Simon K & The Meantimers

Simon K & The Meantimers, circa spring 1967. Left to right: Bill Pitt, Mick Armes, Kenny Simon, Rick Thomas and Paul Hewson. Photo: Michael Armes
Simon K & The Meantimers, May 1966 or 1967. Left to right: Bill Pitt, Mick Armes, Kenny Simon, Rick Thomas and Paul Hewson. Photo: Michael Armes

West London six-piece horn band Simon K & The Meantimers recorded a Hammond-drenched dance-floor classic called “Bring Your Love Back (To Me)”, which was coupled with “You Know I Do” for a UK single on the B&C label in November 1969.

Fronted by current Hot Chocolate lead singer Kenny Simon, The Meantimers had originally formed around mid-1964 in West Hampstead before linking with Simon.

Managed by Arthur Armes, father of the band’s drummer Michael, the original Meantimers also comprised lead guitarist Rick Thomas, classically trained organist Bill Pitt, bass player Warwick Rose and an Irish rhythm guitarist called Tony, who also handled lead vocals (sometimes with the group’s roadie Mick Eagan).

According to Michael Armes, his father turned the basement of his shop on Belsize Road in Kilburn into a rehearsal and recording room. It may well have been here that Simon cut some demos with West London band, The Tribe, including future Sweet guitarist Frank Torpey, that were picked up by Arthur Armes.

It is not clear when Kenny Simon joined The Meantimers but it could have been anytime between spring 1966 and early 1967.

Notable gigs (possibly before Kenny Simon):

7 August 1966 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (billed as Meantimers)

21 August 1966 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (billed as Meantimers)

9 October 1966 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (billed as Meantimers)

13 November 1966 – Tofts, Folkestone, Kent (billed as Meantimers)

Michael Armes, 1967
Michael Armes, 1966/1967

Former Overlanders’ bass player Paul Hewson had already taken over from Warwick Rose, who’d moved on to join The Soul Survivors, an early incarnation of The Love Affair, sometime before Kenny Simon joined on vocals.

A bass player called Terry briefly took over from Hewson in early 1967 but soon left to work in the West End as a scenery mover. Around the same time, former Quiet Five drummer Ray Hailey succeeded Michael Armes.

Notable gigs:

14 January 1967 – Tofts, Folkestone, Kent (billed as Meantimers)

19 January 1967 – Tiles, London (billed as Meantimers)

22 January 1967 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (billed as Meantimers)

11 February 1967 – Witchdoctor, Hastings, East Sussex (billed as Meantimers)

26 February 1967 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (billed as Meantimers)

12 March 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate, Essex with Pussyfoot (billed as Meantimers)

12 April 1967 – Flamingo, London

28 April 1967 – Witchdoctor, Catford, Kent with The Groove (billed as The Meantimers)

17 May 1967 – Industrial Club, Norwich, Norfolk

21 May 1967 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (billed as Meantimers)

Simon K & The Meantimers, circa spring 1967. Photo: Michael Armes
Simon K & The Meantimers, 1966/1967. Photo: Michael Armes

However, the changes did not end there and in early-to-mid-1967 an entirely new line up came together, starting with lead guitarist George Teo.

Originally, from Singapore, Teo had migrated to the UK in the early 1960s with friends Sam Young on bass and brothers Andrew and John Gwee on guitar and drums respectively and formed The Etceteras. After two singles on the Oriole label in 1964, Teo next joined the Ying Tongs before hooking up with The Meantimers.

Also on board were siblings, bass player Mick Glyde and drummer Tony Glyde (brothers of Major Glyde, the lead sax player from Sounds Incorporated) and sax players Brent Carter, Alan Wherry and Ken Hendy, who was later replaced by former Cliff Bennett Rebel Rousers’ baritone sax player Sid Phillips in late 1967/early 1968.

Tony Glyde had previously worked with Southeast London bands, Bob ‘N’ All, The Loose Ends and Bern Elliott’s former group, The Fenmen while Alan Wherry had come from The Richard Henry Sensation (with David O’List) and Harlem Shuffle (with Alan Shacklock).

Wherry remembers that the group also had a keyboard player but it wasn’t Bill Pitt. Mick Glyde confirms that the keyboard player’s name was Terry Vandenburgh. Vanenburgh however had left before Sid Phillips joined in late 1967/early 1968 and the group recruited a Russian Hammond organist.

Wherry left in early 1968 and later moved in to publishing, as director of Corgi, Penguin and then as co-founder of Bloomsbury in London in 1986.

The remaining members stayed until about late spring/early summer 1968, during which time former Quiet Five drummer Roger “Tex” Marsh took over the drum stool from Tony Glyde.

