Chris Ellis, our old buddy, ex-Radio Stoke DJ and Etruria Garden Festival musicians' manager has requested stories from Stoke bands for a publication he's editing. Lynda asked me to tell him about Magnum's PA at Bingley Hall. I thought I'd post it here too. As I was writing it I thought of a much more interesting thing that happened that day which I will post in a few days or so when I have more time.
By the way, StringFing is on Radio Shropshire (96FM) on Sunday 17th April on Genevieve Tudor's rather excellent 2-hour folk programme.
Here's the Magnum story:
Heymaker (me, Lynda, our Jack, Phil Johnson and Mickey Gibson) was booked to play at Bingley Hall, Stafford as part of a 12-hour rock extravaganza staged by the Motorcycle Riders Association, Top of the bill was Magnum with Wishbone Ash snapping at their heels and a whole host of biker-proven, biker-approved below them. Bingley Hall is a big venue, and by that I mean B-I-I-I-I-I-I-G. Magnum had ordered a 32K PA which was to be used by each band in turn.
Just to give you an idea of the unusual magnitude of that number of Ks: If you were staging a gig on the moon and wanted the people of Mow Cop to be able to dance along with the music, you would probably go for a 31K PA. In other words, the 32K ordered by Magnum was more than slightly overkill even for Bingley Hall.
When we did our sound check in the afternoon, I walked on stage, plugged in, drew the bow across my fiddle and it seemed the whole of the London Philharmonic Orchestra struck up with me. It was awesome, my doods, awesome.
Heymaker went on fairly early in the day by arrangement as we had a gig to play that night as well and had to get on the road in time. We played our half-hour set (hey, went down a storm too), drew our money and went off to our next gig. Job done.
We were, I'm told, one of the few bands to actually get paid out. I forget what the problem with the money was, but I know it was nothing to do with the MRA itself.
I’ll always remember, though, what a massive, massive a sound we got that afternoon of rocking pleasure. However, when Magnum turned up to do their sound check, they said, ‘What the f***’s this? This ain’t no 32K!’ Their people checked the rig and the jolly rockers were right. It was only a mere 30K (!) Magnum refused to play until the 2 missing Ks had been brought in.
I never had a chance to meet the band as we had to leave for our next gig. So, if you ever meet Magnum, ask them for me why they felt the need for such a huge PA. Mind you, you’ll probably have to use sign language.
Gotta rush orf now to a poetry seminar.