Ted had known Rob Smith from many years before - and knew he was a great drummer. Ted has known Fletch forever. Fletch knew Paul. Rob knew Colin Chapman - Bass player. Rob's Nephew Graeme (acting as Roadie) was at South Tyneside College. He knew of three girly students who would fit the bill as "Diamonds". They were Jen Normandale, Steph Adams and Jen Stevens. And fit the bill they did indeed! And we were off....
Rehearsals began in earnest at the Grey Horse upstairs room (in Whitburn, South Tyneside). Handily, Colin also played some saxophone. That would come in handy later. A starting set of songs was chosen and rehearsed on a twice-weekly basis for what seemed like forever but was in fact 4 months. After much sourcing of new equipment to get as close as possible to our objective we were ready for our first public showing which occurred on a cold December evening at the Grey Horse. It was very well attended and received with great enthusiasm. It appeared we were onto something.
We relocated to a Sunderland-based rehearsal facility and started to book more and more shows. I can say in all honesty, we have never had a show which didn't go well; yes there have been onstage disasters but nothing that crossed the front of the stage to make the audience aware. Oh hang on - Darlington Leisure Centre. The power to the lights went out and we completed WISH YOU WERE HERE by torchlight. A photo exists. I shall try and find it! Other than that, it all went swimmingly. Word began to spread and we received the call to headline the MAG Farmyard Festival in June 2004. This now almost legendary performance catapulted the Band into another category. My memories of that night include the fact it was freezing cold and some of the few pictures from the Event show us in jumpers! That being said, the roar of approval as we began the show has stayed with me ever since. The MAG enjoyed it so much we were immediately asked to return the following year - but wisely took the decision to leave a gap year which was fortunate as the Farmyard Party in 2005 was a complete disaster. Return we did, however in 2006 and video footage shot on the night reminds us of how good it was. A year previously, we played Newcastle City Hall which was obviously very special to us all. We featured Hamilton, a genuine 36 foot long inflatable on loan from PFM with thanks to David Gilmour himself. It featured on both the BBC and ITV local news at the time. With this line up the Band carved a niche for itself with gig after gig, many of which had very special moments.
Time goes by and peoples lives change; Colin moved on to playing with MAGIC! & the Four Worried Men. The Diamonds went on to create their own careers and are doing very well to this day. JEN NORMANDALE fronted local rock band ALCTRAZ HOUSE BAND as well as Cruising round the Globe with her other band (inc. former Roadie Graeme) while STEPH ADAMS is still involved with South Shields G&S Society. JEN STEVENS continues to forge a great career as a songwriter/performer. We feel honoured to have worked with these people and are excited to see what their futures' bring!
ROY CLINTON entered stage-left on Bass guitar and brought with him a wealth of proggyness and many guitars. Fastidious and precise were words Freddy Mercury actually used about Roy and who am I to argue! There were gigs to be done and there was a need for some new Diamondy sparkle. Enter EVEY ROBINSON, HANNAH TOPPING and TARYN WASTELL. To find one good singer is a great asset - to find three who already know and love each other and have sang together for almost ten years is a bloody miracle. But so it was and miracle in pocket, we went on to perform having also added the brilliant MATTHEW WILKINSON on keyboards. This line-up achieved many great moments and had some of our most memorable gigs. As the years rolled by, Roy left to go on to playing with many more Bands, but he still has a soft spot for his proggy friends of Pink Floyd. Matthew now plays with a Bon Jovi Trib and is making his own waves with his band Rough Justice.
When Roy departed, DAVE ANDERSON was recruited to fill the spot on Bass, but he also brings so much more to the Band (including dozens of guitars!). He is our onstage technician and is responsible for triggering lots of Apple based effects during the show.
Illness forced drummer ROB SMITH to be replaced by ARRON WALTON on drums. He also plays with a folk thrash band - we kid you not.
And that's about where we are today.