Noel Wyatt – Jacky changed my life completely in more ways than one. Not only was she responsible for getting me my first tour laminate but she also introduced me to the band, got me in on two video shoots – ‘Radio Ga Ga’ and ‘I Want To Break Free’ and allowed me to go to some of the most amazing gigs ever.
Noel Wyatt S.O.C. / Aka ‘Ratty’
Chapter Three: We Will Rock You
First Published: 15 March 2012
I even went to Freddy’s birthday party at Xenon, a nightclub in Piccadilly. I was now working in a normal job during the week and rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous on weekends.
I got to hang out with some of the road crew and sample a life I began to increasingly crave. Money, power, booze, cocaine, everything was right there and I wanted it all, The problem was, I would have to lose everything to get it.
Jacky was quite happy with me just being a normal average bloke but I felt increasingly inadequate compared to her friends. I couldn’t compete and began to take my frustrations out on her. Every time she would get home late I would become almost hysterical and, when she stayed in London for a weekend I lost the plot entirely, smashing up the house.
I began playing in a band called Sweet F.A. that were from my neighbourhood and started treating Jacky really badly. Eventually she had had enough and over a drink one night at the local pub she suggested we should sell the house and split up. I agreed and within weeks we had gone our separate ways.
THE BIGGEST SINGLE MISTAKE OF MY LIFE…
The band I was in were shit (mostly because I was not that great a drummer). We played a few shows and embarrassed ourselves but my heart wasn’t in it. I was really depressed and disillusioned with where I was now but, as has always been the case with my life, things were about to change for me in a big way.
One of the people Jacky had introduced me to was in the merchandise business and gave me some tickets to go and see a band at the Oxford Apollo one night. The band were called Paul Samson’s Empire.
I was in the bar next door to the Apollo before the gig and the band were having a pre-gig drink. I was introduced to them and started chatting to the drummer, Mark Brabbs, previously of Tank. They were on a really low budget and had no crew. There were only a few gigs left before the end of the tour and they were due to head to London that night to do a gig at Hammersmith Odeon.
After the show I was invited to have a drink with them on their tour bus whilst the merchandise guy finalised a t-shirt deal with them. I asked Mark if he needed a drum tech for the last few gigs and he said he would love to but they had no budget.
I was living at my Mum’s by now so had nothing to lose and offered to work for free. That night I drove off on their tour bus with one small bag of clothes and no fucking clue what was going to happen next. One thing I did know for certain was that there would be no
going back now.
I HAD RUN AWAY AND JOINED THE CIRCUS
The tour was over so fast it spun my head around. We literally drove to London, did one gig at the Hammersmith odeon and that was it. I went back home to my Mum’s and tried to make sense of what was going on. A couple of weeks went by and I got a call from Paul. The band had landed a tour with Iron Maiden and were heading out to their first gig in Devon. I was already packing before the call was over.
I jumped in my car with one small bag, told my Mum I would see her soon and headed off to join the band. I’m on my way and I’m making it. It was 1986 and this was the ‘Somewhere In Time’ tour.
We were still in a mini van, we still had no money but at least we were doing big venues. I don’t really know how the band had gotten on that tour but I think it had something to do with the rhythm guitar player Dave Bucket Colwell. He had some sort of connection with the Maidens and Paul Samson was a bit of a legend in his own right. All I knew was that this was my chance to get in on the big tours.
I may have been sleeping in a van and living on meat pies but I was on my way.
There was one other crew member on this tour and his name was Paul Davis. Paul and I were to become lifelong friends and we both became successful in the business. Paul now works for Abe Laborial Jr and is on tour with Paul McCartney.
The guys used to have a whip round whenever they could and throw me a few quid and on gig days I got to eat in catering (luxury). On several of the days off I went to the Iron Maiden football games which invariably meant free beer and food after the match.
The Maiden crew really took me under their wing and would help me out whenever they could. They knew I was working for peanuts and they made sure I was taken care of if they could.
COMRADES IN ARMS
I now had my first real tour laminate or as I preferred to think of it: MY PASSPORT TO SEXESS…
We did about twenty or thirty dates on that tour if my memory serves me correctly and I got laid about twenty or thirty times. Hell, I was living better than the band at this point. But more about that next week.
You can read the Noel Wyatt series at https://www.metaltalk.net/tag/noel-wyatt. Roadfilth Incorporated is available at Amazon.