Rockingscots is a website dedicated to
Scottish beat groups of the '60s and early '70s.
Rockingscots homepage for more groups or to e-mail
records the music career of Ayr drummer Tom Kerr - AKA Tam, Tommy or
That nickname was derived from how the teacher read
out the morning register - Q. 'T. Kerr?' A. 'Present!'
Recent pic (c.2017) of Tom holding the sticks for
the Colin Kennedy Band.
Tom recalls: I was 15 years old, I had left school and was working in Anderson Bros in Ayr.
One night, a couple guys I knew, Jim and John, took me along to the Doon Hotel in Patna where there was a wee band on -
an accordion player and a fella accompanying him on a snare drum with brushes.
John came from
down that way and seemed well known to the locals. He had an electric guitar with him.
When John was asked to do a turn he said., 'Right Tommy you play drums and Jim can sing.'
I had never
played drums before and Jim had never sang into a microphone before either.
We had a go at Johnny B Goode - I held the wire ends of the
brushes and battered the snare drum with the handles; it felt brilliant.
Well, soon after that I got a wee drum kit out of my
auntie's mail order catalogue:
a bass drum, snare, and a tiny tom and bop cymbal mounted on
the bass drum.
Before you knew it I was in my first band called 'X Cert'
playing church halls and community centres.
I was completely self taught from listening to records - I've never had a formal drum lesson.
Early days with the
X-Cert at Annbank Community Centre 1967
l-r: Tom 'Ticker' Kerr -
drums; Iain Ogilvie - bass; Brian McCafferty - guitar; Alex Kelly - vocals.
Pic courtesy of Iain Ogilvie. Note the improvised
drum-stool - 3 stacking chairs.
The blue 'floor tom' was borrowed from the Community Centre.
Soon, the wee drum kit went and I got a second hand Olympic kit.
Alex and I eventually hooked up
with bass player Ian Irving (R.I.P.) and guitarist Ian Stirrat, we called ourselves
After a few local gigs we got a residency in the Cellar bar in the
That soon led to three nights a week between the Bobby Jones,
the Pavilion, and Troon concert hall.
We added Charlie Lundy on keyboards and played all the hits
of the day plus some standards like:
Smokestack Lightning, Please Stay and Tobacco Road.
Playing so often meant we all progressed quickly
on our instruments and....
I changed kits again to a Premier one with three
Omnibus Mk3 left to right:
Bill Smith, Tommy Kerr, Ian Allen and Ricky Karling
After 3 years with the Gyro I was asked to join local rock band Omnibus
- I must have been about 19 at the time
and I jumped at the chance. that was when
it got really loud!!
Another new kit was required - a dark blue Hayman kit with a
Ludwig snare drum this time.
(i) Bill Smith, Tommy Kerr, Riki
Karling & Jim Park. (ii) Riki Karling, Jim Park, Bill Smith & Tommy Kerr.
I left Omnibus in '73/'74, moved to Milton Keynes and got a gig with Northampton based band, 'Left Hand Drive'.
They suited me fine as
they did original material in their set and as I had always been
interested in writing lyrics I could contribute to the songs.
We played all over the Northampton area and the usual London music pub circuit -
The Greyhound, Hope and Anchor, Windsor Castle, etc. We also did a small tour supporting the Tyla Gang.
The pic above was taken in 'Upstairs' at Ronnie Scott's in London. The one below in a Northampton venue.
Greyhound at that time here there was a balcony overlooking the
stage and just as LHD went on I heard someone shout down,
'Tommy Kerr! - Fucking Brilliant!' And that made me laugh. No matter where you go
there is always a Scotsman to back you up!!
When you are 24 and away
from family and friends these things take on a special importance!!
An album of old LHD recordings - 'Who Said Rock & Roll Was Dead' was released on CD in 2017
It can also be found on Spotify, and iTunes etc.
It has half a dozen Tam Kerr co-writes on it
- that I'm very pleased with :-)
This was LHD when I first joined. After punk hit, the band soon changed both musically and in personnel - and it got a bit
'Stand Or Fall' - another album of LHD recordings including a couple of live tracks.
was around Northampton for about five years and when I returned to
Ayr in '78 I played in a succession of cover bands around Ayrshire
which although financially rewarding, never felt as good as playing original material.
One of those bands 'Dance Faction' became very popular.
We played approx 3 nights a week for 12 years.
It featured Alistair Kerr (bass) and Colin Ivory (guitar) both ex
'Dead End Kids' and a great singer from Irvine called Colin Kennedy.
We played just about every hit from the '80s - Lost In Music, 1999, songs by the
Silencers, Dan Reed Network, U2, Tinsel Town in the Rain etc.
When I started in Dance Faction I had a special Simmons drum kit made
which was the first one in Scotland!!
When the kits hit the shops they were 5 pads (bass, snare, 3 toms) and
were only available in black or white.
I spoke directly to Dave Simmons and he made me a 7 pad kit in red
BBC Scotland hired it from me to record the theme tune to one of their
programs- I think it was Naked Video.
After a few years I got fed up with it (as you do) and bought a beautiful red
After, Dance Faction I played in a few short lived bands including the Whisky Bandits who were a good blues rock outfit.
The line-up was featuring Gavin
McMulkin on guitar, Alan Scott on bass, Colin Stewart on vocals and guitar and
myself on drums.
We covered the blues rock classics like Layla, Gimme Three Steps, Twice as Hard, Mr Big etc.
The composite photo above shows theWhisky Bandits at Ayr Town hall supporting Wishbone Ash
Colin Kennedy and I had remained great
friends and we now decided to form a band playing our own original
That eventually led to the
release of an album called 'Paint The Grey Sky Blue' which is also on Spotify, iTunes,
I have co-writing credits on three tracks: 'Paint The Grey Sky Blue',
'Karma Baby' and 'Bullets of Love'.
All have Tam K lyrics - fame at last ha ha.
The Colin Kennedy Band or CKB don't do a lot
of gigs but when we do we try to make them memorable!!
John Blakeley - guitar and backing vocals; Colin Kennedy - lead vocals and guitar; Jim Eagleson - bass and backing vocals;
Tam Kerr - Drums and percussion.
It's been a long road and I have enjoyed every
minute of it!
Tom's Drum Kits
Tom playing his Mapex kit -
the boys in the Whisky Bandits called this ‘The Sparkle Monster’.
Tam's current 'A' kit : Tama Starclassic Maple
Photo credit: Alan Blakeley
Bass drum close-up
Photo credit: Alan Blakeley
Tam's current 'B' kit : Yamaha stage custom beech