Home town: Gwelo
It was on a night at RRAF Thornhill in 1964 that Peter Guntrip joined a band who was practicing for a jam. This led to his being approached by Harry Bezuidenhout who was looking to start a band and, from there, things moved along! Peter, latching on to the trend at that time of band’s having plural names (Diamonds, Cyclones, Stereos) suggested the Vertigos. This sublime suggestion was rooted in his having recently finished reading a book titled Vertigo. The name was adopted, if not quite in full as Peter had wanted an exclamation mark after the name. On their first gig poster, however, the name appeared without the exclamation mark and the idea was abandoned. In due course, Peter Guntrip was to leave the band although it continued with changes in line-up.
The VERTIGOS line-up was a little unsettled for a time until Harry Bezuidenhout approached Dick Cory and asked him to joined the band on drums, replacing Rodney Hooper who had taken his leave. Cory made his joining conditional on one point and that was that his close friend and musician, David Bowman, be included in the deal. This was accepted and the duo joined up. Until that time David Bowman had considered himself a bass player, however, as Mike Clarke had won the Best Bass Player accolade at a recent Rock Band Competition, Bowman had little chance of unseating him! As a result David Bowman moved into the lead vocal slot and after one, quick, rehearsal, the band launched themselves on the public. They were well received and quickly raked in any number of bookings, travelling the length and breadth of the area during 1965. These venues included the Hellenic Hall, The Youth Hall, Gwelo Sports Club, Whitewaters Dam, the Air Force messes and the Bata Club. Further afield they entertained audiences at Shabani, Gatooma, Fort Victoria and Redcliff. It is rumoured that women found Mike Clarke particularly attractive and on many occasion he had to be rescued from the agitated male partners of over-exuberant female admirers! (To be continued…)
See PETER GUNTRIP in IN THE TRADITION pages.