Immediately impressed by their enthusiasm, rather than their ability, he realised he could easily fit in and persuaded them to sack their bass player. Despite citing The Stranglers and The Ramones as major influences, Simon easily adapted to playing Cliff and The Shadows covers. Numerous personnel changes and several years of hard gigging followed. Boy, some of those gigs were hard. As were some of the personnel. And the audiences.
Meanwhile Simon met Robin and neither ever looked back, although both often tried. The two appeared as The Burke Brothers and formed 1970s New Wave covers band The Fabricators featuring a young, but rapidly aging, Paul Donovan on drums. Paul was also an occasional Burke and a Mad Ferret.
All good things come to an end. So too The Essentials and The Fabricators who both split and it was then suggested that the best bits of both bands be brought together to form a veritable Super Group. The best bits refused, however, so Robin, Paul, Den and Simon got together with guitarist John Dickinson to form The Racketeers instead. The band soon perfected a blend of classic rock n roll, earthy blues and classy pop and rock covers from the 1960s and 70s.
This first incarnation of the band played some twenty gigs, regularly going down a storm, and is featured on the Kingsheadstock video.
John decided to leave at the start of 2010 to concentrate on skinning mules and playing the blues. After an extensive search Shaun was found behind a bush, perfecting his rabbit in a headlight stage persona. Undeterred by his appreciation of all things metal, Shaun was rapidly absorbed into the band. Visually he was perfect. The band never cease to be amazed at how he fits his Racketeers commitments in with the exhausting touring schedule of his other band, metal specialists Lonesome Crow.
Den is now semi-retired, only appearing by special request or when he needs some beer money. The band have an extensive repertoire ranging from the 1950s to 1970s and are always prepared to listen to requests. If they know them they might even play them...