SCOOBS IN COLOMBIA – Band History
Scoobs in Colombia - AKA The Scoobs, were formed in the summer of 1991 by guitarist Tony Woodley, kit drummer Gary Newland, and bass player Dave Wiseman. The first gig the band played was the North Tuddenham Green Fair, a weird and wonderful festival in the outback of Norfolk. The line up brought in lead guitarist Mark Riley and Conga player Martin Lewis. Much of the set played then captured the move towards the very eclectic world fusion sound the band has to this day.
About a year after this first gig, Mark and Martin had left the band and the band were joined by Sally Theobald on vocals, Paul Kidd Stanton on Sax and Clarinet, and the young, but very enthusiastic Luc Adams on congas. In a drive to build up a stronger percussive edge to the set, Gary Newland swapped from kit drums to percussion, and in came Danny Sceats, a formidable and powerful kit drummer which took the band into its classic 90’s line-up.
From the outset, and many wild and wonderful rehearsal sessions at Colchester’s Legend Studios, the band started writing its own material which reflected the diverse background influences the group had. Strong dance numbers such as the afro-beat style ‘Mister Mister’ and ‘African Rumba’, became gig classics, along with percussion compositions including ‘The Rainforest’, ‘Hot Turkey’ and ‘Didg Thang’. It was a very mixed set that had many people finding it difficult to categorise, other than it being very original, and great fun to party to – probably for the band more than anyone!
By the end of the nineties, the Scoobs had built up a large fan base spreading from Essex right up to the wilds of North Norfolk. Gigs were mad, always enjoyable, and very mixed from headlining universities and art centres, to small village halls, festivals, and an infamous annual three day party weekender at the Diddley Dell ranch in Norfolk - very bizarre gigs with an equally bizarre audience, which saw the band produce some it most powerful performances – albeit under a cocktail of various alcoholic beverages and other mind-bending substances!
Founding member Dave Wiseman left the band in 1999, and various bass guitarists came and left including Andy ‘Ticker’ Tyne and jazz fusion bassist Joe Goose. It was at a festival gig a year or two later, that New Model Army/Surfquake bassist Nelson joined the band on stage as a stand-in. He soon became a permanent member of the Scoobs.
Luc left the band around not long after, along with Drummer Danny Sceats, who got offered a chance to play with the high energy Celtic rockers The Salty Dogs. The band quickly recruited the very talented kit drummer Gary Leach, who’s lighter and more jazzy feel added enormously to the song structure and quality of the live set.
It was in autumn 2005 in a dusty surfboard warehouse in Colchester, that original band member and Saxophonist, Paul Kidd Stanton, played his last gig with the Scoobs. This gig was very emotive for all, as ‘Paulie’ was not only leaving the band, but also the country, starting a new, and lets say more ‘exotic’ life in Spain.
With an integral part of the bands instrumentation and melody gone, it was like loosing a limb. Things were slightly uneasy as to whether the Scoobs could recapture the character and musicianship that Paulie brought to the group. But gig offers were still coming in, and the band invited jazz/funk saxophonist Myke Clifford into the line-up.
It was clear from the start, that Myke not only fitted in seamlessly with the bands sound and style, but he also brought much humour and life back, into what was becoming a very old band.
Around this time, and with the build up of founding member Gary Newland’s Drum Camp and WOMAD exploits, many guest musicians were brought in to perform with the Scoobs such as Cuban percussionist Jose Ferrera, Brazilian all rounder Claudio Kron, and the dynamic Senegalese drummer Modou Diouf.
2013 saw the departure of bass player Nelson, who left to focus on his Surfquake band project, but not before introducing the delightful bassist and tabla player Andy Poonian. With his family roots in India and a big world and jazz fusion fan, Andy’s presence soon ensured the band had every reason to continue.
Now, with over two decades behind them, every concert is an occasion to relish and celebrate. The highly charged band energy and on stage atmosphere effortlessly filters through to the audiences, who happily sing and dance along to each gig from start to sweaty finish.
After what has become a very long journey of friendship, bonding, and musical adventure, the band celebrate their 25th anniversary in 2016 with a spring tour and summer festival run. The story continues....
Love & Peace
Sally Theobald - Lead Vocals, Guitar, Washboard/ Percussion
Tony Woodley – Guitar, Lead Vocals Digeridoo and Percussion
Gary Leach – Kit Drums & Vocals
Myke Clifford – Sax, Flute and Vocals
Andy Poonian – Bass Guitar and Percussion
Gary Newland – Djembe, Timbales and assorted percussion