L-R: Colin Ashton: Lead Vocal. John Bass: Drums. Malcolm Peoples: Bass.
Brian 'Spud' Rudd: Lead Guitar. Mike 'Mitch' Michinson: Guitar.
LIKE IT OR HUMP IT!
If we young pop stars had dreams of gradeur then this here is the stuff of our nightmare's. However, this was the easy bit, as at least it's still daylight. Behind The New Court Hall Ballroom in Wigan, we later had the fun of doing it all in reverse using only the light from the street lamps in Library Street and a wing and a prayer to guide us - and usually it was raining too..
Owen Hughes makes a dash for it whilst Colin Ashton and 'Mitch' Mitchinson of Ipso Facto do a bit of grunting. Here's just one of the gigs they did..
Mmmmm.. Landlords Dress Optional!
This must be one the earliest encounters of a musical culture which has gripped the pop music industry ever since - Discotheque - Yuck! Almost always two bands shared the four sets at most venues - however, DJ's playing hit records under a fancy french name were just beginning to appear - Venue owners luvved it - they replaced the second band because 'Disco's' were cheaper..
Bill Hart: July 2012
Pics: John Bass: July 2012
"It's the very first Ipso Facto van the famous 'OCKLE COCKLE'. That's me Mitch - in Pete Townsend pose with John 'Gossy' Gostelow original of The Tremors, Faces Tickets and Ipso Facto drummer. He did a mighty fine Bo Diddleydid Gossy! The world was way cooler in black and white!"
Pic by Colin Ashton. Mitch Mitchinson: October 2010
Afive-piece band to drool over - By Bill Hart.
"'Ipso' played a grittier style of pop which didn't follow the rules of the day of the 'how-it-should-be-done' brigade. Popular to a fault and highly individual, they gave superb and consistant performances in which-ever venues they played. From the Comet Youthy to Orrell Rugby Club, the Court Hall to Ince Public Hall, they pulled-in and delighted the crowds big style.
One of two abiding and lasting memories of mine was a superb cover version of Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks. The plastic-made hot-off-the-press 45rpm disc hadn't even set properly yet and they had nailed it! I'd seen The Kinks play 'Sunset' on TV and it struck me right away as being something of an extra-special song. (In which musical history has proven it to be). Ipso' got the backing vocals spot on and Colin delivered the lead vocal as if he had sung the song a million times. It was the first time they had performed it in public but you would never have known, as it sent an amazing tingling sensation right down the full length of my spine. "Brrrrrrr."
Chips and chat..
The other enjoyable memory was randomly meeting up after a booking at The Wallgate Chippy, Wigan on regular Saturday nights. The nights 'work' over, a few quid in the pocket and the adrenalin still a-pumping, we would stand out on the pavement eating steak-pud, chips and mushy peas whilst chatting and joking with each other well into the morning; until that is the tiredness and full stomach's kicked in.
*IPSO FACTO *SHYMS
"Wallgate Chippy in Wigan was a mecca for us bands after a local Saturday night gig in the sixties. We would frantically pack the gear in the van and drive like maniacs to see who would get there first and make it to the front of the queue.. 'Steak pudding, chips and peas luv..'"
Bill Hart: March 2011
*Bill 'Billy Shym' Hart - *John Bass - *Alan 'Rocky' Turner - *Michael 'Mitch' Mitchinson
*Alan 'Benny' Bentham - *Brian 'Spud' Rudd - *Malcolm 'Harry-Ipso' Peoples.
Owen Hughes: LE Agency - Derek Darbyshire: Shyms Roady - *Dennis 'Raz' Berry -
*Colin Ashton - *Malc 'Twig' Green.
There was a keen friendly rivalry between all the bands of the day but some of us hit it off personally with each other as well. TheShymshad lots of other bands who sort of 'pinched'
material from us.. Ispo Facto never did.. they found their own particular 'individual' niche of pop music material and so did the Shyms.
All Together Now..
On the better nights whilst on the road we often found each other playing on the same venue's bill. At the time most venus put on two bands to fill the night. Bands would regularly meet this way which was fairly often at first - but as each band grew more and more popular in their own way, they were very rarely seen playing the same venue together. Which I would say, was a fair measure of each bands mid 1960's popularity and success...
Ipso' spilt in the 1970's when Colin & Mitch went on to form the 'Two Of Us' musical duo. Delighting social club audiences for the next three decades with superb songs and dead-pan comedy featuring... 'My Mate Tommy'. They too have now retired from the music scene."
Bill Hart March/April 2010.
'Ipso' play to a huge audience at the ABC Ritz Cinema, Wigan in 1965.
"I remember th'Ipso's first appearance at the Comet Youth Club with the Shyms in November 1965. We had been rehearsing three nights a week for four months but I was still nervous as hell that night. I remember the Shyms coming over after saying, 'good 'arrers lads'. A night I'll never forget.
