Now you see ‘em, now you don’t, now you do…
By Brian Poole
The Beat asked Brian Poole to suggest a topic we could feature in The Beat that was really off-beat. He came up with this idea.
“Well, how about getting to know a few of the people who make the shows roll, and keep the wheels turning.
Some of these people have stories that are really interesting and unusual. When we were the original Tremilos, – yes, that’s the way we spelt it – we had a minder who we called Guvnor Bowler.
He often wore a bowler hat and weighed in at 20 stone plus. He drove, bodyguarded and ate all the pies. (At this time, we all wish Roy a speedy recovery). Things have changed quite a lot now, especially behind the scenes where technology has taken over, and to be honest, made the performing part of the job easier. That’s why I thought it would be interesting to look at the lives and history of some of the people who are so important to the overall show which we put on.
Well, I hope you will enjoy a look at Richard and Jack Marsh, who are the father and son team behind, among other things, the fact that we as Brian Poole & The
Tremeloes get onto the road and have a different CD for every tour of 60s Gold.
Introducing Richard Marsh
Can you imagine co-ordinating the travel and hotels for three old gits like Chip Hawkes, Dave Munden and me, everyday of the tour. It usually all starts when Richard calls a meeting to ask us where we would like to stay and when we want to go home after the gigs. Well, that’s how it’s supposed to be ‘cos, in actual fact,
Richard just presents us with a written itinerary which he and his son Jack have worked on as soon as the dates had come in.
“This is what you’re doing lads, any questions?”
As always, this question is never answered, because everything will now go as smoothly as possible. A week or so later, Richard finds out the playing times, and his usual quip is: “Well, you’ve got 25 or 30 minutes and you close the first half. You could get in six hits maybe seven if Brian can cut down the schpeil.”
We would then put together the set list, and all we have to do is find the tracks which he needs for the new CD. We have been putting together CDs with unreleased and unheard tracks, but Jack and Richard have heard from people at the theatres that they would now like a CD with all the hits in our show and a selection of other hits, so that’s what we are aiming for.
Richard Marsh started his working life as a hairdresser. “Oh, yeah,” you might say, but how about this. He did an apprenticeship from school, and after that, actually worked at Vidal Sassoon in Brook Street London, cutting and blowing the heads of many stars of the time.
At age 21 he gave up the ‘beehiving’ for the ‘HGV driving’. He got his HGV licence and was offered a proper job, trucking and sound engineering for, among others, Junior Walker & the All Stars and Heatwave, eventually taking on front-of- house sound for another tour of Europe.
One of his memories of this time was when he later worked with Billy Ocean, and was driving when the bonnet of the car came off and flew over their heads. He recalls that Billy said: “Oh dear, English cars, do they always do this if you go over 50mph.”
Just after this time, he worked as sound engineer for Love Affair, just at the time when Maurice Bacon came back into the band for a short while. He got the recording bug with the acquisition of his first Revox, a two-track recorder on which, after recording the two tracks and mixing them, you could add more tracks one at a time – in other words ‘bouncing down’. He recalls that the name for some of this process was ‘reducing’. It was really nice to talk to him about the Rezlo ribbon mics he used at the time, as we did. He said Rezlo mics were widely used in those days, and when I said I remembered he said: ‘Oh yeah, I suppose as the singer you had the one with the goose neck and on/off switch?” Absolutely yes I did.
While recording in his studio in Rayleigh Essex, Jack R Marsh, Richard’s son started to help out, and even at the age of 10 or 11 years, was using Cubase, and still does. When I submitted an old track to Jack for our last CD, which was of not very good quality, but a nice song, they made it sound like a new track, and I can play it now confidently.
When I asked Richard how he duplicated the CDs he said: “Once the tracks are finished by Jack, we just copy some.”
I asked how, and he said: “Well, we have computers and machines for that, I suppose you thought we used a John Bull kit!”
Richard says that the 60s scene hasn’t changed much, except that, although the artists are still there, they’re just a bit older. They have changed their hairdos and their trousers, otherwise they’re the same.
One difference is the travelling with Satnav. He said: “When I started, they had only just invented maps.”
My association and friendship with Richard Marsh and his family goes back a long way, but we started working together when I joined the 60s Gold tour with Chip Hawkes quite a few years back. Chip and I have been able to tour successfully with the behind-the-scene input from Richard and Jack, and now Dave has joined us, there is a bit more for him to cope with as well.
We are all enjoying it and will keep it going as long as possible. Richard has worked with Chip for more than 25 years, and with Dave and me for another for quite a few as well. I hope you can catch up with him, and sometimes Jack, at the tour venues.
Interesting guy, oh yes !!
Hope you enjoyed reading this and I will try and talk to some of the other ‘behind-the-scenes’ people who are the most important people of all.