IT'S amazing the number of bands I come across who, for one reason or another, have nothing to show for their musical journey but precious memories.
No cuttings, photos or recorded music.
No such problem with one Coventry-based band, Peppermint Kreem.
These guys have kept a veritable museum of their band history from the 1960s, just the kind of thing we love here
at Backbeat. I caught up with founder members Paul Kennelly, Pete Davoile and Arthur (Modie) Albrighton and asked them about the life and times of one of Coventry's more interesting bands.
Arthur (Modie) Albrighton was born in Coventry in 1941, and could play the harmonica by the age of four. "My dad would take me around the working men's clubs," Modie said. "I would perform pops and classics.
My most treasured memory from my from my early days, is doing a duet with Larry Adler, live on stage at the Hippodrome (Coventry Theatre).
"My first love was the blues. I was working as a radio and television engineer and playing in The Ricky Thompson Band at the time. I guess I wanted to try something different and this led to Peppermint Kreem."
Peppermint Kreem were formed when Paul Kennelly put an ad in the Telegraph. Arthur Albrighton answered the ad: "We were hungry for work and would take anything," said Paul. "It was a great way of learning the business, from The Benn Hall in Rugby to Harlaxton Manor in Lincolnshire."
Modie said: "We formed a makeshift band and we used the name The Plague. We had heard there was another Plague on the road, so we chose the name Peppermint Kreem. We thought no one else would have that one!
"The line-up was Paul Kennelly on vocals, Modie on bass, Ray Haywood on lead guitar, Dave Fairclough on keyboards and Tom Ryan on drums."
Things looked good for the band, that was until they were lined up for a tour of Scotland in 1968, with the help of Vince Martin. Sadly some of the members were not prepared to commit. It was left to Paul and Dave Fairclough to join up with a Birmingham-based band Glass Forest to complete the tour.
"Considering we were a puttogether band, we did very well," said Modie. "I'm so glad that I made it up there though."
That wasn't the end of the band, however, because in 1972 Peppermint Kreem 2 were formed.
The line-up was Modie on lead guitar with Paul on vocals, Pete (the feet) Davoile on drums, Bob 'Spindler' Hopkins on keyboards and Keith Jaynes on bass.
The mark one band Peppermint Kreem never got to record, the mark two version would put the record straight, in more ways than one.
"It was my baby," reveals Paul. "I had never got to write and perform my own material and it just seemed the right
time. It wasn't originally conceived as an opera. I just began to work up song ideas. What began as separate songs became a string of pieces, linked together. This was influenced by our standard set that was composed of varied material all tied together making a non-stop presentation.
"We recorded it at Birdsounds studio and it was called Revelation 2001. Regrettably it was never released and I have no idea what became of the master tapes. We did play the whole thing live on carnival day at War Memorial Park in July 1973. It was a fine summer day and we were to go on at 9.30pm.
"For the first 20 minutes we played our versions of non-stop standards, then, after a short break we presented Revelation 2001. We held a respectable-sized crowd for
the standards show but I was not sure how they would react to the opera. You have to appreciate that the public were not directly paying for our performance, and could have drifted away at any time, but they didn't, the melody, some of it haunting, held them spellbound."
Modie said: "When we re-formed in 1972/73 we achieved great things, but the band didn't hang together and I emigrated to Germany, met my wonderful wife, Eva and continued to play guitar and harps with various bands. I was also employed by the US army at the time and made friends with serving personnel, teaching guitar and recording.
"We are still living in Germany.
Eva and I have a wonderful country house, part of which is given over to my business Falcon-Studios. Here I record up-and-coming artists, encourage them and publish original material."
This year is the 40th anniversary of the band, and there is talk of a new album with a Nordic theme, plus a website with images, history and news, there may even be some merchandise.
I'll leave the final words to former drummer Peter Davoile: "The most rewarding thing for me was being part of a professional band and playing something new and very creative!"
Pop Trivia - PEPPERMINT KREEM
SOME of the places the band played were Sibree Hall, Barker Butts School, Navigation Inn, Leofric Hotel,
Nicholas Chamberlaine School, Newdigate Club, Chase Inn, Holyhead Hotel, Woolpack, Coventry City ground, Walsgrave Hotel, Bell Inn, Sportsmans Arms, Elite Club, Blue Boar (Watford Gap), Heath Hotel, General Wolf and others.
THE band recorded a second rock opera in 1987, entitled Atlantis.
PAUL is now living in Wales and runs the West Wales Museum of Childhood as a way of displaying his lifelong collection. Visit www.toymuseumwales.co.uk
Look out for three top guns off the local scene playing together at the Beer Engine, Gosford Street, on June 21 at 9pm. That's Neol Davies and Aitch (both former Selecter) and John 'Johny Slide' Alerson, former Traveliing
Riverside Blues Band." http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Nostalgia:+Peppermint+Kreem+lads+had+some+fresh+ideas.-a0180256873
Paul Kennelly says " We regularly used Monty Birds studio to rehearse and record. I believe that it was an
old R.A.F. tracking station...or similar. I do have photos taken inside Bird Sound studios " http://www.snitterfield.com/forum.asp?forumID=344&subject=Bygone-Snitterfield
ARTHUR " MODIE " ALBRIGHTON.......... By Paul Kennelly.
"A complicated , multi talented instrumentalist and sound engineer of the highest standard. He played Bass guitar with the 1968 band, Lead guitar with the 1973 band and guitar/keyboards in the 1987 sessions. Modie is the brother that I never had and I love him very much and hold him in high esteem. He is also one of funniest people that I have ever met.... just look at these great photographs."