We are still trying to track down a number of the old DJs. If anyone has any
information on the missing ones we'd be very grateful for a tip off. In
particular - Les Dunston, Dave Kent and Gerry Bates. We are aware of a number of other jocks who performed one-offs
and short runs in the early years. If you have any names please let us know.
We have no adverts, appearance info or photos for some of the jocks. If anyone has old cuttings or photos or remembers seeing
these guys, with a rough idea of the date and what they were doing it might help us to track something down.
Wherever you find Seymour, click on him for extras
The Resident Jocks
in order of appearance at the Cali
These are DJs for whom there is documented proof of a regular appearance either from adverts in
the papers, posters, flyers or accounts books
Forces Radio in Germany during the early sixties. Edwin Green asked him to
come over to do some Saturday morning kiddie's discos in 1964. Dave stayed and
ran them until 1965. He has to be one of the earliest Disc Jockeys at the
worked at the California Ballroom from 1968 to 1973 doing a Friday night American Soul show
and Saturdays with the bands. Still playing the music after 40 years
The Svengali of the local jocks. Bruce gave most of these guys their chance in the spotlight.
He paid them a pittance, often forgot to cough up the cash, but still they
queued to get in. Bruce loved an audience and if there wasn't one around would
create one. I can recall one very hot Saturday in 1972, six of us squished
into his car and drove all the way down to Pease Potton near Brighton, just to
watch Bruce having promo photos taken on a custom motorbike. Then we all piled
back in and came home.
Robbie St James
worked the decks in the early seventies. He now lives in the USA. Rob says that Graham Bonney has all the photos of him. Graham says he hasn't..... well apart from a right ear. I warned him if he didn't
cough up I'd put a really bad photo on the site so click on Seymour and stand back!
worked at the California and at Beachcomber, the discotheque attached to Caesar's Palace. More recently, he owned a record store, Buzzard Records, in Leighton Buzzard. Dave says the California was a really big part of his life. He remembers that the Friday night discos, with no band, would regularly bring in between 1500 and 2000 people.
Dave no longer has any connection with the music industry.
did most of his gigs at the Cali with Dave Holland in the early
seventies. We've now tracked him down and found he was
hiding from us in full view. Still DJing he does weekly gigs at the Bull in
Dunstable on Saturday nights. Come on Shoss, dig out the old pics...... DARE
was on the decks at the Cali throughout the 70's. He was the first DJ to work the Devil's Den on opening night. The first record he played there was James Brown - Honky Tonk. He was followed onto the decks by Mad Harry who poured his beer all over them.
who ran the decks at the Cali
in the early seventies. From 72 onwards was more frequently to be seen at Bruce Benson's other venues such as the Aquarius Night Club in West Street Dunstable.
Ray J Day
was a regular at the Cali in the early 70's having previously worked at the Mecca in Bristol.
Many of the DJs had their own catchphrases. Ray coined
one that still exists to this day and another that is best forgotten.
The elusive Mr Jones has now been traced and caught and we have a mugshot to
prove it! Many thanks to Gary Crowley for the information.
Mr H aka Mad Harry
aka Brother Louie worked in the
Ballroom, Devil's Den/Didoz and Roller Disco. He was a DJ on Chiltern, Oasis
and Radio London for a
while and known for his Soul Funk imports, now does the occasional gig including
Audio and Video
To watch the video clip you'll need Real Player. If you don't have it you can
download it from here.
LOUIE MONTHLY GIGS
has less hair these days but that's not unusual, you should see the others on this page!!!! He's got quite a few bits and pieces from the Cali days including some decks!
YES! We've finally found the very elusive Mr Steed. I intend to lash him to the nearest turntable until he coughs up some photos, watch this space.
(Little Richard in disguise)
Clive is still out and about and is occasionally to be seen behind the decks at the California Roadshows.
The Guest Jocks
The famous ones, from radio and TV or well known clubs
was the DJ for the last ever night of the California.
Chris Brown, Chris Hill, Jeff Young, Tom Holland, Pete Tong, Froggy, Kev Roberts,
Robbie Vincent, Sean French and Greg Edwards
appeared on many occasions. When I said: "If you know of
any other dates when you were there, let me know and I'll add them" Rosko replied: "Too many!!" Man of few words our Rosko!
Tony Brennan, Howard Neil, Mark Jeffries, John James, Andy Anderson, John
Dalton, Al Burnett, Wally King
Radio 1 Club
Roller Disco opening
EASC All Dayer
Disk Jockey's Assistants
These were the people who did all the real work and got none of the glory! Stuck behind the decks all night while the big name strutted around at the front of the stage. We were the ones who sorted all the records, put them away in the right order, never got paid!!!!!! Not that we were complaining of course. How else were you going to get in to all the gigs for free and meet all the bands.
Starting out by standing in for Mr H on loo breaks, Richard moved on to become Louie Martin's assistant and was later promoted to DJ Stavros)
Those who are not billed in any of the adverts found to date. Names here have been sourced from word of mouth.
If anyone has any proofs of appearance please forward them to the webmaster so that they can claim their rightful place
now lives in Reno, USA. He contacted us to say that he
worked a number of venues with Bruce Benson. He said:
"I worked for Bruce for about a year or so. I did mainly his back up stuff but ended up in doing several shows in the Queensway, Teenybopper stuff. My most vivid memory of Bruce was at the Cali and the band
was late so we did this whole raw onion eating contest.
Do you remember the Aquarius and its "hen nights" Mondays?. I also
did a couple of gigs at the club in the shopping centre in Dunstable (forgot the
name but it was a huge ballroom and a smaller funk room)
(Tiffany's - ed.) My
dad gave Bruce his big start at the Boys club in the 60s. Oh and the reason I quit? Bruce owed me money and I had to get physical to get paid.
I was saddened when I heard about the troubles Bruce had, and to learn of
his passing. Any issues I had with BB were more to do with me and my issues.
But you got to agree BB was "frugal".
The one thing your site forgets is the riot and the cops using the water cannon to disperse the crowd. I don't remember the exact date as I was not there however it made a lot of media attention. Check out the Luton News
archives Basically the police used the water to disperse a crowd."
anyone remember this? Was it the Gen X gig? (ed.)
The following were regular punters who arrived armed with a pile of records that they would get the resident DJ to play for them. After a while, when they had gained the trust of the DJ concerned (seems this was usually Mr H) they would be allowed to put a few on themselves when the DJ took a break.
Little Richard remembers that he and Sid both used to take records up to Mr H and get him to play them on Northern Soul nights in the Devil's Den in 1975. Harry eventually allowed them to take over the decks whilst he went for a break.
Sid remembers a regular trick of Bruce Benson's. Well before the evening's act was due to start, he used to cue up one of their well known records and wind the crowd up to think that they were about to come on. They'd all go wild when they heard what they thought was the show starting and then nobody would appear.
As mentioned above, Little Richard started out taking records to Mr H and getting him to play them on Northern Soul nights in the Devil's Den in 1975. From this start, Richard moved on to become Louie Martin's assistant and a while later was given a regular DJ slot under the name of Stavros.