Smoke on the Water (and Everywhere Else Too)

I got my first guitar when I was 12. It was an acoustic. My father also got a guitar at the same time and while he focused on learning notes I focused on chords. He and I would play various folk songs where he would pick out the melody to my chords….

At age 14, I was bought a Woolworth’s electric and small amplifier. Of course, I was soon ‘jamming’ with other kids and we formed a band called Brutus shortly thereafter. actually, we simply met one night a week to sit chatting, strumming and tasting my Dad’s home-made beer shandy. Brutus however eventually became Nemo and Nemo had a weekly practice at the Conservative Club up in Willerby Square. Eventually, we could actually play a few songs…. passingly. The crappy woolies guitar was soon replaced by my pride and joy that sits across from me now. A Cleartone Musical Industry Telecaster Custom copy in black with maplewood neck. I did a paper round 5 nights a week for nearly two-years to buy it!

Nemo had a few line up changes and then we went into a local studio and recorded two songs. One written by me and the other a rock and roll classic. It was time to do our first proper gig.


So the five of us, none older than 16, found ourselves at some church hall one night the main feature – after the disco of course…. We wanted it to look good and we had invested in a few colored lights and two smoke bombs. The idea was to open with Smoke on the Water in darkness bringing up our coloured lights as the smoke from the two smoke bombs took effect. It would be a cool way to begin.

The moment came. Finding number one is that it is difficult to play in the dark on a small cramped stage but we managed. Finding number 2 is that smoke bombs create a lot of smoke. By the time we were two or three riffs into the song, it was apparent that the smoke was over done. So over done that the place had to be evacuated!

Our first gig ended after 4 bars of Smoke on the water with the fire brigade and 60 kids stood outside the church hall waiting in the cold to be allowed back in again.

We learned.

No more smoke bombs.

Leave a Reply