The original blue no back

Welcome to the Quarrymen’s Official Website

Paul McCartney and I first met at a chorister audition at Liverpool Cathedral in 1953. Later that year we both started at the Liverpool Institute Grammar School. Over the next five years we became good friends and one morning in February 1958 he said he’d joined a friend’s group called the Quarrymen and asked me if I’d like to join them to play piano, which I did. Getting to Paul’s house on the south side of the City on Sunday afternoons for rehearsals or on Saturday evening if John or Paul had arranged a gig which was usually over their way, took about an hour as I lived in the Liverpool suburb of West Derby on the north eastern side of the city. I was too young to drive or own a car and so had to travel on two buses, changing at Penny Lane. I think this, and a complaining girlfriend, was why I eventually left the Quarrymen. Also, I didn’t live near enough to meet up with John and Paul during weekday evenings. I later played piano in “Hobo Rick & the City Slickers” which was fronted by Ricky Tomlinson now a well-known name in British comedy acting. Ricky jokes that I left the Beatles to join his band!

After it opened in 1959, I spent many evenings in the now famous Casbah Coffee Club, home of Pete Best, which was just a short walk from my house. I usually went with Neil Aspinall who was a mate from the Institute and lived in the next road to me. All the Mersey bands including the Beatles used to play at the Casbah which was always buzzing and a great place to get away from parents. After leaving school I joined a firm of Liverpool stockbrokers and spent a lot of my lunch breaks at the Cavern where lunch was a hotdog and bottle of lemonade sometimes served by Cilla Black. The last time I spoke to John (Lennon) was during a break in a Beatles’ lunchtime session - he introduced me to a friend saying, “This is Duff, he breaks stock.” – an early Lennonism. When I went back to the Stock Exchange they would complain that I stank of disinfectant! After a spell on the floor of the London Stock Exchange, I decided I’d had enough of “breaking stock”, and changed course and went into banking and financial services.

In 1992 I contacted Rod Davis and Len Garry, two Quarrymen who had preceded me in the group, and we recorded two albums at Amadeus Studio in Liverpool – they have never been published. In 1994 Rod Davis and I recorded ‘Open for Engagements’ at The Coach House, Bristol – it was released the same year.

I moved to the Bristol area in 1975 where I now live with my wife Linda.