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The following back copies of REVIVAL'S NEWS LETTER can be accessed by clicking on the dates listed below

December 2009 February 2007

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Cutting the birthday cake during a break at a recent gig

Revival, celebrate 20 years together this year and show no sign of slowing down! The majority now have a bus pass rather than a back stage pass and setting up and breaking down the gear does take just a little bit longer than it did - but the passion and enthusiasm for their music and the unquenchable desire to entertain their audience is undimmed

In October 1989, Geoff Wilkinson and Geoff Ellis took their electric guitars to Swanwick Hall for a weekend away with St. Mark's Church, Woodthorpe, with the sole intention of accompanying songs at the services. For a laugh, Geoff Wilkinson decided secretly to volunteer them both for a guitar duet at the Saturday evening concert. "Wonderful Land" and "FBI" were brushed up (they had known them perfectly only 25-years earlier!) and performed to an unsuspecting audience. The result was amazing and quite unexpected with rapturous applause from over a hundred people who were obviously trying desperately to recall their youth!

In the bar later that evening, someone from the audience came up with the idea of the two Geoffs, getting together with others to form a rock and roll band that could play at a "60's Night" in the spring of 1990. Geoff Wilkinson's brother Bryan and church organist Richard Marsden

were obvious choices, but a drummer and a singer were not so easy to find. It was then that Bryan suggested Ken Pritchett,who used to sing with them years earlier in a group called the "Talismen". Luckily, Bryan still had Ken's phone number - who readily agreed. Evan Thompson - a mere youngster at the side of the other seasoned veterans - came along from the Nottingham Christian Centre as a drummer. With the help of Steve Potts (who had access to microphones and P.A. equipment), a friend who made shiny Teddy Boy jackets and the band's wives who carefully "gelled" their husbands hair (there seemed to be more to work with, in those days), the first of Revival's dances took place. March 17th, 1990 arrived and the stage was set with no more chance to practice. The band members were petrified, the hall was packed and everyone had a tremendous time, raising 800 for the church AND they made a half-page spread in the Nottingham Evening Post! Little did anyone know then how things would snowball. Other organisations asked the band to play and within a year they were accepting gigs at weddings, silver weddings, churches, schools, 40th and 50th birthday parties, golf clubs etc. They had the honour of playing at most of the big hotels in the City of Nottingham, County Hall, the Dome at Kelham Hall (Southwell) and some functions where the audience paid 45 each to see them (though there was also a five course meal including smoked salmon and waitress service - and it was for charity!). In the 20-years that Revival have been together, there have only been three changes in personnel. Evan found it hard taking a service in church at 8am on Sunday after playing until 1am the night before and in 1992 was happy to hand over to Allan Woolley who remained as the band's drummer until retiring due to ill health in August 2008. He was replaced by Alan Yeo who is now enjoying his second year with the band. Richard Marsden handed over responsibility for keyboards to Jim Kirby six years ago, when business and family commitments became too great.

The original line up. Geoff Wilkinson, Bryan Wilkinson, Richard Marsden, Evan Thompson, Geoff Ellis with Ken Pritchett (Front)

The diversity of Revival's bookings is amazing! They have branched out into theatres as well as dance halls. They have played at the London Guildhall, Nottingham's Albert Hall, Wollaton Park, the Commodore International, Arnold's Open Air Festival, recorded a session at Pebble Mill for radio and broadcast a live 30-minute spot for BBC Radio Nottingham. The band also played at Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall in January 2005.

The mailing list to fans grows continually - as does the amount of equipment the band has on stage! It is a sobering thought that Revival began almost by accident and years later is being asked to play with some of the top professional bands of the 60's So far, they have supported Gerry and the Pacemakers, Dave Berry and Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers. It is also an astounding fact that since 1990 they've played for countless charitable institutions, which have grossed an estimated 185,000. Cancer Research UK has presented a certificate to each band member in recognition of their fund-raising for the charity. Revival are also proud to have been nominated by the Rotary Club of Nottingham (North) for Citizens of the Year. It's good that so many people have benefited from a bunch of old wrinkly wannabes having the time of their lives! Fortunately this is a story without an ending. The band diary continues to fill up more than a year in front with a wide range of events and venues, each organiser being confident that Revival will bring something special to their evening.

After all this time rehearsals are still a vital part of the band's ethos, old favourites are revisited and new material, once selected, must be performed to Revival's exacting standards before it is added to the live set.

The real joy of Revival's success is the reaction of the audience to the music. Without an audience to share these special musical moments the journey would not have been possible.

* * *


Being a member of Revival is like having a birthday every weekend but to be a part of a band celebrating 20 years together is really quite special. I'm Alan, the latest addition to the Revival family and although new to the band, like most of the others I am in my 60s and have been playing in and around the local music scene from about the age of 15. In all of this time I guess that the longest that I was in a group before they pressed the self-destruct button was about five years. When you consider the components that go into making up an outfit that can perform live music to a consistently high standard in front of expectant audiences, it is no wonder that disagreements between individuals will surface.

Revival, somehow manage to avoid this in-fighting, which has destroyed so many brilliant acts over the years. As an insider now, I can see why they are still thriving - it simply is a case of what you see is what you get. Let me explain. A band generally has two faces. The one you see on stage and the one for business meetings, rehearsals and all the other behind the scenes activity necessary to keep them working. There is a togetherness and a genuinely shared passion for everything that Revival stand - easing our way through every difficult decision that arises.

To complete the picture of a band that has been performing live music for 20 years, I must mention the talent that stands before each audience at every gig. Live music needs musicians to deliver the sound that we all expect to hear consistently and with confidence. Revival have this in abundance. Ken fronts the band with the most wonderful vocals that make me want to stop playing and listen (maybe that would spoil things!) The backing vocals from the rest of the boys are simply stunning and a huge part of the Revival sound. As I sit behind the kit on stage, I have Jim to my far left, who adds keyboard or guitar as required; Geoff on lead guitar; and Bryan on bass - which for me as a drummer is a vital part of the sound. Bryan is always solid, making my life easier. Then comes Steve, playing guitar, saxophone or anything else that we may need as well as managing the sound system for us all. Each one of them is at the top of their game and a pleasure to make music with. The 20th-birthday celebrations continue with a party on 16th July and a concert on 9th October (see Tour Dates for details). Our thanks go to the many people who have helped us to mark this event, including Anna, who made the cake, The Nottingham Evening Post who printed a half page article and BBC Radio Nottingham who talked to Steve and Geoff live on air. Last but by no means least, a huge thanks to all of our wives who continue to support us. As the previous article concludes, the biggest thank-you must go to the thousands of you who have danced, listened, sung and smiled along with us, making the journey so worthwhile.

Thanks to you all.

Alan Yeo


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