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History of the Band

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Chapter 2 : Major Restructuring

Gary - in 1986It was at this point that Gary joined the band on keyboards, having answered one of the adverts in the local papers. Gary had previously played in a few duos/bands which unfortunately didn't really get anywhere, so was still looking for "the right band". After coming down to an audition/rehearsal, everything and everyone just seemed to "click" straight away and so, 617 began rehearsing as a four-piece, with Kev handling the lead vocals and Gary doing backing vocals.

After a few weeks like this, it was decided that the band would be better as a five-piece again, as everyone felt it really needed a "dedicated" front-man/vocalist. So once again, adverts were placed in the local press, while the band continued to work on "clubland material", just waiting for someone to come and sing it.

Over the next few months, a number of hopefuls came down and auditioned for lead vocalist, both male and female. But none of them were really suitable. Except perhaps one, who was really "the best of a bad bunch" - he was asked to rehearse with the band for several weeks, in the hope that it would work out. But it still just didn't feel right and the other four members were left wondering what they should do now.

Coincidentally, around this time it was discovered that the band which Keri and Geoff went off to join a year or so earlier, had not really got anywhere after all. So Ady, Kev, Muz and Gary discussed and agreed that perhaps Keri should be asked if he'd like to rejoin as 617's frontman again. But in a bizzare turn of events, before anyone could call Keri with this proposal, Keri actually phoned Kev and asked if there was any chance he could possibly come back to 617 again ! This of course meant that Keri would be rejoining the band under their terms, which caused great amusement and in fact, Keri was never told about this until many years later !

So a meeting was set up with the the band and Keri, to discuss the current situation. When that meeting took place, at the White Hart Pub in Lenton, all the members of 617 were surprised to find that the original guitarist, Geoff, had also come along with Keri to rejoin too !

Everybody got on well, all past troubles were forgotten and somehow, it just happened that 617 suddenly went from a four-piece to a six-piece in the space of a pint !

A rehearsal was set up for the following week so that everyone could start to get used to a new lineup and the new material. But fate took a hand again and almost immediately after this first rehearsal, Muz had to leave the band as his day job suddenly required him to move down to London. So once again, 617 settled into it's familiar five-piece lineup, now with Keri on vocals, Ady on drums, Gary on keyboards, Geoff on Guitar and Kev on Bass.

The youthful-looking 617 "starting lineup" in 1987 :
Keri Ady Gary Geoff Kev
Keri Ady Gary Geoff Kev

This lineup worked over the next few months, having a lot of fun and practicing material - some of which "worked" and some that was "scrapped". Then in May 1987, it was decided that it was about time to see if the band could actually get some gigs on the club circuit ! In order to work in "Clubland", the band needed to find an agent to handle the bookings.

Ady arranged for 617 to appear at a Showcase night for Stables Entertainments on 26th May 1987 at the Concorde in Ilkeston. As is usual with showcases, there were several other acts/duos/trios also appearing that night, but as the only full band, 617 were scheduled to appear last of the evening. They would only need to do four or five numbers, so those chosen would represent a good cross-section of the material the band could do. The songs performed at that showcase were : The Power of Love, Hungry Like the Wolf, Get It On, Jump and Don't Look Down.

In short, 617 stormed the audition, blowing away everyone who was there and leaving the agents and all the other "established" local musos wondering where this band had come from ! However, the band themselves got the biggest surprise when, as it was the end of the night, they were forced to do an encore... and being completely unprepared for this, had to have a really cheesey on-stage "what are we gonna do now" huddle ! (That encore was the classic Toto track, Hold The Line.)

As soon as the band left the stage that night after their encore, they were immediately snapped up by the almost-legendary Reg Enderby of Stables Entertainments, and given some gig dates straight away !

The first of those gigs was only about a month away - but what Reg didn't know at that time was that the band didn't actually have enough material for a full 90 minute-plus set, not actually expecting things (if anything) to happen so fast ! So, for the next few weeks, 617 worked harder than ever before, pulling in three, four or even five rehearsals a week, in order to get together enough material for the gigs. As well as the music, things like stage clothes had to be sorted out and also, a backdrop was painted by Gary, featuring the original 617 logo, as designed by Geoff years before.

CLICK to enlargeThat first gig was originally supposed to be at the Wedgewood Club in Stoke-On-Trent on Saturday 20th June 1987.... but a few days beforehand, Reg phoned and asked the band to play an "extra" one on the Friday before ( a "warm-up gig" !!)

So, the first-ever gig for the "new era" of 617 was actually at the Pavilion Hotel in Long Eaton, on Friday 19th June 1987. (To coin a phrase from Spinal Tap, "Don't... go looking for it, it's not there now." No, seriously, it isn't - the Pavilion was demolished a few years ago !)

For that first public performance, 617 were paid the princely sum of £50 !!

On to Chapter 3 :


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