The Senators 1961
Bruce Turner – Lead guitar and vocals.
Bruce was an all round entertainer, both on and off stage. On stage he could play his guitar round the back of his head. Off stage, at Penton Corner Cafe after a gig he would push a whole Walls Steak and Kidney pie into his mouth and eat it.
Toby Turner, Bruce’s son, e mailed me a few weeks ago. I was delighted to hear from him, as nobody seemed to know where Bruce had gone. Toby gave me his number and I was able to ring him and we had a long chat. He told me that after he left ‘The Loot’, he and his partner went as a duo playing clubs and cruise ships. In 2000 he gave up gigging and now runs a courier business in Manchester.
Arthur Smart – Bass Guitar
After the group split up Arthur emigrated and now lives in Byron Bay Australia. He spends a lot of his time with wife, Yvonne, travelling the world and when in this country we meet up for a meal.
John Walker – Drums
John has a good voice and must love his playing because he has been in so many bands and is still playing in the USA (Johnny and the Rebels.)
Pete Staples - Rhythm Guitar
This is the Senators hand out card. Note: Own Transport, Wow! On the back I have Roy Orbison's autograph, my prized possession!
I was pleased to hear from Arthur & John recently and it’s amazing that none of us can remember how we joined ‘The Senators.’ Is it an age thing? – or perhaps it wasn’t that important at the time.
Arthur “I worked as a butcher for A C Stevens, Bridge Street, Andover and Bruce (lead singer/guitar) worked as a dental technician next door. I’d known him at school and he was always popping in for a chat. He was going to start a band and asked if I would play the bass. I’d never played a musical instrument in my life, but we went to Sainsbury Fisher and purchased a bass and amp on the HP. The next few months I learned, in Bruce’s mum’s kitchen, to play FBI with just two fingers”.
‘The Senators’ went on to be at the forefront of the Andover musical scene; played many gigs and had an enthusiastic following.
John “I played in a skiffle group with Bruce called ‘The Bandits’ and then with a new line up with Bruce, Mickey Roach, Morrie and Gigner Mansfield playing more rock numbers.
I can’t remember how ‘The Senators’ were formed, but I did have a lot of fun playing the pubs, clubs and dance halls around the Andover area.”
'The Senators' 1962 at the Fiesta Hall, Andover with Jess Conrad. Wearing our new midnight blue glitter jackets and silver grey crocodile boots WOW. The line up is : Arthur, Bruce, Jess Conrad, John and me.
In January this year (2014) I had an e mail from John Walker (ex Senator), who now lives in Washington DC, telling me that Arthur (ex Senator) and his wife, Yvonne, were visiting him from Australia in June and would like us to join them for a get together. What a fantastic idea!!
John has a band called the Roc-o-Diles who had a gig in JV bar, Falls Church Virginia and invited me to play a couple of numbers with them. So, I borrowed their bass and thoroughly enjoyed playing 'Wild Thing' and 'Love Is All Around' - great fun.
John, and his wife Mary, were excellent hosts and we saw much of Washington and were even able to celebrate Arthur's birthday with a lovely meal. We had a fabulous week together and it was as if we had last see each other yesterday!! The only person missing from the 4 Senators was Bruce and, if anyone knows where he is, it would be great to hearing how he is doing.
Arthur's birthday meal - left to right Mary Tavenner Walker, Pete, John Walker, Hilary, Yvonne and Arthur.