Gus Travis & The
Adapted from an article which appeared in Mersey Beat on October 18 1962.
Gus first started singing when the group was originally called Gus & the Thundercaps. He started as a Rock singer, bypassing skiffle. Included amongst his favourite artists are Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis etc. He has a style which has been developed over the years which is entirely his own and he spends a great deal of his time listening to records and, in fact, he must have the largest collection of records of any singer on Merseyside, a collection which runs into at least three or four thousand records collected over the years.
Gus is dedicated to his work, and he is consistently looking for new numbers, new ideas. He is very fond of casual clothes, and he loves to go off on long walks with his dog, Kim, or go off for the day fishing. He likes the quiet life, but also believes life is for living. It might be mentioned in passing that he has a very peculiar sense of humour as most of the boys in the group have found out after so many years!
Dave Carden, lead guitar
Dave's first interest in the guitar was inspired by Lonnie Donegan. He strives to become a perfectionist in his playing and his inspiration is Chet Atkins, together with Franny Beecher (of Bill Haley fame). His favourite hobby is reading. In fact, he has quite an extensive library. His favourite clothes are lounge suits and his main dislike is tea without sugar, though it should be mentioned that he is none too keen on Traditional Jazz. Also gifted with a riotous sense of humour, which evidently stems from the early age of four when his grandfather was killed by a pig (who was blind drunk at the time!) on a railway line at the age of 104.
Brian Woods, bass guitar
The smallest member of the group, by far the most dangerous practical joke wise! he was first inspired to take up the guitar in 1957 after attending the Boy Scout's Jambouree. His idols are Jet Harris and Johnny Duncan (whom he always insists is present at all the group's appearances) for vocals, and he likes to sing country and western and blues. His hobbies are astronomy (no kidding!), art and motor bikes. Main dislike is custard. Does a lot of swimming, cycling, and loves to watch wrestling. Brian is dedicated to playing, but he would make a great comedian as has been seen on the stage more than once.
Ian McQuair, rhythm guitar
Ian, an insurance broker by day, rhythm guitarist by night, almost assumes the Jekyll and Hyde characteristics created by his favourite author Robert Louis Stevenson in the story 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'. A lover of good books, Ian prefers macabre, unusual and supernatural stories. He also has quite a collection of science-fiction books. Other hobbies of his include tenpin bowling and listening to his Hi-Fi.
John Cochran, drums
John has been playing drums for four years - and he isn't tired yet. He has earned quite a reputation locally for his notorious smile which he gives to the audiences when he steps on stage - it never fails to get a laugh. John, together with Ian, Alan and Gus was formerly a member of Gus & the Thundercaps.
Alan Watts, piano
Believe it or not, Alan's favourite pianist is Liberace who he considers to be one of the finest pianists in the world, both of classical and popular music. Alan is quite a sportsman and enjoys hunting, golfing, shooting, archery and bowling.
Editor's note: The band originally formed in the Wirral in 1959, initially performing at St Bridget's youth club, West Kirby. Bass guitarist Clive Watkins was later replaced by Bill Bingham while drummer Ian Douglas was replaced by Pete Williams. Singer Travis was also accompanied by Dave Carden on lead, Ian McQuair on rhythm and Alan Watts on piano. They changed their name in 1962 to Gus Travis & the Midnighters, inspired by the American artists Hank Ballard & the Midnighters. In November 1962 Freddie Starr joined them and Travis continued as a member of the group (which now changed its name to
Freddie Starr & the Midnighters) for a short time before joining The Four Dymonds.