The Bruce MacQueen, long time Kinks fan from Arlington VA, flew over to the UK, with his brother Doug, for two Kast Off Kinks gigs in January 2010, then again to catch some of the Kast Off Kinks 2010 Spring tour :

I am finally getting around to writing this for anyone who cares!

After seeing the Kast Offs (sadly for only the 6th time) at the Konvention in October 2009, my brother and I joked about attending their Christmas party if they planned one that year. It turns out they did not have one but we saw that they had two weekend gigs in January and our Christmas gift to ourselves was planned!

We had attended a gig at the Boom Boom Club in Sutton in March 2009 so, despite record snows in London; we made our way there without difficulty. As part of our journey we stayed in Camden and visited Little Green Street to re-enact Dead End Street and went to The Archway Tavern which was not open as it is now some sort of a night club with a late opening - Pity!

Archway Tavern

Little Green Street

Attending the gig at Sutton United Football Club were our own Olga (of course), Steve & Brigitte Jeffs, and the lovely Tricia Perry along with a couple of hundred other people; all of whom I believe bought me drinks! It was of course a riot of fun.


Steve and Brigitte


The next day we made our way out to Leamington Spa, a lovely little town northwest of London. The event was held at the Assembly, a beautifully restored old dance hall. Afterwards, we were invited to the performer's lounge downstairs for a drink and found the central attraction was Tammy Wynette's stainless, pink & crystal, travel trailer. WTF? I'm still not quite sure how it wound up in the basement of a dance hall in Leamington Spa. But everyone was so gracious and welcoming. It was great fun.

Leamington Spa

The Assembly

But then, as soon as it started, it was time to go back home!

After a few weeks of percolating on it, I realized that the Kast Offs were playing three dates around Saint Patty's Day and with an extra long weekend, we could catch them all. So we booked our seats and confirmed our reservation and were off!

First stop was the Eel Pie Club in posh Twickenham. My mission was to deliver Do It Again T shirts to the band for Geoff Edgers. Mission accomplished to a quite surprised group of guys, I think.

We had great fun hanging around with the band and having a couple of drinks. I believe I still owe one of the wives or girlfriends a drink! It was another great show in a packed house.

The Eel Pie Club, Twickenham

Our day off we spent in London and ventured up to KONK as Mick Avory had taken my card the night before and said he would try to call ahead to see if we could take a peek around. So we rang the bell, announced our intentions and were told that Mick had not called! Before the disappointment could sink in, the door buzzed open and we went in! We were met by one of the office managers and we explained ourselves and apologized for the intrusion and again asked for a quick tour. We were led down to meet one of the engineers, Dougal who was very kind in explaining things and showing us around.

Bruce poses in Konk

Doug & Bruce in the Konk control room

We asked if he was a big fan and he said he wasn't and thought that might have been part of why he got the job. All you lickspittle toadies take note - ha!

I asked what he had been up to and he said that they were cataloguing old tapes and were preparing to "bake" a bunch of old acetate for transfer to digital. He also said he had been in NYC when Ray did the sessions with Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi. Nice job if you could get it! We snapped a few photos, thanked him for his time and headed out.

Being late in the afternoon, we were thirsty and decided a pint was in order. So we decided to check out the Clissold Arms and see what this new owner we had heard about was up to. So we figured out the bus route and wandered into Muswell Hill and walked down past the Alexandra to the Clissold. Little did we know................

So we met the owner (George) who talked about creating a new room full of Kinks memorabilia and his idea to have a Guinness Book of World record set by having the largest sing-a-long of Sunny Afternoon on the patio. I told him we would be there. We waffled if we should have another pint there and opted instead to walk over to the Alex for one.

Crossing the street we were trying to identify the old Davies homestead and were blocking the garden entrance when the owner and his young daughter came home. He knew we were fans and asked us in, which we politely refused but asked a few questions and wandered into the Alex.
As we stood at the bar I surveyed the room and what to my wondering eyes should appear? Dave Davies sitting at a table with his son, Christian and a friend!

