|Barry Walker today|
I used to listen to as much music as I possibly could via a little speaker on our wall which I believe was called Rediffusion which transmitted one or two hours a day and a station from Australia very early in the morning, on an old valve radio. I was really smitten by The Everly Brothers, Elvis, Ricky Nelson and The Ventures among others.
|Barry Walker and In-Sect at RAF Changi Mess|
In 1966 I was posted to Singapore where a friend of mine John Reeves introduced me to The Figures. The original line up was Eugene Kwok - Keyboards, Victor Yeo – Rhythm Guitar, Patrick – Lead Guitar, Albert – Drums and Anthony Ho – Bass Guitar joined by me (image left). We hit it off and started practising really hard in a little government flat where all the local people would come to watch and listen. We cut our first record and started playing all over the island. *Charlie Charles had arrived in Singapore on his first military posting and took over from Albert on drums.
|Can play off-beat la?|
We never did find out what this meant. Fernando also managed this location. We also played at The Golden Venus with The Straydogs and various other local bands.
On Wednesday evenings there used to be a thing called Vespa Malam in Orchard Road which coincided with Pasar Malam (night market) so many people would stop and watch the various bands playing. We also played at The National Theatre and at The Capitol (the legend of local cinemas) on Sunday mornings.
We had a guy, Colin Burnett whom I believe was the original roadie in Singapore who ensured all the equipment got from A to B and also helped us to set up. Some of the amplifers and PA systems were very heavy, especially on some of the stairs we had to negotiate to get to where we were playing. It was tough but very rewarding especially musically. By the way, we also had very demanding day jobs.
|Calling for The Straydogs.|
I don’t really recall an invasion of Western music. It was fantastic being part of a band that was always very multi-racial without realising, and also the diverse kinds of music each band member liked. I had records that I had bought over from the U.K. but Singapore was a great place to obtain any music you wanted really with a few exceptions."
*Formed in 1977 to promote Ian Dury's album New Boots and Panties on the first Stiff Records tour of the U.K., Charlie Charles was a member of Ian Dury & The Blockheads. Charles passed on in September, 1990 and Barry was one of his pall-bearers.
For more articles about Barry Walker, his band members and his correspondence click his name under Labels below. Similarly with Eugene Kwok and The Straydogs.
Images and Article: Barry Walker (Copyrights Reserved). No parts to be extracted for use in any publication.
(Excuse the poor paragraphing. Blogger has no control with the template. BlogSpot still hasn't remedied this problem.)