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Bo Diddley - I'm A Man

Mark Stuart (Brian Yeates) - vocals

John C Storme (John Lodge) - bass

Michael Carroll - lead guitar

Terry Guy (Terry Dews) - organ/harmonica

Trevor Griffin - tenor sax

John Beresford - tenor sax (replaced Trevor Griffen)

Graham Green - baritone sax

Gene Graham (Graham Rose) - drums

Mike Heard - lead guitar (replaced Michael Carroll)

Malcolm Bourne organ (replaced Terry Guy)






Following the break-up of the Crestas, a few month’s earlier and hearing that The Carpetbaggers were going separate ways, Brian phoned John to discuss forming a new band. With the vibrant European music market firmly in view, they settled on the name The John Bull Breed, complete with Union Jack bass drum.


John had now decided to go by the name of John Storme, a good old rock’n’roll surname that had served Rory well in Liverpool.  Along with Mark (Brian) and John were Terry Guy on organ / harmonica, Trevor Griffin on tenor sax, Graham Green on baritone sax, Gene Rose on drums and fellow Cresta Michael Carroll.   This sax-powered line-up gave the Breed an edge over many of their contemporaries.  The band was managed by a guy by the name of John Parsons.  




Normally performing alone, Brian fondly recalls the time when The John Bull Breed were on the same bill as The Rolling Stones at Coventry Locarno, just after they had released “Not Fade Away”.  The venue sported a revolving stage which allowed different acts to come around ready to play.   When it was time for their set, the stage duly began rotating, bringing the audience of 3000 into view and then launching into their first number.  Suddenly, the stage stopped, and then started going back in the opposite direction until they were again out of sight.  Never mind, again, the stage started rotating and once more the band began the number with even more vigour.  Then, disaster struck again, the stage again rotating then Breed out of view.    What could be causing these gremlins thought Brian?  He walked to the edge of the stage and located the culprit – none other than the Stone’s Brian Jones having great fun with the stage controls and sporting a beaming grin on his face.  Third time lucky and the show went off otherwise hassle-free.


Michael Carroll then departed, to be replaced by former El Rioter Mike Heard on lead guitar.   The John Bull Breed were a very tight Soul / Blues band, performing numbers from the likes of Wilson Picket, Otis Redding and Joe Tex.   Chris Andrews’ “Yesterday Man” was a very popular song in their repertoire, as was The Temptations’ “My Girl” and Otis Redding’s “Mr Pitiful”.  The band occasionally played the odd Booker T & The MGs instrumental to give Brian a vocal break.  




The Breed was big on sartorial style with fashionable hipster trousers, distinctive striped pullovers and other smart tartan / checker clothing. A change of clothing following the interval was par for the course during their shows.







The band toured extensively during its two years together, locally, nationally and abroad.  They amassed quite a following for “The Breed” or “Bulldog Breed” as many referred to them.  They made 4 trips to Germany, each lasting around 4-6 weeks, based mainly at the Star Palast in Kiel but also had dates over at Lüneburg, Rensberg and Shleswig-Holstein.  The also had a one-night booking at Hamburg’s famous Star Club.  The Star Club’s proprietor Manfred Woittali had booked Screamin’ Lord Sutch & the Savages however, the locals found these rather too tame for their liking and the John Bull Breed stepped in as replacement for a month-long residence!   The bookings were mainly through their friend Manfred Woittali though later on, lead singer Brian Yeates took on more responsibility to manage the evening’s programme at the Star Palast.  This enable Yeates to give aspiring local bands a chance in front of an audience (without payment), and to reduce the demands on themselves with such a gruelling schedule.


 The Shleswig-Holstein trip was particularly memorable as one of the rooms they had been allocated had broken windows and the January snow blew through the holes.


 The group’s rendition of Sam the Sham’s “Wooly Bully” went down a storm right from the Spanish count-in (“Uno! Dos! Tres! Quatro!).  Being an ex-schoolboy gymnast Brian would, on the nod from John perform the splits on the song’s accents with the audience going wild, and then diving onto the organ to perform a handstand, occasionally being helped from going completely over with a sturdy hand and guitar neck courtesy of John.


 Another firm favourite was their cover of “I’m a Man”. This classic “freakbeat” song (Terry Guy on vocals) took its faster-and-faster Jean-Jeannie guitar-riff to a frantic climax – guaranteed to get the crowd screaming for more every time.




Despite the Breed’s massive popularity, much to the club owner’s delight, Woittali was always pleading poverty.  He drove a fabulous Pink Cadillac but would always maintain that he had no money.  A request for an advance met with the same response, so Brian suggested that he let them have the Cadillac instead to which he replied “You can have my wife but not the Cadillac!”.





