Special Tribute Gig For Dr. Feelgood’s Late Gypie MayoThere is going to be a special celebration gig for the great Gypie Mayo- the only guitar player who could stand in the genius Wilko’s shoes in the legendary Dr. Feelgood.

Guitar player Leigh Heggarty is part of then gig and told us his personal take on the gig…

When I was a lad there was a band called Dr. Feelgood. I first encountered them when I came in from school one day and was confronted by them playing live on a children’s television programme called ‘The Geordie Scene’ Having previously been transfixed by the glam rock greatness of T.Rex, Slade, The Faces and co. and previously by the pre-teen Beatles, Stones and Who singles these boys were an absolute revelation. They looked like villains from ‘The Sweeney’ (a big thing with us teenage herberts at the time) and, well, sounded pretty much how a band comprised of villains from ‘The Sweeney’ would sound i.e. brilliant. It was literally love at first sight from my point of view, and when few if any of my schoolmates showed little if any interest in the band I retreated into the world of jagged guitars and growled vocals that only Canvey Island’s finest could provided. ‘Roxette’ sounded to me like nothing on Earth. It still sounds to me like nothing on Earth… by the time I was old enough to witness a live performance by the band things had changed – their astonishing guitarist Wilko Johnson had departed, replaced by a skinny chap with great hair. His name was John Mayo, although the singer always called him Gypie so we all called him that too. The first time I saw him play I knew – knew – that I was watching one of the best guitarists, indeed one of the best musicians that I would ever see. The original four studio and two live albums by this line-up of the band contain what is for me some of the greatest electric guitar playing ever recorded. And that my friends is a big thing in my little world.

Gypie Mayo died last year. He was 62 years old (he had the same birthday as me – July 24th since you’ve asked) and had been suffering from cancer for some time. Over the years I was lucky enough to meet him several times, and he was always an absolute gentleman – modest, polite, and still one of the best guitarists that I’ve ever seen. The last time I met him was in June 2010 when my band The Flying Squad played a show in Ruislip supporting The Band Of Sceptics who featured Gypie on guitar alongside noted blues writer Pete Sargeant. The Band Of Sceptics and The Flying Squad are playing in Ruislip again this coming Sunday 2nd March, and in Walton On Thames the following Friday 7th March (see attached posters) when we’ll all be paying tribute to Gypie by playing some of the music associated with him from his time with Dr. Feelgood, The Yardbirds and more. The Flying Squad will feature ex-Lew Lewis bassman Johnny Squirrel and drummer Andy Moore from ’70’s mod heroes Back To Zero alongside Andy Cross on vocals and your humble narrator on guitar, and all proceeds from the gigs will be donated to the hospice in Bath which cared for Gypie towards the end of his life. It would be great to see you at one or other (or even both!) of the shows – I might even try to play ‘Roxette’…

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