Demick Armstrong: The James Brothers:
Rod Demick: Vocal - Harmonica.
Brian Rossi: Bass Guitar. Herby Armstrong: Lead Guitar.
"Although hailing from Northern Ireland The Wheels decamped very successfully in Lankyland making a useful home base and settling for several years in Blackpool. Playing a type of rhythm & blues found popular mainly in smaller clubs, pubs, cellars and dives, they imported their unique style of music - which reflected a gritty Irish inner-city Belfast of the day - into the mainstream north of England dance halls with a raw cutting-edge and with much distinction.
The Shyms played with them on one occasion that will always stick in my mind. The venue was the Court Hall Ballroom in Wigan and we were probably at the height of our popularity at this time and I think The Wheels were at their's too? I don't remember who played which spots but that is bye the bye. Amongst others, we played our version of the extremely popular song 'Gloria', previously recorded by a band called 'Them'. This was one of Van Morrison's earliest of incarnations as a band and the song was his composition. All the bands covered it. Our version had however evolved simply from this particular version, but we also introduced a little of 'light and shade' and other bits and bobs dreamt-up by ourselves into our own tickled-up version - oh - and it also lasted twice as long!
We ended our spot and headed for, and entered the dressing room, only to be confronted by this guy who was ripping angrily into us for allegedly abusing - his song - Gloria! Boy was he agressive: 'Mr Lead-Singer-Almighty-Important-Of-The-Wheels-Rhythm-&-Blues-Band'. Did he go on and on! 'T'was the worst version of 'Gloria' I ever been at pains to hear all my life that t'was- it t'was - it t'was!'
He ranted and raved. He raged-on for what seemed like ages as we became totally shell-shocked - as if we had somehow actually murdered his precious 'Lady' Gloria with a blunt axe or something - by daring to playing his precious song in a way he didn't much like - ego's eh! We actually thought we were being really pretty smart. We said to him that we were entitled to do as we please with any song we choose and if you did or didn't like it - tough - off? He chose not to let it drop however - still chunnering away as we packed our gear and loaded it silently into the van. Our path's never crossed ever again if I recall. However, we did discover that a few weeks later, that The Wheels had recently been down to London to make their very own first recording - a cover version of Gloria!"
Demick - Armstrong
Bill Hart: October 2010
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