Nick Rowbothem Harmonica and Vocals plus a checkered history of the Mosqutios
I got my first harmonica, a red double sided Hohner for Christmas 1964, after hearing Off the Hook by the Stones. It was more suited to alpine songs as it was a tremolo job! Bless my Mum and Dad – they tried. Then I got a paper round at five bob a week and got an Echo Super Vamper from Renton’s. Thanks Kevin. I used to sing all the time at school, mostly Otis Redding stuff, so my classmate Keith Hancock recommended me to Bob Poole and the Cold Tea Blues Band, a gig I duly auditioned for and got! I think I was 15 then.
We rehearsed at the Golden Lion pub in Regent Street, which is now the Royal Bank of Scotland. After that, I was in Interior War another blues outfit in Coventry. I used to go to gigs on the bus! Roll on about 6 years some friends and I became the Commuters, just mates makin’ a row and doing local gigs, including the Willoughby.
Once again Keith Hancock came to my rescue and told me about the Musicians’ Workshop at the Crown Hotel Leamington. There I got together with Keith, Steve Walwyn, and Andy “Bunter” Bentley and started what became the Mosquitos. We managed to secure a regular Thursday spot at Winston's where we learnt our chops.
From then we had a singles deal from Leamington-based Discovery Records, run by the lovely Bob Barnes. We managed to cobble some original songs together after being told by Charles Shaar Murray that we weren't bad but needed original songs! Something Out of Nothing c/w How Could They Know was released on Discovery and disappeared without a trace due to commitments by some of the band members, so we decided to have a fluid membership including Rick “Tab” Medlock, Horace Panter, Steve Walwyn, Martin Bell, Phil McWalter and Andy Bentley. This line up played many a gig in pubs, clubs and universities, gathering a following and a good reputation.
I've played in Memphis, Chicago, and Clarksdale, the cradle of the blues. I’ve played with the Fryed Brothers (Willie Nelson’s favourite band) and Jimmy Sanchez, and have recently been guesting with Dr Feelgood. True to the ethos of the Mosquitos, I shouldn’t forget the Asian team of Len Tuckey (Suzi Quatro) Tony Stevens (Foghat/Savoy Brown) and Bob Lamb (Steve Gibbons Band), who backed me in front of my biggest audience ever, 50,000 at the Burapa Bike Festival in Pattaya, Thailand, where I now live.
Steve Walwyn Guitar
Steve is best known for his playing with Dr. Feelgood, but has also played with Eddie and the Hot Rods, Steve Marriott and the DTs. The Roger Chapman Band, the Big Town Playboys and his own band Steve Walwyn and Friends.
His inspiration to become a guitarist was Rory Gallagher's album Live in Europe. He started to learn to play the guitar until he was 17 and formed his first band, 'Hands Off', whilst still at school.
In 1978 he turned professional when he was asked to join Cupid's Inspiration, a sixties pop act who were also writing their own rock songs, which they performed as '4 Wheel Drive', and later as Chevy. As Chevy they toured supporting bands such as Alvin Lee, Hawkwind and Gillan. Chevy also issued three singles and one album, The Taker, in September 1980. The album received good critical reviews, but did not sell well.
In 1982, Steve joined The Mosquitos and appeared on the single, "Somethin' Outta Nothin” (still available on black vinyl) before joining Leicester band The DTs. Steve Marriott, formerly of the Small Faces and Humble Pie, saw The DTs in 1987, and asked them to join him, forming the band Steve Marriott with the DTs, who also performed as the Steve Marriott Band, until Marriott left to rejoin Peter Frampton in the US in 1989.
Both the DTs, and the Steve Marriott Band, had supported Dr. Feelgood on several occasions and, on the departure of Feelgood's guitarist, Gordon Russell, in Spring 1989, Lee Brilleaux asked Steve to audition. He was accepted there and then, and joined the band almost immediately.
