First Beat Tour of
Italy Not Successful
Becomes a Holiday
By Bill Harry
September 17 1964
British beat music has swept across the world - and the only country that seems to resist the beat scene is Italy.
THE MERSEYBEATS were the first beat group to be engaged for an extensive tour of Italy - and the boys spent most of the time there on holiday!
In Liverpool last week the group discussed the trip with us. Drummer JOHN BANKS said: "We played a total of six dates - two at Santa Margerita and one each at Viareggio, Rimini, Monte Cattini and Riccione.
"There was a mix-up of contracts. We should have gone to Tripoli for only three days but they wanted us for three weeks. We didn't go in the end and didn't visit Venice either. We had a fab holiday, though."
John told us that the transport arrangements proved to be ridiculous. They had been assured that transport would be laid on, but when they got there found that it hadn't - and this proved especially difficult as the venues were so far apart.
TONY CRANE commented: "We ended up by staying four days or so at each place, but playing there only once. It was all very enjoyable but we were glad to get home."
They met lots of English people over there - and when they did perform it was mainly to audiences composed of tourists. "Where and when we did play we got very good receptions," said John.
He continued: "Playing over there was like turning the clock back to the early days of rock and roll. The Italians in the audiences were very enthusiastic, though - they started clapping in the middle of a number if they liked it and jumped on to tables and chairs."
The group spent all their spare time swimming and sunbathing.
We bought a Lilo bed," said Tony, "and we spent hours floating on them in the sea. We tried water ski-ing - all of us - but gave it up as a bad job - we couldn't stay upright!
"The food was great, though. One meal lasts about three hours and there are about eight courses.