the club for direction and followed the taste and house style of the club to the very end. A committed venue run by loving, informed and joyful enthusiasts is a huge benefit to any region, It affects and informs young people & creates real loyalty and love for music and artists, that lasts a lifetime. We regularly play the 100 Club, in London - now London's oldest established rock venue, and the feeling in the room is exactly the same. A lot of joy, a feeling of genuine support and a total commitment to the music, not the profits.
FRIARS was, and remains, the class of the field, and the people who came to the show on Monday were returning to the club, rather than coming to see us, The Broughtons or Tony. they trust the club to deliver and they are connected to the music they love, that FRIARS has built for all of the dedicated club members.
For our part, as a strange, ragamuffin bag of odd, assorted characters, who still do this for the pure love of music - we salute you. Without
FRIARS , and the other style-makers we all used to love - there would be no Pretty Things.... And no British rock music.
We played the O2 a few hours before our set with you. Guess which show left us smiling hard enough to generate lockjaw!
David, Mike, all of you.... Bring it on - people NEED direction to learn to love music as we all did. you seem to be gifted at providing it. Anytime you want The Pretty Things, just whistle - we'll be listening.

Best gig of the year for us. Thanks to you all.....

XX The Pretty Things 


The Pretty Things:


Edgar Broughton Band:

Momma's Reward/Speak Down The Wires/The Moth/Why Can't Somebody Love Me/Call Me A Liar/Green Lights/Hotel Room/Love in the Rain/Evening over the Rooftops/Out Demons Out

The Groundhogs:

 Eccentric Man/ Garden/ No Mo' Doggin/Still a Fool/ Split/Split 2/Split 4/Natchez/Cherry Red

Kris Needs 1969 Sound System:

Kris played a selection of the following:

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bad Moon Rising; Green River The Band – Up On Cripple Creek Mott The Hoople – Rock N Roll Queen; At The Crossroads; You Really Got Me [live] King Crimson – 21st Century Schizoid Man  Van Der Graaf – Refugees; Killer Graham Bond – Early In The Morning Quintessence – Gunga Mai  East Of Eden – Northern Hemisphere Captain Beefheart – Troutmask Replica – Moonlight In Vermont Byrds – Ballad Of Easy Rider Santana – Evil Ways; Jingo Youngbloods – Darkness Darkness Blue Cheer – Summertime Blues Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed; You Can’t Always... Country Joe – Fish Cheer/Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Tim Buckley – Buzzin’ Fly Frank Zappa – Willie The Pimp Love – The Everlasting First Jefferson Airplane – Volunteers Cream – Badge Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland The Nice – America Kaleidoscope – Petite Fleur United States Of America – Garden of Earthy Delights Can – Father Cannot Yell Flying Burrito Bros – Hot Burrito Fleetwood Mac – Oh Well  Quicksilver – Mona Spooky Tooth – Spooky Two


Some of the feedback we've had!

The webmaster:

One of the greatest nights of my life! It's hard for me to think that attending FRIARS way back when seeing some great bands and having a good time, that I would be involved in some way 25 years later. It's obvious to anyone looking at the work on the website how much FRIARS meant to me in my formative years and to be a part of this special gig was a really incredible thing for me. I was here there and everywhere throughout the evening but did manage to catch most of the Pretty Things who it has to be said were rather good!

Keith Webley:

What a fantastic evening - congratulations on putting it all together.Edgar Broughton, one of my real favourites, was fantastic - what a voice! And the Pretty Things, who I hadn't seen since 1969, were just awesome.

Let's hope we don't have to wait quite so long for the next gig.

Annalina and Christian Dietz-Saluz:

I knew it would be a fine evening. But we received 200% more above any expectations.

Lucky I got tickets soon enough to book flights, car and hotel. My wife and myself are still overwhelmed by the atmosphere at the Civic Centre in Aylesbury. Great, great concerts from A-Z. Keep on, keep the spirit of a time alive when music was a matter of spontaneous evolution, talent, inspiration and direct feedback to/from the audience. In other words: The contrary of casted beauties stuck together in a "project".

Bruce Sawford:

Can you pass on my congratulations to Dave et al. OK I felt I should be asking for my pension but it was a great reunion and everyone was clearly happy to be there... even though most had forgotten how to bop (and Kris had forgotten how to put on a record!).

If you're thinking of making it more than a handful of memory nights (hope so) then could I ask that you mix some new with the old? Friars was always great at picking the rights acts and I'm sure you'd be able to find some suitable names from the present century.

Keep on keeping on...

John Parslow:

Hello all at Friars, this was the first gig I have ever managed to attend and it was brilliant. As a working muso I have missed every FRIARS always gigging someplace else but for once, my wife and I were able to come along and really enjoyed the show especially the Edgar Broughton band. As a special bonus for me I met Dave Stopps again (a mean keyboard player in his day) who I have not seen since we played together in a local band called Gearbox in the late sixties.

