An interview with Gene Vincent´s legendary Blue Cap drummer Dickie "Be Bop" Harrell can be heard in the archives pages of Rock-It-Radio. Just go to www.palmsradio.com/rockittext.htm and click on the Rocket 88 Show. The 60 minute long programme also features tribute recordings to Gene Vincent by The Stray Cats, Graham Fenton´s Matchobox, Jean Vincent, Stan Perkins and Johnny Carroll and rare recordings of Gene Vincent himself. Requests & Dedications for upcoming Rocket 88 Show are always welcome - send a mail to email@example.com !
Forefather of the Drums - Posted January 14, 2001
From Dickie - Posted January 14, 2001
Web sites Recommended by Dickie ...
Memories of the 50s (By Debs Fun Pages)
Free diet profile from Ediets!
Page update: Photos added here November 12, 2001
Page update: July 6, 2001 -
An Actual Fan Letter to DickieHey Drummer Guy!
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed hearing from you although the news about Paul was sad.
You'll never know how much joy you, Gene and the other Blue Caps brought into so many lives. Without music the world would be a much drearier place. Without rockabilly rock 'n roll, music would have been drearier and without the Blue Caps the whole damn thing might never have happened as it did. You guys influenced all who followed you whether they knew it or not.
My wife and I have been together for 20 years, since she was 19 and I, 39. About the only problem, if you could it a problem, we ever had related to the 20 year difference in our ages is when we met we liked very different music. I think most people like the music that was popular when they were in high school and just becoming musically aware. We're no exceptions. But over the years I have "educated" her so now she really loves the 50s and early 60s rock nearly as much as I do. And guess who's her favorite group of that era? The Blue Caps, of course...REALLY!! On the other hand she has gotten me to "tolerate" her favorites from her era, Styx, Foreigner, Van Halen etc. But between you and me, I find that whole lot about as exciting as watching paint dry!
We have no kids but we are still talking about it. If we had a daughter, I would seriously consider naming her Olive Vee!
Thanks a billion for the memories, Dickie. KEEP ROCKIN'!!!
Bob - Winsterman@aol.com
Page update: May 16, 2001 -
An interview Dickie did for German newspaperHi Martin,
I WANT to thank you for this interview. I have never considered myself as a legend as I have always said ... I was lucky to be there at the right time. The great talent of Gene Vincent and Cliff Gallup is whatmade it happen. When you have talent around you like this, you have to sound good and they me sound good. All the credit should go to them as they were one of a kind in my eyes. To me they are giants in the music world, not me as I did nothing extra to make it a big success, a true ledgend or living one - I am not, but I am glad to have been part of what was going on at that time.
Paul peek passed away just recently,this is not the end of the "BLUE CAPS" as we will still move on and perform if we are asked. Right now there are no future plans for the "CAPS" to go back overseas. It may happen and then it never happen again.
Recently I have retired from the goverment after 37 years of service. I have many great memories from this and enjoyed it very much.
When I left the "BLUE CAPS," I did play music with a lot of local bands but that was it. I recored a album in the early 60's for Capitol Records - thanks to Ken Nelson - but it was a flop and that was the end of that.
I DID GO TO VEGAS FOR TWO YEARS TO DO THE ROCKABILLY HALL OF FAME SHOW. I HAD MY DRUMSTICKS, HATS, CD'S AND IT GAVE ME A CHANCE TO SEE MY OLD FRIENDS AND SIT IN WITH THE BANDS AND MEET THE FANS YOUNG AND OLD WHO LOVE ROCKABILLY MUSIC. MOST OF THE TIME - I'M THE OLDEST RELIC THERE, "ha-ha." BUT I LIKE IT AND THAT IS WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT.
ROCKABILLY REVIVAL IN THE U-S-A-? - I really don't know - but I have my doubts. Never again like the 50's. I would say that era is gone forever as we know it. What's that saying? - never look back or yaking a step backwards. I don't feel it but what does this old rockin' relic know - HA_HA.
