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Born to Rock

Reggie Picks Rock And Roll Over Classical Music

Over the next few years, Reggie became more and more engrossed in rock and roll. As a result, he became very unresponsive during his lessons at the Royal Academy of Music. Once a motivated student, Reggie started to skip classes until he did not even bother to show up on Saturday mornings. At fifteen, classical instruction no longer appealed to him. Now, his passion was all wrapped up in the jolting music of rock and roll. His new stepfather, Fred Farebrother, worked hard to encourage Reggie in his musical pursuits. He was actually the person who got Reggie his first audition to be the pianist at the pub in the Northwood Hills Hotel. Reggie got the gig.

The Corvettes: Reggie's First Band

During Reggie's fourth year at Pinner County Grammar, he began playing music with a local amateur group called the Corvettes. At the time, Reggie was only fourteen years old. The group played a mix of rock and roll and blues. The founders of the group were two local boys, Stuart Brown and Geoff Dyson, who played guitar and bass. Mick Inkpen played the drums for the band. Mick's father ran a small bar called the Gate, which was very close to where Reggie lived.

Reggie of course played the piano for the band. Unfortunately, though, since pianos cannot be moved around without a lot of help, Reggie always had to play whatever piano was in the bar, no matter how old or new. Most of the time, the piano was horribly out of tune, so the band would actually tune their instruments to the piano, meaning they were making their guitars out of tune! However, it was a smart move because their songs ended up sounding much better than if the piano was out of tune and the other instruments were in tune.

The Corvettes broke up after only a few performances. Each member went his own way, but six months later they met up and decided to try playing together again. With a new name, Bluesology, they began relying on Geoff Dyson, the bass player, as their booking manager—the person who finds the band gigs to play. At the time, none of them knew that Bluesology would not only stay together but play with some of the biggest names in rock and roll.

For his first public show, Reggie dressed in his best tweed jacket and was escorted by his mother and stepfather. The crowd was anything but welcoming during the performance. Some screamed “Get off the stage!” while others threw ashtrays at the boy playing songs by Ray Charles, Jim Reeves, and the Beatles. But Reggie stayed onstage and played more songs. He even finished his performance in good humor, all the while knowing the audience openly disliked his music. For the next two years, Reggie played every Saturday night at Northwood Hills, and as time passed his popularity grew. By no means was he ever a raving sensation at the pub, but after a while, Reggie had crowds that enjoyed listening to him play.

Additional topics

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