Says Frank Allen
By Bill Harry
Mersey Beat: October 22 1964
Brand new Searcher Frank Allen described to us some of the excitement he felt on his first worldwide trip with the group shortly before he made his appearance on 'Top Of The Pops.' "Incidentally," said Frank, "Looking around the television studios, "I've never seen myself on television yet."
He settled back to tell of the American trip. "The audience reaction in the States was really wild. The most memorable part of the trip took place at the Brooklyn Fox - there were 15 acts on the bill.
"I was surprised to hear that we were top of the bill when I found out who the other acts were. They included Dusty Springfield, Millie, the Miracles, the Contours, the Ronettes, Marvin Gaye, Martha & the Vandellas, the Supremes, the Dovells, Jay & the Americans, the Shangri Las and Little Anthony & the Imperials. In fact I felt a little apprehensive, then I
realized WHY we were top of the bill when I saw that the audience were mainly youngsters who had come to see a British beat group - and I found that the Americans have seen so many of the other acts before that they had put a lot of them on the same bill to draw the crowds - just three of those acts could make a tour of Britain.
"And when we went on stage - which was in the middle of the show, not at the end as over here - the kids went wild. It was like the Hampden Roar. In Los Angeles we had three days off and just lazed around a swimming pool. "I just can't wait to get back to the States."
We asked how he found Australia. "Turn left at New Zealand," he quipped, before describing their successful Australasian tour with Eden Kane, Peter & Gordon and Del Shannon.
"At Fiji we missed our connection and had to stay there for a day. A special barbeque was thrown for us that evening. It was terrific - in the open air by a swimming pool with all the native dancers putting on a show for us. "We arrived in New Zealand half an hour before we were due to go on stage. "When we arrived in Australia we found wild audiences again and the stadiums we appeared at were very large and had capacities up to four or five thousand.
"At Sydney Stadium there was a revolving stage and we had to walk through the aisle to get to it - it was difficult with all the youngsters trying to get to us - one girl threw herself on Mike from the balcony.
"At virtually every venue girls were jumping onto the stage; yes, they were really wild.
"With Peter and Gordon we went to a most fantastic beach - Surfer's Paradise. I took one look at the waves, thought that surfing would be a bit dangerous and we all spent the day swimming." Discussing the success of his former group Cliff Bennett & the Rebel Rousers, Frank said, "I'm completely knocked out at their success. As soon as I found they'd entered the charts I sent a telegram of congratulations from New Zealand.
"'One Way Love' is a great record, and I've always liked the number. "I saw Cliff as soon as I arrived home - he lives just around the corner from my house...and I brought Moss Groves lots of book matches, a bag of them - he's been collecting book matches for years. "Incidentally, I'm on the 'B' side of the record. It was recorded while I was still with the group. "Cliff Bennett & the Rebel Rousers are still my favourite band."
Frank told us of the group's future plans. "We are booked until the end of January. In December we record an LP and we are also off to Sweden - and in January we are off to South Africa."
Of their tour, which commenced last Saturday, Frank commented, "It's my first major
British tour and I'm looking forward to it. We are on stage for about 30 minutes and Chris has thought of new ideas for our stage act."
Yes, Frank is a very happy Searcher indeed. "The Searchers are a complete team. Their brand of music is a pleasant change - and I'm having a great time", he said.