Sunday, March 26, 2017

Legends About Thunderbirds, Tornados n Strings

From left: Freddie Kang (Thunderbirds), John Cher, Andy Lim (Silver Strings), Derek McCully (The Tornados).

One of the reasons why I write this blog is to get like-minded music people to meet and chat; so this blog is like a cyberspace kopi-tiam (coffee joint).

It has been happening since because John Cher who appreciates this blog and its usefulness, has been doing something similar. He's been gathering music-makers together for personal chit-chats in the real kopi-tiams.

And I must thank him for his innovative ways in getting people together.
On Friday last John and I (Silver Strings) met, but this time with two legends who are still around.  I remember this gentleman meeting Rickie Chng (Silver Strings lead) and myself at Novena Square, twelve months earlier, thundering into the mall and announcing himself with his sirens and beepers as he approached us (image: 2). 

Freddie Kang (record cover image: 2nd right), was from the Thunderbirds, one of the top ten bands from Singapore 60's that was still playing some years back at the Carriage Bar in Orchard Road.  
When he left the group, he went solo and with his impactful Fender Strat and appropriate amplifiers became a successful one-man band for 16 years at Riverview Hotel.  (now known as Four Points by Sheraton)

You have to sit with Freddie to know him better. He's got lots of history to tell and the two hours I spent with him hardly covered the first pages of his life story.

The other gentleman is one I had met when he with his group performed at the Temasek Club some years ago, with the band's rhythmist at that time, Arthur Lim. 
The band is called The Tornados and he was from St. Andrew School.  They made a record with the Sundowners. This grey-haired gentleman sat beside me with his numerous stories of knights in shining armour riding in fast Lamborginis, Ferraris and Aston Martins.

Derek McCully from the famous McCully clan in Singapore told John, Freddie and me about how he decided to: 

Only play the guitar for fun
And not to chari-makan...
The question is, how did he *chari makan?  Definitely not with his guitar and Hank Marvin riffs.  Although he was just too good with The Shadows repertoire of instrumental hits, he did something else to earn a living.
                      Derek McCully (left) with an Aston Martin Lagonda.

As I explained this posting is just a teaser.  So for more stories about The Thunderbirds and The Tornados, watch out for them soon on this blog. 

Not the usual, who joined the band and who left, but a peek into their background and what made them take up the solid guitars they armed themselves with.  Our own Guitar Heroes!

*literal: looking for food = earn an income.

Images: A Private Collection and Star On-Line.
Videos have been disabled.



... another day of fellowship and camaraderie with some fellow musos of the 60s.. clockwise : yours truly(Thunderbirds),John Cher and Andy Young(Silver Strings) and Derek McCully(Tornados)... photo taken at KPT-PlazaSing

Fabian Foo said...

Memories of Carriage Bar and the Thunderbirds are indeed nostalgia on many of us here. I remember that I
was at the Carriage Bar on the last second night before the curtains were down of this place. I went alone, enjoyed my bottle throughout the night and had a great evening to witness many of the supporters of the Thunderbirds.
Those were the days we always sing.
Fabian Foo

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...


Billy Loh
Philip Chew
S Mohamad Al Sungkai
Jon Goh
James Seah
Davychandavy Chan
Leslie Wilson Joseph
Chen Hui Si
Lim Kuan Min
Lange Brunei
Kong Kim Pah
Ann Rowena Lim
Frank Tan
Ivor Lesslar
Gingcoollereese Paloso
Tommy Ps Lee
Vince Minjoot
Jacinta Liang
Henry Low
Christine Khoo
Catherine De Silva
Feliz Yeo
Jennifer D'Souza
Van Der Beek Philip
Francis Yuen
Roger Prior
Roop Singh
Michael Ho
Carmen Jansen
Diana Lim
Geraldine Soh
Desmond Peter
Eddie Sta Maria
Michelle Minjoot
Joseph Sie
Joe Chia Teck Seng
Vivien Goh
Albert Wong Ong Cheng
Raymond Cho
Jennie Law
Patti Jansen
Angie Ho
Tommy Gomes
Lisa Goh
George Punnoose
Sankaran Nalli Gowden
Harvey Fitzgerald

henri gann said...

Keep on Rockin' Derek and the rest of the gang !!! �� �� �� ��

Zen Teo said...

anyone here remembers Brian Hogan. one of the finalist in 1971 talentime.
very underrated folk singer/guitarist of the 70s. he used to jam with vernon cornelius in the late 70s. i wonder if he is still around.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Zen,
Thanks for the mail and visit. Hopefully Brian Hogan will reply or perhaps his folks and friends.

Unknown said...

Hi Andy. I had the privilege to jam with The Tornados a couple of times at Derek's pte studio which used to be located at Tuas. He is into the spirit of whatever pieces he was playing. Naturally his enthusiasm is always infectious and everyone present would enjoy the music session, which would typically last about 3 hours. Last year in June, we had a two nights marathon jam session at a friend's pte studio in Batu Pahat. That was a blast! Derek and his band should put up a public performance for fans of music of The Shadows! It would be really fun!

How about it Derek and The Tornados??


matt tan (MJST) ex co-founder Fried Ice said...

Waaa, Andy , you are terrible !!! you put that photo of you guys eating Singapore food outside . this is the only thing i missed about Singapore, Glutton Square or the seafood midnight seaside stall at Bedok where my dad used to bring us after he came home from work at 10 pm, he told our driver to take a rest, and asked Mum to drive us kids to Bedok to eat those delicious seafood out in the open sky and fresh sea breeze.

my happiest days were during my childhood, when my dad was the absolute best, bringing us kids to Happy World, New World, Great World, and we all came back with tons of things we bought there. my sister used to grab the latest "schoolgirl comics", my brother the "classics comics of H.G. Wells and Homer" (remember those?)
while i came home with the latest EPs of Tommy Steele, Cliff, Billy Fury,etc..

But best of all, we ate like pigs (although none of us grew fat at all, LOL)..
at Glutton Square, which i remember never closed at all, open 24 hours a day / night.. i always remember this, even during my Fried Ice days,
i used to go there for supper.

Oh, lastly, durians... I miss the durians.. and lake tow suan and gado gado
as well. we get durians here, but they don't taste anything like you have there..
and it cost me $50 .

Any offers to pay for my air-fare to do a Memory Lane performance in Singapore
with Horace, Jimmy,etc..??? I 'll even play my own songs, incl my own rendition of jimi, robert johnson,etc.. as you hear on my cbc site.
i 'll go there to jam with you guys if you get me durians :)

Best regards to all... esp Horace Wee.