The Tridents

By Nick Warburton

The Tridents 1962

  • John Lucas – rhythm guitar
  • Paul Lucas – bass
  • Andrew Baxter – lead guitar
  • Dave Niblett – drums

Chiswick band The Tridents were formed in 1961 and are best known for containing Jeff Beck in their ranks from late August 1964-early March 1965.

This feature includes a recording of Tiger in your Tank’ performed by Jeff Beck lead guitar, Paul Lucas vocals and bass guitar, John Lucas on rhythm guitar and Ray Cook on drums in 1964. It is the first time any of this material has been released in any form.

The Tridents

The Tridents, 1962. Barry Bunting vocals, Paul Lucas bass guitar, Dave Niblett drums, John Lucas rhythm guitar, Andrew Baxter lead guitar

The original formation (with the above line-up) was put together as an instrumental outfit, and played regularly at the Cavendish School Youth Club in Chiswick alongside The Detours with Roger Daltry on lead guitar and vocals.

According to the Lucas brothers, the original quartet did an audition for the BBC at the BBC Theatre, thanks to Dave Niblett’s connections with the floor manager. Unfortunately, nothing came from the audition because the BBC wanted a band that wrote its own material.

The Tridents

The Tridents, Bennett Street Club, Chiswick, 25 January 1964. Left to right: Leslie Jones, Lindsay Bex, John Lucas and Paul Lucas. Photographer:  Janet Croucher

Not long after, singer Barry Bunting fronted the band for a very brief period but did not stay long. Around this time, in early 1962, The Tridents were offered some gigs in Germany after entertaining some exchange students at St Thomas’s School in Chiswick, but Andrew Baxter was unable to go due to health concerns and so the musicians declined the offer.

The Tridents

John Lucas (left) and Paul Lucas (right), Bennett Street Club, Chiswick, 25 January 1964. Photographer: Janet Croucher

Pete Hammerton, who went on to play lead guitar with The Others and Sands, claims that he played with The Tridents before the German offer. However, both Lucas brothers have no recollection of Hammerton’s involvement. They did, however, rehearse with a guitarist but he never gigged with the band from what they recall. By this point, the Lucas brothers handled lead vocals between them.

Soon after, Ken Lawrence took over the drum stool from Dave Niblett. Ken went on to play in Four Plus One/The In Crowd with Keih West, Steve Howe and John Woods. This soul-rock band later morphed into psychedelic pioneers Tomorrow.

Then, in October 1963, Leslie Jones took over lead guitar in The Tridents from Andrew Baxter. They soon became regulars at Arthur Chisnall’s Eel Pie Island and the Ealing Club, building up quite a reputation.

Notable gigs:
30 November 1963 – Kew Boathouse, Kew, Surrey

10 January 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
13 January 1964 – Flamingo, Soho

Around early January 1964, The Tridents signed up with The Rik Gunnell Agency. On 16 January, Lindsay Bex, who’d previously played with Mike Forde & The Fortunes, took over on drums.

The Tridents

The Tridents, left to right: Lindsay Bex, Leslie Jones, John Lucas and Paul Lucas, Bennett Street Club, Chiswick, 25 January 1964. Photographer: Janet Croucher

Notable gigs:
17-19 January 1964 – Ready Steady Go Club, Soho, London
22 January 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
25 January 1964 – Bennett Street Club, Chiswick, Middlesex
28 January 1964 – Isleworth R&B Club, Isleworth, Middlesex
29 January 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex

5 February 1964 – Clay Pigeon, Eastcote, Middlesex
7 February 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
12 February 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
13 February 1964 – Clay Pigeon, Eastcote, Middlesex
14 February 1964 – Kew Boat House, Kew, Surrey
15 February 1964 – Ramsgate Theatre, Ramsgate, Kent
16 February 1964 – Audition in High Wycombe
19 February 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
26 February 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing Middlesex

Paul@100Club

Paul Lucas of The Tridents, The 100 Club, 28 July 1964, photographer: Graham Whittaker

According to Christopher Hjort and Doug Hinman’s book, Jeff’s Book, this formation sent an application to the BBC on 9 March to request an audition, which was politely rejected. However, the Lucas brothers confirm that this information is incorrect as the only BBC audition was much earlier and wasn’t rejected.

