The Witchdoctor, Catford

The Witchdoctor in Catford was a notable rock venue in Southeast London and was located above the Savoy Rooms. It opened in October 1965 and mainly hosted bands on Saturday nights.

I’ve started a list of artists that were advertised in the South East London Mercury and would welcome any additions and any memories from anyone that attended the club.

31 October 1965 – The Mighty Avengers

6 November 1965 – The Herd
13 November 1965 – Tony Rivers & The Castaways
14 November 1965 – The Lonely Ones (every Sunday night)
20 November 1965 – The Fenmen
21 November 1965 – The Lonely Ones (Sunday night)
27 November 1965 – The Objects
28 November 1965 – Alan Haren with Tony Crombie and The Lonely Ones (Sunday night)

4 December 1965 – Rey Anton & The Peppermint Men
5 December 1965 – The Lonely Ones (Sunday night)
11 December 1965 – The Herd
12 December 1965 – The Washington DCs (Sunday night)
24 December 1965 – Rey Anton & The Peppermint Men and The Confederates (Friday night)
31 December 1965 – The Majority, The Beat Syndicate and The High Jackers (Friday night)

8 January 1966 – The Mark Four
15 January 1966 – Davey Sands & The Essex
22 January 1966 – The Carnaby
29 January 1966 – Tony Rivers & The Castaways

5 February 1966 – The Washington DCs
12 February 1966 – The Mark Four
19 February 1966 – The Loose Ends
26 February 1966 – Peter B’s Looners

11 March 1966 – Davey Sands & The Essex (Friday night)
18 March 1966 – The Carnaby (Friday night)
25 March 1966 – The Mark Four (Friday night)

10 April 1966 – The Loose Ends and The Lonely Ones (Sunday night)
15 April 1966 – The Majority (Friday night)
23 April 1966 – The Washington DCs
28 April 1966 – The Who (Thursday night)
30 April 1966 – The Mark Four

7 May 1966 – Johnny B Great & The Quotations
14 May 1966 – The Loose Ends
21 May 1966 – The Plus Fours
28 May 1966 – The Fenmen

4 June 1966 – The Gaylords
11 June 1966 – Washington DCs (Wednesday night)
25 June 1966 – Tony Rivers & The Castaways (Wednesday night)

2 July 1966 – The Riot Squad
9 July 1966 – Davey Sands & The Essex

7 August 1966 – Tony Knight’s Chessmen (Sunday night)
20 August 1966 – Dave Antony’s Moods
27 August 1966 – The Herd

3 September 1966 – Davey Sands & The Essex
17 September 1966 – The Loose Ends
24 September 1966 – The Gaylords

1 October 1966 – The Herd
22 October 1966 – The Quiet Five
29 October 1966 – The Gaylords

19 November 1966 – Fleur De Lyes
23 November 1966 – The Clockwork Oranges (Wednesday night)
30 November 1966 – The Clockwork Oranges (Wednesday night)

24 December 1966 – The Mark Barry Four and The Clockwork Oranges

52 thoughts on “The Witchdoctor, Catford”

  1. The following gigs are from the South East London Mercury newspaper

    It’s an incomplete list of groups that played at the Savoy Rooms before the Witchdoctor opened in late October 1965:

    7 August 1965 – Johnny Cannon & The Shades with The Lonely Ones
    14 August 1965 – The Gobbledegooks with Dave & The Strollers
    21 August 1965 – The Trendsetters Ltd with Wainwright’s Gentlemen
    28 August 1965 – Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich with The Equals

    4 September 1965 – The Bo Street Runners
    11 September 1965 – The Bretheren
    18 September 1965 – Bubbles & Company
    25 September 1965 – The Mark Four

    2 October 1965 – The Crowd with The Epics
    9 October 1965 – Just Four Men
    16 October 1965 – The Symbols

  2. Found some more gigs for the Witchdoctor in the South East London Mercury. All Saturdays unless noted. Most of the gigs had support but did not list who they were.

