Deke Bonner and the Tremors (Middleton)


In the wake of the skiffle craze The Tremors were formed in the late 1950s by guitarist Len Dyson. They became Middleton's first all-electric guitar band with the additional asset of having a sixth member on saxophone.

Their repertoire consisted mainly of songs made popular by American rock 'n' roll singers such as Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and Buddy Holly.

The Tremors' young, aspiring guitarist Peter Cowap loved Buddy Holly and tried to merge the Holly style with that of Chet Atkins. Cowap simply lived for playing and practising at the time and developed a unique sound.

Lead singer Colin Smithies took the stage name of Deke Bonner, inspired by Elvis' movie debut from 1956, "Love Me Tender", in which Elvis played the character of "Deke Rivers".

The group used to rehearse at the community centre in Langley or St. Dominic Savio's. They played regularly at venues such as Middleton Baths and The Co-op Hall, but held on to their day jobs.

In 1962 Pete Cowap went on to play with Jimmy Justice, who was a moderately successful British singer at the time, with international hits like "Spanish Harlem" and "When My Little Girl Is Smiling".

Deke Bonner and The Tremors achieved only local prominence and split up in 1962, but stemming from the nucleus of that band three new groups evolved:

  • Lee Paul and The Boys
  • The Rainmakers
  • The Country Gentlemen.

More than thirty years later all the band members got together again for a series of re-union concerts held in Middleton in 1995 and 1996.

Line Up

  • Colin Smithies aka Deke Bonner - Vocals 
    The Moonrakers (57-58)
  • Pete Cowap - Lead Guitar
    Jimmy Justice (62-63) - The Country Gentlemen (63-67) - The Manchester Mob (67) - The Measles (sessions) (65-67) - The Bujjies (68-69) - Peter Cowap (solo 70-71) - Hermits (71-72) - Grumble (73) - Naviede (75-76) - Peter Cowap(solo) (70s/80s/90s) - Died of pneumonia 16/7/97
  • Len Dyson - Rhythm - The Elekrons (62) - Lee Paul and The Boys (62-63) - The Beatones Show (64-66)
  • Charlie Sidebottom - Drums
  • Tony Cook (Nick Duval) - Bass Guitar - The Country Gentlemen (63-67)
  • Neil Gibbons - Sax

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The Country Gentlemen (63-67)


Many thanks to Alan Doyle, Peter Cowap and Danny Hardman for info & inspiration.  Compiled by Olaf Owre, 2004




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