New money, new name, new club
The guest performance in France must have been very successful. The band did not let themselves be discouraged by the theft in Paris. On the contrary: they decided to take out a loan to buy not only new instruments but also a new van.
And because they were already renewing, they also gave themselves a new name.
From the beginning of 1964 they renamed themselves The Ugly`s. (There are different spellings of the band name. This can be found on the records.)
Jürgen Wanda writes in his book that the reason for renaming was that the name „Dominettes“ was too much connected with skiffle.
From a publicity point of view, the name seems to have been a good move. This is what the band said in an interview:
„the people come along to see if we really are ugly“.
Since the guys were really but not ugly, love greetings written with lipstick by their female fans became a common decoration of the van they used to drive to their gigs together with their equipment.
In the television documentary „Brum Beat -Birmingham Sound“ from 1992, Steve Gibbons (from about 2:50) himself says about the band name:
„I think it said, what we were trying to say about our music too. It was pretty ugly, pretty rough.
And it (meaning the name) did work. It did the task which it should do: It attracted people`s attention and it was easy to print in the paper.“
An example of how the name arouses the curiosity of paying customers is an advertisement for the single „Wake Up My Mind“:
„Ugh! they’re too ugly to show! But hear them singing!“
Apparently the name even brought additional gigs just because it was a good contrast to other band names. Again, Steve Gibbons:
„I remember we are being teamed together with The Pretty Things. That was a splendid idea: The Ugly`s and The Pretty Things.
The Ugly`s were the first band to play at the Cedar Club, which was to become a permanent fixture in Birmingham.
They played their way through the catalogue of Eddie Cochran, Elvis, Gene Vincent, but also songs by Lonnie Donegan (San Miguel and Gambling Man) could be heard. Probably in somewhat „heavier“ versions than the originals.
Gigs in Germany instead of recording in the UK
So the chances of a steep career seemed to be good, if it would still be possible to get a record deal.
But that should still take some time. At first another foreign guest performance was on the agenda.
Like many other bands from the Midlands, they got an engagement in the British occupation zone in Germany in 1963.
The guest performance in the club „Kon Tiki“ in Münster lasted (like a later engagement in Fulda) one month and therefore could not be combined with a day-time job in Birmingham. Therefore Steve, as well as drummer Jimmy Holden, gave up his job and became a professional musician. „The others in the band weren’t working anyway,“ he said years later.
Steve Gibbons also wrote a song about the gigs abroad, because of which the band changed to professional musicians. It was published on the 1983 LP of Steve Gibbons‘ band „Street Parade“. There however he changed the location of the event to Frankfurt.
In „British Rock ’n‘ Roll“ he describes the night crossing the Channel, the journey in a packed Dormobile (a camping bus with a folding sleeping area on the roof, probably a Bedford CA), which served as a band bus.
He also mentions the two main motives of the band to embark on this adventure:
One was the monetary aspect:
„We’ll be away six weeks so we’ve just turned pro/ And they pay real good with American dough“
But also a more imatertial point of view probably played a role. A little later he sings:
„Freuleins here we come“
Of course, we do not know to what extent the musicians‘ expectations in this respect have been fulfilled. However, when you read the reports of British musicians, including the Beatles, about their guest performances in „Western Germany“ at that time, you get the impression that this part of post-war Germany from abroad must have looked like a kind of „Thailand of the 1960s“.
Because of appearances in Germany: Auditions for EMI record deal missed
Whatever the band may have enjoyed themselves in the honestly provincial Münster, it is possible that the band’s first record deal went up in smoke because of this foreign guest performance as EMI, the Beatles‘ record company, offered local bands the opportunity to audition at the Moat House Club in Birmingham during their absence.
The race was won by
- Danny King and the Royals,
- Mike Sheridan and the Nightrides,
- Carl and the Cheetahs,
- Pat Wayne and the Rockin Jaymaen and
- Keith Powel and the Valets,
Groups throughout, which from today’s point of view have left much less traces than the members of the Ugly`s in their various later formations.
