The         in Aden, 1965


Brian Croft … of ‘The Dudes’

Note from Andre: I have altered the original email texts for continuity and editorial purposes. Bracketed information in green is contextual and from me.

Brian's email on 8th August 2015

  • Hi, My name is Brian Croft, and I was a member of a band called 'The Dudes', October 64 to May 65.
  • The band comprised of:
    •   'Cpl Brian Varnham (Drums),
    •   LAC Pete Nappy (Bass guitar),
    •   Cpl Ian Williams (Lead guitar/vocals),
    • and me, Radio operator, Royal Navy (Rhythm guitar/Lead vocals).
  • We covered the normal popular music at the time, and we also played the usual venues, Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at the Mermaid Club.
  • Thursday and the occasional Saturday at the Camel Club at Kormaksa, and any amount of dances and birthday gigs in Sergeant Messes and even Officers venues.
  • I remember your band very well without actually attending one of your performances due to clashes with our gigs, but I have to say that being on the circuit while in Aden made it one of the happiest times of my service life.
  • I even met my wife out there and we actually married at the church in Steamer Point on 29th May 1965, and we have recently celebrated our 50th anniversary. I also remember selling a Hofner Very thin guitar to one of your band at the back end of May 65. Sorry can't remember his name (it was me, Andre).
  • Well I hope this has been of some interest to you.
  • Best of luck.

Further email on 10th August 2015

Hi Andre,

  • I keep getting the odd memory popping into what's left of my brain, the latest being a little Indian club that was situated opposite the main gate of HMS Sheba, next to the Century Hotel.
  • In the club on a Thursday day and night they used to play Monopoly for real money. These were seriously rich people and we heard of a game that went on for 4 days where one of the players lost his Rolls Royce car, then went out the next day and ordered another!

Further email on 18th September 2015

Hi Andre,

  • The web page is very good, and I was extremely interested in the article re your band, and I must say a little disappointed that we never ran into each other.
  • I can't remember there being a fierce rivalry between the bands at the time, there seems to have been plenty of work for all of us, and like the King Bees, we weren't exclusively an instrumental band either. We covered most of the relevant music of the time, our signature song being 'The House of the Rising Sun' by the Animals.
  • The biggest instrumental band at the time in Aden was 'The Barons', and their rhythm guitarist joined us when they broke up. I don't know what happened to 'The Dudes' after I left in May 1965, and have only recently got in touch with another band member, and he has no recollection either.
  • Anyway my friend, nice to converse once again, and hopefully we'll speak again.