    21 January 1967 – The Lonely Ones

    4 February 1967 – The Stormville Shakers
    11 February 1967 – The Stormville Shakers, The Coloured Raisins and The Heads
    18 February 1967 – Guy Darell and The Ghomes of Zurich
    25 February 1967 – Dianne Ferris and Nicky Scott & The New Images

    4 March 1967 – Davey Sands & The Essex
    11 March 1967 – Davey Sands & The Essex
    31 March 1967 – Davey Sands & The Essex (Friday)

    1 April 1967 – The Stormville Shakers
    7 April 1967 – Washington DCs (Friday)
    8 April 1967 – The Herd and Bobby King and The Sabres
    14 April 1967 – The Symbols and The New Breed (Friday)
    15 April 1967 – The Lonely Ones
    21 April 1967 – The Creation (Friday)
    22 April 1967 – The Flies
    28 April 1967 – The Meantimers and The Groove (Friday)
    29 April 1967 – The Smoke

    5 May 1967 – The Coloured Raisins with King Ossie (Friday)
    6 May 1967 – Episode Six
    12 May 1967 – The Next Issue and The Original Dyaks (Friday)
    13 May 1967 – The Fleur De Lyes
    19 May 1967 – The Human Instinct and The Jet Set (Friday)
    20 May 1967 – Coloured Raisins with King Ossie
    26 May 1967 – John Watson & The Web and The Decision (recently The Showtimers but changed name) (Friday)
    27 May 1967 – The Fancy Bred

    2 June 1967 – The Attack and The Trailblazers (Friday)
    3 June 1967 – Just Too Much (ex members of Davey Sands & The Essex)
    9 June 1967 – The Knack (Friday)
    10 June 1967 – The H T
    16 June 1967 – The Decision (formerly The Showtimers) and The Candy Choir (Friday)
    17 June 1967 – The Original Dyaks
    23 June 1967 – The Fireballs and Jon (Friday)
    24 June 1967 – The Meantimers
    30 June 1967 – The Power and The Original Dyaks (Friday)

    1 July 1967 – Episode Six
    7 July 1967 – The Skaterlites and The Guns of Navarone (Friday)
    8 July 1967 – Washington DCs
    14 July 1967 – Coloured Raisins (Friday)
    15 July 1967 – The Creation and The Poor Boys
    21 July 1967 – The Original Dyaks (Friday)
    22 July 1967 – Tony Jackson & The Garden (the ex Searcher?)
    28 July 1967 – The Stax and Ruby James (Friday)
    29 July 1967 – Robb Storme Group and The Amboy Dukes

    4 August 1967 – The Iveys (Friday)
    5 August 1967 – Heinz & The Wild Boys
    11 August 1967 – Washington DCs (Friday)
    12 August 1967 – Episode Six
    18 August 1967 – The Original Dyaks (Friday)
    19 August 1967 – The Marmalade
    25 August 1967 – The Meantimers (Friday)
    26 August 1967 – Skip Bisserty

    1 September 1967 – Ebony Keys (Friday)
    2 September 1967 – Amboy Dukes
    8 September 1967 – Fingers and Bobby King & The Sabres (Friday)
    9 September 1967 – Robb Storme Group and The Fireballs
    15 September 1967 – The Original Dyaks (Friday)
    16 September 1967 – Skatalites
    22 September 1967 – The Riot Squad and The New Breed (Friday)
    23 September 1967 – The Coloured Raisins
    29 September 1967 – Robb Storme Group and Outrage (Friday)
    30 September 1967 – The Stormville Shakers and The Soul Kings

    6 October 1967 – The Love Affair (Friday)
    7 October 1967 – The Original Dyaks
    20 October 1967 – The Amboy Dukes (Friday)
    21 October 1967 – Junior Smith
    28 October 1967 – Episode Six

    4 November 1967 – Tony Rivers & The Castaways
    11 November 1967 – The Gaff
    18 November 1967 – The Love Affair
    25 November 1967 – The Skatalites

    2 December 1967 – Marmalade

  3. More gigs from the South East London Mercury newspaper:

    17 February 1968 – Marmalade
    24 February 1968 – The Amboy Dukes

    1 March 1968 – Coloured Raisins
    16 March 1968 – The Gass

    29 June 1968 – Sweet Rain

  4. I was in “Just four”. Vaguely remember the Club. Can’t remember the booking. No alzheimers, just sixties “stimulant’s of the day. LoLoLoLoL. I was going to say “Happy memories” but Hey. !!

