The Kavemen rock on

The Kavemen performing in Peterlee Community Centre in 1963 . l(eft to right), Ian Byron on drums, Dave Batten on a Fenton Weill bass guitar, Steve Burnett with an Antoria guitar and Terry Smith on a Vox Dominator guitar.
The Kavemen performing in Peterlee Community Centre in 1963 . l(eft to right), Ian Byron on drums, Dave Batten on a Fenton Weill bass guitar, Steve Burnett with an Antoria guitar and Terry Smith on a Vox Dominator guitar.

MUSICIANS of yesteryear are set for a reunion after more than 40 years apart thanks to a nostalgia website.

Terry Smith, Dave Batten and Ray Minhinnett, who played together in 1960s local band The Kavemen, are planning a get-together in the summer.

The Kavemen from left, Ian Byron, Dave Batten, Terry Smith and Steve Burnett.

The Kavemen from left, Ian Byron, Dave Batten, Terry Smith and Steve Burnett.

It will be the first time the lads have seen each other since 1968 and follows members of the group going on to have successes in their own right.

The reunion is thanks to help from Hartlepool man Stan Laundon’s website, which features profiles of 1960s local bands.

Stan was handed some pictures of the Peterlee-based The Kavemen to display on the site by a woman called Carol Burnup.

Word got to Terry, who now lives in Stockton, that they were there to view and he sent Stan some background information on the band.

Terry also appealed for information on his ex-bandmates’ whereabouts.

Then Ray, now a Devon-based blues/rock guitarist and singer-songwriter, saw the piece about The Kavemen and sent Stan an email saying he would love to get back in touch with the band.  Stan forwarded the email on to Terry and now plans are underway to meet up.

Guitarist Terry, 65, who later formed Allcock and Brown with Roy “Chubby” Brown, said: “Ray lives down in Devon now but plans to come up soon.”

Ray said he also hadn’t been in touch with bassist Dave, from Peterlee, since 1968, but Ray had passed on his phone number. “I’m looking forward to seeing the lads again after all this time,” added Terry.

The Kavemen were formed in 1963 after Terry left Horden-based band Johnny and the Blue Streaks and joined Ian Byron and Dave Batten as a trio.

Steve Burnett briefly joined the band, but left after a few months.

Terry, Ian and Dave worked as a three-piece until around mid-1965 when Ray joined.

They played regularly all over the area, including at the former Peterlee Community Centre, and had a monthly slot at The Adelphi Hotel, in Harrogate.

The band’s name changed to The Traine around 1966 and in early 1967, Terry left to join another Peterlee outfit, The Mizares.

Terry went on to play with comedy band Sugar ‘n’ Spice, before joining forces with Roy “Chubby” Brown.

After a solo stint in 1980, he rejoined Sugar ‘n’ Spice and enjoyed success on the clubland circuit during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1997, Sugar ‘n’ Spice changed their name to My Generation and played on the same bills as Edwin Starr and The Drifters.

Ray wrote on Stan’s website that he moved to London in the late 1960s and signed with the Wright Price Agency.

He worked with a band which included Nigel Olsson, from Sunderland, who was a drummer for Elton John.

Stan lives on Hartlepool’s Headland and used to present a country show on BBC Radio Cleveland. His website has also been instrumental in reunions for The Magic Roundabout, The Toffees, and Terry and The Orbits.He said: “It’s great to know all these lads are getting together again thanks to my website.”