A band formed in Newport over 45 years ago that went on to have success around the world will get recognition from one of Britain’s top musicians, Jools Holland when they are featured on his Radio 2 show next Monday evening.
Crazy Cavan ‘n’ The Rhythm Rockers fronted by Cavan Grogan formed in Newport in 1970. The band that specialised in their own brand of original Rockabilly music would become a welcome breath of fresh air in a music decade that would ultimately be dominated by glam rock, disco and punk. They not only gained a strong following at Wales’ venues but ultimately would become a major attraction when they moved to London counting The Clash’s Joe Strummer and a young Jools Holland among their fans.
“Cavan saw an advert in Melody Maker around 1970 asking for rock n roll bands to play in London,” recalls Rhythm Rockers lead guitarist Lyndon Needs to Andy Howells as he looks back at the time the band took their first tentative steps away from home for an audition.
“Back then, the M4 wasn’t completed, so it took us 5 hours to get to London in a beat up Bedford van (stopping off at a pub or two on the way). When we got to The Fishmongers Arms, Wood Green, we had about 20 minutes to jump up on stage in our drape jackets, playing rockabilly and our own songs which just blew them away. “
The band then started getting regular gigs in London which although drawing them away from their home turf actually helped them build a wider following into Europe, Scandinavia and the USA. Unbeknown to the band until recently was that one young visitor to their gigs in his teens was Jools Holland who would later find success as a musician and television and radio presenter.
Cavan was invited to play with Jools and his band last month. The programme will be aired on BBC Radio 2 on Monday evening and will feature Cavan discuss tracks that have inspired him on his music journey by Elvis Presley, Ronnie Hawkins and Charlie Feathers. There will also be an airing of two new tracks from The Rhythm Rockers latest album, The Real Deal due for release soon.
“Its great to get appreciated and get the respect from the likes of Jools Holland,” continues Lyndon who was present at the recording session which also saw Cavan perform Fats Domino’s Don’t Blame It on Me with Jools and his band.
The Jools Holland Show featuring music from Crazy Cavan ‘n’ The Rhythm Rockers will be broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on October 26 at 11pm and will be available on the BBC’s I Player for 30 days after broadcast. For further details on the band and their latest album visit their website crazycavanfanclub.com
- A version of this interview by Andy Howells appeared in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide on October 23, 2015