I elbowed my brother and turned to the barman who said, "Hey Bruce! Did you see who is sitting over there?"  I don't know if I was more flabbergasted that the barman, Theo remembered my name from the two prior year's sing-alongs hosted there or that Dave Davies was sitting 10 feet away! Theo said, "We saw you walking by a while ago and tried to get your attention but you went in the Clissold." I could have smacked him. But he hadn't gotten my pint yet so I restrained myself!

We wanted to be respectful of Dave's privacy so we took our pints into the back room and tried to figure out what to do. After about 10 minutes, they began collecting their items, so we walked over and apologized for the interruption and introduced ourselves. Dave thought his friend had set him up, but we assured him that we hadn't flown 3,700 miles for an ambush! I was so pumped to see him that when he stood up to shake hands I gave him a big old bear hug and a got an amused grin in return. He was in great spirits and said that he was planning to reschedule his US tour dates in April or May and that he had canceled due to doctor's concerns about altitude issues related to flying.

We got the requisite pictures to prove we really existed and I happened to be wearing my Kinks shirt that has been signed by almost all the previous band members and conveniently had a Sharpie handy. Almost time to think about getting that Plexiglas display case and stop wearing the sucker!

We chatted for 5 minutes and then he and Christian had to leave for an appointment. Scratch another off the bucket list! I never thought I'd meet Dave again; let alone in his childhood neighborhood pub! The barman suggested I take his teacup as a souvenir.... So I am now officially creepy...because I did! I'm not sure what to do with it. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Me brother and I celebrated our good fortune with three hours worth of pints and then wandered back to our hotel!

The following day we were off to Letchworth Garden City after a few hours at the British Museum. It was another great gig. However, we got officially barred from competing in any of the band's trivia questions!

But we met Jim Rodford's kids and wife again. I also asked Dave how much they rehearse and I guess it is all muscle memory and innate ability, because the answer was "Not much"!

The Plinston, Letchworth

The final gig for us was a mere 5+ hour train ride to Wales! We arrived in Cardiff for our train change just as the soccer stadium let out and they were trying to decide which track our continuing train would run upon. After four announced changes we were heading north to Ebbw Vale like sardines. Our hotel was about 5 miles from the venue so we cabbed it up and asked the cabbie for his card saying we would need him later.

"No problem, mate"! Famous last words!

While I was waiting at the bar for my first pint, Ian Gibbons came over and bestowed upon us our band T-Shirts. We are now official "Dedicated Followers of The Kast Off Kinks". Our frequent flier miles paid off! I was chuffed! And they fit! The show was a storm! Mick did Dedicated Follower of Fashion though he considered doing The Lobster Song, The Laughing Policeman or My Wife's a Cow. After a bit of "voice petrol", he opted for "Dedicated Follower". After the show we found ourselves in an empty and abandoned part of Ebbw Vale.

Calling our friendly cabbie, he told us to call back in an  hour. So we headed to the bus stop only to find the last bus does not go our way and we are screwed. Then Ian drives by and sees our plight and directed us to go to the stage door and ask for Alex. We do and this cat lets us in, locks everything up, gets his car and drives us to the hotel. We tipped the crap out of him much to his objection! It was great!

If you have never seen these guys; you must! They are awesome! Dave Clarke does the heavy lifting with lead guitar and vocals. He is remarkable. The rest of the band you know. This is their life's work and they seem to really be enjoying themselves carrying on with the music. Hopefully the Konvention date will be announced soon and you can make it. I will absolutely be there and plan to take the entire family again.

Sod the money! These are irreplaceable memories! If only a promoter would bring them to the US, I could trade in my British Airways card and stop buying jewelry for my wife as consolation gifts! Though actually there are two more dates on their calendar for 2010 in April......I wonder?

Best Regards,


© Kast Off Kinks Website 2010

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