But probably what was taken from Germany was more valuable for the later career of all members than a record deal with EMI at that time: Just like the Beatles‘ gigs at the Indra and Starclub in Hamburg, these club gigs became a hard but good school for the musicians, which gave them a considerable stage routine.
The gigs at the Kon Tiki, where also renowned German bands like The Rattles (who played as support act for both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and also played several gigs at the Liverpool Cavern) and The Lords played, started at 9 pm and went on until the early morning. Cover versions, Rock`n`Roll, sometimes also Skiffle were played.
The club was owned by a German. On Friday evenings, however, British soldiers always came, Steve says and calls them „Squaddies“. And he pronounces this word in such a way that you think he is singing „Down in the Bunker“.
In Fulda, on the other hand, many GIs came to the club. On this occasion Gibbons also learned that many Germans had got to know rock music through the American soldier’s radio station AFN.
Gibbons added that in some German cities at that time one could still see traces of street fighting from the last days of World War II on the walls of houses. Such fights, he adds, would not have happened in Britain. At the same time, respect for the reconstruction efforts in Germany resonates.
And there’s something else it admires about Germany, namely its role in the development of international rock. He says:
Without Hamburg, the Beatles would not have developed in this way. And without The Beatles, a lot of things wouldn’t have happened.
Revelation in Münster: Bob Dylan`s „The Freewheelin`“
During the breaks in the Kontiki in Münster, an American DJ sometimes played different music. This was also the case with Bob Dylan’s second album „The Freewheelin`“, which was released in the USA only shortly before that and which, unlike the first one, consisted mainly of original compositions. These songs like Blowin`in the Wind, Girl from the North Country, Masters of War, A Hard Rain`s A Gonna Fall, Don`t Think Twice, It`s Allright and Bob Dylan`s Dream had a lasting influence on Gibbons and his songwriting.
Performance and After Show Party with Jerry Lee Lewis
Back in Birmingham, the Ugly’s were ennobled by being the Birmingham band that opened Jerry Lee Lewis‘ performance at Birmingham Town Hall on December 7th. The whole thing was a charity event in aid of a Jewish youth club. Jerry Lee Lewis, also called „The Killer“, was considered to be difficult in personal contacts. Therefore it was even more surprising that he was sociable at the after show party, sat down at the piano and sang a lot of songs together with the Ugly`s.
This was Steve Gibbons first appearance at a charity event with one of the greats of rock and roll. More should follow.
The singles of the Ugly`s: First successes, but also flops
The first strike: Wake Up My Mind: A psychedelic original composition charts „Down Under“ and possibly even inspires the Beatles
In 1965 the record deal was finally signed, negotiated with the company Pye and their talent scout Tony Hatch by their manager John Singer. One of the many managers Steve Gibbons would deal with over the years. (And of whom, in retrospect, it must be said that they did not reach the class in their profession that Steve had reached in his field, music. More on that later).
The single they recorded with this line-up was co-written by Steve Gibbons, Jim Holden and Bob Burlison was „Wake Up My Mind„. The socially critical lyrics clearly show influences of Bob Dylan:
Somewhere there’s hunger,
somewhere there’s a war
but I can do nothing
so I’ll just ignore
the cruelty around me,
pretending I’m blind
And I’m having a new car…
but one of these days
I will wake up my mind
Last Minute Add On to the recording
But the special kick she got from the instrumentation. But this was only complete in the last moment. Before the recording Steve walked over the Bull Ring market and saw an oversized harmonica.
Steve, who suffered from the fact that he – surrounded by guitarists, bassists and drummers – couldn’t play a „recognized“ instrument properly (we’ll hear more about that later), bought the thing because it sounded like an accordion. And played it on the recording.