Simon K & The Meantimers, late 1967. Left to right: George Teo, Brent Carter (shades), Mick Glyde, Kenny Simon, Alan Wherry, unknown organist, Tony Glyde. Ken Hendy is not pictured. Photo: Alan Wherry
Simon K & The Meantimers, late 1967. Left to right: George Teo, Brent Carter (shades), Mick Glyde, Kenny Simon, Alan Wherry, Terry Vandenburgh, Tony Glyde. Ken Hendy is not pictured. Photo: Alan Wherry

Notable gigs:

6-7 June 1967 – Industrial Club, Norwich, Norfolk

24 June 1967 – Witchdoctor, Catford, Kent (billed as The Meantimers)

2 July 1967 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (billed as Meantimers)

22 July 1967 – Witchdoctor, Hastings, East Sussex

2 September 1967 – Industrial Club, Norwich, Norfolk

16 September 1967 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire with Jeanette and Abee

7 October 1967 – Industrial Club, Norwich, Norfolk

4 November 1967 – Industrial Club, Norwich, Norfolk

2 December 1967 – Industrial Club, Norwich, Norfolk

17 February 1968 – Chelmsford Corn Exchange, Chelmsford, Essex with Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band

20 April 1968 – Locarno Ballroom, Swindon, Wiltshire

11 May 1968 – Locarno Ballroom, Swindon, Wiltshire

2 August 1968 – Samantha’s, London (billed as Meantimers)

3 August 1968 – Town Hall, Clacton, Essex (billed as Meantimers)

4 August 1968 – Surrey Rooms, Oval, London (billed as Meantimers)

6-7 August 1968 – Hatchetts Playground, London (billed as Meantimers)

24 August 1968 – Savoy Rooms, Catford, Kent

14 September 1968 – Burton’s, Uxbridge, Middlesex

By the autumn of 1968, Kenny Simon had reshuffled the pack, bringing in Marsh’s former band mate from The Quiet Five, Roger McKew on lead guitar. Sid Phillips had already left by this point to go on to Redwind and his place was taken by Tony Hall, whose CV including Peter’s Faces, Wainwright’s Gentlemen and Rupert’s Spoon.

The new formation then comprised:

Kenny Simon – lead vocals

Roger McKew – lead guitar

Tony Hall – saxophone

Brent Carter – saxophone

Mick Glyde – bass

Roger ‘Tex’ Marsh – drums

The new-look formation resumed gigging. In March 1969, Brian Johnston from The Fantastics’ backing band, The House of Orange joined on Hammond organ. Two months later, however, Mick Glyde left and was replaced by another bass player.

Later that year, original keyboard player Bill Pitt returned to take over from Johnston. Simon also added Irish trumpet player Ron Carthy, who’d previously worked with The Blue Aces and Wynder K Frog (among others) to the six-piece line up that came together in time to cut the group’s lone ‘45 in November 1969.

In March 1970, however, Brent Carter and Tony Hall also departed at this point and joined Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band.

When the band finally splintered in the early 1970s, Pitt ended up working with Espirit de Corps, while Carthy joined Gonzales and also did a multitude of sessions for artists like Freddie King, Slade and Suzi Quatro.

Notable gigs:

26 October 1968 – Locarno Ballroom, Swindon, Wiltshire

23 November 1968 – Fellowship Inn, Eltham, Kent

30 November 1968 – Burton’s, Uxbridge, Middlesex

10 December 1968 – Black Prince Hotel, Bexley, Kent with Olaf Groups Kneed

28 December 1968 – Burton’s, Uxbridge, Middlesex

22 February 1969 – Starlight Room, Boston Gliderdrome, Boston, Lincolnshire with Jon James & The Swamp and The Western Kind

4 April 1969 – Walton Hop, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey

19 April 1969 – Starlight Room, Boston Gliderdrome, Boston, Lincolnshire with Sir Percy Quintet

17 May 1969 – Alex’s Disco, Salisbury, Wiltshire

22 May 1969 – Klook’s Kleek, London

26 July 1969 – Walton Hop, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey

2 August 1969 – Starlight Room, Boston Gliderdrome, Boston, Lincolnshire with Sir Percy Quintet

9 August 1969 – Savoy, Catford, Kent

6 September 1969 – Walton Hop, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey

4 October 1969 – Savoy, Catford, Kent

25 October 1969 – Starlight Room, Boston Gliderdrome, Boston, Lincolnshire with The Lovin’ Spoonful

8 November 1969 – Alex’s Disco, Salisbury, Wiltshire

25 November 1969 – Walton Hop, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey

29 November 1969 – Walton Hop, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey

31 December 1969 – Walton Hop, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey

7 February 1970 – Cloud 9, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

Many thanks to Kenny Simon, Michael Armes, Tony Hall, Alan Wherry, Ken Hendy, Sid Phillips, Mick Glyde and Bruce Welsh for their help. Thank you Michael Armes and Alan Wherry for the photos.

Very little is known about the personnel in Simon K & The Meantimers. The author would be interested to hear from anyone that can provide more detail on the group for a future, updated version. Please email the author, Nick Warburton at Warchive@aol.com

Copyright © Nick Warburton.  All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any from or by any means, without prior permission from the author.