Brian Setzer's new project sounds good to me, but I don't think he was doing it to get back to his roots. Music is different and cool and he does throw in some of the "STRAY CAT" stuff for his fans ... and it is a lot less expenese for him and a lot easier for everybody. He will still have the big band as he has a lot of plans for them and he is into this "JUMP 'N' JIVE" music which he truly loves. I wish him the best as he is a real nice guy.
You said the fans all over think Brian"s new project will kick off a new rockabilly ERA? Who knows. If he does., it may not be like the 50's as we knew it. I may be wrong, we will see. I wish them the best with it.
I HAVE A GREAT WIFE NAMED DONNA. WE HAVE BEEN MARRIED 6 YEARS. GOT MARRIED IN VEGAS AT GRACELAND CHAPEL AND ELVIS WAS OUR BEST MAN. HE EVEN SANG "Be_Bop_A_Lu_La" FOR US - WILL SEND YOU SOME PICTURES. WE HAVE NO CHILDREN, BUT DONNA LOVES TO FEED THE GREESE AND DUCKS AND DOES THIS JUST ABOUT EVERYDAY.
Right now I have no future plans in the music business. I play around town with a local band once in awhile and that's it. Our era of the "BLUE CAPS" has come and gone as there is very few requests for us to perform anymore. It was great while it lasted, but now it's time for the younger generation to carry the ball to wherever they want too. Great times and memories I will always have of this.
I WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL THE FANS, DJ'S AND YOU AND THE MANY FINE MAGAZINES THAT HAVE KEPT THE MUSIC ALIVE OVER THE YEARS. THE FANS ARE THE GREATEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. I LOVE THEM ALL. THAT MAY SOUND CORNY, BUT IT IS HOW I FEEL. WITHOUT THE FANS, THERE WOULDN'T HAVE NEVER BEEN ANY "rockabilly music." THINK ABOUT IT MY FRIEND.
THANKS FOR ASKING ME TO DO THIS INTERVIEW, AS I REALLY ENJOYED IT. THANKS AGAIN. GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR FUTURE PROJECTS AND WISHING YOU AND FAMILY THE BEST.
AND IF YOU GET A CHANCE - CHECK OUT THE - www.rockabillyhall.com for all the latest on the music. Bob Timmers has put together a true giant for all the fans of this great music. Please check it out and let him know what you think.
Page update: May 16, 2001 -
Hi everybody, hope things are well with all of you, just wanted to give you this update, we have sold out of TEE-SHIRTS -- and BLUE-CAPS as of this morning, still have DRUMSTICKS and a few CD"S of gene. A FEW ORDERS WILL BE HELD UP FOR A FEW DAYS, e-MAIL ME FOR INFO ON WHAT WE HAVE LEFT, firstname.lastname@example.org - or if you just want to chat. -Dickie Harrell
Also - visit this web site for a great article on a good friend of mine W.S. HOLLAND
See an e-card from "Be-Bop"
HI EVERYBODY - WHEN GENE VINCENT WENT IN TO THE HALL OF FAME - I SPOKE TO THE PEOPLE THERE ABOUT GOING TO THE CERMONY - I COULD HAVE ATTENTED THIS AND SAT WITH THE BIG WIGS-HAD A MEAL AND DRINKS-ETC--ETC-- I REALLY WANTED TO GO- BUT AFTER HEARING IT WOULD COST - $ 2000 a ticket- I SAT HOME AND WATCHED IT ON TV. THEY GAVE OUT TWO TICKETS TO THE NEAREST FAMILY MEMBERS - HIS DAUGHTER WENT AND ACCEPTED THE AWARD FOR HER FATHER. HER TICKETS WERE FREE OF COST. IT WAS A MOVING EVENT FOR ME TO KNOW AFTER MANY YEARS OF TRYING TO GET IN - GENE FINALLY MADE IT. I CAN NOT THINK OF ANY BODY WHO DESERVED THIS AWARD MORE THEN GENE AS HE WAS ONE OF THE BEST -A TRUE TALENT AND HE COULD SING.
