This website is dedicated to memories of The Sneakers, one of the top West Yorkshire bands of the ‘70s. It’s designed to be several things: an in memoriam and testament to the band’s principal writer and crazy experimental scientist, Dave Parkinson; a gift to all old Sneakers fans wishing to re-live those exciting years; and an opportunity for those who weren’t around at the time to get a real feel for the band — who we were, what we played and the dramatic way we staged our performances — a Sneakers gig, as many fans recall, was a fantastic and unmissable event.
The Sneakers was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire when two Leeds university students, Dave Parkinson and Andy Rawson, met in 1973 and began to create a band. There had been a couple of earlier, short-lived incarnations, one of which, Bad Sneakers, comprised Dave, Andy with Pete Dowling, Lorrie Chisman, and Nigel Blackett (who built the band’s first PA.) Pete, Lorrie and Nigel bowed out and Dave and Andy went on to recruit lead singer and guitarist, Russ Elias and drummer, John Shepard. The Sneakers were complete. The band played all the biggest venues in Leeds, West Yorkshire and beyond, travelling the length and breadth of England and Wales between 1975-78 in their trademark vehicle — an old fashioned ambulance. It was a time of continual rehearsing, gigging, live radio sessions, driving through the night, ploughing up and down the M1, dawn returns to Leeds, then turning up for the day jobs in all weathers, always hungry, always high hopes for that (finally, sadly, elusive) record deal. Sneakers fans were there to the end.
I would divide The Sneakers history into three overlapping but still discernible periods: pre-punk, post-punk and post-script.
Russell P Elias guitar and lead vocals, Dave Parkinson keyboards and vocals, Andy Rawson bass guitar and vocals, John Shepard drums.
Russell P Elias guitar and lead vocals, Dave Parkinson keyboards and vocals, Andy Rawson bass guitar and vocals, Rob Lowther guitar and vocals, Andy Cave drums.
Andy Rawson bass guitar and vocals, Dave Parkinson, keyboards and vocals, Andy Cave drums, Charlie ‘Speed’ Stanniforth guitar, and Ellie Grant vocals.
The late but very great Brian Hogan guitar and vocals, John Davies guitar, Graham sax.
Nigel Blackett, Brian Rawson (who also played bass in other bands, most noticeably Leeds-based Agony Column).
the legendary Barry Lights.
Cliff Wooton, Steve Madden, Andy Smith, Roger Berry and others.
(the much missed and remembered) Stewart Coxhead, Ricky Vaughan.