The Sensational Sixties Experience plays Swansea’s Grand Theatre on March 2 for an evening of music that defined the decade that became known as the Swinging Sixties. Among the line-up which includes Herman’s Hermits and Chris Farlowe are The Ivy League
Formed in 1964 by three session singers John Carter, Ken Lewis and Perry Ford, The Ivy League scored chart hits with Funny How Love Can Be and Tossing and Turning, before several personnel changes took place as touring demands increased. While Perry Ford remained, Dave Buckley joined in the late 1960s. then later Jon Brennan, who with Perry Ford’s blessing, kept the Ivy League going.
Mike Brice was the latest musician to join The Ivy League on lead guitar in 1990. To some outsiders, Mike, may seem the new boy of the band, but his association with music goes back to the early 1960s as a member of Bristol instrumental band, The Eagles.
The Eagles gained a record contract with Pye records following an audition with composer Ron Grainer who was looking for musicians to perform music for the film Some People. “They were looking for a local band to play the music that the actors in the film would mime to,” recalls Mike, “Ron came to audition us at our youth club, gave us some music to learn, came back in a couple of weeks and said “Okay that’s great, we’ll record all the music with you”
The music was released on an EP for the film and broke into the music charts leading to further releases for The Eagles including an EP of TV Themes written by Grainer including upbeat versions of The Maigret Theme and Steptoe & Son.
Mike carried on touring and performing with The Eagles before the band split in 1965. Mike however continued working as a musician and soon found himself doing session work with the original line-up of The Ivy League. Joining Bath band The Hotstrings, Mike met his future wife Sheila, in which they formed a cabaret act of which they recorded and performed in the UK and abroad regularly over the next 25 years.
Mike was invited to take up permanent residence with The Ivy League in 1990. The trio’s brand of comedy and classic hits have remained a popular attraction on the 1960s-live music circuit as well as the Sensational Sixties Experience tours in recent years. “It’s what we love to do.” says Mike, “The only work part is the travelling and maybe the hanging about a bit at the actual performance, but we just love to do it.”
The current Sensational 60s Tour will be The Ivy League’s last as they will be retiring from the music scene when the current tour ends. “There’s a couple of things in the act that we do change around a bit,” says Mike, “but it’ll be the same quality, if not better.”
- The Sensational 60s Experience plays Swansea Grand on March 2. For ticket details call 01792 475715 or visit online at http://www.swanseagrand.co.uk