John 'Timberjack' Donoghue, Mt Eden 1973. Taken for the release of the "Spirit of Pelorus Jack" album. At the time he was a guitarist in Auckland Rockband "Human Instinct." Photo: Susy Pointon.
THREE SHILLING CLUB
A Folkrock Genesis
John Donoghue:- “Frits, Steve and I got a small flat in London, on the Edgeware road at Cricklewood,
and scored some gigs for the band at the local pub, the “Cricklewood Crown.” One Saturday Frits and Steve turned up at the flat with Carl Everson, of the Fourmyula. They had ran into him on Edgeware Road, and it turned out the Fourmyula were living
within walking distance of our place. They had a house in Willesden Green, and we saw a lot of them after that. They were as poor as we were. But somehow their life seemed more glamorous."
From "Memories of NZ Musicians" - (Dizzy Limit Band)
by one my Dizzy Limit bandmates all got day jobs. This meant they could now afford to sample London's night life, so on the weekends I would find myself alone in our little flat at Cricklewood.
Fourmyula's guitarist Martin Hope had the opposite problem. His was a seriously crowded house on the weekends. So, if he had a Friday or Saturday night off, he would stroll over to Cricklewood and the two of us would spend an evening jamming on our acoustic
Martin was as broke as I was, but he'd bring one lone shilling that he'd managed to beg, borrow or steal from somewhere. Martin's shilling would feed the gas meter in our flat and make the
gas stove go. I'd scrape up a shilling from somewhere for the electric meter that gave us lights to see by.
Soon we were joined by Martin's friend, Kiwi guitarist Lee Baker, who
owned and played a Martin Dreadnought acoustic guitar. I was so impressed with Lee's guitar that I vowed one day to own one just like it, and two years later, while with the Human Instinct, purchased a Martin D-18 Dreadnought that I still own and cherish to
Lee was performing with his Dreadnought guitar around the London Folk Circuit and along the way, picking up a treasure trove of traditional fingerstyle techniques from
the London Troubadours he was mingling with.
Lee was generous with his knowledge and passed on the various acoustic guitar techniques that he was learning to
Martin and myself. In return, Martin and I would show Lee the electric guitar licks and riffs we were playing in our rock bands.
Lee also brought a shilling along
to the gathering, and his shilling fed the TV meter. So with our three shillings combined, we could take an hour off from our acoustic jamming to make coffee, grill up toasted sandwiches and watch the BBC saturday night live music program on TV, which would
inspire us to jam on into the wee hours.
Thus, the "Three Shilling Club" was born, and continued until I left London in late 1970.
Martin Hope left the Formyula in 1971 and returned to New Zealand, where he and I would take the folkblues of the Three Shilling Club with us into the Human Instinct, which was to considerably
influence the band's sound and style.
Lee Baker also eventually returned to New Zealand, where he put his electric chops to good use playing
in various bands throughout the 1980's. He has since carved himself out a successful career in the New Zealand Film industry.
The Three Shilling Club also permeated
into my songwriting, resulting in the nest of folkrock songs that would manifest as 1973's award-winning album "Spirit of Pelorus Jack."