What our supporters say
Coventry Telegraph 10 August 2014
Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated to R&B or RnB, is a genre of popular music that originated during the early part of the last century. Over the years the term has had a number of shifts in meaning. One of those shifts, British rhythm and blues, was developed in the early 1960s having been influenced heavily by its American counterparts.
Successful early British bands which fell into that genre included the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Animals and The Yardbirds who, along with their own compositions, also covered songs by Chuck Berry, Bobby and Shirley Womack and many others.
The British Mod culture that sprang up during the mid 1960’s was musically centred on rhythm and blues. The British R&B bands produced music which was very different from its roots with more emphasis on guitars and, arguably, played with a greater energy.
Many of those 1960’s bands, toward the end of that decade, shifted style and created what became known as psychedelic, progressive and hard rock. But whatever music they produced those rhythm and blues structures and influences would still be a major component within that sound. A Warwickshire based band currently doing the rounds and whose set list and performance is loyal to those heady days of the 1960’s and 1970’s are The Mosquitos.
The Mosquitos are also unique for several reasons. Firstly they are a seasonal band. Due to geographical reasons they do not begin touring until around May and continue gigging through to July. Another reason for their uniqueness is that the band is pooled from a group of musicians as opposed to having one permanently fixed line up. Finally, no band member has ever quit the Mosquitos.
The idea for the band came from vocalist and harmonica player Nick Rowbotham back in 1978. The original concept, which still works today, was to use musicians from differing musical backgrounds and experiences to work with him to perform original material and classic R ‘n’ B tunes. And, based around Nick, a selection of musicians would be put together based on who was available at the time.
Initially The Mosquitos, who were Leamington Spa based, was made up of Nick and his long time friend and bass player Keith Hancock together with guitarist Steve Walwyn, and drummer Andy Bentley.
After a couple of years the band was expanded and included guitarist Steve Aaron and bass player Horace Panter. In fact during 1981, when The Specials single Ghost Town was at number one in the singles chart, Horace famously celebrated by performing with The Mosquitos at The Green Dragon In Stratford-Upon-Avon.
The Mosquitos recorded and released a single during 1982 that contained original songs ‘Something out of Nothing’ as the A side and ‘How Could They Know’ on the flip side. It was released on the Discovery Label who was also based in Leamington Spa. However, due to some of the band members having other commitments, the single was never properly promoted.
However the track ‘Something out of nothing’ was not lost forever. Lee Brilleaux, the enigmatic leader of Dr Feelgood got to hear the song and was well impressed. So much so that he used it on the ‘b’ side of The Feelgoods 1983 single ‘Crazy About Girls’ released on the Chiswick label.
It was at this point that it became clear that the band needed to have an even more fluid membership. So the Mosquitos ‘family’ was extended further. This resulted in drummer Rick Medlock, fiddle player Martin Bell and guitarist Phil McWalter all being drafted in. The Mosquitos would continue to play many gigs in pubs, clubs and universities and built a loyal following.
Due to the fluidity of the band the various individuals who made up the group were more involved in other projects. As such the musicians were finding less and less time to devote to The Mosquitos. And by 1985, with all the band members doing other things, the group simply faded out. Despite this the band members remained great friends and even during their hiatus, they still found the time to perform the very occasional Mosquitos gig.
Wind forward more than twenty years and, during 2007, Rick Medlock quite by chance met up with Nick Rowbotham. Rick had long since retired as a musician but, within months of this meeting, he had regained his old ‘mojo’ and was back behind a drum kit again. After several short stints with other bands Rick became the prime mover in motivating and re-energising The Mosquitos into action again by pulling together this fluid line up.
The Mosquitos began gigging again in 2011. And, every year since, the call goes out to see who is available. Their first year back saw the band perform a handful of gigs over the course of a month. The following year saw them gigging for two months. And now, in 2014, it’s certainly three months, and possibly four months worth of work, as the gigs continue to pour in.
Once again The Mosquitos are generating a tremendous amount of interest. And this is reflected by way of the spread of gigs across the region. And behind the scenes drummer Rick Medlock works hard to secure the gigs and maintain the website. The band are certainly beginning to regain their fan base again as word spreads and each gig seems to bring with it a growing and appreciative audience.
