Ye Olde History Of The Band
From The Unreliable Rekolations
Pete Rattlebone Tindal
THE Cherokees were formed in 1961 when Johnny Chester a local singer in Melbourne
decided to downsize his band "The Chessmen" which had become too big, sporting up
to three guitarists at one time. Johnny approached Billy Dale, one of the guitarists
and said why not start a new band, Billy said that he preferred to play instrumentals,
as that is what he did when he played with his first band "The Jaywoods" who went
on to be "The Chessmen". Chess said no problem, start an instrumental group and I
will book you at my venues, (Johnny ran several dances around Melbourne at the time).
Johnny Chester suggested we hold a competition at Preston town hall in Melbourne
which was THE prestige venue at the time, while the band was out and about that day
they say a poster advertising a new iced lolly on the corner of Gilbert road and
Bell street Preston. you guessed it it was called "THE CHEROKEE" icy pole...Billy
said that's it, that's what I'm calling the band ,we are going to be called "THE
CHEROKEES".. Billy went down and registered it at the Titles office the very next
day. The first line up was with Billy Dale on guitar, Alan Chung on rhythm guitar,
Mick Lynch on loan from the Chessmen, and David Thompson on Bass a few weeks later
Barrie Windley stepped in on drums and Barrie King on rhythm guitar and vocals. the
line up lasted quite a while until Dave Thompson left and Doug Trevor from another
local band "The Marksmen" joined up. Just after the first single was recorded which
was "Running WIld" B/W"Moon In The Afternoon" on W@G records ,Barrie King left and
Doug's mate Lindsay Morrison joined to replace Barrie on rhythm guitar. It was with
The Cherokees" went into the studio and recorded "I've got something to tell you baby" on W@G records. this was a first because up until then the band only had recorded instrumentals, apart from what Barrie sang on the first album. This song went to number ten within a week or so and so the band was off and running. We used to play as did the Scorpions and every other band at Sunday afternoon shows at the Melbourne Festival Hall. The shows were run by a DJ from Melbourne radio 3DB. I was standing down in the audience chatting to some girls, when a three piece boy vocal group came on they were bottom of the bill and I stopped talking and listened they were great ha ha they were "The Bee Gees" how about that, we were top of the bill, they were bottom, how things were about to change.
Ron Tudor joined up with some other people and started "GO" records and took us with him. And so a two year relationship started with the label, All in all it was a good label and it was the best label to be on in sixties OZ. The first single with them was "I've Been Trying" a bit of a mournful song from an "Impressions" B side I still wince when I hear the bass line. The song just managed to scrape into the charts and was a bit of a stiff really. The next single was a bit more like it "That's If You Want Me Too" which peaked at number 7, this song always worked at gigs and I thought was the direction the band ought to go in, "Full Tilt R'n'R", but it seems I was wrong and we headed off down the path of covering American soul artists which was OK in its self but not the be all and end all.. We went into a studio in St Kilda in Melbourne . An old theatre I can still remember the place, an engineer called Roger Savage did the recordings. "We recorded The Angels Listened In" by the "Crests" and "Thats If You Want Me To". We also recorded "I Can Tell", its really weird, I went home after a gig one night and wrote that song, but it turns out someone else wrote it, how about that, I had never heard the song before, it was as obscure as you can get, but well, there you go..pretty bizarre stuff. we also recorded a song we all wrote called "Shame On You Baby" .
We went into Bill Armstrongs new studio next, it was one of those old Melbourne terraced houses and recorded "The Womans Got Soul" B/W I'll Give You Love" Barrie did a great job on the drumming, he was a really good drummer. I would say one of the best around at the time and he had a great voice. But as luck would have it the song just bumbled along on the charts. I remember we did Brian Hendersons Bandstand in Sydney with another up and coming group called "The Bee Gees" You could see back then that they were world class. We used to stay at "The Sheraton Inn" and order the best steak sandwiches ever.
Doug and I went down to the Whiskey a gogo club one night to see Dion Warwick and we got to meet her, wow what a buzz and said she saw us on TV before she came to the gig. We were blown away by this beautiful black six foot woman. Things were going great ,we had it all, even though chart success eluded us ,our live performances were knocking them out, we were packing them in, Sydney, Brisbane, After the Tour we recorded one more single called "Sally," yet it was in the same style as Minnie The Moocher .So here we are the band is still rocking and alive. And we are making a film called THE BURGER VAN AT THE END OF THE GIG so look out for it on VIMEO. And general release. It will also be available on USB STICK when the album is released in October.