Iggy Pop tore it up for autugraph hunters

Iggy Pop signing his autograph  - before tearing it up.
Iggy Pop signing his autograph - before tearing it up.

I told you recently about the exploits of autograph-hunter Gary Craig and his mate Wavis O’Shave.

Today, Gary, who lives in Whitburn, recalls the times when Iggy Pop tore up the autograph he’d just signed for them, and how he made friends with the Heavy Metal Kids.

The Small Faces, pictured by Gary Craig.

The Small Faces, pictured by Gary Craig.

Gary, now 56, said during their time collecting autographs, the two of them met many big-name stars.

One, in particular, left a lasting impression on Gary.

“Wavis and myself went to the Gosforth Park Hotel, arriving at 2.45pm.

“We waited only had to wait a few minutes before the members of Thin Lizzy arrived in a limousine.

Gary Holton of The Heavy Metal Kids.

Gary Holton of The Heavy Metal Kids.

“Although they had to get settled into the hotel and get back to the Newcastle City Hall for a soundcheck, they invited us into the reception and signed autographs while they got their keys.

“Lead singer Phil Lynott was not with the group, he had come up early and was already at the City Hall, as we found by following after the rest of the band.

“We returned to the hotel, and around 45 minutes later, at about 7pm (after four and a half hours of wind and pouring rain) the whole group turned up.

“Phil was really friendly and stood outside and had his photo taken with me and Wavis, even though he had a bad cold.

“We also got lyric books, four badges, Wavis got let in to the show for nothing (I already had a ticket).”

Gary said Phil Lynott was the most friendly star he ever met.

Another encounter with a flamboyant frontman did not go quite as smoothly.

“My brother, Jeffrey, asked Iggy Pop for his autograph.

“He started signing it,” revealed Gary.

“It was a bit of a scribble and my brother said “how’s that an autograph?’ and so Iggy Pop just tore the paper in half.”

And there was more drama when Gary and Wavis tracked down Queen and the late Freddie Mercury.

“Wavis and I tracked them down to the Gosforth Park Hotel (unfortunately, along with nine or 10 little kids).

“We managed to get photos and autographs despite being chased by the Gosforth staff, who were armed with sticks.”

Another singer who is no longer with us is Gary Holton, of the Heavy Metal Kids.

Gary remembers going to see them in Darlington in February, 1978.

“Arriving in Darlington early, I went off to the Green Dragon pub, where I happened upon gig organiser Andrew Wild, of the Darlington Students Union.

“He said I might meet The Kids if I went round the back of the venue (Darlington Public Baths) but when I got there, there was nobody on the door.”

Undaunted, Gary went inside – and was rewarded for his perseverance.

“I went through a set of double doors, and was pleasantly surprised to see Gary Holton, Barry Paul and Keith Boyce, sitting with make-up girl Karen Moorcroft, roadie ‘Josh’, John Shipcott, the group’s manager and Dena, another girl who helped look after the boys.

“They were all happy to sign photos which I had taken with me, and talked as Iwaited for the other members of the group to come back to the canteen-type room which had been made available as a dressing room.

“Dena directed me to a small balcony, where I completed my autograph-hunting by finding Ronnie Thomas and Jay Williams.

“I then returned to the dressing room, and learned that the band planned to go to Europe - Germany and Belgium, if possible, as the band were very big in Belgium – She’s No Angel being No.1 over there.

“At this point, they were interrupted (ironically) by two friendly Hell’s Angels, who were squatting in a house quite near the hall.”

When they left, Gary decided to go too, but not before asking to take photos of his own. I took a photo of Ronnie Thomas, Barry Paul and Keith Boyce.

“Then Jay Williams and John Shipcott asked me to take a photo of themselves as they clowned around.

“I also took one of Gary Holton getting his make-up done.

“He then asked me if I was going to take photos of the show.

“I was going to make do with the ‘special’ shots I already had, but I wasn’t going to let this chance to be ‘official’ photographer for the night pass by.”

• Gary may have had a dream time with the band, but his attempts at getting back home proved a real nightmare – as I reveal, next time I recall more of his times as an autograph hunter.