Fags ‘n’ Matches return to musical roots at Maybury Roadhouse

Fags 'n' Matches return to where it all started. Picture: Contributed
Fags 'n' Matches return to where it all started. Picture: Contributed
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FIFTY years after they first appeared at the Maybury Roadhouse, legendary local band Fags ‘n’ Matches are to return to the venue where they were resident in their heyday.

Formed in the mid-sixties, Fags ‘n’ Matches were best known for winning the Evening News Search for a Star talent contest in 1972.

It’s a fitting tribute to Jimmy’s memory to play where we first performed as a band

Colin Bellett

At the ‘Roadhouse’, now the Grosvenor Casino Edinburgh, on Saturday the band will headline a cabaret-style event, playing a variety of iconic hits from the 60s and 70s.

Fags ‘n’ Matches reformed in 2011, some 35 years after they last played together, and have been gigging ever since.

Recalling their finest moment winning the grand prize at the Evening News talent search, a Caribbean Cruise presented to them by Opportunity Knocks host Hughie Green, bassist Roy Martin, now 66, recalled: “It was a great thing at that time. We reached the final the year before but we didn’t get placed anywhere and we thought we’d give it another go and we came up trumps.

“It was a great feeling, I remember it was packed and we had quite a noisy support in the audience.

“They announced the third place, then second, and we thought we’d lost out again, and then they said, ‘This year’s winners are Fags ’n’ Matches. After that everybody was jumping around like they’d scored in the cup final.”

Looking ahead to returning The Maybury, drummer Colin Bellett, 70, says, “It’s such a pleasure for us to return to the Maybury.

“We were the resident band back in the 60s, before it became a casino, so we have a lot of fond memories of the place.”

Tragically, the band lost original member and guitar player Jimmy Ackroyd to cancer last year.

Bellett adds, “It’s a fitting tribute to Jimmy’s memory to keep playing where we first performed as a band. We’re mostly retired now, so doing this keeps us busy and energised. We all love performing so much and we don’t let our age get in way of that.”

Original keyboard player Graeme Tosh has since moved to England but the current line-up still features three original members; Bellett, Martin and singer John Miller.

It was Miller, 75, who came up with the name of the band.

“I was working in Fife at the time and there was a labourer that used to come in with his Fife accent and say, ‘Where’s my fags and matches? Where’s my fags and matches?’

“I thought it’s a stupid name, but I thought it would stick - and to this day I’m in the supermarket and people go, ‘You were the singer with Fags ’n’ Matches’.”

Two new recruits joined the band recently, Dougie McQuillan on guitar and Eddie Logan on keys, to retain the five piece line-up.

Tom Docherty, General Manager at Grosvenor Casino Edinburgh says, “We pride ourselves on hosting entertainment we know our customers will enjoy. Having a local band as iconic as Fags ‘n’ Matches return is a true privilege.”

Tickets for the evening which will start at 8pm cost £15 and include a hot buffet. Tickets are available from 01313-384 444