Notable gigs:
4 March 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
6 March 1964 – Audition in Putney (possibly Pontiac Club)
9 March 1964 – Clay Pigeon, Eastcote, Middlesex
11 March 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
13 March 1964 – Audition in Richmond (possibly Crawdaddy)
14 March 1964 – Clay Pigeon, Eastcote, Middlesex
15 March 1964 – Woolwich Embers Club, Woolwich, London
16 March 1964 – Clay Pigeon, Eastcote, Middlesex
17 March 1964 – Isleworth R&B Club, Isleworth, Middlesex
18 March 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
20 March 1964 – WH Smith private party, London
21 March 1964 – Clay Pigeon, Eastcote, Middlesex
25 March 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
27 March 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex

01mar64x

The Tridents, The Tower of London, 1 March 1964. Left to right: John Lucas, Leslie Jones, Paul Lucas and Lindsay Bex, photographer: Graham Whittaker

1 April 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
3 April 1964 – Botwell House, Hayes, Middlesex
4 April 1964 – Private party, Teddington, Middlesex
5 April 1964 – Crawdaddy, Richmond, Surrey
8 April 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
11 April 1964 – Gig in Chiswick, Middlesex (probably Bennett Street Club)
13 April 1964 – Glenlyn Ballroom, Forest Hill with Cilla Black and Sounds Incorporated
14 April 1964 – 100 Club audition, Oxford Street
15 April 1964 – Clay Pigeon, Eastcote, Middlesex
18 April 1964 – Kew Boathouse, Kew, Surrey
22 April 1964 – Cellar Club, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey
24 April 1964 – Gig in Chiswick, Middlesex (probably Bennett Street Club)
25 April 1964 – Clay Pigeon, Eastcote, Middlesex
27 April 1964 – Gig in Forest Hill (probably Glenlyn Ballroom)
29 April 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
30 April 1964 – Private Party, Harrow, Middlesex

01mar64xx

The Tridents, Tower Bridge – London in the foreground, 1 March 1964, photographer: Graham Whittaker

1 May 1964 – Crawdaddy, Richmond, Surrey
6 May 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
8 May 1964 – Ricky Tick, Windsor, Berkshire
9 May 1964 – Clay Pigeon, Eastcote, Middlesex
13 May 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
15 May 1964 – Gig in Chiswick (probably Bennett Street Club)
16 May 1964 – Clay Pigeon, Eastcote, Middlesex
20 May 1964 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex
22 May 1964 – Rest Hotel, Kenton (private party)
27 May 1964 – Cellar Club, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey with Plebs
29 May 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex

3 June 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
5 June 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
6 June 1964 – River Boat Shuffle (photo shoot for Sunday Times supplement)
10 June 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
13 June 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
14 June 1964 – Cherry Tree, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire
16 June 1964 – Concord Jazz Club, Southampton, Hampshire
17 June 1964 – Disc a Go Go Club, Bournemouth, Dorset
18 June 1964 – Kimballs Ballroom, Southsea, Hampshire
19 June 1964 – Wig and Gown, Maidstone, Kent
20 June 1964 – Ealing Technical College, Ealing, Middlesex
24 June 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
26 June 1964 – Acton Town Hall, Acton, Middlesex
27 June 1964 – Ricky Tick, Plaza, Guildford, Surrey
30 June 1964 – 100 Club, Oxford Street with Pretty Things

The Tridents

The Tridents, Sphinx Statue – London, 1 March 1964, photographer: Graham Whittaker

1 July 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
2 July 1964 – 100 Club, Oxford Street with Graham Bond Organisation
3 July 1964 – Ricky Tick, Plaza, Guildford, Surrey
4 July 1964 – Private Party, Reading, Berkshire

According to the Lucas brothers, the band came across Ray Cook at an open-air gig at Argyle Park in Ealing during June 1964. An inspirational, 16-year-old drummer, who was transported to gigs by his father in an American shooting brake (estate car with wood panels like the old Morris Minor estate), Ray Cook impressed the brothers so much that they decided to dispense with Lindsay Bex after the mini-tour of the south coast. Ray Cook remained with the band until 28 May 1965 when the group disbanded.

However, Bex’s diary confirms that he played his final gig on 4 July. The drummer would later go on to play with The Magic Roundabout. It is possible that Cook played his first gig on 4 July (later that evening) but most likely it is the Eel Pie Island gig four days later.

