Post image for Rabbit: Chas and Dave Reunion – Gertcha! (Part 2)

Rabbit: Chas and Dave Reunion – Gertcha! (Part 2)

For the first part of the story, read “Rabbit: Chas and Dave Reunion – Gertcha! (Part 1)” – click here

After Glastonbury 2005, all went well for a number of years. I did an average of 15-20 shows a year with Chas & Dave: most made me money but a few lost. In retrospect I suppose they were playing just too many gigs in London, but every time I tried to ease up, Barry would sell a show to someone else, so I kept up the pressure. Their fee had trebled since that first show, but the audiences had doubled, so it was still worth doing.

Then tragedy struck. Dave Peackock’s lovely wife, Sue, fell ill. She was a genuinely happy woman who had never smoked a day in her life but she succumbed to lung cancer. Just when we thought she was on the mend, Sue grew weak and finally passed away on July 4th, 2009. It was a sad time for everybody, especially Dave, who was absolutely devastated. He withdrew from live work with Chas & Dave and for three months, Chas carried on with Micky Burt and a stand-in bass-player.

I called their agent, Barry Collings, in early September, and he told me that Chas was expecting Dave to return in time for the Christmas Beano. So I booked a date at the Electric Ballroom and started to advertise and promote the show.

On September 22, 2009, an important news announcement came out of the blue – at least to me. Aside from the Christmas Beano, I had several shows booked , including two at the 100 Club. I got an email from a friend saying they’d heard on the radio that Chas & Dave had split up, was it true? I didn’t know. I went to the band’s website, which carried an official announcement:

“Following the death of his wife. Dave has decided to call time on touring. All dates already booked and those going forward will be fulfilled by Chas & his band (details here). Dave has been overwhelmed by the huge number of messages of support for him at this difficult time and we say a big thank you to all who got in touch and posted their regards on the web.
“To quote Chas: ‘It’s sad but Rockney will roll on with  Chas & his band’.
“CHAS & HIS BAND are CHAS Piano/Lead Vocals, MICKY BURT on Drums and DARREN JUNIPER Bass Guitar. Darren is the son of an old school friend of Chas, the man who introduced Chas to Dave years ago, a story Chas relates on stage.”

The British public are a funny lot. The Chas & Dave show without Dave wasn’t all that different. It featured the same songs in roughly the same order and they sounded like they did on the records, but for some reason people stopped coming. My first show at the 100 Club billed as “Chas & His Band” drew less than a hundred people.

It was obvious that the Christmas Beano at the 1100-capacity Electric Ballroom could not go ahead. Barry Collings and Chas thought I should go ahead with Chas and His Band. But I knew it was better to lose the money I’d already spent on the show than gamble several thousand more pounds that I was wrong. Promoting is always a gamble, but when you’re betting against your own instincts, experience and knowledge, it’s a hiding to nothing.

I gave it a good go with Chas and His Band – playing the 100 Club shows booked for Chas & Dave, but every one cost me money, including one – on New Year’s Eve at the 100 Club – that lost £4,000. Chas reduced his fees for the shows, but the high overheads and the fact that audiences weren’t showing up, meant that I still lost money. All in all, with the cancelled show and the ones I went ahead with and lost on, I was down the best part of £12,000, which was more than I’d made out of all the Chas and Dave shows in the previous year.

I owed Chas and Dave £6,000. I suggested I deduct a couple of thousand towards the cost of the cancelled Beano and my other losses but this was rejected and I ended up paying them the whole amount, on top of my losses. Barry Collings rang me and said that he thought there was a good chance that Dave would come back – at least for a farewell tour – and when that happened, I could recoup my losses that way.

Nothing happened for a year. Barry kept asking me whether I wanted to put on more shows with Chas & His Band and I kept telling him I couldn’t afford to, which was true. I’d given it a good try but it just didn’t seem to work at the 100 Club. Then, on June 12th, 2010 one of the 100 Club doormen rang me and asked me if I was involved with Chas & Dave’s Reunion Tour. I knew nothing about it. I fired off an email to Barry Collings, asking him what was happening.

