Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Ricky Penrose: bassist with The Reaction during 66/67/68

Met with Rick in the middle of Truro, where he is currently living midway between the City Hall and Hurland Road. He had lots of interesting stories, and talked very fondly of Roger Taylor.

He was able to explain about how Roger used to play the frame of an old piano using tympani style drum-sticks as a way of improvising and extending the length of the Wilson Pickett rabble-rouser 'Land of a Thousand Dances', which they often played as a finale.

Rick was with The Reaction when Roger really found his style as a drummer by playing Hendrix and Cream numbers in 1967 or so: 'We were the heaviest and loudest band in Cornwall'. He said they would simply listen to the records and try and copy them as exactly as they could. He said it was a matter of pride that they could play them to the point of being note-perfect.

He talked a bit about Jill Johnson (who sang with The Famous Jug band), and is sure that she sang backing vocals when he recorded with The Reaction at the Plaza Cinema in Truro.
re Reaction gigs: he remembers Reaction playing nearly every night for two years: in fact so much that they didnt have time to rehearse much in between so instead they'd tend to work on a new number the same night before the doors opened. There are venues that arent listed elsewhere eg Perranporth Memorial Hall was somewhere they played several times.

He described the City Hall in Truro where Queen played their first gig as a great venue, with good lighting, good dressing rooms and a great atmosphere. He had supported Adam Faith there earlier in the sixties with his previous band 'The Strangers', when the Hall was packed, and had played there on other occasions too.

And, yes, later on he was asked by Roger whether he would consider going to London to become Queen's bassist but at the time he had a job, a marriage and a mortgage so the timing wasnt right for him....More to follow with Rick.

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