Back in the UK, the band’s transport became the responsibility of Gene Rose who was a qualified lorry driver. After promising to get the band some new wheels, he proudly announced “This is it” – his new acquisition turned out to be an old ambulance !   At times though it would come in quite handy, particularly when the roads were busy. Switching on the headlights usually got the other motorists to let them through!   The vehicle was later painted in a psychedelic style but wasn’t to everyone’s taste, particularly John’s who exclaimed “I’m not travelling in that!”.



















As guitarist Mike Heard recalls, back home, their lipstick covered Ambulance , in a terrible state of repair, was stopped by the police – they quickly spotted that the vehicle didn’t even have a horn – when asked what they would do if someone pulled out in front of them, the all answered in unison “We’ll shout HONK out of the window!”.





On a trip back from Barrow-in-furness, part of the wheel-arch broke away, digging into the tires.  Unable to make the show that night at the Tulip Festival at Canon Hill Park they were warned that they’d “Never work for the parks department again!  WOW!”.  They spent a cold & miserable night stranded in the vehicle in Stone, Staffs.






In May 1966 Polydor’s A&R Claire Francis lined them up with a cover of Ike Turner’s “Can’t Chance a Breakup” (Polydor BM 56065 – released 6th May 1966) being John’s official debut release.  The record company decided to put their cover of Bo Diddley’s “I’m a man”, always popular in their live set, on the b-side.  This disc now changes hands for hundreds of pounds.  Beware, in recent years, bootleg promos have surfaced so check carefully before you part with too much money.     




























The tracks were recorded at the Pye studios in London over three nights.  In between, the band chatted with the Walker Brothers who were recording in the next studio to them.




Promotional appearances followed, starting with Scotland and then Dublin, Ireland.  A major date was arranged at the prestigious Tiles club in London and it was arranged that a reporter from New Musical Express (NME) would be reviewing the show.  The date was Saturday 30th July 1966, a date of note in British history for the other event that day, that being the 1966 World Cup final against Germany.














Still in Birmingham, sitting glued to the TV, the game went into extra time where England were ultimately victorious.  However, the game and resulting celebrations made them even later departing for their appointment.  Upon arrival at Tiles, they were met by the club manager, furious at their late arrival and didn’t mind them knowing it, the discussion becoming rather heated.  Refusing to give them time to properly set up their equipment and P.A. system, John felt they had been pushed too far and the band decided to “shove the gig”.   They decided to go for a curry instead!



In the cold light of day,  a sinking feeling came over them as they awaited the comments of the NME reviewer, surely they had blown such a valuable chance.   Come Thursday morning, Brian sheepishly bought his copy of the NME and hesitantly came across the article – there, in bold print it read “The John Bull Breed put up a terrific show. These boys obviously know their trade and are surely bound for the top”!  One can only assume that the reviewer too had been too engrossed in the match to go to the show!.




Another promotion for the single involved the band being filmed on the funfair at Cannon Hill Park., Birmingham  The guys were have great fun taking over the carousel and helter-skelter, to the tune of their new record.  This film was broadcast on ATV on several occasions, even apparently as stock footage for years after whenever they needed some film of a fairground!   














































The Sunday Mercury’s Pop Poll of 1965 saw the JBB take 43% of the entire votes cast with the band members each also winning their individual category (Mark Stuart best male singer 39%, Mike Heard – lead guitar 44%, Graham Rose – drums 40%, Terry Guy – piano 45%, Mick Broxton – sax 67% and, of course, John Lodge for the bass category 35%), each being presented with a certificate to prove it..   During 65, ex-Carpetbagger Malcolm Bourne was also with the band on keyboards.












In August 1966, whilst the John Bull Breed were in Torquay, Graham Green and Trevor Griffin were contacted by an old acquaintance from their “Saints” days, and asked to move to Hemel Hempstead to reform their old band as The Question and Graham Rose and John Lodge agreed to join them so, the JBB were no more.


Fortune came knocking however when Polydor persuaded Brian to become an agent.  He later continued to deal with the Moodies, particularly in booking them for shows at the Belfry which became a good place to prepare for their late 60’s US tours.   He continues to run a successful entertainment agency with many well known acts on his books and organised the popular Brum Rocks tours featuring a host of Birmingham’s finest artists.



Photos supplied courtesy of Brian Yeates, Mike Heard and Michael Carroll.



Brian Yeates Associates Official Website