Flirting With Fame!
“The history of the shevells go back to 1962. as a 15 year old schoolboy I teamed up with Tony Sheveton to form a band called the Raiders, the lead guitarist with us was Dave Edmunds who went on to have his own hit records, (most notably “I Hear You Knocking”).
Tony left to go solo and was signed to Oreol Records. I went on to form a new band with Mike Stevens (guitar/singer), Eddie Lace, (lead guitar), Trevor Lewis (piano), Bob Jones (drums) and myself on bass. We called ourselves “The Afro Cuban Combo”. God knows where we got that name from and I think it was early 1963 we entered an all Wales group competition. The prize was a recording contract with Oriole records. One of the judges was John Schroder the A and R man for Oriole. We went on to win the competition, beating a group called Tommy Scott and the Senators who went on to become Tom Jones and the Squires.
When we went up to London to live, Oriole Records thought because we were friends with Tony Sheveton, it might be ideal to team up with him and change the group name to the Shevells, and record under the name “Tony Sheveton and the Shevells”. Tony went on to have a solo hit in Australia called “A Million Drums”. That is when Mike took over lead vocals and we became The Shevells.
Towards the end of 1964 I had a chance to join a new band that the kinks manager, Larry Page was putting together,called “the Riot Squad” which included Mitch Mitchell on drums who went on to drum with Jimmy Hendricks, Graham Bonney on guitar, singer/songwriter, Ron Ryan (who wrote “Bits and Pieces” and “Because” for the Dave Clark Five, so I left to be replaced by Geoff Mcarthy from Cardiff. The shevells played often at the flamingo club in Wardour St, London with Georgie Game and the Blue Flames.
When he Shevells disbanded I think around the 70,s Mike joined tom jones backing band the Squires as lead singer as Tom was now singing with big orchestras. Tom’s manager Gordon Mills asked mike to record a song he thought was a good song. Mike thought it was,nt suitable for him so declined, that song turned out to be “Proud Mary”.
Mike was a great singer and should have done more so should Tony Sheveton. Both came back to Cardiff in Wales in the early 70,s. Mike joined the band in the top rank and Tony and myself ended up resident in local nightclubs. As I said Mike, Tony and myself meet up every couple of weeks for a coffee and a chat. In fact we met up last Thursday,( to reminisce how close we were to making it) as we were one of the first bands in Cardiff in 1956.