Keep up the excellent work. As new members my wife and I now look forward to your new ventures

Jon Salmon:

Many congratulations to everyone involved in resurrecting Friars this year and what a great treat after a quarter century gap to see some exciting Friars hosted live music once more.

All three bands were ones that I'd heard of but am ashamed to say had never heard. I'm from the late seventies punk/post punk era of Friars so was intrigued by what they'd serve up and also at what sort of audience they would attract.It turned out to be a really interesting bill. The Groundhogs initially pounded my ear drums with what I assume is the nearest embodiment of a UK Jimi Hendrix on guitar I'm likely to see. The Edgar Broughton Band was a mini-revelation. I expected them to be a rather anachronistic hippy band but they had an impressively full, updated sound I thought, after the heavy blues onslaught of The Groundhogs.

I'd like to see them again.

I also enjoyed The Pretty Things - been around for years obviously, living legends and great stagecraft, excellent young drummer. I think I'll hunt down "SF Sorrow" and "Parachute". Clearly, they've got some wonderful music to draw from, and their opening number was a classic in how to open a set.

Best wishes to David Stopps who I interviewed 25 years or so ago at the start of Howard Jones mania, when I was a young reporter on the Bucks Free Press in High Wycombe. The paper did a poster size wrap-around one week with interviews with Howard, his parents, David, and of course fans, at around the time of Howard's first LP. It was my first big celebrity story.

      I look forward to further Friars events this year


In an age of sometimes the most tenuous of reunions, this one took some beating; except the evening of Monday, June 1 wasn’t so much about the artists but the audience. The gig marked 40 years to the day that Aylesbury’s New Friarage Hall first played host to Friars, almost instantly laying down the template for its warm, freewheeling atmosphere, noisily-appreciative crowd and highly-personalised style of promoting.

But those were different times and the big question was whether any of the 85,000 members would reconvene after 25 years and manage to reignite this definitive hotbed of the proverbial good vibe. We got the overwhelmingly affirmative answer within minutes of the doors opening. Both bar and hall rapidly became packed with original members, some of whom hadn’t seen each other for nearly 40 years, plus new generations, including several seeing what their parents got up to before they were born.

I watched the hall start filling from my perch behind the record decks on the balcony where I was DJing. I’d brought some CDs but in the end only played one, preferring to stick to the original spirit. Also it’s more satisfying placing a vinyl record lovingly onto a turntable than whacking a silly little disc into a slot and pressing buttons. Early arrivals were treated to Mott The Hoople’s ‘At The Crossroads’, East Of Eden, Blue Cheer, Tim Buckley’s ‘Strange Feeling’ and Creedence Clearwater’s ‘Bad Moon Rising’, the very first record I heard when I walked into Friars on that opening night 40 years ago. As the doors had just opened it could have been the first record ever played at Friars.

By the time opening band the Groundhogs [who first played the club in June 1970] had reached the climax of a set mainly consisting of snarling blue-rock outings from Thank Christ For The Bomb and Split, the joint was indeed jumping. Many incredulous reunions were taking place with the bar resuming his old function as a true social epicentre, Pete Frame, who’d made the 1100 mile round trip from the outer reaches of Scotland holding court as in the old days.

The Groundhogs, like each of the groups, received a Friars Hero trophy at the end of their set, presented by Mike O’Connor. At one point, David Stopps brought on Robin Pike, credited with coming up with the idea for the club but he insisted on bringing on Adrian Roach, Jerry Slater and Terry Harms, thanking them for the initial inspiration.

Next were the Edgar Broughton Band, displaying a more complex sound than the agit-rock grinds of yore but finishing with a rousing mass singalong of’ Out Demons Out’ [Thankfully, this time not prompting post-gig graffiti attacks on local council buildings]. By now, another familiar face from 40 years ago had appeared stage right: Dave, leading the ‘idiot dancing’ in the revived Leaper’s Corner, another early Friars tradition which saw much flailing of limbs.

By now the atmosphere was unashamedly emotional, Robin Pike’s suggestion of Van Morrison’s ‘Ballerina’ hitting the spot before the Pretty Things arrived, straight from a Childline charity gig. They loped on in their black suits and powered into ‘Roadrunner’, heralding a most blues-wailing set leaning more towards their ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’,’Mona’ and ‘Pretty Thing’ era than the deafening psych bombardment of their first Friars appearance on June 8, 1969, although there was a stellar version of ‘LSD’. For the supremely sleazy ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’, they were joined by the colossal presence of old mucker Arthur Brown, another Friars fave who’d just turned up at the door and announced ‘Hello, I’m Arthur Brown’. By now the gig was more resembling a funky, low-down blues club.