HE HAD MANY BAD BREAKS IN LIFE AND HE STILL HUNG IN THERE-A TRUE FIGHTER - HE LOVED HIS FANS TO THE END AND I SAID IT BEFORE - HE WOULD HAVE BEEN REALLY HAPPY IF HE HAD DIED ON STAGE DOING WHAT HE LOVED BEST FOR HIS FANS WHO MADE HIM WHAT HE WAS - WITHOUT THE GREAT FANS -DJ'S ETC. THERE WOULD BE NO MUSIC FOR US TO ENJOY. THE ROCKABILLY HALL OF FAME GIVES US ALL INFOMATION ON WHAT WENT ON THEN AND WHAT IS COMING NEXT. THANKS BOB FOR THE GOOD JOB.
MYSEL F- I WAS LUCKY TO BE THERE AT THE RIGHT TIME - GENE'S AND CLIFF GALLUP'S TALENT MADE THAT GREAT SOUND THAT WILL LIVE FOREVE. YOU KNOW WE ARGUE OVER ... I DON'T LIKE THIS MUSIC - SONG - ARTIST ETC. WOULDN'T IT BE BORING AS HELL IF WE ALL LIKE THE SAME THING? TO ME JUST TO GET INTO THE HALL OF FAME IS A GREAT HONOR TO A ARTIST. GOING INTO THE "HALL OF FAME" IS LIKE GETTING A EDUCATION - ONCE YOU GET IT - THEY CAN'T TAKE IT AWAY FROM YOU.
I WOULD LIKE TO SAY ON BEHALF OF "GENE VINCENT AND THE BLUE CAPS" - THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR ALL YOUR HELP AND SUPPORT OVER THE YEARS - IT WOULD NEVER HAD HAPPEN WITHOUT YOU. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. WE ARE VERY GRATEFUL TO ALL OF YOU.
ROCK AND ROLL FOREVER,
DRUMMER WITH GENE VINCENT AND THE "BLUE-CAPS"
It was nice to hear Bob Timmers on WGN Chicago AM Radio on the Steve & Johnnie show ... keeping everyone informed and updated. I hear he will be on the first Thursday night of every month around 11:30 or midnight CST.
There's a nice article by John Aron about Cliff's guitar playing on this website - a must for all your pickers to see. Good job, John!
Paul Peek is coming along just fine, gained some weight. He's a fighter. Keep it up Paul!!
Due to the lack of interest, I have decided to drop this "Rap with a Blue Cap" article. Not much response coming my way. Thanks for the birthday cards. I received 2 from Germany.
To answer one question I was asked recently - I used a 14" drum when I played with Gene, the same size I use today.
Thanks for your support on my writing, but I think it's time to close it out.
4113 Raven St.
Portsmouth, VA 23702-1701
The 5x7 B&W Dickie will sign for you.
Click or scroll down for Dickie Merchandise
Two Alan Clark Photos
EMPEROR "TONY" MACRINI, (left) King of Talk Radio on WNIS 790-AM Virginia, with Be-Bop Harrell. Dickie and Tommy Facenda often appear on the Emperor show. This helps keep Be-Bop off the streets and away from joining the circus and molesting the bearded lady.
Well, Viva Las Vegas 2000 is over and I am trying to get back to normal. A big success I hear. Lots of people came by the West Longe area to say hello. It was really great to see all of you. The talent was excellent. This "over-the-hill" old man got to play with many bands and happened to still be able to keep up with them. That may suprises some of you, I know, but this old man still has a beat or two left in him.
Viva Las Vegas 2000Posted May 7, 2000
I saw a lot a old friends and had a chance to talk with most of them. Ronny Weiser's Meet & Greet Party was blast! There's a photo of Ronny and me by Gene's suit on Ronny's RHOF column page this month.
The upstairs ballroom was rockin' and rollin'. I have some VLV photos posted below. Everyone did a fine job. I can't mention everyone but I want to thank you all for making this old man sound good. All I can say it that we blew the walls out ... especially on Saturday night with Rocky Burnette, Paul Burlison, Ronnie Dawson, Marco DiMaggio and me all on stage all at the same time! And Glen Glenn's show. Wow!
