The Big Three At The Cavern EP. Credit: Brian Mills.
Which band from Liverpool frequently played at the Cavern Club in the early 1960s, was managed by Brian Epstein, and went to Hamburg for an extended period to play in a club there? If you answered “The Big Three” you’d be absolutely correct so congratulations! If you were perhaps thinking of another group (i.e. The Beatles) you can be forgiven.
On Friday, July 18 the National Music Centre played host to a fundraiser for Some Other Guys, a new music documentary now in pre-production by Calgary based Flat Four Productions. There were at least 140 guests present from a wide age range, all celebrating by bidding up a storm at the silent auction and taking in some fine music, both live and courtesy of a DJ spinning some great old 45 RPM records.
Some Other Guys is a fascinating movie project, which will centre on the music scene in Liverpool in the early ’60s—the subject to be sharply focused on The Big Three, a band that a lot of people expected very great things from at the time. In fact, the band’s drummer, Johnny Hutchinson, was actually asked to join the Beatles after Pete Best departed from that group. He turned down the opportunity because he believed in the music his own band was making even more. Instead, this high energy “power trio” came to a sudden and crashing end in 1963, literally over fisticuffs! Until very recently, at least two members of The Big Three had not met or even spoken in 50 years.
But wait, there’s more! Brian Griffiths was the guitar player in The Big Three at the time of their unfortunate implosion. He was very highly regarded for his guitar skills and musicianship and was even known to have taught a few riffs to George Harrison. As it turns out Brian Griffiths has been a long-time Calgary resident. Mr. Griffiths joined in the fun and sang and played on the NMC stage at the fundraiser event, along side the Falk Brothers, some of his very well taught students. He doesn’t play publicly very often these days though certainly looks to have weathered the passage of time extremely well. Actually his brother, now living in Hamilton Ontario, made the trip to Calgary to catch the show. Needless to say the entire crowd at NMC was really enthusiastic about his performance.
Brian Griffiths rocking the NMC stage. Credit: Brian Mills.
I was able to meet and have short chats with principal members of the production team for Some Other Guys from Flat Four during the event. The folks I talked with included Todd Kipp the director, Barb Briggs the producer and Alyssa Briggs the publicist. They are all very excited about this project and will be soon travelling to Liverpool along with Brian Griffiths and their photography team to conduct filmed interviews on location (with the three band members—Griffiths, Jonny Hutchinson and Jonny Gustafson, and with Pete Best and others) and to do additional research. They will be taking additional trips to Hamburg, followed later by a return visit to Liverpool. The team hopes to wrap up production by late 2015 or early 2016.
Oh, did I mention that there were also some really great items up for auction at the fundraiser? The goods included a Stratocaster guitar signed by five original members of The Rolling Stones, a Paul McCartney concert package, some original Big Three vinyl recordings, and a host of highly sought after Beatles related memorabilia.
Alyssa Briggs, publicist for Some Other Guys, with a Stratocaster signed by The Rolling Stones up for auction. Credit: Brian Mills.
I missed out on winning bids for the guitar lessons with Brian Griffiths and the trip to Memphis to see Paul McCartney but I did win the opportunity to have coffee with the film’s Director, Todd Kipp, which I will look forward to sometime after he returns from their first trip to Liverpool. I’m excited to follow the progress on this film project! If you are too, please follow along either on Facebook or on their website.
Perhaps a somewhat fitting turn of the evening’s events, Brian Griffith’s second set was cut a bit short when he suddenly blew the speaker in his guitar amp and decided that it was an omen that he should stop playing. Some other guys have all the luck!