The Hawick band who floored the Bungalow crowd

Hawick band, Johnny & The Roccos are singled out for praise in the latest book to be written and published by Borderer Loudon Temple.

Friday, 28th May 2021, 3:01 pm
Johnny & The Roccos.

“The Bungalow – Stories from The Venue and Those Who Played There”, written by the former journalist and music agent who booked all of the bands to play the legendary Paisley gig in the late ’70s and early ’80s, got its official launch this week.

The Bungalow became a Mecca for punk after Glasgow’s city fathers banned any outfits that were following the lead of The Sex Pistols. It would become the launch pad for a remarkable number or careers – all musicians who went on to greater things, such as actor Peter Capaldi, US chat show host Craig Ferguson and Creation Records' founder Alan McGee.

As the writer says in his introduction: "The Bungalow was, no question, a very healthy breeding ground for talent."

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The cover of Loudon Temple's new book

As individual recollections unfold, many from artists who played there and some from audience members too, it's clear that they all felt that something "very special" happened there.

Some of the top bands from the period played there, including The Fall, The Skids, Echo and The Bunnymen, The Psychedelic Furs and Teardrop Explodes. Pete Townshend of The Who once turned up, guitar in hand, keen to take part in the Saturday jam session. His band would play Glasgow’s Apollo Theatre that night.

Loudon himself has picked out his own highlights, and among them he selected appearances by the Hawick-based rock 'n' rollers, led by Bob Fish. The 1980 line-up was an all-Hawick affair with Ian Ball on bass and Jim Fisher on drums.

He says: "They were so popular in Scandinavia and countries like France and Germany, that we rarely got a chance to catch them in action on their home turf.

"Lead guitarist Bob Fish (not to be confused with that man with the same name who played with chart regulars, Darts) went to extraordinary lengths to keep the band's sound as close to "period" as possible.

"They played The Bungalow three times, and on each occasion, we all floated home three inches off the ground."

The Bungalow Bar book (176 pages including dozens of photos from the period) is on sale now for £15 from the website. £5 from each book sold will go to help the homeless.

Loudon, who is now in his 70s, officially retired from working as a journalist three years ago, and was forced to put his Brookfield-Knights music agency into hibernation when the pandemic stopped live music happening in March last year.

Asked if he had any more books in the pipeline, he quipped: "I'm just getting warmed up," and revealed that the project he is now working on had been inspired by Hawick jeweller and watchmaker Hamish Smith, whom he lived next door to as a schoolboy at Burnfoot in the 1960s.

"It's a book that will tell the story of The Flying Scot racing bikes that were hand-built by David Rattray and Company in Glasgow, and are now highly sought after," he explained.

"The very first time I encountered one, it was Hamish's pride and joy, way back around 1960 when he first got it, and I was thrilled to find out that he still has the same bike and cherishes it just as much as he ever did."

Loudon has interviewed many owners to gather in their me-and-my-bike adventures and achievements, including Hamish, who will have the book dedicated to him.

"I have tracked down one owner who has a collection of thirty Flying Scots, some of them very rare examples, spoken to track and road race champions who would never dream of parting with their precious bikes, and had interesting chats with former employees who worked with Rattray's, to get their stories captured," he said.

"It has been a major, but hugely enjoyable undertaking and I hope to have it finished before the end of this year."