JJ came at 6pm to help load Neil’s gear into van and then both headed off into the night and icy roads to London – more specifically the Express Inn in Acton –north-west London. For the past month Neil had been transcribing chords copying words and finalising set lists so that everyone could get straight on with rehearsals. His plan was to spend 2 days rehearsing just the band. For the Bonzos concert the band was to consist of Mickey Simmonds (of the Rutles band)- keyboards and ace joke teller. Lovely man and brilliant musician and generally Neil’s right hand man on stage – ie is able to nudge Neil when he starts in wrong key or forgets words or set lists etc etc.
Then there was Andy Roberts – lead guitar. Andy has a long history of working with Neil and it was great to see him again – another fantastic and reliable musician.
JJ Jones – drums and Tom Fry- bass guitar and double bass, were the other two of the band . You already know a lot about these two from previous tour diaries, so I won’t dwell on them, except to say that Tom has self-published yet another new book of ‘poetry’….groan….which will be dipped into, I’m sure, during the next tour diary.
After a couple of days with the band, Neil wanted two days rehearsing the Bonzos, and then a day with everyone including the celebrities- of whom more later. However, as with all the best laid plans of mice and men this was’nt to be. An email was sent out –mistakenly- from the office asking everyone to be at all the rehearsals. Then after a phone call from me, another went out saying that Mondays rehearsal had been postponed??? So basically no one knew what was happening. Neil had to push ahead with the music as the band would be onstage the whole time and really did need at least one whole day to themselves.