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Howard Gillespie with his Fender replica of the Strat that Cliff bought for Hank to Use.

I was 14 years old in 1972 and I went to a Variety show in which my father (a well known Northern Stand up Comedian) was appearing. On the bill were The Sharons a duo who amongst other things played Hank Marvin’s arrangement of Born Free. I was mesmerised that sound, those guitars.

The lead guitarist Francis Wyatt suggested that I buy the MFP album Mustang which I did. Then he recommended Rockin’ with Curly Leads, I knew I wanted to sound like that.

I recruited a couple of friends who were able to play Bass and Rhythm and we soon became The Huytones and then 42nd Street  (Left to Right Steve, Howard and Stephen):

howard 42nd street

I spent hours after school in my bedroom learning to play tunes from my ever growing collection of Shadows albums which had fortunately been re-released as The Shads had reformed. In 1975 I not only was able to see them in concert but also meet them in person afterwards.

After serving my apprenticeship in the North of England Working Men’s Clubs and Cabaret venues (with Phaze III), I moved to Dorset.

howard - phaze 3

Cabaret band Phaze III who supported stars like Kenn Dodd and Faith Brown.

Fast forward to 1997 when I joined Shadivarius, a precursor to The Bootleg Shadows. Through that I met and became friends with Bruce, Tony, Brian “Lic” Locking and the wonderful much missed Jet Harris.

In April of 2022 I was delighted to be invited by The Bootleg Shadows to stand in for Keith and my debut appearance was 1st of May.