The Flying Hat Band Sunderland Locarno circa 1973?

I have quite vivid memories of seeing a band called the Flying Hat Band many years ago in Sunderland Locarno. I wasflying hat 1 lucky enough to see them at least twice. I remember having no idea who the band were but being extremely impressed by the guitarist who had long hair (that always impressed me, for starters) and played amazing fast guitar solos. I remember standing straight in front of the guitarist, mesmerised by his guitar prowess. They were a trio of the Cream/Jimi Hendrix Experience ilk and, to be honest, I had forgotten about them until I came across something on the Internet which told me that they had links to Judas Priest and hailed from the Midlands.

“The Flying Hat Band were an early 1970s Birmingham, England hard rock act that, alongside Judas Priest, ranked as the Midlands’ favourites to succeed. Despite not having released an album, the band proved a successful club act and eventually went on to support Deep Purple on one of their European tours. The band folded in April 1974 following Glenn Tipton’s departure to become the second guitarist in Judas Priest, who at the time had just signed their first record deal with Gull Records. Peter “Mars” Cowling joined Canadian rocker Pat Travers in 1975, and was part of Travers’ band for several years. Trevor Foster joined folk rock group The Albion Band and Little Johnny England”. Glenn Tipton – Official Website

Apparently, (see above) Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton was a member in one of the incarnations of the band, which was probably the group I witnessed. Their music was heavy rock, blues-based and they were simply amazing. As far as I gather they never recorded anything at the time however a more recently issued album exists, which I recently purchased courtesy of eBay (pictured).

flying hat 2The album features tracks by the Flying Hat Band and Earth, a predecessor of Black Sabbath. It reveals excellent, early heavy rock/metal/blues songs from many, many years ago when I used to love long guitar solos, particularly when played on a Fender Stratocaster, which was my guitar of choice at the time. I would go home and try (and usually fail) to replicate the guitar playing I had just witnessed. Those were the days. Sadly, I sold my 1964 pre-CBS Stratocaster for £120 to raise the money to buy a new gearbox for my car. Big mistake, the guitar would probably be worth several thousand pounds these days. Never mind. My life is full of regrets. At least I was lucky enough to witness the Flying Hat Band in full flight (I know, cheesy pun) and Glenn Tipton in his early years as a guitarist before he went on to help take Judas Priest into the heavy rock/metal history books. Happy days.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Great memories as ever! I was a regular at the ‘Mayfair’ from 77-81 and have nothing but amazing recollection of music and pure joy in our chosen life style with like minded people. You saw the bands when the Locarno was the place to be but thankfully I did get to see the likes of Gillan, Tygers of Pang Tang, The Stranglers and Girlschool grace the stage. I love Priest in the late 70s so this was an interesting read and discovery too. Thanks as ever. Garry


    • Posted by vintagerock on August 16, 2021 at 2:57 pm

      Hi Garry yes I was lucky enough to see some great bands at the Locarno and the Mayfair. Happy days. Pleased you enjoy my memories best wishes Peter


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