At first only „Radio-Nirvana“ for the first single
The single sold poorly in the UK, and on Radio Luxembourg it was only played once, and then it seems to have been. Disappeared into nirvana, like so many new releases.
Jürgen Wanda attributes this in his book (there p. 25) to the record company Pye:
Pye had a strange way of marketing. They signed hundreds of bands, but did nothing for them. And so the single didn’t make it into the hit parade either.
The Ugly’s were disappointed, but life went on and they played a summer tour where Steve announced the song as „our latest recording“. They made a record. That was already something!
Telegram from/for Australia
Suddenly a telegram came: „You are in the Top Twenty in Australia“ (It was probably number 14 in the charts).
A single from Birmingham, which doesn’t get any attention in England, but is storming the charts in Australia?
Here, as so often in the Steve Gibbons story, there are different perceptions and statements.
- In some places it is claimed that the fact that the sister of their manager Alan A. Freeman lived in Australia and also worked at a radio station there, was certainly a coincidence. (But wasn’t the manager named Singer?)
- Elsewhere it is said that Australia’s famous radio host Bob Rogers made the song the lead of his breakfast show, so that it became known throughout the continent.
Roger had already distinguished himself on Australian radio by making unknown songs popular. First, in his Saturday afternoon show, he played US records that American sailors had brought to the fifth continent. In 1957, he was the first Australian DJ to play the Slim Dusty song Pub With No Beer on 2UE, which then went on to become number one
And in 1964 Rogers accompanied the Beatles on their European, Asian and Australian tour for 2SM. Seen in this light, one would have had a good starting point to position oneself in Australia through further actions.
That’s why the band was initially excited. The first single recorded and already a top twenty hit! Where should this still end?
Bad contract, inflexible management
But at some point they realized that the hit „Down Under“ (at least for the band) didn’t make any money. Steve explained it that way:
Then we looked at the Pye contract. It was farthings here and farthings there
(Farthing is an old little British coin unit.)
In this situation, maybe they could have made money by touring Australia. But even that was not tried.
Some blame the hesitant management, who didn’t recognize the signs of the times and didn’t organize a tour to „Down Under“.
Be that as it may: The single was able to place itself in the charts in New Zealand as well. And it still has an effect there from time to time:
Still in 2011, almost half a century after this single, the New Zealand internet portal Elsewhere – The Magazine for curious people writes
Unfortunately the band failed to capitalise on the interest and tour to that far end of the world.
However, the website makes no secret of the fact that it considers the back of this single, which has been played on the radio in New Zealand more than once, to be honestly poor:
Oddly enough the flipside of the socially aware Wake Up My Mind was the throwaway Ugly Blues which also gained them some radio play in New Zealand as a joke song.
But then she comes back to the A-side and suggests that it might have inspired even the Beatles:
But there was something more about Wake Up My Mind.
In October of the same year the Beatles recorded We Can Work it Out, a song with folk-references and also not dissimilar time changes.
Could the Beatles (somewhat stoned in this clip) have been among the few to have heard the Ugly’s song which had been released in June?
The answer is blowing in the wind.
And: Life is very short, and there’s no time for fussing and fighting, my friend.
Strike two: „It’s Allright“ – Strike stops potential hit with harpsichord accompaniment
Further singles followed between 1965 and 1967, including the second single It’s Allright, also released in 1965, with interesting harpsichord accompaniment. The group also appeared in the television programme Ready Steady Go! With this song they reached number 3 in the charts of the pirate radio stationRadio Caroline and number 11 in the Fab 40 of Radio London.
However, the group again failed to make it into the official British charts, although sales were good.
When orders reached 800 units a day, a distribution strike occurred, which resulted in no more records being delivered to the shops.
The song can still be heard today at concerts of the Steve Gibbon’s band concerts. The band later re-recorded the song and still plays it in concerts every now and then, replacing the harpsichord with a violin.