'Ipso' were originally going to be a three-piece backing group with myself on bass, but we then decided two guitar players would be more suitable for the harmony stuff, and we needed a bass player. Harry Ipso (Malc - dont ask?) auditioned at the Star Pub in Wallgate Wigan: Not the smartest in Wigan. He played about four notes when a greyhound came in the room, casually looked at him and peed on his leg; priceless!!! Another 'Ipso' was signed up!'
Mitch Mitchinson: April 2010
'Spud's' Ipso Recollections..
<> See updated below
"The original Ipso Facto line-up got together in 1965. Myself - Brian Rudd aka: Spud - and Michael Mitchinson - Mitch. We had been hanging around together and dreaming for some time. Mitch popped off occasionally doing his thing with one or two bands who didn’t stay together for too long.
During this hanging around, listening and learning period, we met Colin Ashton, who was doing a little singing around pubs etc, I think we first became aware of Colin one night at St. Andrews Youth Club. Colin was singing with some guys, can’t really recall who they were to tell the truth. Myself and Mitch thought he was worth approaching to sell our dream to. He also had a PA system, which obviously made him more interesting.
Great we had guitar, bass and a singer, how about recruiting a drummer? Along came John Gostellow, good guy, still is a good guy. Got our first real gig at St. AndrewsSchool playing with a band called 'The Sting'. The gig went okay but we were not happy. John decided he wasn’t into what we were doing.
'The Sting' had a stand-in drummer that night who was pretty good, in fact we thought he was 'red-hot', solid as a rock. This caused me, Mitch and Colin to think, maybe we should recruit this guy, if we can sell him the dream. We eventually went see him at his house, talked through what we had in mind, taking the world over, or at least Wigan. He went for it. Hello John Bass.
It really was the right move and proved to be in the forthcoming years, John Bass was as solid as a rock drummer as you can get.
Then we were four, but we still needed something else. Mike Mitchinson was really too good to be playing bass - let’s get him on guitar; right, where do we find a bass player?
Just a point on Michael Mitchinson - Mitch. I have met and worked with some good musicians over the years, but I have always rated Mitch as being special, from the first days I met him, when we used to handball his keyboard down to my house for rehearsing. Good guy, who has had his problems health-wise over the years.
We had a whisper that a bass player from a band I think they were called 'The Lynx' was floating around, we also got told he had good equipment, which again made him more interesting. We popped up to his house, he came outside covered in plaster; we sold him the dream. Hello Malcolm Peoples. Later to become the famous 'Harry Ipso'.
Don’t ask me where the name 'Harry' came from, maybe someone, somewhere knows, but I don’t. But Harry became legendary around Wigan. Myself and Mitch spent quite a bit of time with Harry on Bass parts and musical arranging etc and slowly but surely Malc' came on in leaps and bounds. He really fitted the part and in my opinion became the best bass player around the band's in Wigan at that time.
About the name Ipso facto, where did that name come from? Myself and Colin used to work in Engineering at the same factory. Having a little chat every day about plans and ideas, songs etc. Obviously we also wanted a name for the group. We ended up with a considerable list of names which seemed to be getting longer, so we decided enough was enough and we had to choose from what we had. I had added some names from a Latin phrase book that was lying around. We eventually narrowed everything down to two names side by side and chose from those, so we had Ipso Facto. What was the other name, I recall it quite clearly, Status Quo. Quo' released 'Pictures of Matchstick Men' shortly after that and the rest they say is history. Glad we didn’t get into litigation with them, too much hassle.
After a lengthy stint with this line-up Harry Ipso left.. Ah well - we started with four - here we go again.
Owen Hughes - later of Owen Hughes Agency - managed us and was the other member of the band in reality, but didn’t perform on stage with us. He handled all the gigs and money etc. Owen had us gigging most nights from what I can remember. Oh to have that energy now. We all held down day-jobs at the same time as performing at night. Myself, Colin and Owen all worked in engineering, Malc was a plasterer - I think, Mitch was an electrician, and John was a tailor.
When Malc left we carried on as a four piece for some time. I remember one night while rehearsing at the All Saints Pub - a notorious drinking den in Wigan. Owen had been out to get us a gig at the All Saints Youth Club. He came back raving about a band he had just seen perform - The Answers. We all trooped down to see them and were blown away. They caused us to have a major rethink about ourselves, mainly around the equipment we were using at the time.
After this we invested in new equipment and a new van. I got a Vox Supreme lead amp, with 4x12 and tweeters, Mitch got a Vox Supreme Bass amp with Tweeters, all picked up from the Vox factory in Erith, Kent, care of L E AgencyWilliam Leyland - the well known NW agent - influence with the factory. John got a new kit of Premier drums which cut through like a knife, we were on our way again. Or were we?
The following is my recalling of the times, which really are well etched in my mind, because the Ipso's were so important to me.
I recall a difficult spell over a period of months where the material we were looking to perform was causing problems for us vocally, mainly in pitching. Highlighted when Bill Blackledge who ran the resident band at Wigan Casino recorded us one night without telling us and then asked if we wanted to hear ourselves after the show. This highlighted the problem.
