50 years of rock and roll… Groupie part 3

Many, many years ago, at the time when Elvis was King, a young man was standing with his schoolmates in assembly.

“Psst! PssstPsssssst! Sparshott!”

“What, me?”

“You want to be in a group?”

“A group…”

A roar came from the stage; “SPARSHOTT – TO MY OFFICE NOW, BOY!”

It was in this manner that Geoff not only got Bari a detention for talking in assembly, but started a friendship which has continued for more than fifty years and right up until today.  The lads were all about 14 and they practiced in Geoff’s bedroom… his parents did not live in a mansion but a conventional semi-detached house in Reigate. What tolerant neighbours they must have had!

They began to gig, initially as the Wanderers, playing in youth clubs all around the area. After various different line-ups, the Sabres were formed with Bari on drums, Mick on vocals, Geoff, Guy and Chris on guitars and various background vocals.

Souvenir sweatshirt…Geoff, Chris, Bari, Mick, Guy

They played all the greats, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Cliff, the Shadows… This was before the Beatles or the Rolling Stones!

Over the years they have married, had families and rocked on with various reunions over the years. The line-up has changed as Chris moved away but he was replaced by Bernie.

Bernie, Mick, Guy, Bari, Geoff – great group, great guys!

Geoff and Bernie live in London, and Bari has moved to Somerset, but the boys still rock and in their 50th jubilee year in 2011, they had several gigs in Surrey. Their latest bash was to celebrate a somewhat more famous anniversary, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Bernie and Guy grooving at a rehearsal chez Mick
Geoff enjoying the rehearsal!
Bari and Mick

The Diamond Jubilee gig took place in the most wonderful restaurant, the Jai Ho in Horley, Surrey. The restaurant is in what used to be a pub, the Coppinger Arms in Surrey. The Jai Ho serves the most delicious food and has a  friendly and welcoming atmosphere… just the place for the Sabres to play, and play they did! See the gallery below!

The Jai Ho on Jubilee day

Why have the Sabres lasted? Why do people still come and listen and dance to them and have a ball? Because they are great musicians, they know each other so well that they play great music… and above all they are great friends!



  1. icelandpenny

    Hi Lois,
    Are the lads online anywhere playing their Celtic music? My own partner (originally from England) has long played trad English & Celtic with friends here, and I’d love to send him to a YouTube site, or somewhere, to catch up with what they’re doing.


    1. Lois

      There are some vids on youtube – but not with my husband Bari – he moved onto more rock and roll!
      If you look up Celtic Shambles you’ll find some of their stuff.


  2. Barry Amos

    Hi Lois.

    I was looking for the the address of of Lawrences Auction rooms this morning and was reminded of Geoff and the times we spent together at RGS and his efforts to teach me how to play the guitar in the house in Chart Lane. I wanted to be a Sabre.

    Of course, I also remember Bari. We were in the same class for some subjects (I can’t remember which). I remember Bari’ for his strong personality, humour, enthusiasm and artistic skills. Everyone new Sparshott. All of the tutors certainly new him well. He once showed me a picture he had painted of the tonic solfa. Not being artistic, I thought he was crazy attempting to paint sounds. I have been married to an artist with synaesthesia for 40 years, but have not progressed too much in understanding that my name is green (probably another colour: I forget).

    Geoff did me a favour by telling me that I would never be a musician months after I had attempted to learn a 12 bar run. I did once take the place of a rhythm guitarist at a Bletchingly gig when he fell sick at the last minute. Even my 12 bar runs didn’t go too well so Geoff told me to mime. That was my last performance.

    I remember all of the band vaguely (age is getting the better of me). Was it Chris who was an excellent cross country runner? I clearly remember The Sabres performing at Redhill Market Hall as support for a top band (was it Screaming Lord Sutch?). When the Sabres’ singer came on the stage and started singing the mike was switched off. Suggestions that he should have left it off were unkind.

    If they are performing again in the future kindly let me know and I will make every effort to come along (I live in Reigate). I know a few other people who would like to come along too.

    Your excellent blog provided me with memories of some great times.

    Thanks & Regards


    1. Lois

      Hi Barry, what wonderful memories! I’ve heard Bari speak of you and he was delighted when I told him about your message! If you would like to email him (and find out when the Sabres are next performing) his email address is bariwsparshott at gmail dot com.

      We were with the band about a month ago, they had a gig at the Regency Hotel in Crawley.

      Mick King now has a radio spot with Radio Susy, http://www.susyradio.com/schedule/, every Monday evening.

      Thanks for getting in touch… hope to meet you at the next gig!


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