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Since forming way back in 1966 as a bunch of teenage Mods, Stray have pretty much been a constant presence in the UK live music scene, spearheaded by irrepressible showman and guitarist Del Bromham. By 1970, with only a change of drummer, they had carved out for themselves a burgeoning reputation as a hot live act and each of the four members possessed considerable prowess in their chosen field. Drummer Ritchie Cole hammered his kit like his idol Keith Moon, Gary Giles pitched in with some Funky bass runs and singer Steve Gadd was a frontman of no mean ability. As for Bromham, there wasn’t much he couldn’t do with a guitar.
It was customary for British bands in the late 1960s to have the blues – but it was only the Groundhogs who really battled them. Having started life in the early 1960s as a dues-paying, John Lee Hooker backing four, by the mid-1970s, they had become a trio who supported The Rolling Stones, had three Top 10 albums – only to develop a baroque quasi-funk, just in time for punk. Just as they finally won the battle, the war, so to speak, moved elsewhere.
Essentially, the Groundhogs made music for generations of freaks, without being particularly freaky themselves. Based around the blues-derived playing of Tony McPhee, (never a drug-taker; his hobbies included mending electronic equipment), theirs was music that, if anything made a virtue out of this British reserve. Not just great musicians, the Groundhogs were also acute songwriters: and having sketched images of war, class obedience, suburban life, the band’s torrential playing was ripe to break free from them.
Del Bromham leads '70s rock legends back on the road. After tours with Iron Maiden, Uriah Heep, Nazareth, Kiss, Black Sabbath, Rush, Canned Heat to name but a few, Stray still have a widespread appeal to rock and blues audiences young and old. The show features many of their best known classic rock songs as well as some new material. The band’s current show still features the original lead guitar hero, Del Bromham, who will be joined by Stuart Uren on bass guitar and Karl Randall on drums, while Peter Dyer makes a welcome return on guitar and vocals.
See Stray tour dates
Ken Pustelnik, the original Groundhogs drummer, has formed a new lineup of the band. Their show features all the classics from The Groundhogs long and very successful existence (formed in 1963), which featured Ken Pustelnik's unorthodox drumming style. All the traditional Groundhog elements will be on show, such as the high energy arrangements and the free-flowing psychedelic-tinged improvisations, all anchored by the underlying Blues Root ever present since the bands earliest days.
See 6 tour dates featuring Groundhogs
The Brickmakers & B2
- 496 Sprowston Road
- NR3 4DY