The third string: Not a good Idear: „A quiet explosion“ only as B-side
With the next single it was probably their own fault that it did not have greater success, although they could promote in the TV show „Thank You Lucky Star“ on February 5th 1966.
On the A-side of the show is the love song „A Good Idear“, in which a repentant Steve Gibbons laments his lack of seriousness in matters of the heart. The musically and lyrically much more interesting, socially critical „A quiet explosion“, on the other hand, only landed on the B-side.
John R. Woodhouse thinks this – alluding to the title of the song on the A-side – is not a very good idea. He literally writes
The Ugly’s third single for PYE features Steve Gibbons playing a ‚kazoo‘ on the A-side titled ‚A Good Idea‘ which in retrospect may not have been a good idea as the single’s B-side is really the stand-out track.
By the way, the lyrics of the song could also be taken from the present, with its crop failures in parts of the world due to climate change:
In other lands where starvation is rife
Beggars hands are outstretched all their life
But beggars can’t be choosers so their destiny is chosen
Each helpless voice is a quiet explosion!
War has been surpassed, peace descends at last
But the harvest’s fast, growing small…
A quiet explosion bomb’s about to fall!
The fourth strike: End Of The Season – Kinks-Cover doesn’t make it into the charts either
The Ugly`s`s original compositions were certified as being of excellent quality throughout. But what good is that if it does not result in record sales?
Therefore they tried a cover version. It was certainly no coincidence that they chose the song of a very British band, who also made episodes from the life of the British working and middle class the theme of their songs.
But even that didn’t bring any chart success at home.
Also „End Of The Season“, the cover version of a song by Ray Davies from the Kinks, could not place itself in the UK charts, although they appeared on TV with it again and the song was also often played by the pirate stations.
With this single the record contract with Pye ended. (Today almost unimaginable: Four singles – and thus four chances for a hit – were granted by record companies to new bands at that time!)
The fifth strike: „And the Squire blow his horn“ – frivolous against fox hunt
The next record deal could have been the big hit. It was signed with CBS, one of the very big record companies with a worldwide distribution network.
But also the last single of the Ugly’s „And the Squire blow his horn“, which was released there, didn’t make it into the charts; at the live concerts of the Ugly’s it was, thanks to Gibbons however one of the highlights, because Steve blew a huge trumpet. Dave Morgan, who has just moved from Mayfair Set to the Ugly`s, reminds us of that:
For one song he (Steve) came on his enormous long brass instrument He blow down it with his characteristic show of pomp an circumstance to he song „And the Squire Blew His Horn“. All this was quite a novelty to me at the time.
This slightly frivolous song describes that while the nobility is scattered in a battue, a couple of simple folk lovers gives free rein to their instincts in the field.
Three guesses who has more fun!
By the way, this song also owes its special acoustic note to Steve’s instrumental inferiority complex. The story about the hunting horn is astonishingly similar to that of the giant harmonica in Wake Up My Mind.
In my frustration at not being able to play an instrument, I literally stumbled across a hunting horn in a junk shop. I`d played bugles in the Boys`Brigade so I was halfway there/In my frustration at not being able to play an instrument I stumbled across a hunting horn in a rama shop. In the Boys`Brigade I had played the horn, that was already halfway through.
The modesty about his own instrumental abilities was still noticeable decades later, when he said in an interview about his guitar playing:
I am just a strummer, sourrounded by great musicians
No trip with Graham Nash in the yellow balloon
For a while it looked like there was another chance for a record success. It had been made possible by another big name on the international rock scene, one of many that Steve Gibbons met, Graham Nash, then with The Hollies and a little later one of the headliners of the Woodstock festival with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. But in the end, things failed because Steve Gibbons refused to give the band a new – admittedly wacky – name. The internet portal www.45cat.com reports on this.
