MARK TAYLOR'S BIG CITY NIGHTS
STRAY: EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH THE ORIGINAL LINE-UP AT 50th ANNIVERSARY SHOW
Words and Video: Mark Taylor
Hard rockers Stray formed way back in 1966 in Shepherds Bush, London when the band were still attending school. The original line-up featured Steve Gadd on vocals, guitarist Del Bromham, bassist Gary Giles and drummer Steve Crutchley who was soon replaced by Ritchie Cole.
Their classic debut album, the eponymous 'Stray', was released in 1970 and was followed by a plethora of strong albums until they split in 1977.
There has been various versions of Stray on the road in the intervening years, most notably in recent years with sole survivor Del Bromham along with bassist Stuart Uren and hard hitting drummer Karl Randall and returning guitarist Pete Dyer who originally joined in 1974 keeping the Stray name alive and well to a faithful and ever growing fan base.
History was made on 18th November 2016 when in celebration of their 50th anniversary, what many consider to be the 'original' line-up and who recorded the debut album, namely Steve Gadd, Del Bromham, Gary Giles and Ritchie Cole would reform, for the first time in twenty-three years to perform a few numbers.
Before the show MetalTalk's Mark Taylor spoke to the foursome about the early days of life in West London, their gigging days which included exploding dustbins and supporting major band like Kiss, Status Quo and Black Sabbath and how they ended up being managed by the notorious Charlie Kray.
The gig itself was a triumph. Sold out months in advance, the show was a rare occasion that Stray stuck to a well constructed set list.
The show ran for over two-and-a-half hours with leading man, the chirpy Del Bromham, starting acoustically with three numbers including the uplifting 'Around The World In 80 Days' which the crowd faithfully sang the chorus to.
Joined by Stuart Uren and 'youngster' Karl Randall things got electric with the older tracks 'Time Machine', the crushing 'Jericho' and the sentimental and rarely performed, due to the addition of keys, 'Son Of The Father', which was a pure delight.
Pete Dyer then joined the band on stage to complete the current line-up, performing songs from his era including the groovy 'Percy The Pimp' and 'One Night In Texas'.
But after two hours of an exhilarating show, the anticipation was on an all time high when Del was join by the original line-up whose first time together for nearly a quatrer of a century was for a quick brief soundcheck before the show.
For the band it was just like getting back on an old Penny Farthing as they rolled back the years with 'Come On Over', 'Our Song', 'Pretty Thing', the dimensional 'After The Storm' and the epic belt of 'All In Your Mind' complete with madcap solo antics from Bromham.
A europhic feeling came over the disbelieving crowd who were witnessing history in the making. The chemistry was still intact and their beaming smiles were wider than the Uxbridge Road. An encore with their ignitable version of 'Cold Turkey' ended a most memorable and magical evening.