After receiving their Friars trophy, the Pretties savaged ‘Rosalyn’ and ‘Bring It To Jerome’ way past the usually strict hall curfew, bringing to an end this most magical of nights.  There seems to be no stopping the revitalised Pretties blasting their ferocious comeback trail [the following week I encountered them again receiving a MOJO Hero award], but afterwards singer Phil May said, ‘We just love playing but with this audience it was really something special.’ [It also has to be said they rank among the nicest groups I’ve encountered in those last 40 years].

For a long-time Friars-goer, this was a very special night. There were a few problems and inevitable hiccups but, in the end, the old magic was indeed rekindled. As press ads used to declare in times of adversity: FRIARS LIVES.


Go to


All pictures: Mike and Sue O'Connor and © 2009 except where noted

Thanks to Russ Naylor, Paul Freestone, Neale Wareham, Mike Cooper, David Stopps, Chris Payne, Keith Webley

For additional photos by Markus Kinch, please see here.

This was why we were all here! The first Friars gig since 1984 and the 40th anniversary. The flyers were done by Kris Needs replicating his 1970s style and the posters were done by Budget Stopps like the old days.

Bloody hell! Someone's put a Friars news-sheet up in the UN building in Geneva! Is this a record for distance?

Picture: David Stopps


The good people at the New Roxette produced a souvenir programme

During the morning, preparations are well under way

An engineer with promoter David Stopps and stage manager John Braley

John Braley came out of retirement to stage manage this gig. John ran the Civic Centre and the Borough Assembly Hall in the Friars years. Pictured with John is Rock Family Trees and Friars legend Pete Frame who came down from Scotland for this gig.

More preparations

Aylesbury town centre on the evening of June 1st is deserted. Where is everyone....there is a clue

Picture: David Stopps

OK, here we go.....

Picture: Russ Naylor

The gig is on! Tony (TS) McPhee strutting his thing with the Groundhogs

Picture: Paul Freestone

Picture: Keith Webley

What's this? The Friars Aylesbury webmaster presents a special Friars Heroes Award to The Groundhogs.

Picture: Paul Freestone

The sprit of 1969! David Stopps along with the Optic Nerve Gollies who did the lights at Friars back in Phase One

Next up was Edgar Broughton Band

Picture: Keith Webley

Picture: Neale Wareham

Edgar Broughton received a special Friars Heroes Award on the night and they seemed very pleased with it

Just off stage....Edgar Broughton Band with David Stopps and on the left the legendary Peter Jenner, former Pink Floyd manager.

Picture: David Stopps

Pete Frame and the Optic Nerve guys (Mike and Brian)

Tony Poole (Starry Eyed and Laughing), David Stopps, Pete Donne, Pete Frame

Picture: David Stopps

Fans Annalina and Christian Dietz-Saluz travelled especially from Switzerland!

Pictures: Christian Dietz-Saluz

Joe Stopps and Roger Surguy

Bucks TV was there to capture the moment and Richard Carr is seen interviewing Marillion's Pete Trewavas

Anyone want a Roxette? Stuart Robb from The New Roxette doing a fine job. A word about the lady in pink in the background. She is Sue Wyatt who was one of the original Friars members from 1969 joining at the Blossom Toes gig. She did a sterling job at the membership desk.

At the membership desk.....Sue Wyatt (Greenwood) and Mr and Mrs Webmaster


Picture: David Stopps

An old friend of Friars, Radio London's Mary Payne (left) with Sue Wyatt

Picture: Chris Payne/Radio London

Spinning the platters that matter....the awesome Kris Needs 1969 Sound System

A very special treat. Mandrake Paddle Steamer was the first band to ever play Friars 40 years ago. Paul Riordan from the band came along and was presented with a special memento of this occasion.

On that same bill on June 2nd 1969 and the first ever headline artist at Friars was Mike Cooper. Unfortunately, Mike was unable to get to this gig, but received his Friars Heroes Award via satellite in Rome

Picture: Mike Cooper

The original founding fathers of Friars. Robin Pike, Jerry Slater, David Stopps, Terry Harms and Adrian Roach.

Time for the Pretty Things, hot off stage from the O2 earlier in the evening to play a wonderful set.

Picture: Russ Naylor

Surprise guest time. Yes, that's Arthur Brown, who played Friars twice including the 1971 Christmas party.

I am the God......

Picture: Neale Wareham

Picture: Keith Webley

Picture: Neale Wareham

Phil May in fine voice

Dick Taylor still doing the business

Picture: Russ Naylor

It's that bloke in the black shirt again! The Pretties also received a special Heroes Award for the occasion.

Picture: Russ Naylor

One photo, three legends. Dick Taylor, Arthur Brown, Edgar Broughton

At the end of the evening a very special Friars Heroes Award to David Stopps, without whom.....



privacy policy  legal and t&c  contact 

© copyright 2007-2021 david stopps/friars aylesbury ltd

All rights reserved and no part of this website may be reproduced without written permission - please see terms and conditions for details. All photos copyright mike o'connor except where specifically stated and used with permission.