Robby and Danny Welbeck were chatting with me over a bottle of wine in the South of France a few weeks ago remembering, with fondness and anguish, their early modes of transport in getting to a gig.
Their first mode of transport was their legs! For their first schoo, gigs, they took their instruments there on the bus, sometimes a coastal road open-top bus… and used the school music department amplifiers and PA. Theopen top bus still runs today along the Thanet coast. But when the Welbeck Group use it, it’s just for nostalgia purposes and they don’t have to lug the gear up the stairs to the top deck in the rain!
The only time we were let down was when Robby had a puncture and no puncture repair kit or spare inner tube. He was late for the school gig, and made sure that in future he carried a spare inner tube in his bass guitar case that was strapped to his back!
As they gained gigs in the South East of England, they used Danny Welbeck’s dad as a part-time driver/roadie until he was too unwell to continue. The vehicle was an estate car with the rear seats doen to take the gear, and the Welbeck brothers piles up as best they coul among the amps, cases and leads. The estate car was not really ideal, but it usually did the business. “It had a faulty clutch, leaked oil, and didn’t have any power-assisted steering, so it was a complete pig to drive!” said Danny. It was also, for some bizarre reason, registered abroad, in France. No-one ever understood why- maybe it was cheaper? Who knows?!!
Later they invested in that stalwart of all early bands’ transportation, the Ford Transit Van. Colin Cornell, keyboard player and songwriter with the band remembers that the transit was like a Tardis- you looked at all your gear on the pavement and thought “That will never all go into the van!” But invariably it did- even if it meant one of the band (usually the drummer, Alex) had to get a bus or train home!
They then moved on to using a hire firm to transport them and their equipment to their gigs as they got bigger and better venues across the country.
Finally the Welbeck Group now travel in style as you can see: