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Join Stewy for a night of memories and music.

PUBLISHED: 10:32 06 July 2012

Stewy McIntosh taken at the Old Railway Club in Norwich in 1953

Stewy McIntosh taken at the Old Railway Club in Norwich in 1953

Archant

Stewy McIntosh is celebrating his 75th birthday and 60 years as a singing drummer by joining up with The Offbeats for a rock 'n' roll party we are all invited to.

There is another diamond anniversary about to be celebrated – this time at Arkwrights in Norwich on Saturday, July 14.

The godfather of Norwich rock, singing drummer Stewy McIntosh, is playing his very last gig to celebrate 60 years as a musician and his 75th birthday.

And you are all invited for a old fashioned Norwich knees-up when Stewy teams up with the original Offbeats, first formed in the last 1950s, for a night to remember.

Stewy with will sharing the stage with Mike Lorenz, Rod Kidd, Luke Watson, Dave Wilson – a bunch of great rockers.

“This will be my very last gig. I have had a wonderful time over the years and I hope to see a lot of old friends plus anyone else who enjoys rock ‘n’ roll,” said Stewy.

A legendary character from the 1960s who went on to play all kinds of music with various bands, Stewy came out of retirement for the Evening News Golden Years gigs – and was a star attraction, helping to raise more than £125,000 for charities and good causes over the years. So how did his career start?

Stewy, born in July of 1937, grew up in war-torn Norwich and remembers the Blitz and the friendly invasion by thousands of young American airmen.

“When I was 15 I started to sing a few Johnnie Ray songs at the Bakers Arms on Heigham Street before getting a paper round to pay for my first drum kit. My father worked night shifts as a printer at the Eastern Daily Press but he never complained about me playing drums in my bedroom,” said Stewy.

He went on to join the AlleyKatz skiffle group with Brian Lambert – performing with Tony Sheridan and The Saints, and the late, great Larry Pye.

“Jazz was my first love and I was lucky to have been able to play with the likes of Ronnie Scott and Tubby Hayes and in Norfolk with Mike Capucci and Anglia TV’s Peter Fenn. Great people,” he added.

Rock ‘n’ roll came along in 1959 when Stewy met up with local brothers Frank, John and Ivan Zagni and this resulted in the formation of The Cadillacs – a highly successful Norwich beat band. He joined up with the Zodiacs playing with the likes of Terry Wickham who went on to be the organiser of the Golden Years which reunited so many beat bands.

Stewy went on to play drums with The Emperors with the much-loved Lucas, still going strong, playing the London clubs with the likes of George Fame and Chris Farlowe. He then joined Peter Fenn’s band backing big name artists. His rollercoaster musical career took a new turn playing with the late John Lofty – on the same bill as The Rolling Stones and Gladys Knight. “She had a fabulous voice,” he recalls.

“Following my stint with John, I joined a band called Murphy in 1971 with Mick Starling and John Tuddenham and we had the time of our lives supporting bands such as Status Quo, Thin Lizzy and Queen – we played a lot at West Runton Pavilion – a great venue,” said Stewy. He went on to spend a dozen or so years with the Roger Cooke Four supporting, and playing golf, with the likes of Marty Wilde and Frank Carson.

“One of my favourite times was backing Ruby Murray at Bury St Edmunds and we became good friends. Such a sweet person. Another fond memory is of supporting the hugely talented Barron Knights – what a great bunch of boys,” he added.

The last band he played with before coming out of retirement for the Golden Years was Fifth Avenue with Dave Quinton and Rodney Kidd. “I’ve had a fantastic time over the years and I hope to relive a few of them at my retirement/birthday party. The bar will be open,” he smiled.

That’s Arkwrights, at Hobart Square, off Hall Road, Norwich, on Saturday, July 14 from 7.30pm.

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