It’s 1977. Picture the scene. A grubby community hall (the hall, not the community) in Cambridge, UK. It’s supposed to be the summer of hate and the year of punk, at least in the minds of journalists, at least with the benefit of hindsight. A few overenthusiastic punters spit at Blotto, the opening band. Leader Ivan Carling (look him up) is justifiably disgruntled. Blotto bass player Lee Cave-Berry
meets guitarist Kimberley Rew
, of the Waves, predecessor of Katrina and the Waves,
of Walking on Sunshine future fame. Also on the bill, Robyn Hitchcock
’s Soft Boys, with Alan Davies on guitar.
Kim quits Waves, joins Soft Boys
, Soft Boys climb the greasy pole high enough to need a sound man. Re enter Ivan. Lee and Kim become friends, sharing the routine of long morning drives in the van, long afternoon sound checks in cold, filthy pubs, frantic and deafening evenings. Repeat as required. Everybody off to Rockfield (residential recording studios). Very little achieved after dinner. Nobody has ever heard the unreleased results (but several of the songs appeared next year on the album A Can of Bees).
Lee leaves Cambridge. Auditions for the Bodysnatchers, who soon change their name to the Belle Stars. Joins the Mal Gray Band (not the Wild Angels!), opens for Fats Domino across Europe. Booked as Bill Haley’s European touring band – are rehearsing when news comes thru that Haley has died (some people will do anything to avoid working with a female bass player). Relocates to Ipswich, does lights for Martin Newell’s band Gypp, joins Lizard.
Meanwhile the Soft Boys record the album Underwater Moonlight (see coffee table books with titles like 500 Albums You Must Own, Instant Record Collection, etc).
Kim and Wave Alex Cooper form Katrina and the Waves. Rejected by all UK record labels, all London pub gigs except the Hope and Anchor. Ultimately sign first with Canadian independent Attic, then US major Capitol (actually owned by UK giant EMI). Single (and Rew composition) Walking on Sunshine (see coffee table books with titles like ‘500 Singles You Must Own’) appears April 1985, becomes a summer hit, then an ‘evergreen’. (Thanks to this Kim is sitting here writing flippantly, rather than playing in a function band, with bitterness creeping into his soul). A chance to tour opening for the Beach Boys and the Kinks- it’s never too late for further education.
Lee joins Adventure Playground, Dr Skull and the Crossbones and the Rapiers in Cambridge, Lightning Strikes in Wales, then the Big Kick in York. Lee starts a family. Lee relocates to Gibraltar and joins Three’s a Crowd with Jamie Chiappe. Lee’s family grows up. The planets converge.