  5. I was the drummer of a support band called Orange Room and played the Witch Doctor one Sat. night in 1966/7. I seem to recall we supported The Gaylords who I believe became Marmalade. (But not certain).

  6. I was the drummer in a band called OUTRAGE and we definitely supported bands Marmalade, Herd and the fleur de lyes. Great days -Stevie Maxted the dj was superb and the accoustics of the venue made all of the tamla records sound even better especially groups like the Supremes

    Thanks to all of the kids who came and made it a memorable place to be.

      1. I remember you Steve and you were the best. I also remember the nights you used to pierce your cheeks and other bits of body with meat skewers. The last time I saw you do that my girlfriend fainted and I had to lift her over everybody’s heads and get her home.

        1. Hi John, sorry I caused your girlfriend to faint, didn’t feel so good myself lol. Glad you remember the shows. I cherish all the memories of those nights at Catford. I had the privilege of being able to play all the great music of the era, and to the best ever crowds

    1. hi Kev, loved dj’ing there, you were all great. The hat pins certainly seems to be remembered well. Steve Maxted

  7. Was The Witchdoctor at Catford the old Savoy Ballroom.My name is Ray Brown and I was the DJ at the Twist Club the Greenwich Town Hall,I was also the agent for The Coloured Raisins at South Eastern Entertainment Lewisham plus The Herd,Tony Simon’s the DJ who finished up on Radio Caroline.I am now living in Australia,Sydney.Great memories.

    1. I remember you Ray, and I remember seeing “The Herd” at the Witchdoctor, which was above the Savoy as I recall. I’m now living in Melbourne by the way.

    2. I hired the Coloured Raisins from you for a gig at my School, Bonus Pastor in Bromley road. I thought I hired about six in the band but about twenty turned up! They had just charted, the word got round and the school had get the police as so many turned up without tickets.
      The band were amazing! I was a hero for having the insight to book them!
      I think I paid £ 60.00. Great days.

  8. I with alot of friends always went to the Savoy on Sunday nights, we were all about 15 & loved it – Steve Maxted was the resident dj & he was also a stunt man doing crazy things, one people sticking pins in his face. All fantastic memories!

    1. Me and my friend Grace went to the witchdoctor every Sunday night they were great times I remember Steve Maxted sticking pins in his face and horror pictures projected on the walls we were about 15 happy times.

  9. I loved working with all those great artists and bands. Even more I loved all the crowd who used to support my d.j. stuntman shows every Sunday.
    Thanks for all those kind remarks.
    Steve Maxted d.j.

  10. I was in the Clockwork Oranges played there many times, saw Steve Maxted with his pins trick, happy memories.

      1. Hi Steve hope your keeping well are you still doing your DJ gigs? I am still playing and still enjoying the music it’s a shame that lots of venues like the Savoy are all closing down or gone.
        All the best Robert.

      1. Hi Nick,
        The other members were Roger Cotton lead guitar and keyboards vocals, Ricky Blakley bass guitar vocals, and John Parrish drums. Hope the information is what you wanted.

  11. Hi Steve, remember me I was the guy who took over from DJ Len at the Mr Smiths Club, we used the Indian restaurant opposite the Witchdoctor a group of us from Blackheath , my stage name was Alan Reed, (Kasz) great days Steve, do you remember the Planet 6 played on a Saturday night a couple of times. Good luck Steve thanks for good times , Alan.

