Caught in the Act/Avalon

Paddy joined a band called “Caught in the Act” at the suggestion of his friend, Tony Coyle. The bassist, Roy McCalvey takes up the story:

Spooky really. A few weeks ago I was thinking about wiki and how there shud be an extention to prefab history with the two previous bands. Wud like to help. I can give u reason for ‘Caught in the Act’/’Avalons’ demise(paddy joined when we were ‘caught in the act’)-songs we did in the set (of Paddys and the others songs and covers)-Paddy was a lovely bloke without any sides to him. He once did an awesome refit of SATISFACTION but we split before ever performing it. An awesome guitarist!! 

Paddy once wrote a song in rehearsal with drummer Johnny Darmo called ‘SCREAMING’…how it all floods back!!

Caught was same band. Paddy joined shortly after we started gigging. John changed name cos he picked it and didnt like it, then he pushed for AVALON and didnt like that either! When Paddy left we became AVALON 2.”

Re reading the info on thr 1977 AVALON gig. Only song we did on the list was WALK ON, as good as BACHARACH that one. We didnt have Marsden in our rep, nor Rock n roll. We didnt do em!!! We did have an eagles song but at mo I cant recall which but IT def wasnt the two possible listed. The review says they all liked our WEEPS but we never did that one either. DID NOT have them in rep at all. Memory is a funny thing!

Two more songs I remember-MARBLE HALLS and STRANGE SILHOUETTES. Both Paddy songs. When we did these I knew we were onto another level, it was our SERG PEPPER-so excited.

Ho ho. Paddy was always first to turn up at rehearsals and that was when we spoke the most, that 20 mins before the rest turned up. Faron Young 4 in the morning was a hit at no 4 i think. But it stayed about that position for weeks and weeks and paddy and I HATED it and would joke about it in those times. God that record stuck like something nasty to the toilet bowl. Obviously it all made a bad impression on paddy cos he immortalised it in his own song. I’ve not listened to much of the sprouts stuff cos i realised what we’d lost when he went. He still came to c us a few times when we restarted with others in band but i didnt say much to him. His mate Tony Coyle was our lead singer and introduced him to us as a guitarist. I recall he played an accoustic song THE WALTZ during one of our sets at the Bay Hotel. I waltzed with a girl in the audience who i picked out at random (i recall she had a big bust) as paddy played. Another time we were about to play and p burst into the opening chords of PRETTY VACANT -in the chrts at the time- the aud were disapointed when he stopped after a few chords cos we didnt know it.

Yeah. Good track and stage stuff but it still hurts, you know. Our band/s were pretty stupid. We shud have heard paddys stuff then cleared the decks of our crap so as to accomodate a unique sound and obvious success. I was thankful of paddys rhythm work cos i was not a real musician as a bassist and he filled in so much of the sound. TRUE STORY when we formed, of the five, i decided to play bass cos no one else wanted to. So the lads took me up to see what a bass guitarist played, fingers on fretbd etc. I sat at the front and watched with sinking heart as the lead singer/bassist covered every centimetre of his fretboard in the first few minutes. Went home so depressed. The band was LAST EXIT-the bassist was, a teacher called GORDON SUMNER (sting). Shortly after they took their families to london to make it they encountered difficulties and sting joined the police. I remember how we laughed, STING HAS JOINED A PUNK BAND! We also laughed when we heard that PADDY HAS FORMED A BAND CALLED PREFAB SPROUT (and has a residency at BAMBARAS in town newcastle.) The laughs were on me in both cases!! 

5th man Leo McCabe. Singer, bassist(sometimes when I played rhythm and sang some of my songs)and rhythm. 

‘Walk on’. Say no more. Think when I heard this, first time he played us his stuff, the hairs went up on my neck and I knew what was in the room. Burt Bacharach. Once said to him. YOU KNOW P I’M A PRETTY GD SONGWRITER BUT YRE BRILLIANT. Not wrong there.

‘Fly like an Eagle.’ awesome song from that rock giant ME! Written on bass. I’d started to think ‘oh well. Stuck with playing bass, better start writing on the damn thing.’

‘Coming Home’. Paddy had the guitar piece and didn’t know what to do with it so I said ME ME ME, I’ll do tune and lyrics. We were changing from the prepaddy Avalon and wanted anything where we weren’t switching guitars on stage like something from a marx bros film. (I was Groucho, by the way)

‘Tiffanys’ had a simple bass line that really took off in the mid 8. Paddy always showed me wot bass to play on his songs AND other peoples sometimes-no ego, we were just a bunch of guys helping one another to get the job done. Tiffanys was the one of his i enjoyed playing the most

‘Country Girl’ cover

‘Blue Eyes’. By Tony Coyle, forgotten how much I liked tonys stuff. Throaty barre chords.

‘Screaming’. Paddy and drummer wrote it.

‘Silhouettes’.

‘Hey Lord’. Another from the rock giant. All my bands played it. Didn’t really like it much, myself.

‘Marble Halls’. Paddy song.

‘Wishing well.’ Paddy and Tony knew it so we did it. Gd job too.

‘Ellie’. Tony song.

‘Emergency’. Another written on bass by the rock…did I say giant? I meant god.

‘Sweet Jane’. Lou Reed? All bands had a few songs like this to pad out the set-two chords and easy to do. We also did knocking on heavens door, alright now by free.

‘Brown Sugar’. Would I get away with claiming this one? I think not.

‘I’m just a kid’ by Hall and Oates-Tony Coyle and Paddy brought this to the table when paddy joined, tony having been acoustic rhythm before he got paddy into the band. Once pad joined Tony used guitar less. They’d learnt this when mates at Uni-paddy dropped out. HES A REALLY GOOD GUITARIST, Tony said. Then 2 weeks after paddy joined Tony said PADDY WRITES REALLY GOOD SONGS. So we listened, and u know? Tony wasn’t wrong. This Hall n Oates they were playing at uni instead of studying.

According to John Darmo who played drums:

It has been a long time and as I played in a few bands after Avalon some of the memories tend to be a bit blurred. I met Paddy through my then brother in law – Tony Coyle. Paddy and Tony were at Usher College together training to become priests and when we formed Avalon both were students at Newcastle. Paddy lived by himself for a while in a bedsit in Whitley Bay and I remember him having an unusual hobby making art/structures from rolled up newspaper.

Leo McCabe, who unfortunately died from cancer whilst still in his thirties, was our lead singer. Leo had a fantastic voice and was an inspirational character. After Leo left the band,partly because he was ill Paddy and Tony shared the vocals and Roy sang on some of his own songs. I was never much good at singing and I think I just did the occasional oos and arhs. I drove the van then and when Paddy was living at home – Witton Gilbert- the round journey after gigs was quite long. We had a residency at The Corner House Whitley Bay playing until the early hours of the morning and the journey home was via Dipton, Witton Gilbert, Gosforth and eventually Wallsend.

Paddy and Tony were the creative members of the group although Roy wrote most of the songs and it was his idea to form the band. We rehearsed in Roy’s front room, much to the anoyance of his neighbours. Paddy had a liking for small cigars but he didn’t drink much.

When Paddy decided to leave the band it came as a shock. Tony decided to call it a day and from then on Roy brought in other musicians and the band changed direction.

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