Can you please give us a run down of the background of the
individual members of the band?
have been singing from a very young age. Entertaining runs in
my family and I take after my Dad who is a professional 1940s
entertainer. I studied musical theatre for 3 years
professionally at SLP college in Leeds. After graduating, I got
my first professional job in a pantomime in Harrogate. I then
went on to perform at all the big 1940s events with my father
all over the country and even travelling to Holland. I also
began establishing myself as a solo singer and started
performing 1960s hits at 60s-themed weekends, including Howarth
60s weekend where I met the band.
Robyn (bass player): I started playing music at primary school,
starting with cello and piano. I started playing the bass 4
years ago. I enjoy playing a variety of music and play
professionally with a classical quartet. I was asked by
Natasha, whom I know through another band if I'd like to be
part of 'The Gems'.
Mick (drummer): My inspiration to pick up the sticks came
through seeing the late, great Bill Atkinson of The Glass
Menagerie in the 60as on the drums.
I followed the band and Bill sold me my first drum kit. He was
the funniest man I have ever met.
I then took lessons from an amazing drummer called Ged Lynch.
I began playing with local bands in Nelson where I met Paul
our guitarist. I gave him the nickname '60s Paul' as he dressed in
the style and looked really cool. He showed me some great
records of the 60s and together we started a 60s-themed band
with a female singer who sounded like Julie Driscoll.
After that I went on to play with another band and we played
Punk. I also decided to start a Kinks tribute up and
played in lots of Beatles tributes too.
Paul (guitarist): I started playing the guitar from the age of
13. A few months later, I did my first gig playing songs like
The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. From there I knew what I wanted
to do. Then I was signed to a small record label in my late
teens, with one of my tracks being played on Radio One.
Since then I've played abroad, plus doing sixties weekenders,
birthday party's , weddings etc.
And what prompted the
formation of The
Natasha: When I met Mick and Paul at
Howarth 60s weekend they were then performing as a Kinks
tribute. It was Mick who approached me and we exchanged
contacts. I then received an email from Paul saying that they
enjoyed my singing and that if I ever needed a band
they would love to work with me. I jumped at the chance as I
love working with live music and we arranged to meet up and
discuss things further. We began rehearsing and trying out
songs and The Sixties Gems were born. It took us ages to figure
out a name and at one point we were going to call ourselves 'Lucy
And Her Diamonds',
but we then settled on The Sixties Gems.
Why is the sixties music so
special and what does the sixties music mean to you?
Natasha: In all
honesty my taste in music at first was much older. I loved to
listen to old songs from the 30s and 40s, but then as I got into the 60s and started to research it I fell in love with the
songs and the style. Back in the 60s, songs were written for
proper singers who had amazing ranges and technique and the
songs were cleverly written. I mean, look at all the great
legends to come out of that period - Shirley Bassey, Dusty
Springfield, Aretha Franklin and of course Lulu. It's also
amazing that so many songs I thought were 80s originals were
actually original 60s tunes. For example Tainted Love was
originally by Gloria Jones and I think that's the best version
of that song. So many people of all ages can relate and
recognise the songs.
Mick: There's something special about 60s music that no other
decade can seem to match. Everything seems to go full circle
and end up back in the 60s. Pop, rock, punk, soul and garage
all night raves - you name it, it's been done. Bands with make-up
trying to shock - its been done. The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, for example. Dave Davies of
The Kinks slashing his speaker to
get that heavy sound. Vocal harmonies were a big thing in the
60s. Most of the great groups like The Hollies had fantastic
The Sixties Gems
How hard is it to reproduce
authentically the look and sound of these various sixties
Natasha: Speaking from a fashion point of view, it's very hard to source
the original clothing as it's becoming more rare to find them
But I have a few friends who own vintage boutiques who are
happy to help us out. I think it's very important to look authentic though as you
are almost re-creating musical history. And when you market
yourself as a 60s band it really looks professional and more
entertaining to your audience if you have the look as well as
We also have original 60s instruments and amplifiers and mikes
which I think look great as a package.
Mick: we try to reproduce the look and sound as near as possible.
Sometimes you have to compromise - for example, 60s Paul used
an original 1960s guitar stand until it fell over and broke the
neck of a very expensive guitar. So he uses a modern stand now
but we try to hide anything like that. The drums are early 60s
English Rogers but the cymbals and stands are modern made to
look 60s. It's a compromise for reliability reasons.
What can people expect at
one of your gigs and what would be a typical playlist?
Something definitely different. We play lots of what we call
bubble gum pop hits, stuff people can dance to. Anything from
The Shirelles to The Monkees. When we played one of our first
wedding gigs we performed an hour set and we literally had all
the guests, bride and groom too, on the dance floor for that
full hour. It was wonderful to see.
We have, of course, also started work on a tribute to Lulu and
The Luvvers and perform all Lulu's big hits including the big
one Shout. It's great fun and again it's amazing how popular
the songs still are.
What sort of feedback and
comments are you getting from audiences?
All positive. Lots of people who have been to our gigs tell us
they had a great night and how wonderful it is to hear and see
those songs being brought back again. They are also impressed at
how smart the band looks too.
Why is retro, vintage and
nostalgia such a big thing in so many people's lives these
days, including the new generations?
I guess it all stems from the idea that fashion is recycled. I
guess music is too. There are many songs in the charts that
have been revamped from the 50s and 60s.
Amy Winehouse was very much influenced by the girl groups of
the 60s look and sound. She even brought out a version of Will
You Still Love Me Tomorrow.
I guess great music will always be remembered for generations
Do you have any other retro
and vintage passions apart from music?
Paul: I have
and ride a sixties scooter. I collect sixties Mod clothing ,
collect sixties DVDs, sixties records and Dansettes.
passion is my vintage 1963 Mini Minor.
collect vintage clothing from the 20s to the 60s. I have a very
large collection. The great thing is I get to wear them when I
What are the most enjoyable
aspects of being in
The Sixties Gems?
absolutely love being part of The Sixties Gems. I love working with
such talented musicians and we are all great friends too, who
share an obsession with 60s music and fashion. It's like
having 3 big brothers and a sister now that Robyn's joined us.
We all work hard but have a great laugh together too.
Robyn: The music, the people, learning new things. Everyone
has so much knowledge.
Where would you like to see
The Sixties Gems
We have very positive visions and aspirations for the band. We
would like to be working at all the big 60s-themed weekends
and events and it would be great to get on the cruises too. It
would be also great to have our own touring show around the
theatres. We have been told by an agency that there is no-one
out there like us so it's a lovely thing to hear and very
If someone is keen on
finding out more or booking you for their event, what do they
need to do?
They can contact us via our website:
or email us on:
or call us on 07791