The Shades


The Shades were a Carlisle band which originally consisted of Keith Hetherington on drums, Pete Smithson on Lead guitar, Dave Lee on rhythm and Les Doig on Bass.

They later added Norman Sowerby as singer, moved Dave Lee to Vox organ, Robin Coulthard to rhythm and added a new bass player.

Norman Sowerby later moved on to the Dolls, where Dennis Watt was then playing rhythm with his Gretsch Anniversary. Dennis left the Dolls shortly after Norman joined them.

The Shades started off using the stage in the YMCA as a practice room, and soon the Wednesday dance became a weekly gig there. Later when they were gigging all weekends, the YMCA became their base, and on many moonlight nights they were to be seen unloading the Commer 1 Ton in Fisher Street. A very useful and cheap location - they also sussed out how to give the Coca Cola machine a bang in a certain place to obtain the refeshing bottle late at night.

Their favourite eating place was the Moss Cafe on the A74, where many bands, truckers and interesting ladies gathered. They would have a pint pot of tea, plate of bread and butter, and a full english - all at 03:00 hrs after a busy night. The alternative place for snacks on return to Carlisle at night was a burger outside the Railway Station plus a pint of cold milk (6d) from the vending machine. Toilets were also handy there for the occasion puke afterwards.

On e day the band decided to add flower power to their performance by buying incense sticks from St Augustines shop, and lighting them in the hall before they went to the pub after setting up. The gig was temporarily held up until the fire brigade managed to defumigate the entire hall.

The Shades played a tour in the South, and on one memorable occasion supported John Mayall's Bluesbreakers (with Clapton etc) at Hook near Basingstoke. During this gig Keith Hetherington was privileged to play the second half on drums with the Bluesbreakers, as their drummer was off his head by then. Keith believes he played an early version of Strange Brew with them. Peter Smithson remembers that night well, because his old Selmer amp broke down and he was allowed to borrow Eric Clapton's Marshall combo.

Another memorable gig was when The Shades played in Stranraer and topped a bill which included a band called Lulu and the Luvvers.

They were one of the first bands to play in the Cosmo club in Carlisle along with the Cameo Dance Band. After the band split up Keith Hetherington ran the Skytop bar in the Cosmo club for Les Leighton.

The Shades also played at many other venues including the Kings Hall, the Queens Hall, the YMCA and the County ballroom amongst others. At the time Rodney Warr was their agent, with Monica Linton assisting. The band (like many other Cumbrian bands) spent most of their time when not performing in Jimmy Dias's music shop where all the band gear came from.

One night they very nearly wrote off the Dolls black J2 van, coming back over the Wigton hump back bridge at speed one night. They were lucky to escape with their lives, the only casualties being certain escapades which were going on in the back of the van involving male and female participation were very rudely interrupted!!

The Shades later became Steet Car and amongst the people who played with them were Howard Simms and Brian Oliver who was later in 22nd Street.

In the early Seventies Peter Smithson played briefly with Jimmy Henshaw in Cottage.

We would like to thank Keith Hetherington for supplying us with the above information about the Shades and Peter Smithson for his additions.

Keith would like to hear from anyone who remembers the following people and has any idea where they are now -

Sailor, the big bouncer from the County.

The lad that used to open the curtains in the County, and maybe change the spotlights (if he liked you).

The manager of Kings in Globe Lane, who ruled with a rod of iron.

Les Leighton, brother Ron and wife Sandra (nee Hodgson). Les went to Spain, and is rumoured to have returned to Stoke??

Duncan McKinnon - the often inebriated original promoter at the Market Hall etc.

Andy (?) Monk, the keen but average drummer, whose main claim to fame was his dad, who was Chief Brewer at Carlisle Brewery.

Ian Herbert (Sherb) lead guitar of Carlisle Band (can't remember). We used to share practice rooms above the Printers in Old Grapes Lane.