‘Special night’ as legendary music club relives its early years

The founding fathers. Back row from left to right: Mike O'Connor, David Stopps and Jerry Slater. Front, left to right:
The founding fathers. Back row from left to right: Mike O'Connor, David Stopps and Jerry Slater. Front, left to right:

Music lovers rocked up to look back at the formative years of the legendary Friars Club on at the Bucks County Museum.

More than 70 people turned up for the event, which was a fast sell out and saw members and the founding fathers exchanging stories and showing off memorabilia.

Friars Club supremo, David Stopps said they could have easily sold three or four hundred tickets such was the high demand.

He said: “It was very special indeed. It was amazing going over how many gigs we did. We did 56 shows in 13 months.”

The event on Thursday focused on the early years of the club from 1969 to 1970, dubbed phase one.

During this period at New Friarage Hall on Walton Street it hosted the likes of Genesis and Black Sabbath.

“We have had incredible feedback. Some people hadn’t even been to Friars they were just interested in the history.

“We had some great stories from the audience. It could have easily gone on for twice as long.”

The night had five of the six founding fathers, Robin Pike, Terry Harms, Adrian Roach Jerry Slater and Mr Stopps all on the panel for the evening.

Mike O’Connor, an adopted founding father has spent the past five years compiling a history of the club online and there was considerable excitement when one member Sue Greensmith brought along a Rare Bird poster which had not been seen in more than four decades.

Mr O’Connor siad: “We didn’t even know it existed. It was a very exciting find.”

With more than 90,000 members Mr Stopps said it was fascinating to have its first ever member Keith Martin attend and to hear how member 10, Ian Craib, should have been number one but was asked to rejoin the queue after he filled his membership form in long-hand rather than capital letters.

After a promising meeting with new Waterside Theatre chief executive Jamie Baskeyfield (as reported on page 6), Mr Stopps said if they do hold exhibitions on the latter years of the club it could look at using the theatre to meet the demand for tickets.