Though I’ve been asked to introduce Jive, Twist and Stomp because I’m the oldest at Fremantle Press, I was still far too young to get anywhere near the Snake Pit in Scarborough in the fifties. But I knew ‘all about it’ from the elder siblings of friends – it was dangerous to go there and full of bodgies and widgies drinking beer out of bottles and dancing to rock ’n roll music (itself considered unacceptable by my parents, who never moved the only radio in our house from the ABC). One big brother gloried in a reputation for walking up to girls and asking do you do it? (they might have; I doubt that he did until some years later) but he had a great collection of records, so I learned about rock and roll from Bill Haley records at his house and thought Connie Francis was a rocker! So my memories of the Snake Pit are really fantasies.
But then came surfing music and beach stomps and weekend sessions at the Raffles at Canning Bridge where the house band The Troubadors won a huge following. Their popularity won them the introductory spot on the Perth leg of Harry M. Miller’s double-header tour of Roy Orbison and The Rolling Stones in February 1965, followed on stage by Johnny (Young) and the Strangers, who appeared as part of their first prize in Perth’s Battle of the Bands competition in the Supreme Court Gardens a few weeks earlier.
There was plenty going on in Perth in the 50s and 60s. And seeing an advance copy of a new book, Jive Twist and Stomp has prompted a lot of memories of the music scene from those years. Keep an eye on this page over the next few weeks as we celebrate the State’s music scene of that era – and get yourself a copy of the book when it lands in bookstores at the end of this month.
Jive, Twist and Stomp (December 2010) is available from Fremantle Press.