Largely the ‘squad’ gigging today, with the exception of a few notable additions, is much the same as it was thirty years ago. The additional musicians are guitarist Baz Eardley, bass player Chris Wright and guitarist Pete Gardner. And each of these musicians, bring with them, an outstanding pedigree.
Dust My Broom, Bullfrog Blues, I’d Rather Go Blind, Walking Blues, Killing Floor, Shakin’ All Over are just a selection of the band’s songs which get covered. But their repertoire is quite extensive and, as such, no two gigs are the same.
These guys are no spring chickens. Yet despite their advancing ages The Mosquitos still play with passion and enthusiasm. They may be playing for fun but make no mistake about how serious they take their craft. Pride in what they deliver would not have it any other way.
The 2014 season is now over. Let’s hope the 2015 season continues where the last one ended for the band. In their own words, next time you see an advert for a gig near you, then come and join the malarky that is The Mosquitos!
Recived via email : 7 July 2014
“Will you pass on our thanks to the band please? It was a lovely surprise when we found out they were still around. We managed to catch them a few times, and they were all great gigs. Fingers crossed for next year.”
Kevin and Denise.
The Hungry Horse Leamington Spa
The Mosquitos one of the top bands that perform in the Leamington area played a storm last night (25/5/14) at the towns Royal Horse pub, Steve Walwyn (who the night before rocked The Musician in Leicester with Dr Feelgood) and crew played as hot a set as I have seen them perform, blues/rock of the highest order with Nick on vocals as always a top showman and the twin guitar work of the two Steves a delight as always.
Set full of crackers and their original 'How Could They Know ?' is for me one of their top numbers these days, difficult to pick other highlights but 'Route 66' really rocked.
The band are playing more dates over the next month or so including the big one at The Zephyr Lounge as part of Steve Walwyn's 'Kelly's Nights' ( Wed 2nd July) so try and catch them, you will be so glad you did.
I will miss seeing this band when Nick returns to his home of Thailand early in July and look forward to Mosquito season again next year.
The New Inn Leamington Spa 23 June 2014
A superb night at the New Inn Leam Terrace the Mosquitos is one band you really must see. Awesome drumming by Mr Rick Medlock , brilliant guitar playing by Baz Eardley & Steve Aaron and great vocals and harmonica by Nick Rowbotham, not forgetting Chris Wright on bass
"I drove 150 miles to see a gig in Leamington and it stood alongside some of my best nights. Caught some old mates and completely got into the zone watching the band. Never seen a bad Mosquito gig yet. I'm going to do the same again sometime. The only band I'd do that for. Play on peeps."
Zehpyr Lounge Leamington Spa 5 June 2013
"Every time I go to a mozzies gig I always leave with a big smile on my face, there delivery of hard rockin blues is unrivalled, they step up to the plate and smash it just as it should be (nice) As a special treat at one recent gig we had some behind the back of the neck guitaring from Steve (telecaster) Walwyn. Ok so it's been done before you say and you'd be right, it's still great to watch and hard to beat and that's exactly what I thought until the point when Nick (vocals and gags) plays behind the neck harmonica, not possible you say, well I've seen it for real... Just remember guys and girls when you go to one of their gigs, Mosquitoes bite....."
The Zephyr Lounge
(PUBLISHED IN LEAMINGTON SPA COURIER)
If you like your blues/rock and roll loud, passionate and in your face this was the night for you, vocalist/harmonica player Nick Rowbotham is back for his regular visit from Thailand which as usual includes a smattering of Mosquitos shows alongside Steve Walwyn and band, this show the latest of The Zephyr Lounge 'Kellys Nights' is his last gig of the year and part of the show was streamed live on Radio Warwickshire.
The Mosquitos play with such a sense of fun (and occasional mischief !) and you could feel the pure energy pouring from the stage as they delivered two sets of rocking covers and Mosquitos originals, kicking off with the Kingsmen classic 'Louie,Louie' the twin guitar attack of Steves Walwyn and Aaron was soon swapping blistering solos.
The line up for this gig was completed by Rick Medlock on the drums and Chris Wright (getting a lot of stick by Nick for being the only one in the band with hair !) on the bass, he did relinquish bass duties for the first couple of numbers of the second set to original Mosquitos bassist Keith Hancock.
A real highlight was a sensational 'I Can Tell' a number also recorded and performed by Dr Feelgood which started off the evenings rock and roll dancing, and other standouts included the Johnny Kidd & the Pirates masterpiece 'Shakin' All Over' and a stomping run through Vince Taylor's 'Brand New Cadiallac'.