In early 1993, Lee Brilleaux was confirmed as having lymphoma. The band were laid off while Brilleaux received chemotherapy, reforming briefly for his last two concerts, in January 1994, These were recorded and issued as Down at the Doctors, shortly after Brilleaux's death, on 7 April 1994.
During the hiatus, Walwyn played with Eddie and the Hot Rods, The Roger Chapman Band and the Big Town Playboys.
In 1995, the Feelgood's manager was still being asked if the band would reform. They went back on tour that summer and Steve is still playing with Dr. Feelgood.
Steve has played numerous sessions for other artists and in the 1990s formed a side project, known variously as 'The GBs' or 'The Steve Walwyn Band', with Craig Rhind (bass) and Chas Chaplin (drums) both former members of the DTs. He now also plays as Steve Walwyn and Friends, "a band dedicated to getting back to the roots of Rhythm and Blues."
Steve Aaron Rhythm Guitar
Steve Aaron was born in Birmingham in 1960. After moving to Leamington Spa, he took Grade 4 classical guitar at the age of 12 but did not play seriously again until he was 18. He formed Springheel Jack with some of his drinking mates and shortly afterwards released the single '1960's Girl' which led to the offer of a recording contract and publishing deal with Decca records.
In December 1980 Nick Rowbotham asked Steve to join the newly formed Mosquitos. The line-up changed over the next couple of years but Steve remained as regular guitar player until his departure in 1983 to form the 10 piece soul act The Fabulous Laverne Brothers.
After a 15 year hiatus Steve started playing with Nick's new band, The Blues Rats around the millennium, remaining until Nick moved abroad in 2008. In 2011 the idea of a Mosquitos reunion gig was first suggested and a gig at The Fox and Vivian in Leamington was hastily organised with various members from the early 80s line-up.
By the following year word had spread and the Mosquitos were asked to perform at The 2012 Lee Brilleaux Memorial on Canvey Island. The band continues to play regular dates when Nick is available.
Baz Eardley Guitar.
Born in the nifty 50s, Baz found the blues in the 60s and Rock from the 70s onwards.
He played on Bruce Dickinson’s first recording and joined Leamington NWBHM band Chevy around 1981. The following year, Baz was shortlisted for Whitesnake when Micky Moody left, but instead, he moved to London in the mid 1980s and played with Vincent Crane (Atomic Rooster).
The 90s involved several top quality rock bands such as The Mudsliders and then Ironhorse featuring "Wardi" from Saxon.
Later still, Baz played with The Motorvators into the 2000s. He also plays with blues harp genius Bry Lea Bradford in the long established band Naked Blues, but always jumps at the chance to play with The Mosquitos whenever Nick is back in the UK.
Chris Wright Bass
Chris was a late starter - he picked up the bass at 45 and hasn't put it down since!
He has served his time with many bands; 8 years with the Hangover Blues Band, 6 years with the reformed Rogues and 3 years with Side by Side, as well as appearing with Steve Walwyn and Friends. Previously Chris was a member of the Blues Rats with Nick Rowbotham and Steve Aaron, as well as being with Filthy Lucre, The Willy Wombat Band, Big White Telephone and many more!
Influences are mainly blues based with a bit of rock thrown in!
Horace Panter Bass
Better known in the music world as the bass player in Coventry's finest export, The Specials, Horace has been part of the Mossie posse since 1980.
In 1981, when Ghost Town was at number one in the singles chart, he celebrated by playing at The Green Dragon In Stratford-Upon-Avon with The Mosquitos. "This is music at its' most visceral - it heals, it communicates, it makes you dance, it takes you out of yourself - or was that the beer?" Horace has never, to his knowledge, ever woken up with bullfrogs on his mind but is more than willing to turn up with his bass when the call comes.
Rick Medlock Drums
Rick started his professional career with rock band Khyyam, touring Europe with blues and soul legends including Big John Wrencher, Ben E King, The Marvelettes, Percy Sledge and Ann Peebles, before moving on to do session work for Capital Radio and BRMB as part of the jazz funk band Pzazz, alongside future Mosquito Phil McWalter.
