This very day, you find me showing my extremes...not in the testicular area I hasten to add, that would just cause pandemonium. It's more anger, at the feeling of being socially and geographically snubbed by a bunch of W*****'S. But don't let me prejudge anyone....read on and make your own mind up who the W*****'S are. thats how serious I am today!
On the other hand... you will findWARMTH and respect oozing out of every pore.
Now, I'm known locally as 'Joe Placid' but here we go....I might as well start with the angry bit -
A TRUE BRUMBEAT HERO!!
Now for every low point there is a High. Ladies and Gentleman, here is a real hero, who has done masses to promote Birmingham, is proud of his heritage and asks for nothing in exchange. I also know that he would quake at the thought of anyone writing anything about him. Particularly me.
JOHN R WOODHOUSE
Just because he doesn't seek any publicity, doesn't mean that he isn't going to get any - not as long as I'm around that is!
Ten years ago, bassist John Woodhouse, was thinking of a little hobby to entertain himself with. He remembered some stories his uncle had told him about the days of being a musician during the 60's in Birmingham, the incessant sound of beat groups and Chuck Berry rhythms, the gigs, the night clubs and band hangouts. John was already a fan of the music from the West Midlands and has a great record and CD collection of all the bands. He thought that he could create a personal website about that subject. Little did he know, or envisage that 10 years after, the website would be such a huge success. From early beginnings, people started contacting him with details and accounts about groups they had played with, a small trickle soon became more of a constant flow. A lot of stories were passed on, often contradicting each other but this is hardly surprising, as all the events had taken place 40 years prior to the website being launched.
As time passed and information grew, some clarity began to emerge and group biographies were amended to amplify or remove some stories that were "Imaginative" and in a couple of cases clearly fabrications - Elvis never played with a band from Small Heath!!
There are now a massive amount of biographies archived on the site and although John receives some biog's sent in written form, they all need to be edited to fit the BRUMBEAT bio format, checked for inaccuracies and then re-written in his own inimitable style. When I say that written bio's were sent in, they mostly consist of "I played with this group, then this one and then the other" and from this undetailed information John has written full pages of relevant information about the bands activities and line-up changes. The construction of these bio's are really time consuming affairs and can be made even more difficult in some groups cases, as the line-up changes were on a weekly basis. The whole concept of this small army of Brummie musicians swapping groups and changing names was incredibly complex and in some cases unfathomable. I know of one bass player who could have had a hundred notches on his guitar to indicate how many bands he had been in. Of course John doesn't just write biographies, he has conducted reviews and interviews with a host of names from Birminghams illustrious musical past.
What does he get out of it?...in financial terms nothing. BRUMBEAT is a 'not for profit' website run by someone with imagination and a resolute determination to map the years when Birmingham throbbed with the sound of a group in every bar, pub or dance hall during the years that saw unparallelled changes in society, fashion and the arts in general.
Only those who lived through those days can truly know what a mind blowing experience it all was, at its climax. Without a person like John, that experience, starting from the very start of the Group phase would never have been passed on and this archive would never exist. As such, his contribution to the preservation of a generation of Brummie musicians is incalculable. This website has aided the most familiar glossy music magazines with research into their stories and has assisted record companies with information and helped them to gain contact with group members, more often than not without any form of acknowledgement at all.
John has another tremendous asset. He is a good, enthusiastic musician who likes to play rock n roll and plays with a couple of bands, the main one being PASSPORT. He has had a load of gigs and has rewarded himself with a new Fender Jazz Bass. Just where he finds the time to hold down his job, look after his family obligations, fulfill his commitments to the bands AND write stuff for the website is really something to be admired.
Ten years is a long, long time and I know for a fact that I speak for all the musicians and anyone else with any form of connection to the BRUMBEAT era, when I say thanks and rightly applaud him for keeping those days, the spirit and the history alive.