The Standells reminisce about Good Guys and Jimi Hendrix's guitar as they prepare for first UK gig

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

There's a reason we're all dressed in black," says keyboardist Larry Tamblyn as he launches into the classic garage-rock riff of "Good Guys Don't Wear White". Cult US Sixties proto-punks the Standells are, 40 years after they split, tearing up their very first gig in the UK, at London retro night Le Beat Bespoké.

The lo-fi LA quartet's biggest US hit was "Dirty Water" in 1966, but they had string of snarly, generation-defining minor gems, and appeared in low-budget films such as Get Yourself a College Girl and Riot on Sunset Strip, as well as The Munsters on TV – they played "Come On and Ringo".

Their very first drummer, Gary Walker, now a long-time UK resident, introduces the encore. Born Gary Leeds, he left to join Scott Engel and John Maus in 1965. They all changed names, became The Walker Brothers, moved to the UK and became pop stars.

"I remember being on a bill with Jimi Hendrix," he tells me after the gig. "He got together with a girl and asked me to take his guitar. I put it in a closet and forgot about it. Months later I noticed it. He'd forgotten, but I still gave it back. It'd be worth a fortune now!"

His regret is tempered by the fact that he still has the lighter Hendrix borrowed one night to set his guitar on fire. Walker was gobsmacked. "I thought he wanted to light a cigarette!"

Le Beat Bespoké is at