16 thoughts on “Simon K & The Meantimers”

  1. Portsmouth News lists the band playing at Thorngate Ballroom in Gosport (straight from Tiles) on 10 November 1966 (presumably before Simon K joined them)

  2. Few more gigs to add from the Welwyn Times and Hatfield Herald:
    31 August 1968 – St Albans City Hall with The Rocky Rivers
    18 October 1968 – St Albans City Hall with Amen Corner and Plagel Cadence

  3. According to a poster from Samantha’s in New Burlington Street, W1 supplied by Geoff Foster, Simon K & The Meantimers played at this West End club on the following dates in 1969.

    5-6 August
    17-19 August
    25 August

        1. Got more gigs I am adding to the list tonight. Will also be revising the entry and I now know the time frames are slightly off

          Happy new year

  4. Hi Ihave some pictures from my stint in The Meantimers Best band i ever played with high energy and Great musicans Incredible fun and Kenny was the Ultimate Showman and Great Voice .

  5. Got tonnes more gigs to add. Sources are from Melody Maker and regional newspapers and I’ve listed sources where known.

    The following are (as far as I know) before Simon K joined around early 1967

    6 August 1965 – 32 Club, Harlesden, London with The Byrds (Michael Armes – confirmed by Christopher Hjort’s Byrds book)

    1 January 1966 – Big Beat Contest in Aldershot (Aldershot News)

    30 May 1966 – Tiles, Oxford Street, London with The New Jump Band and Rey Anton & The Profam (Melody Maker)

    30 July 1966 – Corn Exchange, Maidstone, Kent with The Creation (Maidstone Gazette)

    24 September 1966 – Town Hall, High Wycombe, Bucks with Clockwork Shots

    30 October 1966 – Tavern Club, Dereham, Norfolk with Ian & Danny Eves and The Reformation (billed as The Meantimers)

  6. These are (as far as I know) after Simon K joined. Sources are from local newspapers and Melody Maker.

    Unless stated, the gigs are billed as Simon K & The Meantimers

    6 January 1967 – Fiesta Hall, Andover, Hampshire (billed as The Meantimers)
    21 January 1967 – Winter Gardens, Banbury with Phase III (billed as The Meantimers)

    1 April 1967 – Memorial Hall, Newmarket, Suffolk with The Sales Collection (billed as The Meantimers)
    7 April 1967 – Fiesta Hall, Andover, Hampshire (billed as The Meantimers)
    11 April 1967 – Ritz, Bournemouth, Dorset (billed as The Meantimers)
    16 April 1967 – Klue J Klub, Saracens Head Hotel, Chelmsford, Essex (billed as The Meantimers)
    22 April 1967 – Union Rowing Club, Nottingham (billed as The Meantimers)

    20 May 1967 – London Hotel, Southend-on-Sea, Essex

    4 June 1967 – Klue J Klub, Saracens Head Hotel, Chelmsford, Essex (billed as The Meantimers)
    10 June 1967 – Victoria Cross Gallery, Wantage, Berkshire (billed as The Meantimers)

    1 July 1967 – London Hotel, Southend-on-Sea, Essex
    29 July 1967 – Memorial Hall, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk with The Blueprints (billed as The Meantimers)

    6 August 1967 – Union Rowing Club, Trent Bridge, Nottingham (billed as The Meantimers)
    9 August 1967 – Penny Farthing Club, Southend, Kent
    11 August 1967 – Windmill Club, Upminster, London

    8 September 1967 – London Hotel, Southend-on-Sea, Essex
    24 September 1967 – Elm Hotel, Southend-on-Sea, Essex

    8 October 1967 – Elm Hotel, Southend-on-Sea, Essex
    10 October 1967 – Elm Hotel, Southend-on-Sea, Essex
    22 October 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate, London
    28 October 1967 – Ritz, Bournemouth, Dorset

    10 November 1967 – Kennet School, Thatcham, Berkshire with The Roosters
    11 November 1967 – Casino, Leicester
    12 November 1967 – Elm Hotel, Southend-on-Sea, Essex
    19 November 1967 – Elm Hotel, Southend-on-Sea, Essex
    26 November 1967 – Elm Hotel, Southend-on-Sea, Essex

    3 December 1967 – Elm Hotel, Southend-on-Sea, Essex
    10 December 1967 – Elm Hotel, Southend-on-Sea, Essex
    17 December 1967 – Elm Hotel, Southend-on-Sea, Essex
    24 December 1967 – Elm Hotel, Southend-on-Sea, Essex
    31 December 1967 – Elm Hotel, Southend-on-Sea, Essex

  7. Final gigs for Simon K & The Meantimers

    These are from Melody Maker unless noted

    21 June 1968 – Victoria Ball, Dartford, Kent (billed as The Meantimers)
    22 June 1968 – Gig in Brighton, West Sussex (billed as The Meantimers)
    23 June 1968 – Central Hotel, Gillingham, Kent (billed as The Meantimers)
    24 June 1968 – Samantha’s, New Burlington Street, London (billed as The Meantimers)

    1 February 1969 – Burton’s, Uxbridge, London

    14 March 1969 – Maxi Scene, Angel Hotel, Godalming, Surrey (Surrey Advertiser)

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