The Ugly’s were introduced to Graham Nash (The Hollies and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young) and were invited to Dick James‘ studio where three tracks were recorded with producer Caleb Quaye. Nash and his prospective partner, New Musical Express journalist Ian McDougall, wanted the band to change names to Yellow Balloon and move to London but the arrangement fell through, in large part because Steve Gibbons was opposed to the new name. Rhythm guitarist Dave Morgan (formerly Danny King’s Mayfair Set) was added in July 1967. Recording sessions took place at Walker Hall the BBC studios in Edgbaston and at Ladbrookes but none of this material received a release.
The (unpublished) sixth strike: „I’ve Seen The Light“ does not see the light of the record stores
Sometime in 1968, Gibbons was the only remaining original „Ugly`s“. The last line up with him recorded a single „I’ve Seen The Light“, which was never officially released, but of which some promo copies were made.
Today vinyls of this song are therefore a sought-after collector’s item. The copy of a demo version of this song is said to have recently earned the lucky owner 1.200 British Pounds.
As with so many things related to Steve Gibbons‘ career, there are two different versions of this record for not being released. The Brumbeat website attributes this to the fact that the group had already disbanded when the record was finished:
With The Uglys now effectively dissolved, MGM cancelled the release of their I’ve Seen The Light single resulting in only a small number of demo copies being pressed. Ony two of these are known to survive today with one owned by Will Hammond and the other sold recently for 1,200 pounds. Surely one of the rarest and collectible UK „psychedelic“ 45s from the 1960s!
Other sources report that the record company MGM did not have a signed contract with the band, which is why the manager Tony Secunda banned the distribution.
The reasons that the record could not be released were a change of manager and unclear contractual relationships, circumstances that unfortunately should be repeated in the career of Steve Gibbons.
At the end of 1968, the band’s manager, John Singer, negotiated a deal with UK MGM to record a new single. The session took place at Advision Studios in Bond Street with producer Tony Cox ….Manager Tony Secunda stepped in and took control of The Ugly’s from John Singer,…. MGM had pressed demo copies of The Ugly’s „I See the Light“ b/w „Mary Cilento“ but Secunda notified MGM that The Ugly’s had not signed a contract with the company and MGM had no legal right to release the single. MGM had no recourse but to cancel the single.
The Ugly`s On Tour take Steve Gibbons first to the prison cell and then – on the second attempt – to Scandinavia and Spain
The Ugly`s also performed abroad.
Prison in Finland
Today Steve Gibbons has three „fan strongholds“ in particular: One in his home country, the second in Germany and the third in Scandinavia. That’s where he came with the Ugly`s for the first time. But only at the second attempt, when they went on tour with the Birmingham band The Renegades, which competed in popularity with the Beatles in Finland (and whose guitarist Kim Brown even emigrated to Finland).
But when they tried to enter Finland for the first time for a tour in May 1966, they were arrested and their equipment confiscated. After one and a half days in prison you were sent back without ever knowing the reason for the arrest.
By the way, the Ugly`s were not the only Brum Band who only arrived after difficulties for performances abroad: The Blaisers, to which Dave Morgan belonged, who should join the Ugly`s later in 1967, were invited to a guest performance in Hannover, to which they wanted to travel with a former ambulance car as band vehicle. Because of this they were forbidden to enter the country by the French border police after the crossing of Calais and they had to return to Dover with the same ship they had come with. (There they bought tickets for the ferry, which would take them to Ostend the next day, where the Belgian authorities did not cause any problems on entry.)
Silent days, loud nights on the Costa Del Sol
Also another „foreign assignment“ of the Ugly`s was not without hooks and eyes.
In August 1967, when Dave Morgan had replaced Dan Pegg on bass, they got a one month engagement at the Top Ten Club in Torremolinos on the Costa Del Sol. But guitarist Willie Hammond could not join the band.
Once again there are two different versions of the reasons.
- One reports that he didn’t apply for his passport in time,
- the other claims that his mother forbade him to travel abroad.
