Rocksalt 2015

A wet Friday morning could not dampen the spirit at rehearsal boot camp as the group of fellas that were Rocksalt in the 70's and 80's hugged each other – in some cases - for the first time in 30 years. The Anglicaness of Christchurch, Stone in Staffordshire was to play host to the resurrection of a sound guaranteed to disturb any passers-by. Five lads from the Midlands had found each other again.

Keyboard player Pete Mason – on his home stomping ground in Stone – had joked with Wolverhampton blues guitarist Tim Jenks about the crazy idea of pulling the band back together for one more show while they were still alive and fit enough to enable such a feat. The physical requirement to carry the gear, set it up and play after all that was still attainable. Tim had not lost contact with Pete and both had served in irregular get-togethers with bassist John Martin. John had maintained a bass part in the Tim Jenks Band when suitable gigs arose.

Distant members had been original guitarist Phil Stokes and drummer Tim Headley. Phil had been long gone to London to head up a church whilst Tim Headley had planted roots in Newtown, Mid Wales. Tim H had then been traced to new roots in Cambridge. None needed much persuading that this reunion had to be done. Once the word went viral on social media, past associates of the band started talking about hosting concerts elsewhere. The obvious places were each other's home-churches and plans are underway for more gigs following this Christchurch reunion.


With the added technical expertise of former lighting man Greg Szarbo and sound man John Forrester the line-up was complete on by 10.00 am on the rehearsal Friday.  Greg began assembling a lamp-show that would equal anything he had put together for the likes of ELO, Jethro Tull and Paul Jones in is his years as a pro ‘lamps man’.  Johnny F pieced together a tonnage of PA equipment that Pete had harboured for years and the job was underway. 



Surprisingly the music came together fairly quickly in a more pleasing laid back style to the quite punkish attack popular in the 80's. Doobie Brothers songs were actually recognisable as Doobie tunes and old original gospel songs by various members of the band took on a new life as the players now had honed skills that had developed over the latter years.



A reunion dinner on the Friday evening following rehearsal with all the 'rock-widowed' wives was a tremendous affair and 30 years of tales flowed forth until the old rockers realised it was time to go home and dress down into jimjams. Another busy day before the actual concert saw the establishment of a concert arena in what was actually a simple modern church hall.

Close on 100 people turned up to witness a transformed church hall that had become an environment replicating the coffee bar of the 1960's that spawned bands like Rocksalt. The children of the band came, the in-laws came, friends from the 70's came. The lights blacked out - the theme from Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds came through the PA – the crowd cheered and Tim H's drums rattled the band into 'Haunting of the Ghost' – a Tim J tune that had become the trademark opener during the 1980's. The set went from strength to strength as the band gained confidence, injecting nearly 300 years of experience into some old material.


There was the technical added shine to proceedings, aided and driven to new levels by an astounding light show from Greg. The amplifiers were better, the guitars stayed in tune. The closing encore; 'Sands of Time' – which had been born in the 'Fishnet Coffee Bar' in 1969 was fitting close to a memorable evening. Rocksalt has risen again…




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