Topper Clay Drums This short biog was written for the sleeve notes of "Keep a Clear Head"
It started with skiffle in the 50's, playing in various groups at school. When Rock 'n Roll hit, Topper was off like shot. He played in local bands in Camberley, between !959-63, one being Daniel Boone andThe Renegades. He worked in cabaret with "Viscounts" and joined "The Londoners", backing Gene Vincent in 1964. The band moved to Hamburg and worked at "The Star Club" on and off for three years. He worked in Belgium, France and Denmark They changed their name to The Knack in 1966. Topper joined NYPL in 1967 on the same day as Paul. He toured Britain and worked with the four different Lead vocalists, John, Brian, Pete and Karl, throughout the bands career. He has recorded in various studios in London and America. He is now the longest serving member of NYPL, if serving is the right word.
This is a classic picture of The Renegades wearing The Spotniks rubber space helmets, at The Agincourt Camberley 1962. One of The Spotniks is conveniently bending down under the crease. The Spotniks from Sweden did an amazingly quick version of "Orange Blossom Special" They were the first band to have radio tranceivers fitted to their guitars. No guitar leads. Topper is right at the back with a bent nose. The Renegades L/R, Topper, Dave Luther, Pete Foster, Barry Williams. The Spotniks in dusty pink jackets. Jackie Lynton's poster can be seen at the back.
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The band was called Petter Gunn and so far, as Brini remembered " We just played instrumentals through one amp. Left to right the personal are myself (Alan Brinicombe), Topper, Pete Foster (who later played with the Renagades) and Robin Candy (who made his guitar out of various bit of wood that came to hand). We think the venue was Crowthorne village hall and was taken either 1961-1962.