Before Exit was formed
back in the summer
of 1973, I had been playing for 12 years.
In the beginning I tried
Saxophone (untutored) but failed to get on and went on to trombone. A
friend had left this instrument at my house after a visit and I took
it up with gusto, playing along to records. I thought that I was
doing alright until the neighbours arrived with the petition. The
trombone playing ceased - my mother insisted. So I
came to the
drums almost by default. Having decided, I bought a dreadful load of
clatt (rubbish) masquerading as a drum kit and wrote off for lessons.
Within a week, someone
in the pub offered
me a gig at a local wedding. It was a dreadful gig, but at the end of
the evening, I had had some fun, two pints of beer, four sausage
rolls, been given the eye by a nice young lady and presented with two
pounds ten shillings. This, I thought, is the life for me, and so
it's proved. Over around fifty years on the scene, I've had more
sausage rolls than you could shake a stick at.
Soon, the first drum kit
fell to bits.
This happened during a short solo which finished abruptly in a
spectacular series of crashes and bad language.( I can still hear the
second kit, altogether more professional, got me into a series of
decent bands. The first one of note was the Brian Thompson Jazz band.
played around Croydon, formed our own club and were adopted by the
local branch of CND who gave us quite a few gigs. Eventually, Brian
Thompson moved on to pastures new and some of us formed a Georgie Fame
type group, called quite innocently, “Club 69!”
After a while,
I was fired from this group (Politics!) but was soon offered the drum
chair in the Bruce Turner Jump Band, a prestigious band on the fringe
of the then tailing off Traditional Jazz boom. This was a terrific time
which saw me traveling around Britain with them and also backing
visiting American trumpet stars like Bill Coleman and Henry Red Allen.
The Jazz scene did eventually collapse and with it, the band.
I (Doug) was soon playing on the American Bases with a show type band
called the “Mark Seven”. This started off playing Jim Reeves stuff and
we were dressed in blue gabardine blazers and trousers but was unable
to withstand the onslaught of flower power. We finished up in flares
and kaftan's doing reasonable impressions of James Brown.
name was changed to the “Front Line” and we became MGM recording stars
on contract. However, we did not record a single side. So much for
Front Line (Left
Reg Blake ,Trumpet,
Mizen - Guitar
Pat Adamson - Vocals
LeGrande, Baritone Sax,
Doug Higgins - drums
Laurie Harvey, Bass Guitar
After a few years gigging
around, I had the good fortune to meet up with Brian Diamond, which
of the next 23 years. Happy days.
Latterly I took up with some
old Jazz friends and did gigs with two bands. The Clive Peerless Jazz
band, the Polygon Band, the odd session with
& W group (Box Car Kelly) [such is the man's versatility].
Although these bands are now ceased
Doug still kept busy on the local jazz scene, active at;
Napier, Norbury with the "Legacy Jazz band" - 2nd/4th each month.
The Surprise, Croydon with "The Suprise Pack" (Last Wed, 1pm - 4pm)
Woolpack, Banstead with "Mike Byrne’s Thameside Seven" - 1st Tues, 2.30pm-5.30pm.
They will have to prise the sticks from my lifeless
It is with great sadness that we report Doug passed away quietly in his sleep (24 August 2014).
True to his words he play the night before. He will be missed.