This not only led to the fact that they had to perform in a smaller line-up with Steve Gibbons, Jim Holden, Jimmy O`Neil and Dave Morgan, but Dave Morgan also had to take over the lead guitar – the only time in his career.
As we will report elsewhere, Steve Gibbons was to be confronted with a short-term „rebuilding“ of his band at least twice in his career due to the loss of a member on a foreign tour.
- Before a tour in Sweden a cigarette machine (sic!) put guitarist Bob Wilson out of action and
- in 1982 Trevor Burton left the band the evening before the second tour in East Germany.
But back to the Ugly’s in Spain in the 1960s: The club where they played was packed and hot during the hot summer nights. Which was reflected in Gibbon’s voice. So he spent the days in silence to preserve his vocal chords.
The repertoire had been updated on that occasion. In addition to Steve Wonder songs, they had also quickly rehearsed numbers from the recently released Sgt. Pepper album of the Beatles.
Frequent personnel changes
Dave Pegg: Cooperation from the Ugly`s to the Dylan Project
The cast of The Uglys changed frequently.
One of these personnel changes was particularly significant: in 1966 Bob Burnett, guitar, and John Hustwayte, bass, left the band. At first they were looking for a new guitarist at an audition at the Carlton in Erdington. And found two. Wishbone Ash became the forerunners of the Twin Guitar style in a similar situation, because they took on both candidates (Andy Powell and Ted Turner) as guitarists.
In the Ugly’s, this led to one of the candidates changing his instrument to be be able to become a member of the band. And thus later on celebrated a great career in another band playing his new instrument.
Roger Hill got the job at the six strings. So Dave Pegg, who had also applied, would actually have been out. But Steve asked him to take over the bass. Which he did, even though he had to buy one first. (For simplicity’s sake, he bought the retiring John Hustwayte’s Fender Precision)
Oh yes, and he also had to learn to play bass. Which obviously wasn’t difficult for him. Later he hired as a bass player at Fairport Convention. After that he played the same instrument for a while with Jethro Tull. He himself says:
„The decision to become a bass player… completely chanced my working life, and so much for the better.
Pegg wrote some songs with Gibbons, including the song „Can’t See For Lookin“, which was recorded by the Bobcats, a group of fourteen and fifteen year old boys who also appeared on the David Frost Show with this song. The collaboration continued even decades later: Dave Pegg performed with Steve Gibbons in the Dylan Project until 2019.
Ex-band mates make a career
Like Pegg, some of the members who left the Ugly’s later played with much better known bands.
- Jimmy O’Neil joined The Mindbenders ( The Game of Love and „A Groovy Kind of Love“) and
- Richard Tandy and Dave Morgan, who achieved international success with the Electric Light Orchestra.
- Members of the follow-up band „The Balls“ also switched to much more successful bands, most notably singer and guitarist Denny Laine (formerly Moody Blues, later Wings).
This is also a „trademark“ of Gibbons‘ career: Many of his companions were commercially much more successful than him. Most of them, however, only „for one summer“ and as sideman (best example: Denny Lane, whose shadow is manageable next to that of his bandleader Paul McCartney), while Gibbons still has his regular audience as the head of his own troupe after more than 60 years.
Dave Morgan’s way to the Ugly’s: Out of the manager frying pan into the manager fire
In Birmingham at that time there were hundreds of bands and musicians who were constantly changing from one group to another. The bassist and songwriter Dave Morgan had the choice between two of the most important, namely The Move and the Ugly`s. He had been offered the succession of Trevor Burton in The Move and at the same time the succession of Dan Pegg in the Ugly`s.
What to do?
The Move were undoubtedly the better known band and had already had hits. But the problem with this band was the managment. In the past it was managed by the headstrong Tony Secunda, who was known for not necessarily avoiding conflicts and also liked to provoke.
