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