Romford author relives his time in seventies band
PUBLISHED: 13:00 03 March 2017 | UPDATED: 13:07 03 March 2017
Travelling around in clapped-out vans, performing at pubs and clubs and mingling with the fans is the norm for most bands and Quota Plus was no different.
Former band member Alan Hammond, 69, has released his latest book The Sixties Boys Rock the 70s which follows the journey of him and his band who grew up and played at venues throughout Havering.
He said: “If you were a teenager in the ‘60s and ‘70s, especially in the Havering area where I grew up, then this is a book for you.
“Set in Romford during this period, it takes you on a rollercoaster of how our band criss-crossed the country for eight years trying to get that number one hit.”
Alan, who went to Hylands Secondary Modern School, Romford, loved to read and had a passion for writing but wasn’t exactly top of the class and decided to leave school at the age of 15.
He said: “My spelling and diction was the worst in the class but I wanted to prove everybody wrong.
“As the years passed by, I had some near-misses with scripts for television but with no joy.
“I turned my hand to books and after 25 years of trying I got a book published which sold out across the country in two months so the moral of the story is never give up.”
After he left school, Alan became a salesman for a company in Chelmsford and it was here that he met his future bandmates who he would travel around the country with, performing their own music to crowds of fans.
“All teenagers in the ‘60s wanted to play in a band or be a professional footballer,” he said.
“I longed to play in a band but my friends said I was tone-deaf so I turned to football and played for Ipswich youth team and then went on to play semi-professional football for a while.
“I then went to become a salesman and one of them at the company was a superb lead guitarist and had played in top Dagenham bands.
“Some of the other guys in the company had always wanted to play when they were younger as well but never did.
“Then someone said ‘let’s start a band up’ which we named Quota Plus as we were all salesmen and the rest is history.”
Performing in many of the old coffee bars and dance halls in Harold Hill, Hornchurch, Upminster and Romford, Quota Plus began to make a name for themselves in the borough.
Alan said: “One of our favourite gigs in the ‘70s was playing at the Charcoal Burner pub in Collier Row which is no longer there.
“We played there a lot, it was a great venue.
“It was always packed to the rafters with a great atmosphere.
“In fact our last ever gig was here and there were lots of photos taken on our last night but we never saw them so if anybody has them I am sure the band would love to see them.
“When we broke up in the ‘70s we went our separate ways.
“We kept in touch for a few years then we all moved on.
“We had a reunion a few years ago and now we’re in contact on a regular basis.
“The book has more than 30 photographs depicting the eras of bands, the fashion and a great feeling of what a wonderful era it was.
“Maybe it will take you back to that fun time of the ‘60s and ‘70s.”
The Sixties Boys rock the 70s is available to buy on Amazon.