Monday, 7 June 2010
Pete Bawden, now living near Redruth, features in 'Queen: The Early Years' as founder and manager of PJ's discoteque in Truro (PJ are his first initials) He was involved in the music industry for several years having been in the band The Staggerlees in the 60s. I met up with him earlier this evening and we had a good chat about the many occasions he worked with Roger, Brian and Freddie. (Smile and Queen between them played at PJ's more than 10 times). He also knows Mike Grose, Queen's first bassist because for a short while Mike was co-owner of PJ's with him.
Apparently PJ's was two storeys, somewhat smaller than New Look is now. Upstairs was painted black, and there was a stage at the Pydar St end of the hall. There were lights and a glass booth for a DJ and this is where Smile and Queen played. On one of the walls was a giant painted mural of Jimi Hendrix. There were seats around the outside of the hall and the capacity was about 200. Downstairs was a coffee shop. PJ's didn't have a changing room or any musical equipment so bands had to bring all their own gear, ready to play.
Pete doesn't remember that much about the concerts but he remembers some of the conversations he had with Queen personel eg Brian May showing him his Red Special guitar, and Freddie Mercury correcting him about the name: 'its not 'The Queen': its 'Queen''. These conversations took place in PJs. He also remembers the fact that a younger Roger Taylor babysat his children, and also that Brian made a model of the solar system for him (since lost forever it seems) whilst he was staying with the family in St Austell.
Pete continued in the music business for a while and booked Queen to play at the City Hall in Truro after he left PJ's...
We're going to need to do a bit of detective work to firm up the dates as best we can...Pete has also said he will see if he can find some photos of that time...Thanks Pete if youre reading this now!