The Liverpool Five came to Japan in September 1964 as The official rock and roll representatives of the Tokyo Olympics, but most Japanese don't remember them today.
A native Londoner(like all the boys except Dave Burgess),Steve Laine ahived some sort of distinctionasaboy alto in a school peformenace of "Messiah" when he was congratulated on being the first alto in school history Not to sing flat.
Interview with Dave Mckuminskey by Tony Sanchez.
Dave McKuminskey(Dave Burgess) was base guitarist, he was born in Barrow in Furness,In the north of England.
(Partial quotation from 'zine "UGLY THINGS #13", courtesy of Mike Stax and Tony Sanchez )
The Liverpool Five have always been neglected by sixties enthusiasts. Collectors often pass by their discs, thinking they must be another studio session group playing bad Beatles copy songs. No-one seems to acknowledge these guys and give them the recognition they deserve.
UT: Who did you play with Germany?
DM: We played with the Rattles, Drafi Deutcher, and a Fillipino band. We toured a lot as well.We would go to Hamburg, Switzerland and Austria, In Holland we backed a black pop singer named Davey Jones. He was another hopeless case. A great singer but he could've been Casey Jones' brother as far as being a businessman.
UT:FHow did the Tokyo Tour happen?
DM: We were ending a tour in Cologne for the Karl Buchman Agency. He always got us the best gigs at the time. Anyway ,we were playing a show and this sharply-dressed German fellow-I think his name was Heinz Allhoff-asked us if we'd like to audition for the chance to play in Japan. We said, "Hell, Yeah!" He came to our practice and we played him our strongest material. He asked us to record some stuff because he needed a British act to represent the UK at the Olympics in Japan. In a month's time we were selected. That was the best thing that ever happened to us.
In Germany we started to record for CBS . We did an LP released on CBS as the Liverpools or the Five Liverpools, and did some back-up work as well. As a back-up group we had a number one local hit called "Shilah" by a Tommy somebody. I can't recall exactly, but it was a stupid song.
UT: What kind of stuff did the CBS album contain?
DM:A cross section of stuff. We did two songs in German, a song called " Tokyo" about a British group touring Japan, plus other stuff. I can't recall all of them. I wish I could hear those recordings because the German recording studios were very good. *1
UT: So back to Tokyo-what happened there?
DM: We were booked for three weeks and at the end of the tour we were
to play the Kourakuen Ice Palace, which was enormous. So Enormous that
our equipment wasn't powerful enough. So the Japanese showed us how to
mike the PA system, which we'd never seen before. We thought they were
quite ingenious. *2
UT: How was your reception?
DM: Fabulous. We'd play for sell-out crowds of six to eight thousand every gig. We would also get chased by the crowds wanting to rip our clothes off after the sow. It was bizarre!
UT: Did you recorded anything in Japan?
DM: Yeah, we did, but I don't know why anyone didn't do anything with the tracks. We only recorded about three tracks at most.
UT: How was it, living in Japan?
DM: It was great. We all had good friends there.
The group decided to stay in Japanese longer. We began touring the Philippines. A key gig we did was an engagement party for the American ambassador ,Edward Rishauer. We played for thousands of people, and after the show we met the ambassador and his family. He asked if we were interested in doing USO towns to play for troops. He said he'd arrange our visas to the States. We of course said "Yes".
We did a lot of shows. We would play on runways with B-52s looking over our heads. We played all the stuff the troops wanted to hear. Booker T, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and of course Beatles stuff. When we finally came to the States, we received the red carpet treatment by the immigration due to our political connections. We never had any hassle with any lines, inspection, or anything. It was great.
UT: Did your LPs reflect what you played in your live sets?
DM: Yeah, pretty much. We played all the LP tracks, but I think people would leave our shows and say, "The band is much better live than on vinyl."
UT: Who did you play with in the Northwest?
DM: Paul Revere & the Raiders, Merilee & the Turnabouts, Sonics, Wailers, the Capes, Live Five, George Washington & the CherryStompers, and lots of others. I can't recall all of them.
For some reason, word got round that we were from Canada.
UT: Well, there was a band called the Liverpool Set from Canada-maybe that caused the confusion.
UT: Who did you play with in L.A.?
DM: We'd get mini -tours with top acts, mainly whomever was going through. So we got booked with Ian Whitcomb, Righteous Brothers, Loving Spoonful, and we played in the Hollywood Bowl with the Beach Boys. I was disappointed with Ian Whitcomb because he wrote a book and said we weren't from England. I thought "What a ponce!" We also toured with Stevie Wonder and the Rolling Stones. I was friends with Bill Wyman, mainly because Jimmy May, our drummer, knew him in England very well. *4
UT:Did you promote the second LP at all?
DM: Well, we thought RCA was gonna be the answer to everything and it wasn't. They weren't a great company when it came to promoting. Everyone thought this was the company to be a part of because they had Elvis. But I think they stepped into shit when they signed Elvis-kind of like the Beatles and Capitol. But you see it wasn't Capitol that made the Beatles ,and it wasn't RCA that made Elvis. Elvis made Elvis and the Beatles made the Beatles. They never really promoted the second LP. It was recorded in April'65 and not released until the fall of '66.
UT: Did you feel the material was dated by then?
DM: Yes ,very dated, and we protested like crazy with RCA to let us pur some new material on there-they just weren't willing. We were really pissed off because we had a lot of new material but RCA supposedly had a deadline to meet and the LP came out as is. *5
Their album has tough garage sounds and some pop & exotic tunes.
But they played real things.
It was rekeased as "TOKIO" by Five Liverpools
They sung in German and using a Gong; it sounds more Chinese than Japanese. They said ' SAYONARA(good bye) ' in it.
The Japanese were amazed by their AKG mikes and VOX amps which they
had never seen before. The Japanese knew these products only from photos.
They appeared as 'Liverpool Beatles'. (The promoter billed them as being from Liverpool)
At the time there weren't any vocal beat groups in Japan. Some bands
were inspired by the Liverpool Five,and decided to change from being instrumental
bands Japanese GS group, the Outcast ,covered the Liverpool Five's version
of 'Everything al' right'.
It is appeare on"GS I LOVE YOU ".
The concert was called "World Surfing festival", Japanese performers included some solo singer, vocal groups and Takeshi Terauchi & his Blue Jeans(an instrumental band ,).
It took a couple of years before the impact of the Beatles was fully felt in Japan.
Sometimes they were mistaken for American band imitating Liverpudians. They are all English, but for of them are Londoners.
RCA used old pix which was taken for the first album .
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