Sixties sensations still going strong

JOHN Steele, original drummer with the Animals, is still on a rock odyssey he embarked on as a Newcastle teenager back in 1957.

On Saturday, March 24, the veteran sticksman brings the current line-up of The Animals back to the newly-refurbished Llandeilo Civic Hall, where the band played two highly memorable gigs in 2006 and 2007.

“Whatever first motivated me to get into a band all those years ago is still there,” John, 70, said. “I just can’t believe how lucky I am to still be able to do this – and also enjoy it.

“What makes a good gig? The satisfaction of everyone playing well together and getting to bounce off the audience – that is still a fabulous buzz.”

In 1964 The Animals – singer Eric Burdon, bassist Chas Chandler, lead guitarist Hilton Valentine, keyboardist Alan Price and Steele – topped the charts with The House Of The Rising Sun.

Other timeless hits such as We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, and It’s My Life followed.

“Five working-class Geordies flying out to New York – just unbelievable,”

reflects Steele.

“America had inspired us all as teenagers so we just soaked it all up.

“Considering the exhilarating times we shared it’s a shame I’ve more or less lost touch with the original band.

“Eric lives out in the Californian desert – which he reckons is good for his asthma – Hilton plays the odd acoustic gig in Connecticut and I bumped into Pricey at the Colne R & B festival in Lancashire a couple of years back.” Chandler died in 1996.

The band’s current line-up ensures The Animals remain a seminal rhythm and blues band who still command great respect internationally amongst their peers as well as from fans of all ages.

“We’ve got a really good little band,”

enthuses Steele.

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