Kavemen turn back the clock to rock once more

The Kavemen back in the 1960s and (below, left to right), Terry Smith, Ray Minhinnett and Dave Batten
The Kavemen back in the 1960s and (below, left to right), Terry Smith, Ray Minhinnett and Dave Batten

MUSICIANS turned back time when they were reunited after more than 40 years apart.

It was 1968 when Terry Smith, Dave Batten and Ray Minhinnett, who played together in 1960s local band The Kavemen, were last together.

Terry Smith, Ray Minhinnett and Dave Batten.

Terry Smith, Ray Minhinnett and Dave Batten.

But the former bandmates from The Kavemen, which were formed in Peterlee in 1964, were reunited at Hartlepool’s Old West Quay pub and the years melted away.

The musicians all went on to have success in their own right.

Blues/rock guitarist and singer-songwriter Ray, now 63, went on to write and produce an Emmy Award-nominated film celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Fender Stratocaster guitar, called Curves, Contours and Bodyhorns, featuring stars Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Keith Richards, Richie Sambora, Mark Knopfler, Chris Rea, Bryan Adams and Hank Marvin.

He also co-produced a Strat Pack concert at Wembley in 2004 featuring Brian May, Dave Gilmour, Joe Walsh and Gary Moore.

Ray, who settled in Devon, also won an award for Best British Blues album and was nominated for Best British Blues Guitarist alongside the likes of Eric Clapton and Thin Lizzy’s Gary Moore.

More recently, the dad-of-two has worked in the USA with Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band and Kid Rock.

Ray, who left Peterlee in 1970 when he took the band, then called The Traine and later Harvest, to London, said: “Meeting up was really good fun.”

Terry, 65, who now lives in Stockton with wife Jan, 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.

He said: “We spent the afternoon reminiscing about the days playing at places like The Catcote, The Queen’s and The Rink, in Hartlepool.

“It was as if I had just seen them yesterday.”

Dave, now 69, and still living in Peterlee, left to bring up his family and was working at Hartlepool Steelworks during his time with the band before working as a bus driver for Northern General Transport until retiring.

He reprised his music-playing 12 years ago with bands Wor Bella and Left Hand Drive and still plays his guitars at home.

The dad-of-four said: “It was absolutely brilliant.

“A 50th anniversary gig would be a nice idea if it comes off, I hope to meet up with them again before then.”

The reunion was arranged by Hartlepool man and former BBC Radio Cleveland presenter Stan Laundon after linking the lads up through his nostalgia website, which profiles 1960s local bands.