Pete's congas
Photo of Big Pete

“Welcome to my web site! I hope you’ll find it entertaining.”

“The site has been set up to coincide with the launch of my new book, Between the Lines and Spaces, so called because I haven’t always been able to say all that I wanted to say, for the sake of my own reputation, as well as others. It’s all there, in the book, if you don’t mind reading Between the Lines …”

“Enjoy!”

Pete Bailey

Why ‘Big’ Pete Bailey? Because Pete (unwisely, you might say) named his son Pete. It just helps his family and friends to know who the hell they’re talking about!

Pete Bailey has had a bizarre and fascinating career in and around the British music scene spanning some thirty years.

He started out in the post-war years, listening to music and playing percussion in small, dingy, basement clubs and cafés around London, such as Club 11, The 100 Club, The Mandrake, The Bouillabaisse, The Nuthouse and The Bag of Nails, to name but a few.

It was at Ronnie Scott’s new club that Pete first met the colourful and flamboyant Graham Bond (check out grahambond.net for a wealth of information and photos).

Graham turned Pete’s life upside-down with his wild and chaotic ways. Against his better judgement, Pete agreed to roadie for Graham’s band, The Organisation, with Ginger Baker on drums, Jack Bruce on bass guitar, and Dick Heckstall-Smith on saxophone.

Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker later left to form Cream with Eric Clapton, under the management of Robert Stigwood. The Organisation were joined by John Hiseman and Mike Feilana, and Pete at last got his chance to perform on stage with the band, playing congas, bongos and other assorted percussion.

Graham’s outrageous behaviour finally brought The Organisation grinding to a halt, and Pete became a founder member of The Battered Ornaments, along with Pete Brown, Roger “Butch” Potter, Chris Spedding, George Kahn and Rob Tait. The Ornaments went on to produce two albums, A Meal you can Shake Hands with in the Dark, and Mantelpiece, and played at the Rolling Stones’ Hyde Park festival in July 1969.

Pete briefly played with Graham’s band, Holy Magic and with Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come, before retiring to Cornwall.

Pete’s escapades range from the disastrous to the hilariously funny (often both at the same time!). He accompanied Graham on his legendary spiritual journey to Ireland, which saw Graham temporarily cured of his heroin habit, but nearly finished Pete off in the process. His book, Between the Lines and Spaces, unfortunately now out of print, catalogues his adventures and misadventures.

The book contains many previously unpublished photos of the music scene, a selection of which you can find on the Gallery page.

If you want to drop Pete a line, please feel free to email him.

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