(CDL Records)


Over in the U.K. The Evening Shadows keep the spirit of the ‘60s burning brightly on their 2011 CD entitled 60-63. What they’re referring to are the magical musical years of 1960-1963, when every great thing that was possible in the music world did in fact happen. Before world wide Beatlemania ensued late in 1963, The Shadows were the key band in the U.K. With their sophisticated blend of pop instrumentals, The Shadows sort of stepped aside (as did every other band worldwide) when the Beatles truly arrived on the international stage yet the songs The Shadows wrote and recorded during that magical pre-Beatlemania era still sound great. On 60-63, The Evening Shadows offer a short but sweet set of a dozen Shadows classics. Starting off the Shadows’ signature song “Apache”, The Evening Shadows cover a number of classics, including a dozen songs Shadows fans have known inside out for the past 50 years. What they lack in originality is made up for in a devoted and fresh approach to recapturing the greatest era of guitar instrumentals. Armed with his ‘Fiesta Red” Fender Strat, played through his VoxAC30, guitarist Chas de Lacy gets solid support from his fellow band members—including Alan Peacock (bass), Tony Grubb (rhythm guitar) and Peter Precious (drums and percussion). Close your eyes and it’s 1961 all over again! presents an interview with

mwe3: The impact Cliff Richard and the The Shadows has had on most young people in England and most of the world has been a quite long lasting occurrence. What do you attribute "The Shadows phenomenon" to and when and how did you first start listening to them?

CDL: Well, my viewpoint is from one who was aware of The Shadows from their first hit. I’ve sometimes wondered how people much younger than me have been taken on to Shadows music. I mean on the one hand I totally understand because I love it, but on the other hand it’s interesting how they like music that comes from a generation before. Certainly when I was young the music my parents enjoyed was very different! I guess the rock and pop of the 50’s & 60’s which was so very different from what went before has formed the basis of what’s happened since, so maybe not so different to the younger generation? When I was young I started to notice a new electric guitar sound—for instance Duane Eddy and Scotty Moore's work on Elvis’ “Hound Dog” in particular.

In 1960 when The Shadows released “Apache”, I felt that they had taken things to a new level, and I was hooked. As they released subsequent singles I was never disappointed with their records—both A and B sides. I think I realized after a while that it wasn’t just Hank’s unique sound and style, but the whole band was just as important to the sound. Unlike some other records everything seemed very clear and well played, each player having their own individual technique, talent, sound and often inventiveness. Also important was the material and the arrangements. The performances were fresh with an edge. It was a whole thing. Looking back it’s incredible that those records were played by anyone so young.

Another aspect was visual—when Hank got his first Strat, it looked like a guitar from outer space, and to us youngsters sounded like it as well! It wasn’t long before all the band’s guitars were matching, and that had an image which has endured with the public. Added to that, they had a lot of TV exposure, not only in their own right, but backing Cliff Richard.

We’ve certainly got a lot to thank Cliff for. As he was having early record success, he needed a band to back him on tour, and by a series of (to us) happy coincidences the four musicians came together to become initially ‘The Drifters’ then to be renamed The Shadows. It was also Cliff who suggested to Norrie Paramor and Columbia that The Shadows should record also on their own as well as with him. He was very encouraging to the boys. The great thing for us is that we got a double dose of The Shadows both on record and on TV. Cliff Richard and The Shadows were “the” top act—you had to be there at the time to appreciate just how big.

The Shadows were also a huge influence on other bands and musicians, and set a mould for small combos. They were definitely responsible for launching many thousands of guitarists, many of whom have gone on to great things.

mwe3: How has The Evening Shadows band and sound progressed over the past couple decades and where and when was the band formed?

CDL: The band was originally formed by Nick ffrench in the early 90’s, then joined by Trevor Popple on bass and Dave Harwood on drums. After a while they auditioned for a ‘Cliff’ and Jerry Richards came along. Trevor became the lead guitarist with Nick on rhythm and Dave Cameron joined on bass. During the 90’s a couple of cassette albums were released, and towards the close of that decade the group disbanded. Two or three years on, I met Jerry and we started to play together now and then and talked about getting a Cliff and Shadows band together, then Jerry introduced me to Nick, and before long The Evening Shadows were back in business.

During the course of the 2000’s the band has had a few changes of personnel for various reasons. Band members have included Wayne Nicholls on rhythm, Alan Jones on bass, and also helped occasionally by Nathan Hulse on bass and John Tuck on drums when deps were needed. We’ve got some good friends.

The band’s sound has progressed—we pay a lot of attention to detail. As a tribute band we make every effort to ‘sound like the record’, which is what an audience would expect. Two or three of us play or work on other projects, but when we play The Shadows it’s great fun—we love it.

mwe3: What guitars do you perform on the new Evening Shadows CD and how do you and the band get that same exact sound that Hank Marvin got 50 years ago? Any other interesting guitar news from England?

