Diner

History of the Band

70’s

Originally formed in the late 70’s at Bower Ashton School of Art, Bristol, Perkins Diesel Reminder (??) were the obligatory Art School band, a seven-piece punk/power pop outfit playing as many songs as everyone knew collectively without the necessity or encumbrance of too many rehearsals. This line-up, re-named Juan Foote ‘n’ the Grave after the first gig, comprised current trio Bryan Cox, Stuart Gibb and Andy Pinner, plus drummer Graham Easton, guitarist Frank Knott , singer Bill Phillips, and “denizen of the pencils” Snakey Lineton, from the college art shop.

(The late, great jazz saxophonist Jerry Underwood, a contemporary of the boys at the Art college, expressed an interest in joining the band at this time, but was refused entry on the grounds that he “couldn’t play the sax”...) Each “One-Footer” sadly allowed the excesses of the Rock’n’Roll lifestyle to compromise their artistic endeavours to the extent that a regulation “Desmond” (2-2) BA (hons) was the limit of their academic achievement.

80’s

Now established on the Bristol circuit as Juan Foote ’n’ the Grave, the band built a small but loyal following, filling legendary venues like the Green Room, Dockland Settlement, Crown Cellar Bar and Crockers, while hitching a ride around the country as support on tour with bands such as 9 Below Zero, Blues Band, The Beat and Wilko Johnson’s Solid Senders. Founder-members Easton and Knott had by now been replaced by Tony Heyes (drums) and Jim McClean (guitar). An extended single “A Packet of Three” was recorded in 1981 at Cave studios in St. Paul’s, Bristol, finished and mixed on the day Charles and Diana tied the knot (not sure how that panned out...). Singer Bill Phillips moved on around this time, and Paul Berrington replaced McClean on guitar shortly afterwards, to form the longest-serving and best-known line-up.

Sometime in 1983 the band were invited to play a one-off gig at Bristol Polytechnic, a themed night which required a Stax/Atlantic style soul band. This kick-started a parallel band, The Losenges Soul Revue. Adding 3-piece brass section the Hotwell Horns, this proved so successful that it gradually superceded the Juan Foote version, to the extent that by 1985 Losenges were the main act. Despite many imitators, this incarnation of the band was widely regarded as the definitive soul revival band in Bristol and continued to fill venues such as the Thekla, Trinity Hall and the Western Star Domino Club throughout the eighties. However.....

90’s

From the late eighties, Andy Pinner and Stuart Gibb had been dabbling in country music, performing to empty(ing) pubs as a piano/guitar/harmonica trio at first, (with Pat Hammerman on keyboards), then upgrading to add drums, bass and lead guitar, with more success. The musos who had been “borrowed” from other local bands for this project, (Rockin’ Robert Andrews, Martin Norie, Tony Dodd, Andy Franks) were all gradually replaced/allowed their freedom by their Losenge counterparts until, by the early 90’s, the two line-ups (Losenges and the hopelessly named Good Ol’ Buggers) had become the same.

Touting a name like Good Ol’ Buggers around for gigs wasn’t making things easy, and eventually the present name Los Yanquis was arrived at. This was lifted from the name on a wanted poster, spotted on a jailhouse wall in the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Ironically, a recent viewing revealed that poster actually read: “Los Bandidos Yanquis” a mistake which has saved a lot of extra typing over the years. ...

C21st

Several personnel changes have occurred during the last few decades, with a succession of guitarists (Clive Hughes, Justin Hartree) and drummers (Jimmer Hill, Jamie Hill, Colin Lawrence), plus some distinguished guests (Tony Orrell, Steve Treble, Al Thomas, Rich Bloom, Stuart Gordon), but three original members still exist in the current line- up, Bryan Cox, Andy Pinner and Stuart Gibb being joined by James Ryan (drums) Marcus Clements (lead guitar) and Paul Godden (slide steel guitar).

A seven-track CD, Viva Los Yanquis! was recorded in 2007. An earlier recording, originally only on cassette, Never Mind the Cojones, has recently been digitally reproduced for CD.

Los Yanquis are currently to be found performing around the best live venues in Bristol on a regular basis, including The Blue Lagoon, Greenbank, Richmond, Polish Club, plus a few outlying venues like the King’s Arms (Easton in Gordano), festivals (Ragged Hedge Fair 2008, Glastonbury 2010, Priston Mill) and occasional sorties further afield (Ship Inn Padstow, Mineral Line, Roadwater ).

Andy Pinner

Los Yanquis