    1. Hi Alan, yes I do remember you and the great times we all had at the club.
      That band rings a bell but I can’t picture them as I worked with so many in those days. All the best to you,

  12. Brian Long’s research of The Episode Six for 1966 has two dates that are missing above:

    28 October 1966
    11 November 1966

  13. Hi Steve
    I am sorry to tell you that your old mate and fellow DJ, Kas (Alan Reed)
    passed away on Tuesday 18th July

    Ray (His brother)

    1. hi Ray, very sorry to hear about your brother. We certainly had some good times, I remember him well. All the best, Steve

  14. If memory serves me correctly, Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band were a regular support act. Are the Wahington DCs the same band?
    My abiding memory of the club was the lead singer of the Gaylords (Dean Ford?) lining up the Groupies by the side of the stage.
    I’m pretty sure I saw The Who there more than once.

  15. I used to go to the Witchdoctor all the time, remember the ultra violet lights made everything white that you were wearing GLOW, I’m sure I saw Desmond Dekker there ? Steve Maxted`s theme tune was Rough Rider by the Four Gees ?

  16. First time I tried to go to this venue was when it was Mr Smiths. They wouldn’t let me in to see the Rolling Stones because I wasn’t wearing a tie !Later I played the venue four times between 1967 and 1969 as part of the support band. I used to hang around the nearby South Eastern Entertainments and badger Ray Brown into giving us gigs. First time was when it was The Witchdoctor, on 09/06/67, when we were called The Setback. We also played the Witchdoctor – Hastings several times in 1967. We’d changed our name to Electric Sun by the time we returned on 15/02/69, and the venue was called Savoy Rooms. Was back twice more in 1969 (15/03/69 & 12/04/69), having changed our band name to Carnival. But, being local, I also used to go quite often as a punter to see local heroes such as The Coloured Raisins and, of course, the amazing Steve Maxted. I still live just up the road and I still play regularly in my band.

    1. Hi Drew, glad to hear you had good times with your band at the Witchdoctor etc. Thanks for the kind mention of my shows, I too really enjoyed local bands and the Coloured Raisins were very good. Remember those days with affection

  17. Steve
    I was one of the many modes who attended the Witchdoctor and saw your shows. Loved the music and the stunts , also the regular trips across the road to the Rising Sun..
    One girl I looked after when she nearly fainted became a girlfriend and we went out together for a year or so – thanks.
    Why don’t you start a website of your memories and gigs.
    Also do you remember Wolff Hardee – aka Malcolm Hardee, the comedy presenter. He ran the Comedy Theatre in Greenwich. I went to school with him and he got me into more trouble than I care to remember.
    Great Times. Thanks again

    1. Hi Mike, thanks for the kind words. You were all such a great crowd and the music brought us all together. Strangely enough, one of my sons told me that I am mentioned in Malcolm Hardee’s book (autobiography?) he said I was an inspiration to him.
      Yes, a lot of people have suggested I start a web site so people and myself can share memories. I will try & sort that out
      many thanks,

  18. Now having retired I was remembering about my days when I learnt to dance and started my love of reggae, ska etc. I never went to live band gigs at the Savoy Rooms which were downstairs. Ultra violet lights lambs wool jumpers where you learnt not to wear a white vest under it as you then looked like you had chronic dandruff. Downstairs was just disco on Friday night if I remember correctly no licence and we were all underage and the strongest you could get was a coke. Could remember your name Steve but from the description you must have been the dj there. The fire eating is what I most remember. Thanks for all the good times and starting my enduring love of reggae. BTW I was a part time mod as spent the rest of my time as a Rocker but preferred the mod music!!

    1. Hi Martin, so glad you remember those good times and pleased I helped start your love of reggae. Quote fascinating that you were a rocker & mod at the same time. All the best, Steve

  19. Hi Steve
    What do you get up to these days?
    I am in a band with Bob Valentine ex Clockwork Oranges and I am your old mate Kaz (AlanReed) the DJ’s brother
    Would love to meet up with you and Bob for a drink and memory swap
    The other member of our band was in another band that played at the Witch Doctor
    We would bring him along as well
    Kind regards

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