Notable gigs:
4 July 1964 – American Party, American Air base, Northampton (possibly RAF Alconbury) (no other details)
8 July 1964 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex (possibly shared with Jeff Beck’s group, Nightshift)
10 July 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
13 July 1964 – Attic, Hounslow, Middlesex (became Ricky Tick Hounslow)
15 July 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
16 July 1964 – 100 Club, Oxford Street with Sheffields
17 July 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
22 July 1964 – Club Noreik, Tottenham
23 July 1964 – 100 Club, Oxford Street with Graham Bond Organisation
28 July 1964 – 100 Club, Oxford Street with The Artwoods (Paul Lucas’s 21st birthday)
29 July 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex

The Tridents

The Tridents, The Tower of London, 1 March 1964, photographer: Graham Whittaker

3 August 1964 – 100 Club, Oxford Street with The Birds
5 August 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
6 August 1964 – Studio 51, Leicester Square
10 August 1964 – 100 Club, Oxford Street with The Birds
12 August 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
13 August 1964 – Studio 51, Leicester Square
14 August 1964 – Windsor Cavern, Windsor, Berkshire
15 August 1964 – Disc A Go Go, Bournemouth, Dorset
17 August 1964 – 100 Club, Oxford Street with The Birds
19 August 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex
20 August 1964 – Studio 51, Leicester Square
21 August 1964 – Windsor Cavern, Windsor, Berkshire
22 August 1964 – Studio 51, Leicester Square (all nighter) with The Second Thoughts
23 August 1964 – Flamingo, Soho with Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames
23 August 1964 – Studio 51, Leicester Square
24 August 1964 – 100 Club, Oxford Street (Leslie Jones’s final gig)

As Paul Lucas recalls, Leslie Jones asked him to drop his amplifier off at his house in Hayes, Middlesex after the 100 Club gig. Paul Lucas had a hunch that Jones had other plans and asked him who he was rehearsing with. The lead guitarist confessed that he was joining a band called 4+1.

The Tridents

The Tridents, Cleopatra’s Needle – London, 1 March 1964, photographer: Graham Whittaker

Lead guitarist Mike Jopp stepped in for a while (although it’s not clear how many gigs he played) but because he didn’t want to turn professional (he had a job at Ivor Mairants in London), it was most likely just a handful.

Paul Lucas explains that he and his brother knew Mike Jopp’s father through the motor trade; he had a small showroom on Chiswick High Road not far from where they lived. Both brothers did odd jobs on cars for him. He told the Lucas brothers that his son played guitar so they arranged some sessions at his house.

Jeff Beck, who the band had seen playing with The Nightshift when they shared the bill with The Tridents at Eel Pie Island, was approached. As Paul Lucas recalls, Beck’s comment was “I thought you’d never ask”.

Notable gigs:
27 August 1964 – Studio 51, Leicester Square (most likely with Mike Jopp)
28 August 1964 – Windsor Cavern, Windsor, Berkshire (most likely with Mike Jopp)
29 August 1964 – Disc a Go Go, Bournemouth, Dorset (most likely with Mike Jopp)
30 August 1964 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex with Long John Baldry (most likely with Mike Jopp)
31 August 1964 – 100 Club, Oxford Street with The Birds (most likely with Mike Jopp)

John@100 club

John Lucas of The Tridents, The 100 Club, 28 July 1964, photographer: Graham Whittaker

Given the few days off until the next gig, it’s possible that Jeff Beck made his debut in early September 1964. Paul Lucas recalls that at some point, the new version played at Exeter University with The All Stars (Cyril Davies’s old band) with Long John Baldry but he can’t recall the exact date.

Notable gigs:
3 September 1964 – Studio 51, Leicester Square
4 September 1964 – Ricky Tick, Plaza, Guildford, Surrey
5 September 1964 – The Cavern, Olympia, Reading, Berkshire
10 September 1964 – Studio 51, Leicester Square
12 September 1964 – Disc A Go Go, Bournemouth, Dorset
16 September 1964 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex

Paul Lucas points out that, as far as he is aware, the first fuzz box that Jeff Beck played through was at Eel Pie Island. He designed and constructed it and it was put together using a passive mixer box and incorporated a transistor amplifier powered by PP3 battery. This was the original design but it was modified much later to become a compressor pedal.

