February 1968 and the buzz was that, none other than, Manfred Mann would be appearing at Sussex University, students union. For the purists and also most all the women I knew, the loss of Paul Jones as lead vocalist had destroyed the band, but I was a Mike d’Abo fan and the material they were releasing since he’d become their new front man appealed to the quirky side of my character.
Tickets were like gold dust, but through a friend of a friend who worked at the Uni, I managed to get a pair for the ‘St Valentine’s Day Massacre’ do and with my forged student union card, all I had to do was rock up on the 14th with my girlfriend and enjoy the show.
Arriving nice and early, we got a spot front and centre of the stage and when the lights dimmed, the boys were on. Sexy in an almost casual way, Mike d’Abo had us enthralled and with Manfred on keyboards the band belted out set after set. At the half way point, a drum solo was always de rigueur, and stamping and cheering we all applauded as Mike Hugg pounded away, smashing stick after stick to matchwood.
‘Ha, Ha said the clown’ was the final number and on the last as chorus, as we all pushed even closer to the stage, a globule of Mike d’Abo’s saliva arced towards me and, pirouetting in the spotlights landed smack on my bottom lip, what a climax – I didn’t wash my face for a week.
As the music died and the boys scarpered off out the back to find some groupies, I spied one of the mangled drumsticks still lying by the base of the high hat and, quick as a flash I was on up the stage and even quicker I was off it again before the chunky roadie could grab me, but success, the stick was mine.
Going though boxes in the attic yesterday and what should I find, yes a splintered 48 year old 7A drumstick….