LYME REGIS: Ladies and gentlemen, your house band awaits you.
That was the message from Deep Purple legend Ian Gillan after he flew back from Deep Purple’s US tour for a last rehearsal with Lyme Regis musicians for Guitars On The Beach on Saturday.
Ian will lead the house band, who will lead the thousands of guitarists who are expected to be on the sand for the giant attempt for the record for the most guitarists playing together on one song.
And as the record bid song is his song, Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke On The Water’, Ian popped in on the house band’s rehearsal at Lyme’s Woodmead Halls to rock the group of Dorset and Devon players through just one take of it before deciding the band was ready for the big day.
“I was very impressed, they’ve been working hard,” said Ian, who on Saturday will perform the song on the town beach accompanied by a crowd of guitarists of all ages and abilities, from veteran professionals to a three-year-old boy from Axminster.
Ian also signed two special Stratocasters, donated by the event’s sponsor Fender.
The collectors’ items will be raffled at £1 a ticket to raise money for the charities supported by Guitars On The Beach.
The GOTB Stratocasters, also signed by all the members of the house band, will be on display until Saturday at Axe Music, Axminster, where raffle tickets can be bought.
Saturday’s guitar event will start at 11am on Lyme’s front beach, with local bands playing and introduced by top national DJ Darren Reddick from Planet Rock, radio sponsors of the show of pluck by the huge guitar band which now has 3,800 members. Organisers are inviting all guitarists who have not signed up, free, on guitarsonthebeach .co.uk to just turn up on the day.
The record attempts will start at 4pm, following a ‘mass tune-up’. The record-bid songs are Rave On, led by Billy Geraghty, Lyme-schooled star of the West End hit Buddy Holly musical, Rocking All Over The World, led by Torquay guitar star Lars Mullen and, at 4.45pm, Smoke On The Water, led by Ian Gillan.
“Guitars On The Beach is for all ages and everybody is welcome to join in – and say ever after that they once played in a band with Ian Gillan,” said organiser Geoff Baker. “If you have ever wanted to be in a band for just once in your life, be in Britain’s biggest band.”
Guitars On The Beach, which will be co-hosted by Lyme-born former Radio Devon DJ John Govier, is also supported by Musicians Insurance Services and Lyme Regis Town Council – and the Mayor of Lyme, Councillor Sally Holman, will officially open the event at 11am, accompanied by Town Crier Alan Vian, who will give a special ‘oyez’ cry to get the show going.
“This will be a once-in-a-lifetime ‘I Was There’ experience,” said Geoff Baker. “If you’ve got a guitar, come on down to the beach – if you don’t know the chords, young guitarists from Lyme’s BSharp music group will be in the Fender tent on the sand giving last-minute lessons.”