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Beavers busy bringing about rockabilly revival; Nostalgia:PETE CHAMBERS'S BACKBEAT - a weekly look at the local music scene of the past. THE 80s TRIO WHO STRIVED TO BRING SOMETHING NEW TO A ROCK 'N' ROLL SOUND FROM THE 50s...

Byline: by Pete Chambers

BORN out of the band Some Kinda Earthquake in 1989 (a band that would also spawn Big Decision, Eight Miles High and Special Brew), the Beavers strived to create an authentic rockabilly sound.

They mixed original songs with covers, a fusion that would see members Dave James, Stuart Bates and Darren Webb attract the attention of the local press and build a huge following in the process.

Unlike many similar bands of the time, the Beavers knew their music well enough to be able to retain an authentic 50s vibe while still producing something fundamentally original. Such was their style that they would get to play alongside rock 'n' roll legends The Crickets.

The boys would often grace the stage at Hillfields' Tic Toc club (now the Colosseum).

Most people will remember their live gigs as something very special, always something of an event. With Stu doing monkey impressions over his big double bass, Dave James building up a sweat rockin' at the front and Daz keeping the beat in the band's engine room - crazy, energetic, but always entertaining.

In 1992 the band released their first CD, the mighty Dam 'n' Blast. It would showcase the band not just as musicians but as songwriters (as all but one of the 15 tracks were originals written solely by the band and former member and producer Simon Kelly).

The only non-original was the great Vince Taylor's Brand New Cadillac (a personal fave of mine), the Clash had covered the song and punked it up a little, the Eager Beavers reclaimed it and it sits perfectly with their own songs.

That probably says more about this band than anything else could.

Take the tracks We Started Rockin, Red Red Sweater and Feel the Pain, all high-calibre rockers as you would expect from such a band but the bluesy Eager to Please cuts it just as much. Little wonder that this album has shifted in excess of 8,000 copies and still continues to sell with the likes of Amazon and Raucous Records.

I asked the guys just how important was that CD to them?

"We were thrilled to release it, Ray Cotton out of The Jets helped produce it. The Jets themselves had two top 20 hits in the rockabilly revival of the 80s.

"It was one of Stuart's greatest achievements to date as he helped write several of the tracks featured on the album.

"Dave also made a significant song-writing contribution to the project. Dam 'n' Blast helped to put Coventry on the rockabilly map."

By 1997 though things were becoming a little claustrophobic for the trio and fresh fields began to beckon.

Stuart went off to join local rock 'n' rollers Johnny and the Zephyrs, while Dave joined the Moonshine Boys. The Moonshine Boys have quite a history of their own. Apart from Dave they included Cov drummer Byron Curry and the Powell Brothers from Stratford.

Their brand of rockabilly music saw them in the company of some of the finest names in rock 'n' roll such as Little Richard, DJ Fontana (Elvis's drummer), The Bluecaps (Gene Vincent's original band), the original Comets and Marty Wilde.

The band even became friends with Eddie Cochran's nephew Bobby Cochran.

Eight long years past, much water had passed under the bridge but a few months ago, due to good old popular demand, the boys are back together again. The new line-up includes drummer Byron with Dave and Stewart.

So how did it feel being back together as a band I asked?

"We are really upbeat about reforming the band. Eager Beavers had a great local following in the past and we are looking forward to playing to local crowds again. The music isn't lost in history. It is as relevant today as it has ever been. We are adding a modern angle to the music."

The re-formed Beavers have come back with a bang, by playing a charity gig at Birmingham's Hard Rock Cafe in aid of the Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief Fund. The Hard Rock had this to say about them.

"An absolutely brilliant band that really got things going, can't wait to have them back in again. That is if they don't catapult to stardom before we can get to them!"

The band are due to record some new fab waxings in October, and a new website is also promised.

PopTrivia - THE EAGER BEAVERS THEIR CD Dam 'n' Blast has sold all over Europe including Russia!

TWO of the original members of Some Kinda Earthquake, Simon Ward and Simon Kelly, both are now members of Coventry 2-Tone revival band Special Brew.

THE band would also feature on the compilations Neo Rockabilly and British Best Rock 'n' Roll Rollers, both released by the Rockhouse Label.


ROCK ON... The Eager Beavers, and right their acclaimed album Dam 'n' Blast.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Nov 22, 2005
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