I Spy (For The Fbi)…

Rhythm and blues band Fat Jack’s Garage enjoyed every minute of their appearance at the US Embassy, where they included an old Northern Soul number

Four talented Ribble Valley musicians, who reunited eight years ago after more than three decades apart, recently found themselves centre stage at an FBI party at the American Embassy.

The band, Fat Jack’s Garage, comprises vocalist Fat Jack, guitarist Sparks, drummer Diesel and bass player Chuck Tailpipe. They were invited to play at the embassy as one of the band members, who spends a lot of time in London, has some ‘serious’ connections!

Jack explains: “When the FBI found out Diesel was in a band, we were asked to play at a leaving party for a number of agents, who had completed their time working in the UK.

“What an amazing opportunity and what a fabulous place! There were obviously some top people at the event as we were asked not to film or take any photographs of the audience.

“It was the weekend before President Biden was due to arrive from the US – all the armoured vehicles were in an underground garage and the security helicopters were on dummy runs.

“We played our usual R&B stuff,” recalls Jack. “But on this particular occasion we learnt an old Northern Soul number, ‘I Spy (for the FBI)’, which the audience loved so much they asked us to play it twice! It was great fun.”

The American Embassy in London is a huge contemporary building with a unique façade, located on the south bank of the Thames, where an outdoor stage was set up for the band. Wearing their navy Fat Jack’s overalls, the band thoroughly enjoyed the occasion: “The atmosphere was great and the hospitality fantastic. One guy kept coming up to us asking if we wanted any drinks or food – it turned out he was the top man at the FBI. What an experience!”

Fat Jack’s Garage began in the early 1980s when Jack and his three bandmates were in their late teens: “We were originally asked to put a band together for Chip Butty Sunday at the Wilpshire Hotel. It was a bit of a laugh and we all enjoyed it.

“I have always been into music, Blues Brothers kind of stuff – but I was a punk back then.”

Having played together for three or four years, the band split when they began to concentrate on forging careers for themselves: “We still kept in touch. At the time I had moved down south to Wiltshire and we were all in various other bands over the years.”

Eight years ago, the band decided to get back together: “We couldn’t get our original drummer back, so we had to make do with Diesel! But it all came together fantastically well – there was nothing difficult or awkward about it. It was so easy because we had known each other for so long.

“Sometimes when bands reunite it doesn’t quite work as you always get one prima donna. When we got back together there was no nonsense, it was just like old mates getting together again, having fun playing the music we love – and look where it took us, playing at the American Embassy in London for the FBI!”

Since their reunion, Fat Jack’s Garage have played throughout the region, being regulars at the renowned Blues Bar in Harrogate: “It’s one of the few places outside London where there is a band on every single night, it a great place!”

Also playing the renowned Colne and Clitheroe Blues Festivals, the band has regular Thursday practise nights held at Fat Jacks’ HQ, in Ribchester: “As far as I am concerned I love practise nights, having a jam, enjoying a couple of beers then we go home – a gig is a bonus!”

Fat Jack’s Garage will be playing at the Harrogate Blues Bar on 29th December



Tedd Walmsley

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Tedd Walmsley managing director of Live Magazines shares his views on the latest topics in media.

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