CDL: On all of these tracks I use my Fender Strat (Fiesta Red with rosewood neck), the bass is a Fender (flat wound strings as per original) and for the acoustic rhythms a Takamine and a Tanglewood. Electric rhythm is a Strat. The only particular piece of equipment on the drums is a piccolo snare (again as was used back in the day).

How do we get the same sound? Well equipment-wise I use an Alesis Q2 unit programmed by echo genius Charlie Hall, and a Vox AC30. I recorded / produced the album on a modern stand alone digital recorder—I guess I should have used some great old tape gear, but I didn’t (laughter). Even with tape I’d never have the sort of equipment that the Abbey Road Studios had, so I’ve just worked with what I’ve got and is convenient. The only outside assistance was mastering, but that was really just to get track levels even and spacing right.

The thing I try to do is to get the correct sound going in. The better you can do that, the easier it is to deal with. The instruments are mic’d up. The only D.I. was the bass—no special reason, just convenience at the time. So I would sum it up by saying getting the ‘right’ sound going in—and playing technique has a lot to do with that—a bit of e.q. and/or compression where required (as with any recording) and final mixing. I think it’s probably fair to say there’s no particular magic to it—it’s how we sound because of the attention we pay to emulating the originals.

Guitar news—well if you’re talking of instruments we tend to look to the U.S. for that. Here Charlie Hall is working on a new echo unit which I’ve already put my name down for—I’m always looking for anything that might improve my sound! Burns London are continuing various Shadows related guitars from The Shads’ “Burns” era. I’m building some Strat type short scale 6 string bass and baritone guitars—think Jet Harris post-Shadows sound—under my de Lacy Guitars (London) banner.

mwe3: I interviewed producer Norman “Hurricane” Smith and he was talking about how he wrote “It’s A Man’s World” which I though was amazing. What are your favorite Shadows periods and if you could nail it down what are your 3 favorite Shadows albums and your 3 favorite Shadows singles (eps?) and why?

CDL: Yes, I like that track. As far as favorite Shadows periods go there are things I like from all of them. If I could only keep 3 Shadows albums it would have to be the first three UK issues—The Shadows, Out Of The Shadows and Dance With The Shadows—I don’t know if they were released in the US with the same album titles or track listings though. Singles is a tough one—almost impossible to nail down—I think maybe “The Frightened City”, “Wonderful Land” and “Atlantis”—and as with those albums it’s down to the impact they had on me. The majority of ep’s contained existing material with some exceptions, such as their first ep entitled The Shadows, but nothing to do trackwise with the ep’s issued from the first album of the same name. Los Shadows, Rhythm & Greens and Thunderbirds were other exceptions. In the early days the albums (apart from The Shadows Greatest Hits) didn’t contain any single A or B sides which meant that buying an album was good value as all the tracks would be new.

mwe3: I also asked Hurricane if he was surprised that, as it turned out, The Shadows remained unknown in the States. Besides, it was all a moot point (for most artists) when Beatlemania occurred right? What impact do you think Hank had on The Beatles? I watched a great DVD that came out a few years ago called Magical Mystery Tour Memories and some famous journalist who was on the set with the Beatles was commenting how she remembered that on the last day of filming that John Lennon was quite happy at the thought of seeing Hank and The Shadows do a concert that night.

CDL: Yes, considering the worldwide success of both Cliff Richard and The Shadows it’s surprising, but I suppose it was all down to promotion and air play. In the U.K. The Beatles were the next big thing, but interestingly as the Beatles were starting to have regular top of the chart success, The Shadows were at the same time enjoying a very successful time with number 1 hits. I can remember watching one particular weekly pop show called ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ and The Beatles were one of the bands/artists on the bill and played ‘We Can Work It Out’ , but The Shadows had the top slot on the show—I think playing “Shindig”. I’m not surprised that John Lennon was looking forward to seeing Hank. Both bands had a lot of respect for each other, and did meet up from time to time. George Harrison once said ‘no Shadows, no Beatles’, so again it demonstrates the huge influence and impact the Shadows had.

mwe3: So what’s next for The Evening Shadows and will there be new recordings written and recorded and how about touring and the occasional TV show? Also, what do you think about a bio pic movie of The Shadows, it’s never too late to educate the Americans!

CDL: At the moment there are many recordings of Shadows material completed, but I want also to record some other material including some originals which would be in the familiar style. I’m not sure if there’d be sufficient demand for a tour (presumably you mean in The US), but it would be great! A biopic of The Shadows story is a really good idea—I wonder if it would ever happen? The story of how it all came together for them is a very interesting one, and would make a good film.

Thanks To Chas de Lacy @


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