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Rock 'n' Rolling Away the Years

From the review by Malcolm Mcalister Hall in the Sunday Express, June 1994

Around midnight in the back room of a pub in Camden, north London, Danny, Pete, Chris, Simon, Shawn and Tim are really cooking, working up a final head of steam. On the menu: classic cuts of rock 'n' roll dished out red hot and jumping by six guys in scarlet satin-look suits, packed tight on a stage not much bigger than your bathroom.

Out on the packed dance floor, there's applause from girls with Sandra Dee ponytails, '50s blouses, pointy shoes and lots of red lipstick; and boys in white T-shirts, jeans and Tony Curtis haircuts. For serious '50s enthusiasts, the Stargazers are THE rock 'n' roll band.

"We're the only band in Britain playing rock 'n' roll in the classic Haley style," says guitarist Peter Davenport, 34, who co-founded the outfit back in 1980. On stage they still whip up the wild and raucous energy that characterised original music before it was hijacked by slick producers and Las Vegas lounge singers.

Stargazers' gigs are a red-suited blur of honking saxophone, thumping stand-up double bass, driving guitar and pounding piano.

The Stargazers' classic sound has had more than just a nod of approval from their heroes, Bill Haley's Comets. Reformed in 1987, the Comets have roured the UK and Europe with the Stargazers on the bill as support band. Davenport reckons he's sat in with them about 20 times on steel guitar, and keyboardist Chris Gardener took the stage with them at a rock 'n' roll weekender at Brean Sands.

"We're fanatics about this music," says singer Danny Brittain. "We keep playing because we keep getting asked. We always give 'em a wild show, so we get a wild reaction. It never fails."