The Monotones – early years 1960-1962

The Monotones’ first rhythm guitarist Ian Middlemiss sent these photos and clippings of his time in the band from 1958-1962.

The photo captions are by Ian:

Earliest photo of the Monotones at St Cedds Church gig early in 1960 From left: Pete Stanley, Brian Alexander, Ian Middlemiss, Nigel Basham, and Barry Davis
Earliest photo of the Monotones at St Cedds Church gig early in 1960
From left: Pete Stanley, Brian Alexander, Ian Middlemiss, Nigel Basham, and Barry Davis
Ian Middlemiss with a Hofner Club 50 (?), never stayed in tune for more than 10 mins. June 1960, venue cannot remember
Ian Middlemiss with a Hofner Club 50 (?), never stayed in tune for more than 10 mins. June 1960, venue cannot remember
A clip from the local paper, gig at St Cedds in May 1961
A clip from the local paper, gig at St Cedds in May 1961
St Cedds May '61. Clearly this is in open E. Middlemiss has got a Strat copy, Alexander exploring the possibilities of the Mixolydian mode in position 1? This I doubt. Alexander's thrashing about trying to find notes that roughly match the melody.
St Cedds May ’61. Clearly this is in open E. Middlemiss has got a Strat copy, Alexander exploring the possibilities of the Mixolydian mode in position 1? This I doubt. Alexander’s thrashing about trying to find notes that roughly match the melody.
April 1962, from left: Jim Eaton, Barry Davis, Paul Dunning, Brian Alexander and Ian Middlemiss. Stanley got fed up and had a six month sabbatical. He did come back eventually.
April 1962, from left: Jim Eaton, Barry Davis, Paul Dunning, Brian Alexander and Ian Middlemiss. Stanley got fed up and had a six month sabbatical. He did come back eventually.
From left: Nigel Basham, Barry Davis, Paul Dunning, Brian Alexander and Ian Middlemiss. A half decent shot of Stanley's bass made by his Dad. Basham and Eaton shared the vocals or should I say Mark Lloyd and Thurston Crane (tee-hee). In 1962 to sing vocals you had to wear a suit and tie and pretend that you were a gentleman.
From left: Nigel Basham, Barry Davis, Paul Dunning, Brian Alexander and Ian Middlemiss. A half decent shot of Stanley’s bass made by his Dad. Basham and Eaton shared the vocals or should I say Mark Lloyd and Thurston Crane (tee-hee). In 1962 to sing vocals you had to wear a suit and tie and pretend that you were a gentleman.
Monotones early gig notices White Hall, Westcliff; Essex Bowling Club, Wentworth Youth Centre
200 people at 2/6 a pop = £50 divided by 5 = £10 per member which is more than a 1960s weekly wage. Remember most of us were at WHSB and you get a 5 gallons of petrol for £1, pie and chips for 1/6d and get trousered for £2. No small wonder that Brian A. hired the White Hall for our debut performance. The downside of the White Hall was that they had no alcohol license.
Brian hired the dance hall at the Elms which was much bigger (300). An immediate success but the manager saw the potential and in the end got the beer money and the gate. We were not too bothered, the ladies were more important.
Monotones early gig notices, Middleton Hotel, St. Cedds, Castle Hotel Thorpe Bay
Who were the Strangers, Ebonies and O B Swing 5?

Mark Lloyd and the Monotones early gig cards, Leigh Wesley Youth Club, Cricketers Inn, Elms Hotel

12 thoughts on “The Monotones – early years 1960-1962”

  1. That’s no Strat copy- it’s a glorious Futurama II!

    The ones that are puzzling me are the Basses though…can’t the one in the first picture looks Burns Weill-ish or perhaps Supersound?

    Is the other one homemade? They both seem to have name badges on the headstocks, but I can’t quite make em out…

  2. Hi
    I was the lead singer for Robbie Strange and the Strangers, one of the Southend rock groups back in the 60’s.Whilst we played at a number of venues with the Monotones we had a regular gig at the Ancona Club on the Southend Arterial Road.
    Our group were later known as Robbie Flame & The Foreros and as I now reside in West Sussex have long lost touch with the members of the group.
    Doug Sheldrake was our lead guitarist and and whilst Jim Clements (drummer) Dave Johnson (rhythm) and Rob Crawford (manager) were all from Westcliff High I met them through my brother Malcolm as I was a Rayleigh Sweyne pupil.
    We also had an excellent base player Mick who joined us a little later and I remember us all cutting a disc with a guy called Curly Clayton in Highgate London.