We raised some money for our good friend Bobby Lowell. A special thanks to the Rockabilly Hall of Fame staff, they worked their bottoms off. It was nice to see Rod Pyke from England again. Another big thanks goes to all the bands and performers who came by and really rocked the joint. Again, I really enjoyed meeting all of you.
Just want to remind you about the Rolling Thunder Ride, May 28, 2000. This for our P.O.W. and M.I.A. to help our government not to forget the men and women who serve and protect our country. Again, I thank them for what they did and the ones who are still doing it for us. I have a T-shirt that has a picture of servicemen on a battle field - it says "All Gave Some ... Some Gave All". How true this is. Thanks again to the vets and military for a job well done. God bless all of them. I have said my two cents worth now, so I guess the letters will start coming again.
Question of the MonthDescribe the difference between the FIRST and SECOND Blue Cap Bands.
1st BAND: Smooth, laid back, very talented, different style personel, a lot of fun at times, easy going.
2nd BAND: New personel, new sound, electric bass, more drive, different style, more of a rockin' show band, new sound, backup singers. The sound on stage was very different from what else was out there, guys very easy to get along with ... we had a ball!
Commercial Break(see below) We now have T-shirts (in L and XL), "Baby Blue" Be-Bop Hats with a drum set imprinted on them, drumsticks, CDs, etc. The T-shirts have been proven to kill all types of insects (outside or in). They are great to wear while working on the grill.
George Thomas, Vick, Dickie and "Rock & Roller" Tommy Lane (who sounds like Elvis)
I've posted some new photos with this article. Hope you enjoy them. I also hope everyone is well, with the flu going around and so forth, you have to keep your guard up.
I have to say "thanks" for the response to the hats, drumsticks, etc. I received quite a few letters last week ... some good, some bad ... but I must say there was more bad than good. I have been straight with all the fans at all times. Some wrote that I: "... should get off your saop box and stick to music." and "... sound like a person running for office." Some said to stop writing, as I was a phony, a has-been and over the hill.
Write or say what you think ... we can praise the military, police and firemen in America. That's what make this country of our so good. I will also say what I believe in. I'm not running for office and don't go around kissing babies and making promises I can't keep. I will always tell it like it is. We all have different opinions.
Many folks are upset over what I said in one of my first posts on my web page about our fine veterans, military, police and fire departments. People, all I can say is that this world would be in a hell of a shape with out them. I know my wife and I sleep better at night knowing they are on duty to protect us. I wish I could personally thank each and everyone of them for a job well done. For those of you who got irritated, I am sorry for upsetting you by what I said. But this does still not change the way I think about them.
I've received quite a bit of mail and I guess I will keep on writing this column and answering all your letters.
A FEW COMMON QUESTIONS:
1. "WHAT WAS THE GENE VINCENT SOUND?"
Cliff Gallup made the backgroud work with his excellent guitar playing: Jack Neal's standup bass playing was smooth; Wee Willie's guitar strumming was solid and different; Gene's voice was full of feeling and we felt what he sang! With all that talent, the drums had to sound good. A lot of fine talent in one package.
2. "THE STAGE SHOW - WHAT MADE IT DIFFERENT"?
We never planned anything, just did what we felt and no two shows were the same!
3. "THE MOST POPULAR 'BLUE CAP'?"
I would say Cliff. His playing has influenced musicians all over the world!
More next time. Don't forget Viva Las Vegas next month. Be sure to stop by the West Lounge and say hello. I would enjoy speaking with everyone. Keep writing letters to me - I appreciate and answer every one!
I now have copies on the above pictured CDs for sale. Razor & Ties' "Screaming End" on which they did an excellent job of remixing the sound. Also David Dennard's "The Lost Dallas Sessions" with an excellent choice of songs. Contact me if you'd like an autographed copy. I'll have some with me at Viva Las Vegas, too.
The photo is Donna and I revisiting the Las Vegas chapel where we tied the knot a few years back.
Well, it's getting closer to the big blast in Aoril in Vegas, Can't wait to see everybody. The Rockabilly Hall of Fame will have tables set up, so come on by, say hello and chat. I will have CDs ("The Lost Dallas Sessions" and the Razor & Tie disc), T-shirts, drumstricks and photos there with me. Come and meet the man behind this website, Bob Timmers and his wife Sonja. You'll never know who else you'll meet in the Gold Coast's West Lounge area.
