1962 – 1969
A Hinckley based band formed in 1962, initially as Mark Antony & The Chariots, then The Chariots and, in 1964, The Charioteers.
The band were formed at and initially rehearsed at the Hinckley YMCA club while playing “local” weekend gigs around Corby, Kettering, Huntingdon and Oundle as well as at the Granada Cinemas at Bedford and Kettering.
The teenage band grew fast in popularity, playing gigs at the American airbases at Molesworth and Alconbury and on 6th February 1965 they came to Peterborough to play the Palais in support of Freddie & The Dreamers.
The band hit the headlines in Peterborough when a misjudged effort by a screaming fan to cut the hair of the band’s 18 year old Peter Hemsley resulted in the lead guitarist being stabbed in the hand !
In later years, the band were signed to Friars Promotions, a Coventry based agency, which saw them cover all the main venues in and around Coventry and Warwickshire. The Charioteers built up a particularly strong fan base in Corby by virtue of doing “triple gigs” in one night ….. Corby Welfare Hall, followed by the Civic Centre and then finishing off at the Crows Nest all nighters !
Occasional headline gigs included support to Swinging Blue Jeans (Hinckley), Mojos (Huntingdon), Freddie & The Dreamers (Peterborough), Johnny Kidd and the Pirates and The Zombies, (Coalville), Spencer Davies, Chris Farlow and ELO (Birmingham), Geno Washington and Ram Jam Band (Earl Shilton).
David Hemsley in 2017 remembered, “I remember a night in Kettering at a club (think it was called “The Windmill”), when we were told by the management we had to stop playing at 11:30pm, as it was a Sunday, but the crowd thought we should be on until midnight.
It caused quite a bit of aggro, especially when we went to get into our van. A lot of people from the crowd were out there but it all ended well as we had a police escort out of town. It felt like we were the Beatles that night …… but for all the wrong reasons !”