Mark Warner - Lead Vocals:
Wednesday 1st July 1970 seemed a good a time as any to arrive on the scene. In music terms it was a hell of a year and poignant to The Southern Rogues today! The Who were live at Leeds University. Probably their greatest performance. The first Isle of Wight festival played host to Jimi, Janis, The Who and The Doors. Later that Summer we sadly lost two of the greats in Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, early members of what is now known as the 27 club. My vocal hero Paul Rodgers sat at number 2 in the charts and was only pipped to number 1 by another vocal master class in the great Mr. Presley. What a start to my musical Journey!!
My parents were not musicians but they were music fans. The Who, Elvis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, T Rex and Blondie were the sounds around the house and the influences have remained with me to this day.
I spent a lot of my young life at my Grandmother’s house where my father’s younger brother “Uncle Georgie” gave me full access to an incredible vinyl record collection and a Garrard deck which I played and sang along to for many hours. It was a diverse collection of Rock and Roll, Blues, Rock and Punk including Buddy Holly, Free, Wings, Roxy Music, Pink Floyd, The Who, The Stones, Kraftwerk and Gary Newman the list goes on..
Yes I was a typical teenager for a time falling in with the new romantic scene of the early 80’s. My heart wasn’t really in it but the girls loved it so I made the sacrifice! I enjoyed a brief spell in the skinhead revival of 84 and to this day I have a soft spot for SKA Particularly The Specials..
Through all this indulgence I never had any thoughts of becoming a vocalist until during a boozy Chinese meal in 1998 a new found friend who happened to be a drummer asked if I fancied starting a band. What music are you planning to play? I asked. His reply Rock/Blues! How could I resist. That was the start of my music career, lead vocals with The Beat-Route.
We were together for around 2 years; I cut my teeth before the others decided it was good while it lasted! I was hooked and set about putting together my next band.
I advertised for musicians to form a Rock/Blues band and the first respondent was none other than Iain Beck – Lead Guitar. I remember thinking how is he gonna play guitar with hands like shovels! I needn’t had worried..
Then I came across a Bass player – Marc Reynolds and a Drummer – Mike Rogers who together were looking for a band. The four of us became The Beat Generation and began gigging in the local pubs later changing our name to Junkyard Dog. We were gigging regularly at some great venues and wrote an albums worth of original material when circumstances meant that Mike had to leave the band.
We spent the next 5 years going through countless drummers trying to recapture the sound that we had as the original 4 but to no avail.
In 2009 we were introduced to Martin McNamara and following one rehearsal we had rediscovered the Junkyard Dog sound. The new line up deserved a new name and we became the “The Southern Rogues”
Fast forward to 2016 and a tragic accident lost us our friend and drummer Martin RIP.
Martin would definately agree with the phrase "The show must go on!" and we are now joined by the talented Steve Law on drums to ensure just that....
Marc Reynolds - Bass Guitar, Keyboards and Backing Vocals
I started off with guitar lessons when I was 16, but only lasted three before realising that the teacher wasn't going to teach me how to play 'Firth of Fifth' by Genesis! Deciding I preferred bass, I tuned my classical guitar as low as I could go before the strings fell off, and here we are, over 40 years later.
I've never been satisfied with just the one string to my bow, so I also play cello, very basic keyboards, and Chapman Stick. Not much call for Stick in the Rogues, so I just stick (ha ha) to bass with these guys. My musical taste is also varied, encompassing classical, rock, folk, soul, in fact anything that appeals to me, regardless of genre ( although I draw the line at trad jazz!)
We've had more drummers in the Rogues than Spinal Tap, which has been particularly difficult for me - bass and drums, the rhythm section, have to work together as one for a band to be tight, and this takes time. Steve has only been with us a short while, but I'm really happy with the rapport we've built up with each other. The new material is sounding fantastic and can only get better.
Here's to the continuing fun of playing with the Southern Rogues :)
Iain Beck – Lead Guitar and Backing Vocals
9 days after my 16th birthday the shattering news that Jimi Hendrix had passed on to the great gig in the sky had a devastating effect on me, so much so that by the Christmas of that year (1970) I had enough money to buy an acoustic guitar, £6 from a music shop in Cardiff and 50p for a light gauge set of steel strings. I borrowed a chord book from a mate in school which I have never returned – and I was on my way – the only similarity to me and Mr Jimi was that I am also a left hander.
Back in those days if you could get your way through a couple of James Taylor and Cat Stevens numbers you had more pulling power than a Ferrari. I always thought I was not blessed with the best of looks however with my 6 string under one arm and a tin of party 7 under the other I had a busy time at parties with the ladies…
Typical me – I found the lure of an electric guitar too much – not only did I love the sound it made but it was more socially divisive than just about any other teenage pursuit. It was loud and it said FU to the establishment, it was never best received by my Mum and Dad. On one occasion Father arriving back from work just killed the power at the main fuse box – I can remember his face still, sort of no, I don’t appreciate you playing Iron Man by Black Sabbath at full volume for the dubious benefit of the little village that we lived in. (except with steam coming out of his ears)
So at the age of 16 I was hooked to playing an electric guitar – the acoustic purchased just a couple of months earlier was sold to make way for a futurama strat copy and my Mum’s valve radio used as an amp till I could afford a small combo. (The radio was never the same after my home made fuzz box was played through it)
My First gig - Standing proud at the school eisteddfod my mate Vernon Heritage on drums and me on electric guitar we gave the entire school a special rendition of purple haze by Jimi Hendrix, we came last but we could not have given a jot - the stuck up teachers at King Henry V111 school in Abergavenny got what they deserved - the kids loved it so that was all that mattered
Fast forward – 1972 – Salford n tut north learning about Electronics – music very much part of my life and working with the entertainment wing of the student union we booked some great bands – and some crap ones but I was in my element.
