1979/80 John Conroy left his home town of Liverpool and moved
to Putney, London SW15.
John moved into accommodation above ex Rod Stewart and Long
John Baldrey blues guitarist Sam Mitchell. Sammy was a seasoned
professional who had played on many albums.
heard John practicing every day for hours on end, he used
to shout up the stairs “Stop practising and go and gig!!”
one day Sam said “Do you want to join my band?”
John said “Yes, when do we rehearse?” He said
“You can rehearse tonight when you play with the band
at the White Lion in Putney Bridge, we've got a gig tonight!”
band members consisted of
Sam Mitchell - slide and lead guitar - ex Rod
Stewart & Long
Waller - drums - ex Jeff
Beck, Rod Stewart
Billy Blair - bass - ex Fleetwood
John Conroy - lead guitar
band played gigs all over sw London
Some of the venues were
The Golden Lion Fulham
The White Lion Putney
The Star and Garter Lower Richmond Rd
The Half Moon Putney Lower Richmond Rd
The Kings Head Fulham Palace Rd
The Grey Hound Fulham Palace Rd Hammersmith
wasn’t long before Nicky Barclay from the all female
USA rock band Fanny
was on the scene and was doing gigs with her band the Nicky
Nicky used to come and play keyboards with us in the Sam Mitchell
band and sang her lungs out.
Nicky had also worked with names like Eric
Cocker and many more. David
Bowie once said that Fanny was the best female rock band
he had ever heard.
asked John to play gigs with her band.
The Nicky Barclay band consisted of
Wilgar Campbell - drums - ex Rory
Louis Martin - keyboards - ex Rory
- Lead guitar - ex Procul Harem
John Conroy - Lead guitar
guitarists were in the band, it all depended on who was available
at the time. Jimmy
Roche ex Colliseum
& Stan from the Soul Band.
first gig John Conroy did with the Nicky Barclay band was
at the Blues club at the Star and Garter, Lower Richmond Road,
was telling everyone she had found a new young guitarist from
Liverpool who was great very fast but she said would have
to buy him brown trousers to hide his nerves
used to say John was her secret weapon and reminded her of
Eric Clapton, the way John played. John did not like Clapton’s
playing at the time.
In the audience at that first gig John did with Nicky were
great guitar players such as Duck Baker, Tony McGee from the
Groundhogs and Jerry Macao Roars bass player, Sam Mitchell
and Bert Ranch.
2 minutes before John went on stage to play Nicky told him
Jimmy Page and
Rory Gallagher were also going to turn up. John just ran to
the toilets and vomited with nerves - Nicky came running after
him. She thought it was hilarious after the gig and so did
Conroy had various jam sessions over the years and jammed
with people like Marianne
Faithful and Barry Reynolds, Laurence Archer from Stampede
and Phil Colen from Girl who later joined Def
and John talked about putting a band together and had jam
sessions at Ritz studios in Putney but he joined Def
Leppard and sold millions of records with them.