17 September 1964 – 100 Club, Oxford Street with King B Four
17 September 1964 – Studio 51, Leicester Square
18 September 1964 – Windsor Cavern, Windsor, Berkshire
19 September 1964 – Walton Playhouse, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
24 September 1964 – Studio 51, Leicester Square
25 September 1964 – Ealing Technical College, Park Hotel, Greenford, Middlesex
26 September 1964 – The Cavern, Olympia, Reading, Berkshire
29 September 1964 – 100 Club, Oxford Street with Brian Knight’s Blues By Six

2 October 1964 – Derby (no details on venue)
4 October 1964 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex
7 October 1964 – Disc A Go Go, Bournemouth
10 October 1964 – Kew Boathouse, Kew, Surrey
10 October 1964 – Studio 51, Leicester Square with The Impacts (all nighter)
11 October 1964 – Chuckwagon, Leatherhead, Surrey
12 October 1964 – Glenlyn Ballroom, Forest Hill
15 October 1964 – 100 Club, Oxford Street with The Epitaphs
16 October 1964 – Windsor Cavern, Windsor, Berkshire
17 October 1964 – Reading Olympia Ballroom, Reading, Berkshire
18 October 1964 – Chuckwagon, Leatherhead, Surrey
20 October 1964 – 100 Club, Oxford Street with The Second Thoughts
23 October 1964 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex
24 October 1964 – Disc A Go Go, Bournemouth, Dorset
25 October 1964 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex with Alex Harvey Band

The Lucas brothers recall that the BBC recorded the band at the above date for German radio but they miked up the wrong bass amp!!!!

Message from Paul Lucas:

“John and I feel ‘Tiger in your Tank’ represents the feel of the band and gives a sense of the excitement that we felt at the time. It was performed and recorded by the BBC at Eel Pie Island in 1964. The band line up is Jeff Beck lead guitar, Paul Lucas vocals and bass guitar, John Lucas on rhythm guitar and Ray Cook on drums. It is the first time that we have released any of this material.”

29 October 1964 – 100 Club, Oxford Street with Blues By Night
31 October 1964 – St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington (Paul Lucas has a cross next to Olympia Ballroom in Bournemouth but doesn’t know why so perhaps this was the original gig that night but was cancelled)

4 November 1964 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex with Alex Harvey Band

5 November 1964 – The Tridents recorded at Regent Sounds Studio with Jeff Beck (The Tridents recorded ‘Keep Your Hands off My Woman’, ‘Louisiana Red’, both with Paul Lucas on lead vocals and ‘Trouble In Mind’ with both brothers on lead vocals)

6 November 1964 – Windsor Cavern, Windsor, Berkshire
7 November 1964 – Walton Playhouse, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
8 November 1964 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex
10 November 1964 – 100 Club, Oxford Street with Brian Knight’s Blues By Six
12 November 1964 – Wyton RAF Camp
14 November 1964 – Woodhall Community Centre, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire
14 November 1964 – Studio 51, Leicester Square with The Impacts (all nighter)
15 November 1964 – Chuckwagon, Leatherhead, Surrey
17 November 1964 – 100 Club, Oxford Street with Brian Knight’s Blues By Six
19 November 1964 – BOAC Apprentices Speedbird Club, Heston

Paul Lucas recalls that The Tridents went at 3pm to Broadcasting House to hear the recording made at Eel Pie Island for German radio on 25 October 1964.

21 November 1964 – Galaxy Club, Basingstoke, Hampshire
22 November 1964 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex with The Artwoods
24 November 1964 – 100 Club, Oxford Street with The Crescents
27 November 1964 – Brooklands Technical College, Weybridge, Surrey
28 November 1964 – New Memorial Hall, Holdsworthy, Devon
29 November 1964 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex with Long John Baldry
30 November 1964 – Hermitage Hall, Hitchin, Hertfordshire

4 December 1964 – East Ham Town Hall, East Ham with The Herd
5 December 1964 – Bristol University with Long John Baldry and The All Stars
6 December 1964 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex (interval to Long John Baldry)
8 December 1964 – 100 Club, Oxford Street with The Long and The Short and The Tall
13 December 1964 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex
15 December 1964 – 100 Club, Oxford Street with King B Four
18 December 1964 – Portland Hall, Little Titchfield Street
19 December 1964 – Mitcham R&B Club, Romany Dance Hall, Mitcham, Surrey
20 December 1964 – George Inn, Wilby, Wellingborough
24 December 1964 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex
26 December 1964 – Walton Playhouse, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
27 December 1964 – Chuckwagon, Leatherhead, Surrey
29 December 1964 – Audition with Shel Talmy at 2 ‘I’s Club, Soho
31 December 1964 – Walton Playhouse, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey

