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The Rebel Showband

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Handout photo contributed by Mr. Peter Stuart (Leader)

The Rebel Showband, Dublin - Color handout contibuted by Peter Stuart (Leader)

From L-R : Peppi (Guitar), Skutch (Trombone), Cash (Sax), Doc, Spider (Guitar),Clan (Drums), Fudge (Vocals).

"This band was the first to feature on the RTE Showband Show on 19th June1963 after completing a successful USA tour in October 1962." Peter Stuart, 10 September 2003

A few Questions for Peter Stuart

J: You ... were the band leader for the Rebel showband. Is it correct to assume that's you in the center of that pic, pulling the strings?

PS: Yes,that's me alright,although 40 years younger. The idea of the photograph with the puppet strings was the agent's. Since I was merely a trumpet player I would not have been so pretentious as to consider myself a string puller in any shape or form.

J: Who were the other fellas in the band? Did they have the same big band background as you did?

PS: there were three incarnations of the band. The first outfit was a seven-piece which included piano, with no featured vocalist, but did make an initial impact on the local scene. The second was the one which proved the most successful and which included the previous members minus the pianist but with the inclusion of a featured vocalist and a new lead and bass guitarist. We then acquired the agent who arranged our US tour etc. We played New York, Boston and Philadelphia that time.

The third, which eventually foundered, consisted of myself, sax and trombone of the original group, and some new guys who didn't really measure up musically. This group had a pretty disastrous British tour, financialy, which eventually led to its demise.

None of the others in any of the bands had a big band or dance band background, although the trombone and sax had a legitimate musical background. The guys in the second successful band were Larry Rowe Lead Guitar, Niall Irwin Bass Guitar, Paul McNab Drums, Gerry Stafford Trombone, Billy Delaney Sax/Vocals, John Lawless Vocals.

J: What were the mechanics of an American tour... and ... did the reality measure up to the expectations?

PS: On the American tour we were based in New York where we played in the Jaeger House Ballroom. While in New York we stayed in the Concourse Plaza Hotel and an apartment in the Bronx.

We travelled to Boston by American Airlines where we played in the International Club and stayed at the Broadway Hotel. We travelled to Philadelphia by road and played in the Connolly's Hall but never over-nighted there. In addition we did a spot on radio WNTA in Newark, New Jersey. The tour was not very lucrative but was valuable for publicity purposes.

The Americans and Irish-Americans we met were very nice and hospitable and the whole trip was most enjoyable. We heard and met some of the top American musicians - Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson, Bob McCoy, Wild Bill Davison and Don Goldie. What most impressed us was how unassuming and approachable these fantastically talented musicians were.

J: The Showband show - if [one recalls the] format correctly - Usually three bands were featured - 2 being headliners, and the third - a lesser known band as the warm-up band? How did your band get picked to be on that first Showband Show and what stands out in your memory about the experience?

PS: We were the only band on the first Showband Show. I am sending... one of the press cuttings [see page 2 for the clipping] regarding the show which explains how we had become a news item at the time. Unfortunately there is no video of the show in existence as, for economic reasons, Telefis Eireann wiped all their early tapes so they could re-use them. We enjoyed doing the show and we also did a broadcast on Radio Eireann.

Questions © 2003 jivenaires.com /responses ©2003 Peter Stuart

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