Many of my friends were experimenting with all types of substances to get high, frankly I was not interested – sit me down with my guitar and I was happy, we did a bit of gigging in those days but had no aspirations to get into the music business having seen the crap and corruption that was present then as it is now. No I got hitched and that was that
Fast forward – 1995 I have never stopped playing the 6 string wonder horse but I had a call to help out with a band who were into music similar to the commitments film – they were called The Innocents – boom – I was in a band and with great musicians and I realised that despite being 40 I was doing something that I really loved
With gigs in all sorts of locations and recording a CD I was quite happy until I got the sack – or to put it the nice way – the term used was we are going to concentrate on a more mellow sound and your type of ‘rock’ music would not be appropriate – so even at such a low level it just goes to show how people can take themselves too seriously – wankers
A month or so after my exit from the Innocents fate played a trump card – this bloke called Mark Warner was looking for a band – I came along and dazzled him with my electric guitar playing – without even plugging the thing in and we got a bass and drummer as a ready to go package - Marc and Mike – rehearsals at a strange location in deepest Berkshire and we were off – it fucking clicked
First gig, first song, the band kicked of an old Chuck Berry number in D Mark started in E - but we laughed and with no egos to worry about we just got on with making some great tracks sound the way we wanted
We remained together except Mike left and we went through 13 drummers till we found Martin Macnamara and most recently Steve Law our current holder to the tub thumping seat– our families have become used to the fact that we are absent from home playing gigs and we also have a lasting friendship which means so much
I will never have much in the way of money – seems that is for other people but I have been given a gift to be able to play guitar, that is something that money can’t buy – for this I will always be grateful so what is it all about - Life +Family + Music = Life - simple
So if you are reading this and wondering what we sound like look at the website and get along and see the band in action – if I say so myself you will not be disappointed
Here ends the Blog according to the old plank spanker
Steve Law - Drums
Like many I learned musics absolute basics playing the recorder and reading music in primary school, later moving to clarinet. Unfortunately I wasn't all that into it, I think if practicing is a real chore then that's not the instrument for you. So I didn't stick with it much to my parents and Grans disappointment, she was a proficient pianist and Opera singer in her younger days, a genre of music I'm afraid I don't think I'll ever like or understand, nevertheless that's where music first existed in our immediate family.
Neither Mum nor Dad played instruments, Dad loved Jazz so often listened to the likes of the Modern Jazz Quartet, Stan Getz, Benny Goodman, Buddy Rich and various Big Bands, I clearly remember him enjoying and appreciating a good drummer, little did he know what was to come with his boys.... His taste in music was a big improvement in my view over Mums like of Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow and the like. Sadly Dad passed aged 46 so never got to come to one our gigs, although maybe that was probably a good thing in the early days.....
Thankfully I was 'saved' and introduced by schoolmates to rock music mid teens, so ended up listening to bands such as Whitesnake, Saxon, Rainbow, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Queen, ELO, Beatles, Dire Straits, Fleetwood Mac, Eagles, ZZ Top, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and so on at school and into my 20s, later on getting into Pink Floyd, Jeff Beck, Gary Moore, The Who, Rush, Led Zep and many others. In my teens I had bought several Led Zep vinyl albums, didn't really like them much and sold them, how I would live to regret that !
As I've got older and many Robin Bibi and other live gigs later I've moved more in a bluesy direction, enjoying artists like the great Joe Bonamassa and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy and recent discoveries for me thanks to The Southern Rogues such as Jeff Healey and Johnny Winter although I'm happy listening to and playing all sorts of other music. I very much enjoy playing and listening to live bands at smallish venues, " Keep it Live " as they say.....
My brother Mark was always the drummer in our family, starting in his early teens, practicing hard, after playing in his bedroom became unworkable he became very proficient, practicing in a soundproofed wooden shed at the end of our garden, but still annoying the neighbours with the thump of the kick drum that you just couldn't soundproof out. He now runs his own music shop called DrumShack in Battersea - guess where I get all my gear ?
I always wanted to play drums from my secondary school days, so when our very old skool classical music teacher finally retired and a new young teacher took over, we got a new music block and a drumkit, a revelation ! Alas I was disappointed not to get lessons as they coincided with my evenings at Air Cadets, old planes, drag racing and Classic Cars being my other passions.
So it was several years before I really got going. I was a late starter to playing drums in my late 20's, starting a soul / rock 'n' roll band with a drag racing buddy, his other half, son and a mate. We played one of our first gigs on the back of a lorry at Santa Pod race track ! I lived in a flat above my shop at the time with no neighbours so playing a kit permanently set up in the living room wasn't a problem like it was for my brother several years earlier. I'm mostly self taught with a bit of help from my bro of course.
Recently joined the Southern Rogues from my previous Classic Rock band and loving the guys and the bluesy boogie music, looking forward to our future gigs, good times, and learning new things.