I started out playing with Johnny Hawke & The Falcons in Sheffield, Yorkshire West Riding in 1962, a group [they were called groups in those days] which we formed in the youth clubs at that time, ie. St. Vincent's. St.Patrick's. St.Catherine's & The Sacred Heart, we played at all these youth clubs regularly.
We played a mixture of Cliff Richard & The Shadows, Billy Fury, Shane Fenton & the Fentones etc. My early influence was Jet Harris, bass player with The Shadows. It was at this point that I bought my first Fender bass at a cost of £129:00 which was a fortune then. It was a 1959 Fender Jazz Bass in Salmon Pink. I don't have it anymore [ouch!]

Gerry Scanlan [second left] early Bitter Suite days,

The Falcons eventually became The Four Corners & through 1963 played similar material plus stuff from The Searchers and Johnny Kidd & The Pirates. The Pirates became another of my influences, they were perhaps Britains first "rocky" rhythm & blues group and we had occasion to gig with them one night at Loughborough Town Hall. Great Stuff !!!
In 1964 I joined local group Dean Marshall & The Deputies who later changed their name to The Lizards at a request from Pete Stringfellow who became our manager. He dressed us up in green leathers which we bought from Toggery in Stockport, all the Liverpool and Manchester groups bought their stage gear from there, [so we were suddenly " cool " and " on our way " ]. The Lizards did some quite unusual numbers, away from the pop scene, for example……The Coasters, Mose Allison, Lowell Fulson, Little Walter, Muddy Waters etc. We were all influenced by these artistes.

Gerry Scanlan [far left] Bitter Suite mid-seventies.

Barry Marshall and myself eventually went on to do a spell with another local group called The Square Circles, that was about 1965/66 time, they were a " mod " type group, playing Small Faces and other such like numbers. I remember that being lots of fun, what with everyone trying to sound like Steve Marriot. Barry and I moved on again and joined forces with The Mike Stuart Quintet to form the basis of Jigsaw, who were soon to become Bitter Suite. 1968 /69 saw the advent of Bitter Suite and in 1970 we augmented the band to an eight piece to include Trumpet, Tenor Sax & Baritone Sax, with Tenor Sax doubling on Flute. We played hits of the time including lots of soul and Tamla Motown numbers.

Gerry Scanlan [right] TNT days with drummer, Bubs.

My favourite bass man became James Jamerson although I didn't know his name at the time. He played on all the Tamla stuff. His ideas were extremely original. I don't think his name was ever credited to any of the work he did on those albums.
Donald " Duck " Dunn, bass player along with those other M G s, Steve Cropper [ guitar ] Al Jackson [ drums ] and Booker T. Jones [ Hammond Organ ]. Collectively known as Booker T and The M Gs. They were house musicians for the Stax record label and they were all a great influence.

Gerry Scanlan  2003  [photographer Don Butterell] . . . . . . . . Gerry Scanlan 2003 [photographer Don Butterell]

Bitter Suite did all manner of things over the next ten years from doing eight sets nightly in Hamburg's Top Ten Club, to the constant touring of the UK and Europe, to securing two recording contracts, to securing a contract with the BBC, which ran for about 3 or 4 years, which meant that we were on all sorts of shows daily for that period of time, to supporting Shirley Bassey for 3 weeks at the Batley Variety Club. How did we fit it all in?
I don't know. All I can remember is either being in the van or being on stage or in a recording studio.

. . . . . . . Gerry Scanlan 2002

The early eighties saw me swotting at college full time for a couple of years. I also found the time to help put another band together called The TNT Band which was quite successful and ran for much longer than I had first anticipated.
I joined " The Blues Brothers Tribute Band " around 1996 along with John Crookes who was the tenor sax player in TNT and stayed with them for about 5 years. We did a lot of travelling with this band, distance was never a problem with The Blues Brothers. They went from The Falkland Islands to The Ascension Islands. South America. Middle East and Far East. Scandinavia. North Africa. Spain. and Greece and a few more places in between. John Crookes and myself were on most of those gigs.

Gerry Scanlan 2003

Late 2001 brings me almost up to date as this is when Phil, Neil and myself decided on putting a three piece band together playing a " bluesy " " rocky " format, which is tremendous fun.

Gerry Scanlan and The Phil Brodie Band, Christmas 2003. {photographer : Don Butterell ]



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[Three of the above photos were supplied by Don Butterell]
© Phil Brodie Band 2003