Well loved Mosquitos originals 'How could They Know?' and 'Somethin' Outa Nothin' went down a storm, for me both of these hi tempo rockers have a slight punk edge which contrasted well with the two low key numbers of the night Sam Cooke's 'Bring it on Home To Me' and the emotion packed 'I'd Rather Go Blind' the Etta James classic.
The evening ended as many gigs involving Steve Walwyn do with a stunning 'Bullfrog Blues' with Steve paying homage to the late great Rory Gallagher.
My favourite 'Kellys Night' so far but of course the next one is the big one with the return of the mighty Chevy to the Leamington stage, the date is Wednesday 3rd July with support provided by The Lamps Duo and tickets (priced at £10) and further information available if you contact email@example.com or you can buy tickets at www.kellysleamington.co.uk .
The Grist Mill
Saturday 26th May
Great to see The Grist Mill back to its very best on the live music front with this the final gig of the year for the fabulous Mosquitos, the last because vocalist/harmonica player Nick Rowbotham is returning to his home in Thailand where he also performs in a blues/rock band (unfortunately a bit of a trek for the Leamington fans!).
The line-up consisted of Nick, twin guitar slingers Steve's Walwyn and Aaron, from Chevy on the drums Ted Duggan and on bass Keith Hancock of The Jay Kay Pees.
Also a special gig this one with a guest appearance by original Mosquito's drummer Andy Bentley for a few numbers.
Chris Wright looked after the sound and possibly made a cameo appearance on bass (not sure, it was that kind of night!).
This was the usual hi-energy, hi intensity performance you expect from the band only more so this being the last for a while and included rockers 'I Can Tell', 'Route 66', 'Brand New Cadillac' and 'Mosquito Blues', with just the one chilled out slow it down interlude being a superb 'I Would Rather Go Blind' with a simply stunning guitar display.
The audience were on fantastic form especially during riotous runs through 'Gloria' and 'Sell My Monkey' and the night ended with Mr Walwyn's showpiece 'Bullfrog Blues' complete with plenty of false endings.
What a magnificent night and Steve Walwyn is back in action with a Steve Walwyn and Friends line-up at this years All Saints' Arts Festival on Sunday July 1st.
Verdict - A scorching night of blues/rock
(PUBLISHED IN LEAMINGTON SPA COURIER)
This was a steamy, loud, rocking night of red hot rhythm and blues at The Fox by a band I remember seeing in the early 1980's down at Kellys, then one of the towns premier live music venues. It may not have been the exact line up as talking to the band on the night they explained that they had a flexible side at times with whoever was available stepping up to perform on the night.
The Mosquito's played The Fox last year when vocalist/harmonica player Nick Rowbotham who now resides in Thailand made a return visit to Leamington and this gig and a couple of others have been set up to coincide with his return visit this year.
The pub was packed to the rafters for both the chance to see Steve Walwyn of Dr Feelgood fame (and Chevy for some of us) in action but also to see a fabulous blues/rock outfit in its own right fondly remembered by many local music lovers.
The line up for this gig was the twin guitar attack of Steves Walwyn and Aaron, Chris Wright on bass, Rick Medlock on the sticks and up front on vocals, various harmonicas and cool shades the charismatic Mr Rowbotham.
The music suited the atmosphere and hot sultry conditions perfectly, high tempo, high energy scorching blues, two sets made up of classic numbers and a couple of original compositions.
Highlights of the evening included awesome blues work out 'Killing Floor', Dr Feelgood's 'I Can Tell' , a pulsating 'Shake Your Hips' with Mr Walwyn on slide guitar and a special appearance by another much loved local rock and roller Sam Powell on harmonica and vocals.
The evening ended in good natured, boisterous style with the audience in full on dancing mode as firstly a group of backing singers (friends of the band) found their way to the stage area for an explosive 'Gloria' (Van Morrison/Them) followed by a cranked up version of Rory Gallagher's 'Bullfrog Blues' and finally a blistering version of the bands self penned classic 'How Could They Know?'.
A very special evening, live music at it's most ALIVE, crackling with energy, fun and loose but a blues masterclass at the same time.
Andrews work and photography can be found http://www.andrewlocksoundsandvisions.co.uk/