The concept of Animals and Friends began in the spring of 2000. Hilton
Valentine had re-located to America but demand was high for the Animals.
Peter Barton former Mindbender had been gigging in a band alongside John
Williamson, former guitarist from Titanic. A suggestion was made to team
the two units together. Pete had been involved with the Animals now for
almost a decade on the management front. Due to the pedigree of the
current band members the band was re-named Animals and friends. Jim
Rodford was a well-known face from the Kinks and Argent. Johnnie guitar
Williamson, again from his time with Titanic and Skeleton Cew had become
a familiar face on the Blues and Rock circuit. Pete Barton had also
served his apprenticeship alongside Wayne Fontana in The Mindbenders and
with Trevor Burton from The Move. The final ingredient's to this rock &
roll cocktail was of course original Animal members, Dave
Rowberry and John Steel.
Animals and Friends were born.
The band toured
extensively and in the winter of 2001 went into Lisa Stansfields studio to record the debut Animals and friends Album
"Instinct". Friends had been called and recordings started.
In June 2003 the band had a major shock, Dave Rowberry suddenly died at
the age of 63. The band knew they had to finish the new album but was
not sure if they would continue as a touring unit. Coincidently the day
Dave died, Peter Barton was contacted by a venue in Harlow, who
mentioned that an ex member of the Animals lived in the area. Being a
curious chap, Peter took the relevant contact details and made the call.
The chap was Mickey Gallagher who had joined the Animals in 1965 when
Alan Price left.
Mickey immediately took the offer on board and re-joined John Steel
after almost forty years.
(In the interim period Mickey had formed The Blockheads with Ian Dury,
toured and recorded London calling with The Clash and worked alongside
Paul McCartney and Robbie Williams to say the least). The circle was
complete again. But the band would not have existed if not for Dave Rowberry. Dave's equipment is still in the band, and continues to make
all the gigs. So if you come to any of our shows and see a battered old
Roland Cube amplifier on stage, its Dave's.
Jim Rodford had one year earlier been asked to team up with his old
mate's Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone to perform a select number of
dates. Jim obviously accepted due to his history with Rod in Argent.
In the summer of 2004 it was decision time again. Argent dates and
Animal dates had started to clash so Jim reluctantly left the band. Jim
was a major force in the band and it was sad to see him go. He still
appears on occasion as a special guest.
The bands strength has grown over the last few years. Two major British
tours under the belt. A major new album in the shops. A fantastic fan
base, which is growing daily. The band will continue to perform as long
as we have the audience that keeps coming out to see us.
Line-ups change, sadly two of the original sixties members are no longer
with us. Their music continues, as does their legacy. As long as we play
the songs that people love we will continue. We will make more albums
and continue this fantastic tradition. Eric Burdon, Alan Price and
Hilton Valentine are still out there doing it. Lets hope we all can
continue for years to come.