The original blue no back

Welcome to the Quarrymen’s Official Website

Rod played banjo with the Quarrymen from 1956 to mid 1957, he was replaced in the band by Paul. Since 1997 he has been playing guitar for the revived Quarrymen and sharing vocals with Len Garry. For Rod’s story see Hunter Davies’ biography of the Quarrymen.

“I lived in Woolton and first met John Lennon, Pete Shotton, Nigel Walley, Ivan Vaughan and Geoff Rhind at St. Peter's Sunday School when we were very small boys! I lived near Colin Hanton and we used to play street football together. I met Eric Griffiths when we both started at Quarry Bank School, and Len Garry when he became the Quarrymen's tea-chest bass player.
Eric invited me to join the Quarrymen in early 1956 just after I bought a banjo. He and John taught me which chords to play and I soon learnt to "busk". I never actually played with Paul as I drifted out of the Quarrymen in the summer of 1957. I stayed on at Quarry Bank into the 6th form but all the others had left, John Lennon to go to Liverpool College of Art, Pete Shotton to become a police cadet and Eric Griffiths to become an apprentice.
I decided to learn the guitar and so my brother Bernie and I sold our electric train set and bought a Spanish guitar. As I knew the principles from the banjo, I soon learnt enough guitar chords and became very interested in folk music. I played in a jazz trio when I was still at Quarry Bank school with Gerald Greenwood (piano) and Les Brough (drums).
In 1960 I went to study French and Spanish at Cambridge University and here I became a member of the St. Lawrence Folk-Song Society. As well as playing with some keen folk musicians such as Chris Rowley, Pete Clarke, John Morgan and Dick Quinnell, I met some Bluegrass pickers, Pete Sayers and John Holder. I soon became a Bluegrass addict and began to play mandolin and fiddle. I played guitar for country dances and banjo in several jazz bands, one of which made a record on Decca.
After Cambridge I went to teach English in Regensburg in Bavaria from '63 to '64 where I played banjo in a trad jazz band on Friday night and guitar in a mainstream band on Saturday nights.
Back in Liverpool in '64 I became a member of the Bluegrass Ramblers, playing mandolin and fiddle with Dave Gould and Bob Hughes. We appeared on "Opportunity Knocks" but opportunity didn't knock! I also played fiddle in a Ceilidh band. I taught French and Spanish until 1968 when I became an expedition driver for a company called Minitrek Expeditions, taking trips to Russia, Turkey and across the Sahara desert.
In 1970 I married one of my passengers and went to work for the YHA organising their Adventure Holiday programme. During this time I learnt to play American Old Timey fiddle in a well-known musicians' hangout in Chalk Farm in London, a pub called "the Engineer ".
We settled in Hertford and had two children, Sophie and Jonathan, now both in their thirties. I worked for a number of companies in the travel industry, including Paris Travel Service and Yugotours. I was divorced in 1982.
In the early 1980's I played guitar for a Tex-Mex band called the Armadillos, who played folk festivals and folk clubs throughout the country. In the mid 1980's we revived the name of the Bluegrass Ramblers and with some brilliant musicians - Bob Winquist, Rick Townend, Alan Ward and my sister Rosie we had a very successful band, playing Britain's top Bluegrass Festival at Edale and supporting big US names such as the Johnson Mountain Boys when they played the 100 Club, Oxford Street and the Half Moon, Putney. We appeared on radio and produced a cassette of our own numbers.
In the mid 80's I met my new partner, Janet, and we soon became very keen windsurfers, racing in the London Region and National events. I also started lecturing in Tourism at Uxbridge College.
In 1994, with John Duff Lowe, who played piano for the Quarrymen in 1958, we formed an electric band under the name of the Quarrymen. We made a CD and played several concerts in a touring show which included Cynthia Lennon, Denny Laine and the Merseybeats.
From 1996 I was a part-time lecturer at Brunel University as well as writing, publishing and playing the guitar. Working with a brilliant guitarist called Doug Turner we produced a fingerpicking guitar tutor and I also completed a talking book version of Jim O'Donnell's book, "The day John met Paul".
I retired in 2006 and since then I have been playing music, windsurfing, practising Aikido and playing with the Quarrymen.