Musician who supported Hendrix and Clapton will perform in Fakenham

A musician who played with some of rock and roll's wildest hell-raisers will be playing in Fakenham this week.

It is not often that you could mention Jimi Hendrix in the same sentence as Fakenham.

But a man who supported the guitar god in one of his final concerts will be performing in the north Norfolk market town this week.

John Verity has also supported The Who and partied with their famous hell-raising drummer Keith Moon.

He has been a support act for Janis Joplin and John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, featuring Eric Clapton, recorded on albums for Ringo Starr and worked as a producer for several bands, including Motorhead.

Mr Verity, 61, who lives in Cardington, Bedfordshire, will be coming to Fakenham Cricket Club to talk about his life and perform songs in a free event that will raise money for the Fakenham Support Group of Parkinson's UK.

Mr Verity said: 'Unfortunately I never got to meet Jimi Hendrix, which is a shame because he's a massive hero of mine. I was the singer and guitarist in The John Verity Band and we supported him in Miami on July 5, 1970. It was an amazing experience and a great time for rock music.

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'But when Jimi arrived the whole backstage area was cleared and nobody got to meet him. I think that was more to do with his management than Jimi himself.'

Hendrix went on to make his final major performance at the Isle of Wight Festival on August 31,1970, and died in London two-and-a- half weeks later, on September 18, following a drug overdose, aged 27.

Mr Verity said: 'We'd been supporting many big names at the time. Through the 60s I played the working men's clubs around Yorkshire and our manager sent us to the Bahamas in 1970 where we played seven nights a week in the same club.

'The club specialised in English rock bands and we just saw it as regular work. An American promoter saw us and took us to Miami and before long we were supporting Hendrix.

'We went back to England a couple of years later and got a record deal on the back our success in America.'

He added: 'We supported The Who before we went to America. It was at Redcar town hall. We were so busy having a great time it's hard to remember a lot about it, but I do remember having a night out with Keith Moon several years later.

'Our drummer was good friends with him and we all attended a gig put on by Paul McCartney at the Kilburn State in London. We talked about going out for dinner after the show but never made firm arrangements so didn't expect to see him, but he later turned up outside Pizza Hut at Kilburn High Road in a Rolls-Royce, blaring out music at full blast. It was quite a scene and we went on to have a great night with him.

'Keith had been taking medication to stop him drinking and it was supposed to make him be sick every time he drank alcohol, but it didn't. It made him more out of it, which he loved. It wasn't long after that night that he died.'

Mr Verity formed several other bands, notably Argent and Phoenix, and has written and recorded 17 albums as a performer since 1972. His latest effort is called Rise Like the Phoenix.

He has also done session work and producing and went to Copenhagen to record on two albums for Ringo Starr in the 1980s.

His wife Carole is friends, through work, with Alastair McCaig, from the Fakenham Support Group for Parkinson's UK.

Mr Verity said: 'My eldest son, Ian, has MS and two of my friends, including a former band, mate have died as a result of MS. This is why I'm always happy to do charity events.'

Fakenham Support Group offers information, friendship and support to people with Parkinson's and to their families and carers.

There will be an opportunity to learn more about the group.

Mr Verity will be at Fakenham Cricket Club on Tuesday from 10.30am to 12.30pm. Entrance is free but voluntary donations will be welcomed.