A prime example was a rather clumsy postcard on which the incumbent Prime Minister Harold Wilson was discovered naked by his wife during a hanky-panky with his secretary. He was also described on it as „Disgusting, Depraved, Despicable“.
This postcard was sent by Secunda without the band’s knowledge to boost sales of the latest Move single „Flowers in the Rain“. This song, which was the first song with which the new radio station BBC Radio 1 opened its program, landed on number 2 in the British hit parade. Whether the scandalous postcard had helped in this can only be guessed.
In any case, the prime minister successfully sued not only the manager but also the band. As a result, the band had to pay all proceeds from the song to a charitable foundation. So The Move had a hit they didn’t earn anything from and a big damage to their image. This led to the separation from the manager.
His successor Don Arden (today known as the father-in-law of Ozzy Osborne) did not necessarily have a better reputation either. It was rumoured that he would keep his artists out of the open window with his arm out until they signed the contract as Arden wanted them to.
Dave Morgan didn’t want that kind of managerial bullshit. Furthermore, Ugly`s seemed to him to be „Steve`s easy-going world“ and he assumed that his songs would fit better to this band than to The Move. Therefore he decided to join The Ugly`s.
And, as soon as he had joined, he had to find out that they had a new manager. As soon as he had joined, Steve told him that they had a new manager. And his name was Tony Secunda.
I had escaped the net of Don Arden to be caught in the snare of Tony Secinda himself a legend with his agresive confrontation style…. But by now I couldn`t get out…
The bad premonitions of Dave Morgan were justified. However, it was to be Steve Gibbons in particular, who was later to wriggle in the snare of Secunda.
Even a bandmember who has been sacked finds only good words
The penultimate line up of the Ugly`s consisted, besides Steve, of drummer Keith Smart, multi-instrumentalist Richard Tandy, guitarist Willi Hammond and bassist Dave Morgan, who also sang.
All in all, the band members‘ summary of Ugly’s quality was very positive. Jürgen Wanda quotes Steve Gibbons in his book (there p. 26) like this:
When I look back, we were an original band. We had smaller hits, but we disbanded because we didn’t know in which direction to go.
And also Hammond, who, as we will see in a moment, was kicked out of the band, still says about this cooperation decades later:
This was a brilliant line-up. Frightenly tight
This sentence is perhaps surprising when you know that Hammond was received as member of the band because he had beaten his Gibson Les Paul to pieces at the end of their first rehearsal gig together. He explains it like this:
We were all into that Pete Townsend/pop art destruction thing by then
„Brilliant line-up“ here, „Pete Townsend/pop art destruction thing“ there: The end of the Ugly’s was imminent.
When did Steve Gibbons and Trevor Burton first play in the same band?
There are different versions about a change of personnel even in (un)usually well informed circles.
The question is whether Trevor Burton, who was to become an important musical partner of Steve Gibbons for years, became a member of the Ugly’s while the band was still in its final stages, or whether he only played with Gibbons in The Balls:
Laurie Hornsby writes in his book „Brum Rocked On“ (p. 252) that Trevor Burton became a member of the Ugly`s in the last days of the band:
„Then someone suggested to Willie (Hammond, the guitarist of Ugly`s), that he`d be better off elsewhere, and with Trevor Burton conveniently waiting in the wings, Trevor became an Ugly,“ explained Keith Smart wryly
However, the website Brumbeat.net writes:
The Move’s original manager Tony Secunda had an idea to form a new Birmingham group to be fronted by former Move guitarist Trevor Burton. To this end, Secunda proposed a deal with Steve Gibbons for control of The Uglys (excluding their name and guitarist Will Hammond) and agreed to finance them.
And Will Hammond remembers in a similar way:
„A few months after we recorded the single at Advision, Steve Gibbons and Dave Morgan turned up on my doorstep They told me that they were all leaving and joining up with Trevor Burton to form a new band!„
This brings us to the last subchapter of the 1960s in the Steve Gibbons story – The Balls.