account after travelling with Christie on a visit to Germany,
reprinted from New Musical Express magazine, January 16,
ATTACK OF THE HOUSE-FRAUS
By Andy Gray
JEFF Christie, quiet, sensitive, peace-loving composer-vocalist-bass
guitarist, has plenty of young fan attention. The Leeds
musician has enjoyed it in Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Denmark,
Sweden and at home in Britain in recent months. But deep
in the heart of rural Germany, at a village inn early on
Sunday morning, he was mobbed as never before.
His attackers were about 20 plump German housewives,
sporting full-bodied charms and bulging breasts. When Jeff
and I returned at 1am from a most successful gig down the
road, the fraus had been drinking at their own party from
8pm and were in a very merry mood.
The tall, maxi-coated, Spanish-hatted Jeff
was completely taken aback by their whoops and yells of
wild abandonment. The hotel proprietor had told the mums
that Christie were staying at the inn for the night and
the German amazons, knowing the group from Yellow
River and San Bernadino,
were waiting to greet the pop stars their youngsters had
enjoyed at the gig earlier.
It was an incredible scene, with Jeff completely
surrounded by the admiring women. Only by pushing and pulling
did he make the stairs to the bedroom. Even then four big
fraus followed him, one shouting "Mein boy! Mein boy!".
Two pushed into his bedroom and one tested the softness
of his bed by throwing herself onto it. Jeff looked at me
in bewilderment. To placate them he autographed posters
of Christie for them and only by hinting inconclusively
that he might join them later downstairs that they departed.
"One of them literally picked me up
bodily," Jeff gasped. The he grinned: "If these
are the sorts of fans Tom Jones has, no wonder he has a
lot of bodyguards."
These amazing incidents took place at Levern,
near Osnabrook in northern Germany. It was the second rural
date Christie had played in two nights, and had a third
the next night. Only one date was played in the city, Hamburg.
On Friday I drove through fog and rain to watch
Christie win the excitement of around 800 healthy-looking
farming types in Ditmasrcher, and the next night at the
Levern Festhalle, where more than 1500 turned up.
Their only Hamburg date was at the Reeperbaum's
Top Ten Club, which has taken over from the Star Club, once
the Beatles' pop cradle. The Reeperbaum itself is the famous
entertainment street in the port city, a neon jungle of
sex palaces, beer gardens, cinemas and cabarets. (And where
Vic Elmes returned recently to film his video, Deep
In The Night.)
Christie are three very easy-going musicians.
I never heard a word of complaint from them, although conditions
weren't perfect like when the windscreen wiper flew
off the car in heavy, drizzling rain at 1am, about an hour's
drive out of Hamburg after the exhausting show. And no grumbles
about the nightly ritual, when, after cooling off after
their torrid performance, they met a hundred or so fans
who wanted the posters of Christie autographed.
They are all very keen performers. Vic Elmes
and Jeff take about 30 minutes before each show to tune
up together, reminding me of the old Shadows days. On stage,
Christie work themselves up to a standstill and although
Jeff and I argued about the mixed content of their repertoire,
I had to admit everything they did got approval.
I couldn't help remarking that I felt placing
Jeff's heavier, long and wayout Martian
King and Nightmare,
each side of the highly commercial San
Bernadino (which has a great swing to it), was confusing
to the fans who had obviously come for Yellow
Jeff would have none of it. "I want the
listeners to like all sorts of music and I hope they accept
my hard rock as readily as my simpler efforts. It's all
Vic is a really dominant lead guitarist and
a very good lead singer, who can harmonise with Jeff vocally
as well. Jeff sings extremely well solo and plays a forceful
bass, full of authority (did you know he played with Jimi
Hendrix for a time?). And Paul Fenton nearly wrecks himself,
so athletic and hectic is his skin-and-cymbal bashing. No
wonder he strips to the waist to do it.
The Christie team the three boys, expert
road manager John Salter and two cheerful Glaswegian roadies,
Booby and wee Alex started their German jaunt most
pleasantly on a Prins Ferry from Harwich to Bremerhaven,
and ended with another mini-cruise back to England.
This weekend Christie are in Scotland, where
I'll bet Jeff doesn't get the shock mobbing he got from
the house-fraus of Levern!