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Hole in my pocket: The true legend of Mickey Jupp: the rock’n’roll genius who declined to be a star Paperback – 11 Aug 2015
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About the Author
Mike Wade is also an Old Rock’n’Roller from Southend. He played drums in a number of local bands, ending up in Wolfe, who recorded an album and singles for Motown, before spending several years as a session drummer and singer. In this guise he appeared on hundreds of tracks - almost all unheard, made many advertising jingles - all long forgotten, and played live at the country’s major venues, right up to several appearances at the Albert Hall - although nobody noticed, other than his mum. Music and photography are his passions, (he took the pictures for the sleeve of Mickey’s Living Legend album), although advertising has been his “real job” since he reluctantly accepted that music was not to be what he did for a living. While he has started writing many books in the past, this is the first full-length one he has actually completed (or at least if you are reading this, it will be). As someone who participated in more or less the same musical era as Mickey - performing in many of the same places around the same time - he has always thought that it would be worthwhile for someone to chronicle the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the legend of Mickey Jupp. Since first seeing Mickey lead The Orioles at the Cricketers in the sixties he has been an avid fan of the great man, owning every record he ever released and one or two he didn’t, so writing this book has been a labour of love; an opportunity to set down in one place the remarkable story of this important musician’s extraordinary talent.
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My formative years found me ardently studying every recorded Shadows twiddle and eagerly awaiting the next Benny Hill release! I never noticed singers – their sole purpose in performance seemed merely to offer the instrumentalists a bit of a break. I never noticed singers until……one day I witnessed Mickey Jupp. Yeah I noticed him all right - at the Cricketers with his band every week. It was he who introduced me to blues singing and excited me with his voice, his tone, his phrasing. I gave Hank and Benny the heave-ho and turned my attention to the Orioles’ set. For me, Mickey’s versions of rock ‘n roll songs were the way they should’ve been sung. When I eventually got to hear the originals, I was constantly disappointed. How come Chuck Berry always left out the Ashby-de-la-Zouch verse?
So I grew up trying to sing like Mickey Jupp – trying to mimic him and as I became involved in the Southend music scene myself, I met people who knew him and played with him and I wanted to know the man like they did - to understand him. So I was always asking questions - after all, more information might help me sound more like him!
All I got though was snippets. He seemed to have a sense of humour – his witty lyrics told me that much - he didn’t seem to be too egotistical but he did want things done ‘his way’ etc etc. A complex character emerged – a character I’d like to have known better. You always want to know your heroes better don’t you? Find out what they’re really like.
Well I never did find out. That is until last Friday, when I began reading ‘Hole in my Pocket’. Now, [on Monday] having finished the book, I’m a leading expert on ‘matters Jupp’! Author Mike Wade has put together a fantastic and detailed history lesson on the Southend music scene with Mickey as the central character. Mr Jupp’s career, output and mind-set are forensically examined with humour, rumour, affection and objectivity. Mike has cleverly brought together every strand of relevant information he has gleaned, to paint the perfect picture of his subject.
Ultimately it seems a sad story of missed – well actually declined – opportunity and strained relationships. Its sadness though is perhaps only in the mind of the beholder. Though we expect true talent to generate material rewards, maybe success should really be measured against aspiration and in these terms Mickey Jupp did things just right. He may have been a disagreeable, contrary and grumpy old geezer sometimes but no matter what they say, I have to concur with his apparently oft-repeated band ruling :- “No tarts on gigs!”
Anyway, Mike Wade’s book comprises 384 pages no less, crammed with information, interviews, little known facts and music, music, music.
Buy ‘Hole in my Pocket’ and reward our hero with your interest in his unique story. Nick Ryan
The two main threads; Juppy's undoubted talent and his destructive insecurities are the constants in this book. Most musicians would be pleased to be an excellent singer, a fantastic pianist, a marvellous guitarist, or a wonderful songwriter. Juppy is all four, but his woeful lack of self-confidence and inability to understand how he has sometimes annoyed and wounded his oldest friends are explained by Mike Wade, and illustrated by dozens of first-hand quotes from people who have worked closely with Juppy. I first worked with Mickey Jupp in 1963 and have been in several bands with him over the years, the best known being Legend. Juppy can be very charming, funny and friendly but his desire for absolute perfection, on his own terms, has often over-ridden very good advice from well-meaning friends and industry experts. He could have, and should have, been a big name, but would never, ever compromise. He is indeed one of my oldest friends and I was pleased to be a part of the Legend reunion in 2012, but it was no picnic. No set lists, no idea of what was coming next and not even a hint of the key for the next song. Without Mo Witham those gigs would have been even more fraught. Mo and Chris East have both been staunch allies for Mickey Jupp over the years, and all of this and more is described in "Hole in my pocket." Buy it now and buy another copy for a friend, who may never have heard of Mickey Jupp. Please spread the word about Mike's book. You won't regret it.
After reading the book, not only do I feel so much better informed about Mickey Jupp, I am still wallowing in nostalgia: The Orioles, The Cricketers Inn, Shades, Gilbert’s, Chris Stevens' Music Centre, chips outside the Kursaal at midnight after a gig...right up to Mickey's last appearances at The Riga Club.
If you are a rock music fan who enjoys insider anecdotes about the music business, or wants to understand what makes a musical genius tick, then you should buy this book, you will love it. If you are a fan of Mickey Jupp’s work, or remember the great days of the Southend rock music scene, then you MUST buy this book. And buy a copy for your kids too – they need to know!
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