10 January 1965 – Chuckwagon, Leatherhead, Surrey
13 January 1965 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex
16 January 1965 – Arosa Rooms, Richmond Ice Rink, Richmond, Surrey
17 January 1965 – Chuckwagon, Leatherhead, Surrey
22 January 1965 – Brooklands Technical College, Weybridge, Surrey
24 January 1965 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex
26 January 1965 – 100 Club, Oxford Street
30 January 1965 – Walton Playhouse, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
31 January 1965 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex

100 Club programme

6 February 1965 – Walton Playhouse, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
7 February 1965 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex
9 February 1965 – 100 Club, Oxford Street
13 February 1965 – Waterfront Club, Southampton, Hampshire
14 February 1965 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex (interval to Long John Baldry)
15 February 1965 – 100 Club, Oxford Street
17 February 1965 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex
20 February 1965 – Regent Street Polytechnic (on the same bill as The Tea Set – an early version of Pink Floyd)
23 February 1965 – 100 Club, Oxford Street
26 February 1965 – Haslemere Hall, Haslemere, Surrey
28 February 1965 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex with Jesse Fuller

3 March 1965 – Tridents record at Oriole Studios (which was bought out by CBS) off Bond Street. The band cut ‘That Noise’ with John Lucas on lead vocals and Elmore James’s ‘The Sun is Shinin’’ with Jeff Beck on lead vocals. D J Dave Cash (Radio London) was present at this recording and offered to promote it, had it been released.

The Tridents 'That Noise' acetate

The Tridents, That Noise, acetate

Unknown to The Tridents, Jeff Beck leaves the next day as he plays his first gig with The Yardbirds on 5 March 1965. The Tridents perform a gig at Walton Playhouse on 6 March as a trio. Paul Lucas recalls that Jeff Beck didn’t show for the final gig on 6 March as he was fogbound in Manchester. Former member Mike Jopp returns to the band.

As Paul Lucas recalls, Arthur Chisnall at Eel Pie Island could see that the band didn’t have the same attraction after Jeff Beck left and offered to buy equipment that might enable them to get some of the old magic back.

He really supported the new line up by giving the post-Beck formation more gigs to keep them going, even replacing Graham Bond with The Tridents on one occasion.

Notable gigs:
10 March 1965 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex
21 March 1965 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex

9 April 1965 – Brooklands Technical College, Weybridge, Surrey
11 April 1965 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex
21 April 1965 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex
25 April 1965 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex

9 May 1965 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex
23 May 1965 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex (interval to Graham Bond Organisation)
28 May 1965 – Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex (final Tridents gig)

Volare digital capture

Jeff Beck with Afghan hound, London, 1967, photographer: Lewis Morley, public domain use from LACMA archives

After the band split up, Ray Cook subsequently joined Sands (featuring Pete Hammerton) while Jopp later played with Affinity. Cook briefly played with Jeff Beck’s group in early 1967 but during a performance at the Roundhouse, someone sabotaged his drum kit so he wasn’t able to continue with the guitarist.

Sands 9 with Ray Cook

Sands with Ray Cook (back left)

This is a very brief overview of The Tridents career and the author would welcome any further information for a more complete story. Please contact the writer at Warchive@aol.com or nick_warburton@hotmail.com

Gig sources:

Playhouse, Walton-on-Thames (Woking Herald), Cellar, Kingston Upon Thames (Surrey Comet), Ealing Club (Middlesex County Times & West Middlesex Gazette), 100 Club and Studio 51 (Melody Maker). A massive thank you to Paul and John Lucas for delving into their diaries and also to Lindsay Bex for his input. Photos are from Paul and John Lucas and Lindsay Bex (except of Jeff Beck and acetate).

Copyright © Nick Warburton, 2015. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any from or by any means, without prior permission from the author.

Additional note from Nick Warburton:

Missing gig found – 12 July 1964 at The Cherry Tree Hotel, Welwyn Garden City – see listing below:

640710, Welwyn Times and Herald, p14, ad for The Tridents at Cherry Tree, Welwyn Garden City

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