Ron started his musical career quite late in life in the mid 1980’s. He began learning to play the drums but actually found he could sing and so focussed on this and the drumming went by the wayside. He formed a five-piece band called Skram and started playing the clubs and pubs.
Ron's next band was called 5th Gear and was another 5-piece. They were formed in 1990 and stayed together for around 10 years. Their highlight was supporting Merseyside legends - The Searchers twice.
Around 2000 Ron formed a 4-piece band called Jumpstart. They had a successful spell as a function band and supported a number of well-known acts such as The Searchers (again), The Fortunes, The Troggs, Dave Berry and Chas and Dave to name a few. The band also had fun entertaining on the Steamship Shieldhall, whilst cruising around the Isle of Wight and playing at the Southampton Guildhall for the Tesco annual Christmas dance.
After a good run with Jumpstart Ron took a break from entertaining but after a few years the hunger was back and he played with a band called Blackjack for around six months to get back into the swing of things.
After Blackjack Ron formed a duo with a guitar playing mate and they called themselves the Backtrack Duo. They played on the club and pub circuit for a while but after a time eased back and then played regular gigs in a local hotel just for fun.
Just when Ron thought his time in bands had come to an end, by chance he saw an advert by The Pop Pickers looking for a lead vocalist. The opportunity was too good to pass up as the job was tailor made for him.
So here we are now in 2018 and Ron is a valuable and enthusiastic member of The Pop Pickers, singing those classic hits from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, which is the music he loves.
Guitar and vocals
Ian's main guitar now is a Variax Standard, which he purchased earlier in 2018. This guitar has great versatility and is able to simulate other famous guitar mekes. He has built up a small collection of other guitars over the years including bass guitars, which he played in one of his previous bands. He also likes playing his Rickenbacker 12 string guitar, which adds a different dimension to the sound and will always be iconic.
Ian is pleased to be back playing in a band again playing the music he loves with some good friends who share similar tastes.
Ian first became interested in pop music when Beatlemania started in 1963. Although he was only eight years old it seemed to really catch his imagination and he remembers learning the words to songs and creating a scrapbook with pictures of the various bands of the day. From that time he really wanted to play guitar in a band but it was not until his mid teens that he really did anything about it. By chance he mentioned to a work colleague that he wanted to play guitar in a band and his colleague said that his son-in-law played in a band in the 1960s and now did informal guitar lessons. Ian made arrangements to have some lessons and never looked back. He really wanted to play music by the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Kinks etc. and the guitar teacher knew how to play them all, which was brilliant. It got to the point where he learned so quickly that the guitar teacher couldn't keep up!
During the 70's and 80's Ian played in a number of function bands such as Freeway, After Eight and Nite Life. He also played in duos when the band had no gig. Later he took a break due to work commitments as he was often travelling and therefore not available for practices and gigs.
Bass and vocals
Graham is The Pop Pickers bass player and started getting interested in music in the late fifties when his older brother began playing bass in a local band whose drummer went on to play in The Troggs. His eldest brother played a tea chest bass in a skiffle group that won a talent contest in a holiday camp!
After a short period of trying to play the drums, Graham bought his first guitar secondhand for £1.50, roughly 3 months pocket money! Along with a couple of mates, who were all huge fans of The Shadows, it was not long before a group was formed using some very cheap and nasty guitars and amplifiers. They began playing in various local youth clubs.
Later Graham joined a band called The Magistrates who not only had a van to get around in, but a manager/agent who arranged gigs most weekends in the New forest area.
After a break of a couple of years Graham joined the Tommy Woods Band playing clubs, hotels and functions in the Southampton area. He then put away the bass and picked up the guitar when he joined with a couple of mates from his original band and played the clubs and pubs calling themselves Winds of Change. Then back on the bass in a duo called Tandem where he played the clubs in the Portsmouth area followed by a group called Tracy and the Rich Uncles. The highlight would be playing keyboards in The Replacements at the famous Cavern Club in Liverpool.
Retirement seemed likely until he answered an advertisement in Gumtree and soon after found himself a founder member of The Pop Pickers.
Robbie's interest in music started when he was just seven years old, he used to visit his Grandmother and listen to uncle Harry playing a piano accordion. He was a very good musician and self-taught. One day while listening to him play Robbie started tapping on a table and eventually his Grandmother gave him her old wooden washboard to tap on, which was great fun. A year later after many tapping sessions at her house, Robbie got an upgrade to a new washboard with a metal galvanised scrubbing area. He was also given three metal thimbles for his fingers so he could make even more noise!
His uncle used to play his accordion in many of the local pubs of the time in Fareham and Gosport and he was well known for his Friday / Saturday live music entertainment. He didn’t get paid in cash but had free beer throughout the evening. This sowed the seed in Robbie's head as to what he wanted to do.
When Robbie was fourteen he joined two friends learning to play guitar. That sadly didn’t last long as the two friends were much more proficient than he was and they streaked ahead in the learning stakes. Not to be outdone Robbie turned to drumming and his Dad bought him his very first drum kit, which is now on show in the music exhibition at Portsmouth Guildhall. It was an Olympic kit and Robbie was over the moon with it.
At fifteen Robbie started playing in a few local bands and has continued off and on in music ever since. Some of the bands he played with are: The Latins, Shazam, Morgan’s Camel Train, In-Sex, Angie Haynes Blues Band and Saturn’s Moon to mention just a few.
In February 2018 Robbie was contacted and asked if he would be interested in a temporary stint with The Pop Pickers while their resident drummer was indisposed for medical reasons. Robbie jumped at the chance and played seventeen consecutive gigs with the band. After returning for a short while the resident drummer decided to leave the band and Robbie was offered the role on a permanent basis. Robbie says "I couldn’t believe my luck, it was the cherry on the cake for me".
Robbie believes the band’s music style is spot on and reaches out to people of all age groups and it’s very easy to see why The Pop Pickers are so popular and very busy.