  3. Taking the St Cedds piccy and from left to right……
    Brian Alexander threshing a Futurama
    Ian Middlemiss deffo on a really awful Strat copy.
    Pete Stanley on a homemade bass.
    Trust me, I was there.
    Regards Ian Middlemiss

  4. Hi Ian-

    thanks for the ID on the bass…thought it wasn’t a standard model. Any ideas on the bass in the first pic?

    RE: Strat copy- this is a particular bugbear of mine, so excuse the pedantry. 😉

    To me, a ‘Strat copy’ is something that is a complete copy of a Fender Strat- three pickups, bridge one angled, trem routed from the rear, bolt on neck- same shape as a Strat.

    Your Futurama had a set neck, two pickups, top mounted trem/tailpiece with separate bridge, completely different shape- as well as being thinner, and much, MUCH smaller than a strat. I’ve had both of them at one time or another, and believe me, if you remember that as anything like a Strat (regardless of perception of ‘quality’- I’m a big fan of the Gracioso/Futuramas), your memory is playing tricks on you. It’s a completely different beast.

    http://www.vintagehofner.co.uk/hofnerfs/futurama/gal7.html

    The other Futurama in the picture is more inspired by Strats- but is still a pretty unusual design, and 100% not a copy of anything.

    It wasn’t until the seventies that the real ‘strat copy’ era started- with all the japanese plywood things that cropped up.

  5. Hi Ian,

    I’ve enjoyed looking over your photos of the Monotones. Remember fusing the lights at a gig with “The Counts” at Victor Sylvester’s Dance Studio in Southend? What are you up to these days? Cheers, Andrew Rainbow

  6. My name is Heidi Johnson but before I was married it was Basham..yes Nigel was my dad….also know as Mark Loyd……my heart is still broken to this day with his passing …he was my world….I was his only child and he treated me like gold every day of his life…he has two grand children that he left behind….Latrell who is soon to be 18 and Jayden Mark Johnson who was born 2 months after his passing…Jayden shares his love of music already….even loves to drum like dad did….dad was a lefty even though he could still do heaps with his right hand….jayden is the same way…..if he is half as talented as dad and even half the man he was then Jayden will be truly blessed……I love the old pictures and even remember some of them as I was born in 71…. I just want everyone to know that he was an honest ,loving ,caring man who sang from the heart and truly loved the industry …….

    I miss you dad…
    Love you madly every minute of the day
    Heidi……

  7. Hi all, am looking for information on “the mustangs” form in Southend in the late 60’s, am interested in Elliott Burchmore, my dad, know he currently resides in Denmark, but have no way of contacting him.

    Thanks in advance

    Marc

    1. I knew Elliot many years ago and have no idea of his whereabouts but would be pleased to hear from you, try colin (at) valcol.com

      1. Hi, its great to finally get a response from someone who knew dad, have tried valcom.com but cant access the server?? Dont know why …can you help? If not would you know of anyone else who may know him?

        Thank you

        Marc

  8. I worked alongside Nigel Basham and Brian Alexander at their nightclub Alexanders in Hampton Court I am so sad that Nigel/Mark has gone such a wonderful guy who I will always remember with fondness.

  9. On one of your photos you could not remember a group called The Ebonies. Well they consisted of George Bird, (who now sings with one of the groups touring as The Roubettes), Barry Scanling, who moved to Canada, Ray Emmans, Guy Rustall and myself. I`m still managing to annoy
    people as a solo entertainer. I remember that first gig at the Elms as we went on to do the Crown in Rayleigh the on to the Foxhunters on the same night. Happy days!

  10. Hi,

    Was just wondering if anybody has any information on the whereabouts of Brian Alexander, just trying to make contact with him.

    Thanks.

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