tribute by chris "ace" kefford

carl wayne and the vikings

Reached by phone a few days after Carl Wayne’s funeral service, Ace shared a few words with UT about his band mate. It wasn’t to the heady days of the Move’s success to which Ace’s memory returned, but to the earlier, rough and tumble days of the Vikings’ German club residencies.

Carl was three years older than me. He was about twenty, I was about seventeen when I first joined the Vikings. I suppose I looked at Charlie like a big brother, really. He handled everything. That’s the type of guy Charlie was. You knew that when you was in the band with him that you’ve got your leader. He was the guy, the main man, the singer. Anybody wanted to talk to the band, he dealt with it. I think he missed that when we had Tony [Secunda, the Move’s first manager], because it was part of Carl’s makeup, what he was as a person. It was hard for him to be just the singer, ‘coz he had an amazing brain. A very clever man, Carl. Figures, anything to do with contracts, he was really good.  

He was a great bloke. Such a funny sense of humour — which a lot of people never really knew about Carl. He did things that I can’t tell ya! (laughs) He was crazy, man. A lot of people who knew him in his latter life probably never realized he was that funny. You know, when you’re young and you’re in Germany and you’re starving, if you don’t have that sense of humor and click together, we’d have never got through it.  

The Vikings were in Germany, and we got to Cologne, the last stop. We’d already done Düsseldorf for a month, and were offered a month in Cologne. We went up to Cologne to do the month there, and it was like eight hours a night. On Saturday you’d do your eight hours on the night, but then you’d do three or four hours on the afternoon as well. So the weekends were incredible. But they didn’t pay you nothing man, the wages were shit. When we first got to Cologne, they gave us a piece of paper with an address on. We finally started getting into this part of the town, but it’s all been pulled down, bombed buildings everywhere. There was this one building standing, and somebody looked at the piece of paper and says “That’s it!” So we all trundled in, and I was trying to pick a good room at the back or something. The room that I picked, I burst into it and there’s no fucking roof! So we just used sleeping bags and we got through it, man. But Carl’s sense of humour kept it together.  

There’s a photograph of me and Carl. I look worse than him, but he looks bad enough. We both look like Belsen. Fucking starving, man, fucking bones. That’s the thinnest I’ve ever seen myself look, and I used to look thin anyway. ‘Coz we weren’t eating, we didn’t have any money.  

They wouldn’t pay us, at the end of all this, after we’d put up with sleeping in this dump and played all the hours. The way they used to treat English bands then, that’s a side of it people never understand. You’d go to get your money at the end and they’d say you’ve only got this or that, hardly enough to get home—the petrol or whatever. So Carl took the roadie back in and him and the roadie nicked all the speakers out of the club and when we got home we’ve got some new speaker cabinets! It was a bit of a payback, wasn’t it. When I heard the news, straightaway I thought that for any of us who was ever with Charlie, in the Vikings or the Move, we must all know by now that we’ve lost our leader, man, he’s gone. He was a great leader, a great motivator. I’ll miss him.

Many thanks to David Biassoti and Ugly Things

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