1935 This is where it all started for Fred Heath . . . .
November 23rd Frederick Albert Heath, born to Ernest and Margaret Heath in Willesden, North London.  And yes, it is 1935 and not 1939, which is probably what his later publicists reported.  Fred is the youngest of three children, he has a brother, Lance, and a sister, June.  Music is in the family; Grandmother played the piano (by ear) and Grandfather played the bones.  Ernest Heath was one of eight children, four brothers and three sisters.  All the family gets on well together, including a family music group and even a family business as builders in the locality. 
August 20th Clement (Clem) Catinni born in Stoke Newington, London.  His Italian father had entered Britain in the early 1900's and set up a reasonably successful career in the restaurant trade.  Clem missed the recently-abolished National Service, leaving him free to develop his career as a new, original Rock Drummer, as opposed to a Jazz or Big Band musician embracing a new trend.  Ideal as Pirate drummer, 1960-61 before joining the Tornados and playing on their transatlantic number one pop instrumental, "Telstar".
January 31st Brian Gregg born on the 31st of January 1939 in London, but was raised in the Highlands of Scotland.  A solid professional career as bass guitarist in a variety of acts, including a spell backing the English "answer" to Elvis, Terry Dene.  Recruited to the Pirates alongside Clem Catinni "until something better came along!"
At less than four years of age, a shy Fred, his sister June and other local children are evacuated some thirty miles away to the Buckinghamshire village of Edelsborough, three miles south-west of Dunstable (and a close neighbour to Whipsnade) to avoid the air raids that are becoming a regular feature of life in the capital.  Their home was in the Vicarage, which was attached to the village church.  Fred and June's father Ernest used to cycle the thirty miles to see them at weekends, once through a terrible snowstorm!
February 2nd Alan "Art" Caddy born in Chelsea, London.  Developed a 'chunky' style to fill in the gaps left by the lack of a rhythm guitarist after the original seven-man Pirates broke up at the beginning of the 1960's.  The re-formed Pirates were a trio, more for economical reasons and visual effect than the sound which (in those days at least) could be pretty rotten in the wrong venue!  This would be addressed as the Sixties' got under way and amplification equipment rapidly developed.
  The war has got worse, and the south-east of England is prone to attacks by the Luftwaffe - but not exclusively, as attacks on towns and cities spread further north and west.  Fred and his sister are re-evacuated, this time to the North Wales village of Pontrhydygroes, set in a landscape of historically complex character.  Here, young Freddie begins his singing career by singing with the local folk, and progresses to joining the Band Of Hope as a choirboy in the Aberystwyth local church.
February 18th Frank William Farley born in Belgaum, India and brought up in Wimbledon.  Had a spell in the Merchant Navy before entering the music world.  Drummer with the Pirates, late 1961 - early 1966.  Mick Green literally made a huge impression on Frank Farley by performing the the act of falling out of a tree, right on top of the big feller's head.  It is not thought that Frank felt this was a pleasurable event at the time....
December 13th Vic (Victor) Cooper born in Oxford.  Added dedicated organ sound to the Pirates sound in 1964, not an unsound move considering the number of emergent groups featuring the instrument at the time.
January 26th Johnny Spence (John Spencer Holliday) born in London.  Was a window dresser before turning to Piracy.  Bassist from late 1961 to early 1966 and longest-serving Pirate, equally held with Frank Farley.  Became the Kidd's best friend - he was the Best Man at The Guv'nor's wedding to Jean in 1966.
February 22nd Mick Green born.  Before becoming a professional musician had an unusual job as a Diamond Mounter.  Took over lead guitar duties from Johnny Patto when the latter fell ill with severe ulcers.  Developed the guitar style of mixing rhythm and lead parts quite seamlessly, which inspired a generation of Rock guitarists in a quite different mould to the clean-cut, melody line-driven style of Hank Marvin and his followers.
  Eventually the effects of war begin to subside and the children are re-united with their families in Willesden.  The bomb shelters are still standing and make exciting places for the kids to play, along with the bomb sites.  Perhaps as a result of living with among the Welsh Fred has come out of his shell somewhat and begins making many friends in his local area around Leopold Road, the majority of whom went to the Leopold Road School (still there today).  Life was tough though, as money was short and rationing was still the norm, and would remain so for the foreseeable future.  Fashion wasn't high on the agenda then.....
November 3rd Nick Simper, born in Frogmore House Maternity Home in Norwood Green, Southall in Middlesex.  Not quite a lead guitarist but found a niche as a bassist with various groups.  A long-time fan of Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, his dream of backing the Guv'nor came true when joining as Pirates bassist, along with guitarist Mick Stewart and drummer Roger Truth in May 1966.
  On passing his 11+ Fred goes on to further his education at the Willesden Tech in Denzil road.  Being witty and funny Fred made good company, and good friends.  He also became good at drawing and sketching.
April 21st John Weider born in Shepherd's Bush, London.  Lead guitarist with the Pirates 1964-5, took over from Mick Green during a spell at Blackpool, and left after a season at the same venue the following year.  Joined Eric Burdon and his New Animals after which he went on to carve out a successful solo career.
  At age 15 Fred leaves Willesden Poly on Dudden Hill Lane (now the "College of North West London").  The local snooker halls are the favourite haunts of Fred with friends Alan Carter and Bill Smallwood.  Fred is a good enough player to be a bit of a hustler, regularly beating his chosen opposition for cash which they will spend on espresso coffee and cigarettes.  Sometimes they go on to the White City Dog Track and even grow their capital, but would usually end up blowing it.
November 23rd Fred's Uncle George, impressed with Fred's enthusiasm for music, gives him a banjo for his sixteenth birthday, which becomes the turning point in Fred's life.  After wearing it out he obtains another off a Rag 'n' Bone Man's cart which he repairs and eventually trades in for a guitar.  Best mate Johnny Irving (who'd later become Johnny Kidd's road manager) reckoned Fred was good enough to be a rhythm guitarist had he not made it as a singer.
  Fred has various jobs.  One of his first jobs on leaving school is at the "White Heather Laundry", which was a laugh with a mate who also worked there.  Disproportionate amounts of soap powder made for large amounts of bubbles everywhere and once Fred threw another friend in a dryer.  At "Hewitts Dyers and Cleaners" he uses a special steam gun with a brush on the end.  Made to remove stains, in Fred's hand it sometimes removed the fabric as well....

Other jobs include a spell as a house painter, and a job in the woodyard in Northcote Road, which is just off Fred's home road of Leopold Road.  He was once a runner for a local bookmaker, Taffy Morgan, and was so good at it he literally ran off with 80 bet money and wasn't seen for a week!  One thing all Pirate line-ups appear to agree on is that he was not adverse to a little flutter now and then - sometimes with some of the gig money before they'd all been paid.  Pinball machines were to become another favourite with him.

Home Page       The Story       TimeLine       Band members       Gallery
Discussion      Recordings      Songs      Site Map      The Pirates Website
This website is maintained by Adrian Barrett.  Adrian Barrett, 1998-2006.
Use www.johnnykidd.co.uk as pages may be removed as the site develops.