Vasco da Gama Logo 2007

 

Life Stories of the Gama Men

Dave Knight Dave Knight  Poet and wordsmith, and the man who penned many of Gama's most popular songs, including Man on Stilts and the perennial show-stopper X-Marks the Spot. Bass player in the original line-up but gravitated towards the role of frontman as he became more comfortable in the spotlight. Theatrical leanings were very much in evidence as Knight dabbled with outlandish costume changes although he rarely changed his underwear. Strangely enough, Knight's thespian career never materialised and these days he is a stay-at-home millionaire and self-made man.

Steve Knight Steve Knight  Social outcast and recluse whose entry in Berks Peerage reveals little of consequence and The Wath Observer has long campaigned for his removal. Never comfortable in the spotlight and, according to his official biographer, was relieved when the BBC refused to re-commission his One Man Christmas Show in 1979, following a series of complaints by Mary Whitehouse. In a departure from the music scene, his portrayal of "Arthur" in a West End production of Henrik Ibsen's "On The Buses" was regarded by many critics as something of a nadir and he was physically attacked by the theatre critic of the Wath Observer, Charles Stone. Has now officially retired from the public gaze.

Phil Robertson Phil Robertson  Eccentric Scot and former student at the Leeds College of Art and Design. Was holding down a steady job as a postman when he met up with the Knights in the lounge bar of the Royal Oak, Wath late in 1976 and was instrumental in the forming of Vasco da Gama MkI shortly afterwards. Key player in developing the Gama Sound and the business brain behind Green Aardvark Records. The violent temper which manifested itself with great notoriety on the Jill Grundy Show (during which the host was murdered) has given way to a mature and sociable demeanour and he is now quite fit for public appearances.

Dave Atha Dave Atha  Distinguished guitarist who was voted Man Most Likely to Succeed Briefly with a Woman in 1978. Art student and a contemporary of Knight (Major) at the Leeds College of Art and Design in 1976. Although not a prolific songwriter, his rip-snorting guitar style was a trademark of the Gama Sound. Latest rumours on the Wath Underground indicate that he has left the clinic, his home since 1984, and is now wandering abroad, unsupervised. Last spotted in the deep south.

David Umpleby David Umpleby  Original drummer. An eccentric Yorkshireman whose farm provided the rehearsal space for many local bands in the Wath area, most notably Scapegoat, Buffoon and VDG. Following a period of hibernation, in the real sense of the word (six months, buried nuts in his territory) he teamed up with the legendary bluesman Mad "Martin" O'Flaherty to form "The Krankies" - a Scottish vent act -and enjoyed great success on the Butlins Circuit. Perhaps best remembered as the man who lit a fart at the Birkby Chateau and almost self-combusted.

Dave Hodgson Dave Hodgson  Accomplished drummer who drove a red Escort and then a Cortina. Was unique within the Gama ranks in that he was licensed to drive, he had a proper job and a real girlfriend. Sue Lennox, the real girlfriend, was most famous for pelting an unruly audience at the YMCA in Leeds with oranges. The band left the stage soon afterwards, to chants from the mob of "Shakin' Stevens". Shakey did not appear. Sticks has been seen only once since the halcyon days - in the Skyrack, a drinking den in Bottomley-Sidoil. His current whereabouts are unknown.

Phil Hitchen Phil Hitchen  Had been at Art College with Phil Robertson in 1975 and joined the Gama Ranks in 1978. Brought a fluent keyboard style to the band's sound but caused a rift when he proclaimed that the group were keyboard based. There was rioting on the streets when the news broke and Hitchen was attacked by a masked assailant wielding a descant recorder.When the band broke up he became a supermarket manager in the Bottomley-Burleigh borders and was spotted near the tinned fruit in 1984.

Simon Hitchen Simon Hitchen  Wore the widest trousers ever seen - many years before it became unfashionable. Took over the bass from the mysterious Spenny whom few people can remember. Was a man of few words. He probably still is. Has not been seen since 1935. Voted Supermarket Manager's Brother of the Year in 1984 but didn't turn up to collect the award.

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