Behind the Scenes

Nicky Crouch, lead guitarist with the Flamingos  

January 28 1962

Nicky CrouchThere is darkness and all you can hear is the muffled sound of the compere announcing you and the drummer counting you in as the curtains open, and then you are desperately trying to find where your left hand should be on the fret board of your guitar as you smile at the audience in front of you, who have been patiently waiting for you to appear for the last ten minutes.

The majority of people in the audience probably do not realize what goes on behind the curtains on stage during the time two groups are changing over positions. The group that has just finished take their time, with smug expressions if they have done a good show, and arguments develop if they haven't. Meanwhile, the group about to come on are frantically dragging heavy amplifiers around, then trying to tune up with records blaring and people arguing. The compere nearly tears his hair out trying to keep the drummer quiet for a few seconds. At last he succeeds. The records go off and he announces the group: the curtains open and we're on!

This is when the trouble really starts. As soon as the curtains open, we step from the darkness into the bright lights of the stage front. For a few moments you can't see anything, but gradually you get used to it and you cautiously advance to the stage front. In our group this is fatal, because, as we move forward, Faron has to move forward, too, and that's usually the last we see of him, except for a few seconds when he pokes his head up in-between numbers to say what he wants to do next.

I don't for one moment think the girls on the front of the stage realize how much it affects the show when they grab hold of a singer and drag him to the floor and start pulling off items of his clothing.

On most stages, the speakers of the amplifying system are in front of the stage, therefore neither the group nor the singer can hear any of the singing at all. This means that to keep in time and to know where to 'break', we must be able to see the singer and watch for his signals.

Also, a large majority of the audiences who go to jive halls, go there to dance and listen to the groups. Their enjoyment is spoilt, as the singer cannot be seen and the music is ragged with the result that, although the group may be popular to the few people round the front of the stage, it may become very unpopular to the majority of people.

We have been told by several promoters that any more breakages in microphones or microphone leads will be paid for by the group concerned. This not only applies to our group but to any other groups who have a singer like Faron. So singers take heed and whenever you go near the front of the stage try to make sure all leads are as far behind you as possible.

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