The Beginning - 1961-62
In 1962 four school mates got together to form a group, well if Cliff and the Shadows can do it why not them?
The 4 were Peter (Ginger) Millington on Bass Guitar, Dave Saunders on Drums, Lucian Le Coix on Lead Guitar and Paul Watts on Lead Vocals.
Equipment was scarce and all they had for the first practice was an acoustic guitar, bass guitar (£29.50 from a catalogue), a Boys Brigade snare drum with an up-turned green plastic watering can for a tom tom. The only amplification for the entire group was a "Stella" tape recorder with one 4" speaker - that didn't last very long!
The practice venue was Peter's Dad's garage which was freezing that first winter of 1961/62. So much so the group saw the departure of Lucian which was a shame really, with a name like that he deserved to be a star.
Peter recruited a replacement for Lucian, Trevor Spears a classmate from the Grove School, Form 4:2 which was the first change to the group. Trevor then head-hunted Tony Goodman from his group the Red Coats. This was a real bonus as he knew 4 chords and had been playing "live" for at least a year - real experience.
This line-up was stable for about 9 months during which time they played for anyone who would have them. Only one problem, they had no transport forcing them to travel everywhere by public transport bus (all gear under the stairs), Taxi, (one visit and they wouldn't come again because of all the gear), and work colleagues.
On one occasion the gear had to be pushed in an old pram from Hollington to Westfield, a distance of about 3 miles. There's dedication for you!
Talking of dedication, The Confederates benefited from loads of support from the crowds from the Hollington area. As the lads didn't have transport in the early days, they hired coaches and sold tickets to get them to all the outlying villiage gigs - there's enterprise for you.
One special credit goes to Chris Huggett who accompanied the group on nearly all their gigs. On one occasion in Brenchley, he was left to guard the kit from the unruly and envious males who were unimpressed with the attention the group were getting from the girls.
Chris boldly stood his ground and prevented the kit from being demolished. You could say that without Chris and his swollen lip, the group wouldn't have played again as they could never have afforded to buy all the gear for a second time.
Chris is in the picture of the group and their new van (or should I say Spyke's van) see picture to the right.
The Confederates supported the Grove School "old boys" social club during 1962 and 1963 and these photos are some of the earliest taken of the group.
The Confederates consisted of Tony Goodman on rhythm, (only left hand visible) Dave Saunders on drums (Bass drum visible) Peter (Ginger) Millington on Bass guitar, Paul Watts, lead singer and Trev Spears on Lead Guitar.
The equipment used at this time was a home made drum kit, a Watkins Westminster amplifier (brilliant little workhorse purchased jointly by Peter and Trev with 10 shillings (50p) a week paper round money).
The first pictures of the group are shown top right playing for the Grove School Summer Dance on 3rd April 1963.
In mid 1963, Paul Watts left the group and eventually became EMI's Director of International Record Sales. He was replaced by another school friend, Johnny Conroy.