We've just uploaded a very rare video by UK Pop-Psych/Freakbeat group The Shakespeares. Shakespeares Guitarist Chris Stone recalls that time:
"May 1968 was an exciting period for the band, even though we split soon after. We were transitioning from being a hard-working ‘covers’ band, (playing regular gigs but with little musical satisfaction) to something a lot more interesting. The switch had a dramatic impact and caused us to implode pretty fast. I was one of the newer recruits to the line-up, along with vocalist, Martin Pigott.
Like most young bands in the late 60s, we were heavily influenced by the Beatles, particularly with the release of the Sgt Pepper album. The music of Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, the Doors, and Frank Zappa was the soundtrack for three out of the five band members, whilst the other two guys preferred to keep to what produced regular work and the cash to survive.
Along with bassist Alan Escombe, Martin and I wanted to move on musically. Those ‘musical differences’ developed into a few verbal bust-ups and we split into two camps. It seems pretty quaint now, but in those days when a band started to beat the crap (verbally and/or physically) out of each other, the press release always referred to their ‘musical differences’.
We had recently moved from a small indie label over to RCA, who released our new single ‘Burning My Fingers’ a song I had written which (happily) the whole band thought was cool!
The single was picked up in France, featured heavily on national radio, and the new colour TV show Bouton Rouge arranged to film us at the Casino in Knokke in Belgium. This was the era when COLOUR TV was big news! We performed around the massive chandelier in the casino, whilst the cleaners did their stuff in the background. A strange concept, but I guess the director thought he was being pretty creative. (Friends tell me how they wish I’d kept that blue jacket!)
May 1968 goes down in history as the month that Paris exploded, with the biggest national strike in the history of France, and students battling police on the streets of Paris. Buildings were burned out, TV and Radio scheduling was drastically curtailed, and record shops stopped reporting to the charts. Along with a bunch of other records, our single disappeared without trace and the fate of the band was sealed.
Out of the ashes, we formed Fynn McCool, and signed afresh to RCA in London.
So what happened to the five guys from the Shakespeares?
Well guitarist Chris Kritzinger returned to his native South Africa and set up a successful record company called Transistor Records, which later became a major independent in Australia.
Bassist (and Zappa fanatic) Alan Escombe eventually joined RockIt Cargo, the leading shipper of rock’n’roll tours around the world. He became a director at RockIt and supervised the mega tours of U2, Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Madonna & the Eagles.
As for me, I (the #1 Beatles fan) became a record promoter at Decca Records in London, worked for the Beatles at Apple Records in Savile Row (how’s that for a dream come true?), moved over to Chrysalis Records promoting Procol Harum, Ten Years After, Blondie and Jethro Tull, and subsequently joined Sony/BMG, marketing their huge roster of international artists across Europe such as Whitney, Eurythmics, & Take That.
Latest reports have drummer Johnny Kreuger still pounding out a beat in a local band down in Africa, but the whereabouts of singer Martin Pigott are unknown. I’m guessing he’s exercising those sweet and raspy vocal chords on a Marvin Gaye classic somewhere in England." - Chris Stone