A piece of self-promoting fiction on Mark Wilsmore’s Ace Cafe website states rather misleading that the idea of a “Ride With The Rockers”, a run out on bikes for the day, was “his idea”.
Yes but no but !
The ‘name’ might well have been … and he got it wrong because a ride* is what you do to your bird but a run is what you go on with your mates … but the original idea for the Rocker Reunion run goes back to 1980 and Colin Pryce-Jones.
Colin Pryce-Jones is a legendary guitarist in the British 60s music scene who bands The Shades and then The Rapiers have been stalwarts at rocker gigs keeping alive the look and sounds of that era. Once described by Bruce Welch as “the best ’60s band since the ’60s”, The Rapiers are in their 28th year as rock ‘n’ roll crusaders for all that’s about early ’60s British pop, Merseybeat and Shadows-styled instrumentals.
The Rapiers are a national treasure insofar as 60s instrumental music fans are concerned. While The Shadows were inactive The Rapiers became a tribute band before the genre had been invented. They have been a fixture of Shadowmania events and regularly backed top 50s and 60s artists such as Tommy Bruce, Freddie Garrity, Wee Willie Harris, Screaming Lord Sutch, Mike Berry, John Leyton, Terry Dene, Charlie Gracie, and Jet Harris to name only a few. In 2003 the group played the part of the Shadows in the West End show “Cliff the Musical”.
In 1980, Colin spent 4 or 5 months announcing the idea at gigs and trying to organise the first rockers get together run. Sadly, it only managed to attract 20 riders, such were the doldrums the movement was in at that time, but a mighty acorn of British oak was planted. The idea was simple, to get old rockers back together for a run, meet at the Chelsea Bridge and ride down to Brighton with a gig at The Dugout in Hammersmith. An almost idea formula which has been repeated time and time until this day.
One individual to be inspired by the first run though was Battersea born and bred Lenny Paterson, an original 59 Club member and Chelsea Bridge Boy, Lenny Paterson established the first ‘official’ Rocker Reunion Run and Rockers Reunion Pissup which grew into the Rocker Reunion Club with notable rockers such as Stu “Wild Wax” Wester, The Wild Wax Show being described as “The epicentre of where rock’n’roll lived” in the UK.
The first run to Brighton, attracted around 200 riders but within a few years it grew to be thousands.