Steve, Gary, Nick and Tony (Photographs by Alex Chater)
Power photo shoot at The Queens Hotel 1975
Power, whom lived and breathed in Southend during the desperate pre-punk
years of 1974 + 1975, were the nearest to 'Rocket From The Tombs' or 'The
London SS' that the town produced. Co-founded by Guitarist Nick Paul (later
of The Machines) and Bassist Steve Reddihough (a.k.a. 'Tash') in the transitory
wasteland that was 1974, the band was a coming together for the disparate
members, all lovers of classic proto-punk such as The New York Dolls /
The Stooges / The MC5. Locally, the band would be well known for starting
the weekly residencies at The Queens Hotel, a crucial venue in the towns
music scene, especially during the Punk years.
to Nick Paul in 2005 about Raw Power, he said "The deal (with The
Queens Hotel) was that we got to leave our gear there and practice free
whenever we liked, plus 10% of the bar take plus two crates of beer each
gig. We started it up on Saturday nights in a bar at the front. The first
week we played to 18 people, by the 4th week the bar was packed to capacity
(about 120). It was a great gig and so damned handy! For some reason we
were popular with Hells Angels who used to send up tray after tray of
drinks. I always seemed to have at least 2 or 3 pints on top of my amps
(I used 2 100w HH's and 2 4x12 cabinets for maximum blast)."
Power's secret weapon though sounds as if it was the amazing on stage
charisma of vocalist Tony Gower."Tony started as our roadie",
says Nick, "but we drafted him in because he was a total animal live
(I think Iggy would have run and hid in the girls loo's if he'd seen Tony
in action!). He couldn't sing but that really didn't matter 'cos boy he
could bellow! At the age of 18 the doctor told him he had less than 18
months to live if he didn't dramatically reduce his 24hr a day boozing!"
Spring 1975 though, things started to slowly wind down. Nick conitnues
"After about our 9/10th Saturday gig (at The Queens) in a row we
started to get tired of the place so handed the residency over to the
Diamond Jack band and started playing places like the Alex and other places
instead. Ultimately though we just couldn't get a toe hold on the London
scene and fizzled out. Steve always used to say if we had lived 35 miles
up the road in London we would been there ahead of the Pistols and Clash.
In total we played about 30 gigs in between October 1974 - April 1975.
It was a real shame but it sure was a great band to be in."
Amazingly, 29 Years later after the bands spilt, bass player Steve Reddihough
got in touch with Nick and he says "it was just like we hadn't seen
each other for a few days. Its great to be playing with him again and
to be writing new songs". The Raw Power story continues...