At this time Colin and Mitch, were beginning to talk about the economics of a band compared to a duo, the writing was on the wall really. Hello 'Two of Us' - a superb Duo who worked the clubs for many years after splitting from The Ipso's.
I moved on to work with John Lewis of Copper Kettle eventually, Eric Pepperil resident at
The Sportsmans Club in Wigan, then in a duo myself for a while until Phil Stokes - ex
Rainbow Cottage got me to join Winston- a three piece harmony band, they wanted a fourth guitarist and singer. Enter the band 'Winston' - which needs a story telling of its very own." Brian 'Spud' Rudd: September 2010: Updated: October 2010
"A couple of bands before our time were The Madmen with Mike Gannon bass player - who later played in The Vaqueros and laterly in the Jess Greenhough Band at The Monaco in Hindley and Tim Tyrone & The Fabulous Crusaders - a great name. Also, check-out The Magic Lanterns. 'Ipso' played with them at the 'Emp' Wigan Casino when they were The Hammers - good band - and made some good records as The Lanterns.I joined them for a short while - good guys!" Mitch Michinson April 2010
"I played a short stint for The Jess Greenhough Band as a stand-in for his drummer who went on holiday for two weeks. It was a nightmare. I hadn't a clue about playing foxtrots and walses and at one stage Mick Gannon, who played a really good bass guitar, was yelling the correct rythmns at me whilst we were playing. Not one of my happier 1960's memories. Bill Hart: May 2010.
"We went to Rose Bridge Youth Club and Ince Central Youth Fellowship. We had a band on called Ipso Facto; they played there regularly."
Gozzer: Wigan World. May 2010.
MARQUEE MASKERADE.. 1967
Michael 'Mitch' Mitchinson: March 2013
The year was1966 or 1967 but I couldn’t tell you what time of year at this distance. I was in my mid to late teens and had been learning to play the guitar for about two years and trying to find my way into a band - any band- for most of that time without any real success. A very good friend of mine who lived in Wigan's Beech Hill area was a passing acquaintance of some -one in an established band of that time, and when he found out that they were due to appear locally he decided we should go along to see what they were all about.
I seem to remember that I had already seen some of the better known local bands of that time most notably The Shyms as they were then called (later to become Tynfoil) and was beginning to realise how far I still had to go.
The venue was All Saints Youth Club which was behind Tudor House on Frog Lane, Wigan; it was connected to the street by going into Tudor House and then following a narrow corridor to a small to medium hall with a stage at one end. The whole room was kitted out in wood if my memory serves me well. There was a five piece band on stage already playing and what I was about to hear changed my whole idea of what bands could do. If there was ever a moment that I can point back to and say that it influenced my entire outlook on what bands were all about and their approach to music, then this would be that moment.
The band on stage that night was Ipso facto and at that point they had the line-up of Colin Ashton, (Vocals) Michael Mitchinson, (Guitar) Brian Rudd (Guitar), John Bass (Drums) and Malcolm Peoples - generally known as Harry Ipso - on Bass Guitar. They had as manager a young gentleman by the name of Owen Hughes, who was later to move on to L. E. Agency, and after a short stint working for a London agency returned north and a few years down the line left to start his own agency and to take over the management of Rainbow Cottage.
At this stage, however, I didn’t know any of the band, but I’d like to think that over the years that I got to be on good friendly terms with several of them. I had the good fortune to spend some time working with Mitch in a small studio in Shevington where we recorded someoriginal tracks there.
On stage that night , however, they played a selection of songs that were not included in any band’s repertoire that I had come across and this had a big effect on the way I went about looking for music for any band that I was involved in to play. Titles that come to mind were; “Take me for a little while“; “Walking Down Kensington High Street”; “ Loving you is sweeter than ever”; “Summertime Blues”; “C’mon Everybody”; “Down at the Club” and a song that has always stuck in my memory - “ My Back pages”.
At this remove I can’t be sure that they performed all those songs that night, but it is a good cross-section of the type of material that they covered. Where many other bands dipped into the same pool for songs - and I must admit to thinking that way myself until then - Ipso facto came at their selection from a different angle andit had the effect on me that made me start looking for the less obvious songs . Even now I find that my favourite tracks of albums is very often not the single type song but one that others might not pick out so readily.
Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to work with some very special people. Tony Houghton of Rainbow Cottage has a great musical “ear” and was very good at arranging songs and vocal harmonies; Brian Gibbs from both The Answersand later Rainbow Cottage is in my opinion a natural musician who makes everything look easy - I could listen to him sing all day. Graham Hill (R.I.P) was much better than at first glance would tell; He could seemingly get a tune out of anything and throughout his time with Rainbow Cottage and into his duo Tears Before Bedtime, he developed into one of the best 'undiscovered' singers in the country.
Having read Brian Rudd's remarks in his Ipso Facto notes and having had the privilege of working with Mitch and watching him work, I put him in the same category as the three I have already mentioned.
Joe Moss: August 2013
Dennis Berry: May 2014
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