Born in Southport, Merseyside (but it was in Lancashire then!) a VERY long time ago, I’m the new boy in the band.
I was honoured to be asked to stand in whilst Ron was ill, and was extremely sad to learn that he didn’t make it. A very big gap to fill, but I’ll do my best! I have to say how much fun I’m having, learning the [huge] set and playing to appreciative audiences. Vintage Stuff may be old, but they know how to please a crowd… and they know how to ROCK!
Me? Well, my grandmother bought me my first guitar. A Rosetti Lucky 7 from Aldridges music store on Houghton Street, Southport. £14 3s 6d as I remember. A bloody fortune! A man’s wage was around £15 a week in those days. Sometime later (don’t know how!) I managed to beg, borrow or steal enough dosh to buy a Watkins Westminster 10w Valve amp.
Did the schoolboy band thing The Plantaganets with John Hardie, John Lewis and Bill Mountford, then The Vectroes with Chas King and Simon Harding.
The best times, however, were with Inn Tranzit after I left school. Mostly, I was the roadie, but the lead guitarist (Joe O’Rourke) fancied himself as a babe-magnet and wanted to show off (the bulge in his trousers) at the front of the band… so I was pressed into service as stand-in guitarist on 5 or 6 numbers. The band played all the famous clubs in Liverpool, The Beachcomber, The Babalou, Reeces, and (my claim to fame!) The Cavern! Inn Tranzit was the support act for Colonel Bagshot’s Incredible Bucket Band (what a great name…). This was in the heyday of the original Cavern, and the band are immortalised by having a brick in the Cavern Wall of Fame. Regular appearances at The Starlight Room (The top floor of The Kingsway Casino, Southport), Litherland Town Hall and Mr Smiths in Winsford meant that the old Bedford J4 clocked up thousands of miles, before it rusted away.
Then, I got married….
Fast forward to 30 years later… it’s 1998 and a relative dies, willing me a bit of money. I decide to buy a new Fender Stratocaster and re-learn a few chords. Really for my own enjoyment, and to remember Fred (my Father-in-law… a really nice guy!) every time I play it. A few lessons with Max Milligan, and thousands of hours jamming with Dennis Chamberlain… and I’m ‘up for it’ again. The Two Non-Blondes Duo is formed; a beautiful Yamaha APX-7A Electro-acoustic is purchased from The Music Centre (as that suits the duo format better) and the gigs come thick and fast. The Two Non-Blondes morph into a four-piece (but retain the name, mostly to confuse the people from The Inland Revenue and Social Security) and my confidence grows. A few appearances with The A Band, and then (like a bolt from the blue!) an invitation to join Vintage Stuff
So that’s up to now….
And so to the future.
As Ron’s story proves, none of us know how long we have left. I intend to enjoy the time I have by doing something wonderful – playing music. Every time I play the Red Strat, I think of Fred, my father-in-law, but every time I play it with Vintage Stuff, I’ll also remember Ron Kennedy… and try to play as well as he did!
Rob Vernon, July 2010