*WINSTON: The Final Countdown: Below..
Winston in LE Studios 1976
Billy Birchall: Drums. Eddie Leverington: Guitar.
Brian 'Spud' Rudd ex Ipso Facto: Lead Guitar. Geoff Duckworth: Bass Guitar.
One of a trio of Wigan based super-groups - Winson - together with Rainbow Cottage and Copper Kettle - they professionally dominated the 1970/1980's scene with their particular version of progressive rock. As a pro-band, their collective talents were in huge demand all across the Euro Zone and when playing much closer to home, they would pack places out to rafters every time they played. Something which they still do to this very day..
Each member too has fond memories of the slightly erlier times of the 1960's when they were cutting their teeth as fledgling musicians in local groups. Bands like the immensly popular Ispso Facto produced lead guitarist Brian Rudd for instance.
Like many band's personelle line-up's changed many times over the years before eventually swapping Rock 'n Roll for 'proper jobs' in the 1990's. James Carter Stringfellow on keyboards replaced Brian when he stood down in the mid 1970's.
Today however, they are still performing, if a little less frequently. Going for the Fun Band Reunion Theme they can be seen in places like Goose Green Labour Club, Wigan as they did just very recently - and with Copper Kettle on the bill too.. I'm told the shows are unmissable!
I'll keep you posted..
Bill Hart: August 2010
Another packed venue in the mid 1970's.
The line-up with James Carter Stringfellow on keyboards Geoff - Billy - Eddie
Spud Geoff Eddie Billy
Winston in Holland 1979
*WINSTON: The Final Countdown 1987-89
Joe Moss takes a short break from his mixing desk.
Joe was sound engineer for Rainbow Cottage many years then..
"In the last few weeks of the lifespan of Rainbow Cottage in 1987, I was approached by Billy Birchall of Winston to do the same job for them. I can’t recall whether their sound guy had or was leaving and they needed someone to replace him. I was very fortunate, therefore to walk from one job straight into another.
Kevin Longworth RIP Dave Flintoff
Winston had been around for quite a number of years by then in various line-ups - I don’t know enough about their earlier career to add anything to that time - and by the time I was recruited the band consisted of; Billy Birchall on drums and vocals, Dave Flintoff on bass guitar and vocals, Kevin Longworth - who sadly passed away a few years ago - on guitar and vocals and Phil Needham on keyboards and vocals.
Winston had, by this time, been in existence for quite a number of years and had created a very good reputation on a similar circuit to Rainbow Cottage and regarding onstage line-up and musical approach were closely related. Philip Stokes, an original member of Rainbow Cottage was also an original member of Winston.
Billy Birchall Phil Needham
From the.. iron curtain..
Winston’s orbit of work was very similar to that of Rainbow Cottage, including several trips out to Germany. A notable first was when we had to go to Berlin to perform some shows. This was at a time when the two halves of the country were separated by the Iron Curtain and the Berlin wall. It was very interesting and a little scary going through those stark concrete checkpoints with heavily armed guards inspecting the documentation and looking through all the gear in the back of the van.
Another example of first-class planning occurred when we were going out to Germany in December 1987. We were booked to appear at R.A.F locking near Weston-super-Mare on Wednesday 9 December, so we set out that morning and arrived late afternoon, played the show and got away from Weston SM in the early hours of the morning driving straight to Dover through the night and arriving in time to catch an early ferry across to France. We travelled through the day to arrive at L.E Agency’s base in Germany in the early afternoon, only to be told that we were expected in Detmold right away. This meant we had to go another three hours along the road to arrive by tea-time. We were met at the gates by an army officer who wondered why we were late as he had been expecting us the day before. Without any further delay, we had to go in and set up to be ready to play as quickly as possible. Now, in case you don’t know, the forces 'Christmas Balls' are very formal and long drawn-out occasions with the intention of eating and drinking as much as you can. The night went on and on until finally we were able to finish in the small hours of Friday morning. You will note that there was no mention of bed and sleep here.
To the.. final curtain
Throughout 1988 we continued to trek around Britain, The Isle of Man and Germany and so we were spending quite a lot of time away from home with not a great deal of time off. By now Winston had been around for about sixteen years in various forms, but always with Billy 'Winston' Birchall as the one constant. Whether this was a factor in the decision late in the year to disband, I’m not sure; certainly the lifestyle makes maintaining outside relationships more difficult. So on the 17 January 1989, Winston performed for the final time at Goose Green Labour Club, Wigan.
In recent years Winston have revived themselves and perform locally mostly, I believe, at weekends. The featured line-up is now; Philip Stokes on guitar & vocals; Eddie Leverington on guitar & vocals; Geoff Duckworth on Bass & vocals; Billy Birchall on Drums & vocals. Their original sound & lighting engineer, Barry Hurst is also back with them."
Joe Moss: February 2010