Des Henly's Rock and Roll Circus

music paper articles

Evening News
Feb 13 1973

FUMBLE begin to feel good

DES HENLY is a successful pop singer. His group’s new album earned enviable reviews.
Their single is played on Radio 1, they are about to leave for an American tour. And he earns... 10 Pounds a week.
Des isn’t being swindled. It’s just that being anything less than a star is scarcely viable in the overcrowded world of rock’n’roll bands today.
Mick Jagger and Rod Stewart and Marc Bolan all once earned that kind of money.

Difficult
Des’s band is called Fumble. They have appeared on television and their name has been splashed across the front pages of the music papers. So the signs are that they are going to make it.
"I know people expect pop singers to earn more than 10 Pounds a week" he says. "But you get used to managing. It used to be 5 Pounds a week – and that really was difficult."
All four members of Fumble receive the same wage from their manager John Sherry. But, to be fair, almost all their bills – even for clothes – are paid for them.
"The cost of keeping a band like this on the road is astronomical." says Des.
"Sometimes our fee barely covers the money we lay out on transport, food and hotels."
Fumble specialise in playing the early hits of people like Elvis, Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers. It sounds an unlikely formula for success. But even audiences at London clubs like the Marquee and the Speakeasy have been shouting for more at the end of their sets.
And David Bowie, who is a big star now, asked Fumble to play as his support group on his tour of Britain and on his forthcoming tour of the States.
Fumble have been playing together for five years. Des is 25 and a former art student.
Pianist Sean Mayes won an MA degree in Philosophy at Cambridge. Bass guitarist Mario Ferrari is a former artist. And drummer Barry Pike was a student at Cambridge.
Say Mario: "We’ve been gigging about for years and sometimes people haven’t even bothered to listen to us.
"Now Fumble is just beginning to take off. That’s a nice feeling."
- John Blake