Rick was then part of the classic early 1980s Mosquitos line-up, which included Steve Walwyn (Dr Feelgood) and Horace Panter (the Specials). At the same time he was recording with Horace Panter (The Specials) on some of his solo work, notably the ground-breaking Barnsley Bill..
In 1983 Rick, together with Mosquitos Phil McWalter and Martin Bell, was part of the backing band for the original, award winning production of Willy Russell's Blood Brothers, starring Barbara Dickson.
Subsequently Rick worked with legendary American writer, artist and producer Kenny Young (Yellow Dog) and 2-Tone producer Roger Lomas as well as the late great Danny la Rue, before hanging up his drumsticks and forging a very successful career as a sports massage therapist.
After more than twenty years out of the business, Rick met Nick Rowbotham quite by chance in 2007 and within months he was back behind a drum kit again (Rick in conversation with Dan Shinder Drum Clinics talking about this) A short stint with the Chris Jones Band followed and the rest, as they say, is history .
Rick is currently working on a number of experimental projects as well as playing with Baz Eardly in Naked Blues.
Phil McWalter Guitar (Pazzaz Yellow Dog, Blood Brothers, Noosha Fox. To name a few)
Phil played guitar because he wasn’t much good at anything else. He spent his childhood stretching wire between his big toes and plucking it until he was bought a white fender strat to save his family tripping over him in the kitchen. He played with anyone that was kind enough to ask, although sometimes unwillingly, like for Van Morrison (that’s not the internet delivery arm of the supermarket by the way). He also couldn’t sing but was generally kind to animals and could spell really wall. When Nick asked if he could sleep with his girlfriend, Phil readily agreed and that’s how he got to play lead guitar with the sleaziest little blues band band in the world: The infamous Mosquitos. Phil is 58. More info Phil on Soundcloud
Andy "Bunter" Bentley Drums
One of the original Mosquitos and always bought a sense of theatre and controversy to the early Mossie gigs. This usually involved cross-dressing, getting naked and trashing his drum kit. Fellow Mossie Horace Panter was once overheard saying to Bunter, “ I thought you were just a p*sshead but actually you’re quite a good drummer.” A compliment indeed!
When not being an idiot with the Mossies, Bunter managed to pull himself together and played various gigs and tours with the the DTs , Chevy , Cupid’s Inspiration and the Rogues. Though currently on a recent sabbatical from playing live, Bunter intends to pick up the sticks again and hopefully appear with the Mosquitos in 2014.
Ted Duggan Drums
Ted started drumming around 1963 (just after my dad died). My brother had made a guitar in woodwork at school and along with his friend they wanted to form a band. Ted would play along with them on pots and pans with my mum’s knitting needles and my brother decided to save up his pocket money and buy me a drum kit. It was a mix of Arbiter and Premier, complete with Super Zyn cymbals and it cost £25.
Ted was playing for about two years in pubs and clubs when my mother decided to take me down by the scruff of my neck to enrol me in the Coventry Corps of Drums. Now that was probably the best thing that could have happened to me from a drumming point of view, for the first time in Teds very short drumming career he was taught rudiments.
Ted also did a support for John Mayall’s Blues Breakers at The Benn Hall in Rugby in 1968/69 with Peter Green on guitar, John McVie on bass (Fleetwood Mac) and Aynslie Dunbar on drums. What was so special about this gig was that Ted was in the dressing room sitting down and talking to these soon to become legends.
These days Ted is teaching drums and still playing sessions. Artists who Ted has played for include The Drifters, Seize The Day, Bob Jackson’s Bad Finger, The Selecter, The Beat, Roddy Radiation and Desmond Dekker.
Martin Bell Fiddle Scraper (The Wonder Stuff)
Keith Handcock (The Swiller)Bass
Len Tuckey (Suzi Quatro)
Tony Stevens (Foghat/Savoy Brown)
Bob Lamb (Steve Gibbons Band)
Gary Walter Best (Besty)
Steven Edwards (Eddie the beast)