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GONZO WEEKLY #104: Jon is away with the Fairies

I first heard that The Pink Fairies were planning to re-form nearly a year ago at the Mick Farren memorial concert, which was held – fittingly enough – in London’s Ladbroke Grove. It was the last show that The Deviants were ever going to play, and – as far as I know - the only one that they ever did without Mick Farren. 

After Mick’s death, it seemed the logical move to re-create – in a bizarre sort of way – what they had done over four decades before in 1969 when Sandy, Russell, and Paul Rudolph from The Deviants found that Mick was far too out to lunch for even them to deal with and sacked him during a disastrous tour of the West Coast of the United States.

They formed the legendary people’s band, ‘The Pink Fairies’ and proceeded to carve a swathe of chaos through the music business for the next few years. 

Their brand of rock and roll madness was the perfect soundtrack to some very insane times. This time around, however, the reason for being without Mick was a sadder, and far more important one.

Paul Rudolph was unable to join the reunion, as he lives in Canada, and his replacement back in the ‘70s, Larry Wallis, is no longer well enough to play in a rock and roll band, so the guitar chores were taken over by our old friend Andy Colquhoun who had played with The Pink Fairies in various line-ups for the past 30 years. 

George Butler, an old friend of the band, joined as the second drummer recreating the iconic two-drummer tub thumping ethos of the original band, and Jaki Windmill from The Deviants completed the line-up on vocals and percussion.

The band retuned to the stage in May with gigs in Wolverhampton and the 100 Club in Oxford Street, following this with festival gigs across the summer, and shows with Hawkwind in the autumn. 

Tim Rundall writes:

And so it was that on a memorable night in London City in May of 2014, The PINK FAIRIES once again mounted the stage - this time at 100 Club in Oxford Street to a packed house. The mooted appearance of Paul Rudolph didn't take place for logistical reasons, but anyone who was disappointed at first was surely converted by the end of a mighty set that saw Russell take lead vocals on some numbers, Sandy on a few, and both Andy and Jaki on others…

The set comprised many old favourites from all stages of the band's career, from the early band's take on Tomorrow Never Knows to the late 80s Waiting For The Ice Cream To Melt (a Farren song for the Fairies), and even a new number Skeleton Army. Even ex-Fairy Larry Wallis's Police Car was given an airing - truly a musical history lesson with a huge punch. And god was it hot in there!

Far from being a one-off (actually they had already done a warm up gig in Bilston's Robin 2 venue) the 100 Club gig has signalled the start of a new phase in the long history of the Pink Fairies and you will see as you navigate around this site there are gigs a plenty looming, with quite a few already under their belts (including the Hop Festival where Sandy's son Billy took George's place due to prior commitments by the great Mr. Butler).

Who would have imagined, back in 1969, that the energy, commitment and audience would still be there all these years later? But it is true - they are back and in the Pink!  While the emphasis is on the older material (as Sandy said to me - that's what the fans want really) who knows what the future may bring - I for one thank goodness that the decision to continue was made, and the world is surely a better place with the Pink Fairies out there doing what they do best. It's rock n roll - and the message is keep doing it!

But what are they planning to do next?  The only way to find was to ask them, so I telephoned Andy for a long and enlightening chat ….


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