kicked off in the summer of 1968 at a rain sodden event in a marquee on
Folkestone Town football ground.
band began life with Melvin Watts and Ed Parry, who had played guitars and
taken on vocals in a number of line-ups while serving together in the Royal
Navy. It has to be noted that they had become accustomed to playing in rather
sunnier climes in places such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, the
Philippines and Malta. On leaving the navy, they settled in Mel’s hometown of
a first step towards starting a band they recruited Bob Lind on drums, who had
previously played with a number of local bands. Bob was soon followed by Mickey
Matcham on bass Mickey was more accustomed to playing 6-string guitar, but
volunteered to take on bass with a borrowed instrument.
it was that ‘Kilroy’ played live for the first time in the marquee only a day
or two after being formed – in keeping with the weather, they opened the show
with a rendition of ‘Summertime Blues’.
this damp start, Mickey decided to take some time out to consider his options,
whereupon Mel took over the bass and the band continued for a while as a trio.
The three played support to Fleetwood Mac at the Leas Cliff Hall, and performed
at all the other local venues such as the Hillside Club in Folkestone, the G
Ranch in Maidstone, the Bridge Country Club and the Bee Hive in Canterbury.
band subsequently recruited Jackie Small (then in the army and based at
Shornecliff Camp) as lead vocalist and made a second appearance at Leas Cliff
Hall playing support to Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. Unfortunately, just as things
were progressing very promisingly, army duties took Jackie away and ‘Kilroy’
was forced to continue once again as a three-piece outfit.
so often happened with bands in those days, the initial enthusiasm turned to
disappointment and ‘Kilroy’ played it’s last gig in a church hall late in
December that year.
this, Melvin continued playing bass with a number of bands, then also took up
6-string guitar again and later keyboards. Work commitments (the scourge of all
bands!) later took a priority as Mel went into management and some college
lecturing, then moved to Maidstone. He continued playing with a number of duos
who had been a lorry driver, then followed up another ambition and became a
paramedic in the ambulance service. The nature of shift work soon put paid to
further exploits in the band world for several decades and more. However, a few
years ago, Bob, who is still with the Kent Ambulance Service, began toying with
the idea of taking up the drums again. After a while playing with an electronic
set of drums pads, he invested in a full set of drums and now plays regularly
with a band comprising doctors and others in the medical field.
returned to his native London soon after the demise of ‘Kilroy’, and played
with numerous outfits and made several recordings, before embarking on a
belated full-time education. Reasons of space and finance eventually forced the
sale of all the band equipment save for an acoustic guitar, and his last
performances were as a solo act. Ed went on to work in the field of energy
management, only taking up the guitar again after meeting Mel and Bob thirty
and Ed are now regularly playing together again in a four-piece band on the
local pub and club circuit.
the doubts following the wet marquee event, Mickey decided to take up the bass
guitar after all, and played on and off with a number of bands. Mickey still
lives in Folkestone and has worked locally in a variety of trades, including a
country park ranger and taxi cab driver. Much later, when his two sons took up
guitar and drums, he joined them as a trio. They are currently still out and
about playing the clubs.
for Jackie, one time front man, the trail disappeared with him into the army,
and it has not proved possible to trace him subsequently.
of ‘Kilroy’ as a band? Well, in September 1999, the original four-strong
line-up that first appeared in the rain in the summer of 1968 made it back to
the stage over 31 years later for a reunion gig. True to form, they kicked off
with ‘Summertime Blues’!
event was very appropriately held in Newington Village Hall, which had once served
both as a regular venue and as a practice hall for the band. It also provided
the backdrop for the photo that
appeared with a feature article on the
band in the local Folkestone press in the autumn of 1968. This reunion gig also
included performances by Mickey’s sons and Mel and Bob’s daughters.
most bands, ‘Kilroy’ also depended upon the help and assistance of a number of
supporters in particular, Dave Andrews (known to all as ‘Weasel’) and Ron
Bell. Not long after the end of ‘Kilroy’, Ron moved to live and work in
Germany, where he has stayed ever since. Dave, who was as good as another
member of the band, still lives and works in Folkestone, and it was especially
fitting that he was on hand to help the reunion event become a reality.
here’s to the next thirty years……………………