18th September 1976
Music Lovers from Liverpool!
By Jackie Magazine
As Liverpool Express coast along on the fast line to success, it seems hard to believe the incredible bad luck they’ve had recently!
“We’ve had a run of unbelievable bad luck.” Tony Coates told me.
“Everything was breaking down. Vans conked out, cars refused to go, both here, and on our tour in Denmark. Even the boat that took us to Denmark broke down!
“Mind you, if you don’t laugh at things like that, you give up completely, and as we’ve managed to continue regardless, it’s all probably been quite good experience for us.”
In fact, most of the group seem to display a certain dedication where their music is concerned and they’ve all, after various jobs, continued to make it their life.
“The chance finally came for me to turn fully pro and go to France, and it worked,” says Tony. “We went for six weeks, stayed six months, and I’ve been playing ever since.”
But it was another sort of ‘playing’ that led to the present group.
“Most fellas in Liverpool bands play football so you can always get a game of some sort, and that’s how Liverpool Express got together,” Tony explained.
“Roger had some songs, Bill was doing a solo act but wanted to play in a band again so we decided to have a go together after having known each other round the football pitches for a while.”
But life isn’t all football, as Tony would be the first to admit and he, for one, is certainly not blind to the charms of the fairer sex – even up against the rival attractions of a game of football!
“Nowadays, I like dark girls with big brown eyes,” he said, “but as it happens my first serious girlfriend was a blonde with blue eyes.
“She was German and had just moved to England. Her school was near mine and when I was sixteen I used to meet her coming out.
I was madly in love and would sing all the way to school and all the way back again.
“Then suddenly I left school and everything changed. It’s amazing how quickly something like that can happen, you’re crazy about someone one day, and the next it’s all over and done with.”
Not all Tony’s girlfriends have been quite so serious, though.
As he says, “ There was one girl I went out with because I kept on getting messages that she fancied me. It was a disaster though. She didn’t like me much at all. I think someone had been telling her the same stories about me!”
But when it came down to it, even during the early days, Tony’s music came first – including one time he’s still a little ashamed of.
“I was mad about this girl but then I had the chance to go and play with a band in Germany,” he said. “I went without even thinking about her and stayed two years. By the time I got back it was all forgotten, but I heard afterwards she was a lot more upset than I’d realised at the time.”
There aren’t many stories of that sort in Roger Craig’s life, though. Roger’s very much the joker in the pack, and refuses to take anything seriously – even his thoughts about girls and romance.
“I’m Irish, so maybe that’s got something to do with it,” he laughs. “I get turned off by girls who wear stacks of make-up. I really like nice, smiling girls.
“The first girl I fell for treated me very badly. We met on holiday at fourteen and it lasted eighteen months, in spite of living miles apart. Then she got engaged to someone else when she was sixteen. Silly woman, put me right off her.”
But Roger admits that he hasn’t managed to quite fathom out the opposite sex – even yet!
“I don’t understand girls,” said Roger. “I broke up with one when I was seventeen and didn’t think much about it. But she got all upset, locked herself in her room, and wouldn’t come out for three days.
“surely it can’t have been because of me, even if I am amazingly good-looking and attractive?”
When he’s not breaking all those hearts Roger, too, plays football, or watches the Irish Rugby team. Like Tony, he’s done other jobs before getting into music. He was once in the Civil Service for about four months but didn’t like it much. “I took pretty well the first job I was offered,” he said, “and my father thought I was mad because he couldn’t see any prospects.
“it was even worse when I joined a group, but he’s very proud of me now we’re having some success.”
Billy Kinsley, another member of the band, has also had his share of the big bad world of business.
“I left school and became a shipping clerk,” he said.
“I couldn’t take it for long and finally one Thursday night I handed in my notice for Friday. I was supposed to give them a week’s notice but nobody argued – I think they were glad to see me go!”
Like the other two, Billy has a great weakness for girls – and that means all girls really!
“Perhaps I prefer slim blondes with suntans,” he says, “but really, I like any girl who isn’t a poser. I like someone who’s down to earth.”
Unfortunately, again like the other two, his music comes first and even at an early age he had to choose between romance and music.
“I was fourteen,” he said, “and in love for the first time. She was Irish and I was saving up all my money to go over to Ireland and see her. Meanwhile, I met this guy who wanted me to join his group, and as I didn’t have a guitar at the time it was a straight choice.
“I bought the guitar, didn’t go to Ireland, and never even wrote. She came over to see me soon after – a very embarrassing situation for everyone.”
Nevertheless Billy will admit that he too has been hurt by girls in his time and always does his best to let people down as gently as possibly, since he knows how it feels.
“I’ve been messed about too, of course,” he went on. “I went out with one girl for a couple of years and couldn’t get rid of her. I tried, but something always took me back. Maybe it was her father, who was about six foot eight!
“In the end, she went on holiday, met someone else and finally she was the one who packed me in!” She probably didn’t know then that Billy was soon to be a member of a successful pop group! And it certainly looks as though the green flag is up and Liverpool Express are well on their way!