He replied within eight minutes to say:

Hi, Chas & Dave are getting together again for one six week final theatre tour March /AprilI have sold the London date to the Indigo 02
Regards, Barry

I emailed back, pointing out that he told me I’d be getting the first call. He replied:

Hi they paid me big money. Otherwise I would have spoken to you regards. Barry

I pointed out that on the deal we’d agreed for the Christmas Beano, if transferred to the 02, Chas & Dave would walk out with very nearly £50,000, if the show sold out– which I believed it would. Were they getting more than that, I asked? No reply.

I emailed Chas. On June 14th he came back and said:

Jim, It was all left to Barry. He is our agent. If you want to get involved, give him a call.

So there it was. I asked if they wanted to do a warm-up at the 100 Club and I was told no. Chas and Dave eventually played 50 shows (31 of them sold out) including 3 at London’s Indigo 02.

It was a bad year for me. The 100 Club was threatened with closure because the owner was finding it hard to pay the rent. It was eventually saved, but by then I was told that the Fridays I had successfully promoted for nearly eight years had been given to someone else who was prepared to taken them on for 52 weeks of the year (I take July and August off to concentrate on the Rhythm Festival). Jeff wanted me to do Sunday nights at the 100 Club, but I had already been approached by he Borderline, a nearby club in central London, and I moved my Friday promotions there.

Then on April 25th, 2011, I was forwarded an email from the 100 Club:

To celebrate the end of their record breaking farewell UK tour and forthcoming live CD release with EMI Records, Chas n Dave perform to their friends, families and diehard fans in a special 100 Club show where all lucky ticket holders will receive a free limited edition live double CD of this final tour show together. The first half will be made up of their 1970’s pub set followed by all their hits from the 80’s, in what is going to be a highly emotional farewell to them on their final tour show together.
TIME: 6.30pm – 11pm
ADMISSION: £27.50 adv + bf (get your tickets now as there is only a limited number left)

Again, it would have been nice to have asked. Or even invited. Apparently I am not counted as part of their “friends, families and diehard fans”.

Update (18 May, 2011)

A friend who was at the “last ever gig” at the 100 Club and who spoke to Dave, said he was up with working with me again and that another reunion show was not out of the question. Not being one to miss a chance, I sent an email to Chas and Dave’s agent, Barry Collings that read:

Hi, Barry. Any chance of a one-off c&d christmas beano?
Good money for a one-off.
Cheers, Jim (Driver)

He replied:

Hi. Sorry. Already booked at 02 indigo. Regards. Barry

There you go!

Update (30 January, 2012)

Word came back that Chas and Dave were going to do some more shows in 2012. On 23rd January 2012, I emailed Barry Collings and I said:

Hi, Barry. I’d like to do a short little tour with Chas & Dave to “round things off” as I feel I was given a slightly raw deal after I had to swallow the costs of the cancellations (with the promise of first option on a reunion) after Dave left but then wasn’t given a chance to recover any of this when he returned and the O2 offered such a great deal.

We could then all make some money, shake hands and travel our separate ways. Or maybe do it again…

Could I please put an offer in for a Chas & Dave “Back To Their Roots” short tour in May 2012. This would not interfere with the O2 shows and would be fun for everyone to do. It could go one of two ways:

I then went on to list two offers that involved either playing three shows or five shows and offering many thousands of pounds.

Barry replied and said:

Will put these offers to them but i would say very doubtful
Dave has retired aside from one or two major festival dates in the summer and a couple of xmas shows at 02 indigo

On January 30th he came back to me with the answer:

Put your enquiry to the guys but regret that Dave has not changed his mind about semi-retiring
Best Regards

… apart from the odd music festival and shows at the O2, of course.

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