Big Dick and the Deviants
Dick Halliwell (Drums)
Dave Richards (Rhythm & Lead)
Dave George (Bass)
Mic McCreadie (Vocalist)
This band was formed, and named, by Dick Halliwell from some of the remnants of Sensible Shoes. We worked together from 1979 until about 1981. I was invited in as vocalist only. In fact I was pointedly asked not to play my usual role as rhythm guitarist/vocalist or bassist as Dave Richards, ex-bassist of Sensible Shoes, wanted to combine rhythm guitar with lead and Dick had already invited Dave George, a Radio Cornwall DJ and one-time erstwhile roadie and enthusiastic follower of Sensible Shoes, to be bass player. I did wonder if my penchant for breaking strings on any electric guitar I played, and therefore holding up the gig while I changed strings, had a bearing on this proviso but accepted the invite with some alacrity anyway. It was also stressed to me at the outset that this was not to be a serious musical band, the emphasis was to be on fun so there’d be no need for my complaints in rehearsal (and on-stage) of mistakes or cock-ups. These, if they happened, were to be cheerfully tolerated, they were to be a part of the whole. It soon became obvious to me that the others had found me a pain in the butt in past bands.
Our repertoire was fairly eclectic: some slightly punk, ‘Is Vic There?’- some Rock, the Dave Edmunds version of ‘I Knew The Bride’ – some Blues, ‘29 Ways’ and some lighter, more melodic stuff too i.e. ‘Don’t Talk To Me’ by Mickey Jupp. We did one original song written by Dick, ‘Shit On My Shoes’ and I sometimes wondered, in my artistically paranoid way, if this was perhaps an oblique reference to our last musical collaboration i.e. Sensible Shoes. I never did find out.
Rehearsals were held in rotation in our various houses, Dave George lived at Probus and Dick had a place in Truro, I was out in Camborne by now and Dave Richards had a place way out in the sticks so I think we used his place most often. We gigged at all the usual venues and did some private parties too.
There are some live recordings of this band taken on a gig in The William IV on a ‘Children In Need Night’ by Dave George with equipment and some technical assistance I think, borrowed from Radio Cornwall. A microphone was placed on the bar to get the general ambience but this soon became a beacon for some of the assembled listeners and was very quickly adopted by these pundits as a means of having their drunken and therefore often blatantly profane opinions – of not only the band but also things in general – recorded along with the music!
I don’t remember the reason, if there was one, for us breaking up. I don’t think there was any real deep seated animosity however; I think the break up just came about naturally as we moved through our other careers.
There were irritations of course; there always are in any group of creative types. Dave Richards or Dick brought in an American guy, Steve, who had begun showing up in my Jam Sessions and who busked around town, to play saxophone which I thought didn’t add to the musicality, in fact I found it interfered with my vocals. I also had a slight beef with Dick in that area too. In solo breaks he’d put in an elaborate drum fill just as the solo neared its end. This took the form of a run around the toms ending with a big splash cymbal.
Unfortunately, and especially in the William IV, he often mistimed this, though, to be fair, being sat on a raised ledge above and sort of removed from the band a bit, didn’t help. The end result though was this huge cymbal splash just as I began to sing again thereby obliterating my lyric. It happened so often I began to refer to Dick as ‘the late Mr Halliwell’.