Business is pickin' up - last week I sold 1 T-shirt, 2 CDs, 1 Blue Cap and half a pair of drumsticks.
You know, $12.47 a week in retirement benefits doesn't go far. If you are interested in merchandise,
please contact me:
Portsmouth, VA 23702 Phone (serious calls only): 757-399-1132
Remember, I'd really like to hear from you - good or bad.
I've received a couple of questions about Gene's guitar accident. When "The Caps" played on stage we would throw fire crackers at each other. One night, Gene laid his guitar on the floor. I threw a cherry bomb at Paul ... it was rollin' towards Paul's foot ... he turned his foot and pushed it towards Gene's guitar ... it rolled underneath .. and then "BOOM!" The guitar went 3 feet in the air almost hit Gene. I thought to myself, "This is IT for me!" At first Gene was shocked and mad, but the crowd loved it and cheered. Gene went along with the crowd and then thought it was great. We still used firecrackers in the show after that ... everybody love it. Now you know the story.
I received a letter a from a fan in Texas, saying he bought a copy of my album "Drums and More Drums." I thought he wanted an autograph, but he wanted a refund! Ha-ha (your "check is in the mail"). I also heard from some people who I had sent photos. They tell me the pictures keep all rodents and insects away from their homes. Two great letters, I would say.
I am hoping my merchandise sales will go up soon. Until then I have put in for two jobs ... one is haunting houses and the other is sitting outside a doctor's office making people sick. Wish me luck.
Also I received a letter from Larry Lund. His sister was married to Gene. Larry has loaned the R&R Hall of Fame in Cleveland a black jacket belonging to Gene, a felt fan club patch, show tickets from the Big D Jamboree and a travel clock that Johnny gave Gene as a gift. It was sure nice of him to do this. I have a suitcase that beloned to Gene. He signed it and gave it to me. Lots of great memories there.
I would like to say "hello" to my good friend Bobby Lowell. Bobby is not doing so good these days. I met him years ago in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Remember, I'm looking forward to hearing from all of you. Drop a e-mail or write a letter. Hey, the the doctor's office just called - I got the Job!
P.S. I'm trying to get back to my original weight - 7 lbs., 6 oz. Ha-ha.
[ED NOTE: Dickie sez (tongue-in-cheek): "Hey, I need the extra income. Last week I sold some blood and old clothes and collected old newspapers. I can't make it on that crummy retirement check, so tell the people to please write me."]
Donna and I went to Altantic City last weekend. We were walking on the Broadwalk and saw a good friend of mine who played with us in England October 1999 at Chippenham - Albert Lee! He's a great person and a great musician. He was performing with the Everly Brothers and invited us to the show - it was great! They sounded like they always have. A terrific array of talent, getting standing ovations and they deserve it. One of my favorite groups of the '50s. After the show we went back stage for a little party with the guys in the band, Phil Everly and Albert Lee. It really made my night and turned things into a weekend to long think about.
Don't forget the Viva Las Vegas Easter Weekend in April coming up soon. A big blast for everyone. Come on out and meet Bob & Sonja Timmers, Rod Pkye and myself along with tons of other people. We'll be jamming on stage in the West Lounge of the Gold Coast Hotel. I would love to meet and talk with people like yourself. Please come by and say hello.
I was glad to see an old friend get nominated for two Grammys - Jeff Beck. Another great talent.
Let me hear from you. Until then ... KEEP ROCKIN'
P.S. The photo is of Donna's niece Stephanie (now a few years older), taken the moment she became a Blue Cap fan.
Dickie's Rockabilly Hall of Fame Bio Page
More Dickie Photos ... Click Here
Visit Gene Vincent's Official Website
Contact ol' "Be-Bop" himself at:
4113 Raven St.
Portsmouth, VA 23702-1701
The ROCKABILLY HALL OF FAME
© Rockabilly Hall of Fame ®