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The Vampires

Formed in 1962 Original line up was

Dave Chapman - Lead Guitar (Deceased)
George Cramp - Bass
Dudley Moore - Rhythm Guitar
John Playford- Drums

Others Include:
Len Lock (Organ)
Monty Lawrence (Vocals)
Nigel 'nash' Dance (Lead Guitar)
Jed Stacey (Drums)
Gordon Reed (Drums)
Peter Wells (Sax & Manager)
Tim Stacey (Manager(short while))
Based in Hawkhurst the band played mainly cover versions of chart material of the day.

1964 saw big changes to the line up when Dudley Moore left for personal reasons and Monty Lawrence was invited to join as lead vocalist.
Nigel 'nash' Dance became the bands new guitarist and during later times was famed for his brilliant cover of Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze. Nigel had already been playing in other local bands, ( sorry no details ).
At around this time the band would regularly rehearse at Sandhurst church hall. Jed Stacey also took over as drummer whilst John Playford continued to drive for the band & to ' sit in ' on a couple of numbers to give Jed a break.
For a short time Jed's brother Tim was to manage the Vampires before Peter Wells ( now director of music at Cranbrook church ) took over. Peter was also a sax player & would, once the band began to include Geno Washington material join them on stage when required. Peter was also at a later date to manage Hastings band MORNING DEW who he remembers had a try out for CBS who were the Love Affairs label & can recall Love Affair turning up at the session. Lead guitarist Dave Chapman was sadly to pass away and ' nash ' Dance was to take over as lead.

During 1966 the overall sound was enriched by adding organ to the mix, when Len Lock, who had been playing in Chatham band ' Dave & the Downbeats ' became resident keyboard player.

Jed was the last to leave the Vampires ( reason not known ) and the hunt was on for a replacement drummer. Peter Wells placed an ad in the local press for auditions and it soon became clear that Gordon Reed from Hastings was to be their man. The band were keen to have Gordon join as he had something of a reputation as being " ..a bit of a Keith Moon " with the ' long hair ' that had begun to become popular with many musicians of the time as ' Flower Power ' began to explode, they had already begun to experiment with this type of material and had looked to London's Carnaby Street for their on stage clothing.

This then could become the start of the new image for the Vampires.

They had also by now attracted the attention of the pirate radio ship RADIO CAROLINE who
began to sponsor them,also making them the ' resident band ' on Caroline roadshows,with D.J. Robbie Dale.

The Vampires appeared twice on Hastings pier with Radio Caroline supporting,ORANGE BICYCLE
and PINKERTON'S ASSORTED COLOURS.

They were also to appear at the Chislehurst Caves in Dec 1966 with Caroline. the week after the infamous 'HENDRIX ' gig on Friday 16. December 1966....word is that the Vampires who by now had a well established army of regular followers had a larger crowd than the great man himself !.


Pic L-R .... Les Lock, Monty Lawrence, Nigel Dance ,Jed Stacey, George Cramp

Stories
Lead vocalist Monty Lawrence recalls another event in Northiam, around 66/67 as being one of their best attended gigs, with up to 3,000 at the 2 day open air festival.
Also on the bill that weekend were Ashford band Shades Of Black. Monty relates the tale of how after their set one night they all had.....well lets say..." a little too much to drink " & encouraged Jed ( who was blind ) to drive around the site in the Land Rover, guided only by other band members shouting directions from the back of the vehicle as they weaved in & out between the tents etc.

Another local legend ( still talked about today ) is of when THE WHO were playing locally, possibly on Hasting Pier & had a very small crowd, the reason given when they enquired was that " the Vampires were also playing locally that night ". The story goes that The Who abandoned their gig in favour of driving to the location of the Vampires, to be met by a ' Heaving ' hall with a ' Jam packed ' car park outside full of those unable to get in. Although this great story can't be proved outright, it is based on the facts as told at the time & remains ..............A GREAT STORY !




Pic. L-R ..... Len Lock, Nash, Monty Lawrence, Gordon Reed, George Cramp

Recording

The Vampires recorded one single at Acorn studios in Wimbledon,
A.) I can't stop loving you.
B.) Your'e one & only man.
As the ' Vamps ' were radio Caroline sponsored the single was played on the station.

The VAMPIRES were untouched as a local ' amateur ' band during these years performing 2, 3, or more gigs a week and could be guaranteed a packed house whenever they appeared.

The last gig played was in late 67 / early 68.
As far as we have been able to establish, the only members still performing are Jed Stacey and possibly Nigel Dance. Drummer Gordon Reed when the Vampire split went on to join rock band RAINBOW.

Info thanks to John Jeffery

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