George’s Memories

George describes Mark Drower and the Everyones:

If ever one individual had to be singled out as a driving force of pure inspiration, then Mark Drower would be the man. He probably doesn’t know it and none of us have seen or heard from him in years. Yet his contribution to all of this is crucial.

During a five-day school trip to Birmingham in September 1981, some truly remarkable things happened. Mark was the new religious studies teacher and kept getting his roles between student and teacher confused. He also played guitar and sang, something that Simon did and I at that time didn’t. A certain young lady happened to steal my heart on this trip. Because the rumour at the time was that she fancied Simon and Mark, both of whom played guitar, I made the obvious choice and soon after sat down and tried to learn things like E, A and D (although G and Dm were very hard). And in case you were wondering – I never did get the girl (boo, hiss).

However, there was more to it than just that. Mark was a songwriter, and his songs were incredibly powerful and moving. He was self-taught on guitar and had no real idea what he was doing exactly, with bizarre chords and strange tunings. Drop D is still known as ‘Drower Tuning’. Simon, myself and about twenty teenage girls were utterly transfixed by an impromptu performance he gave one morning while we waited to go on some trip to a place of religious worship.

At the very end of the same school year came the play known as Everyone. Various people who had been on the Birmingham trip at the start of that academic year were involved and Mark was the main force behind it. He had written four songs and selected the taped music to go with the play, as well as directing the action. His performances were utterly mind-blowing, ably assisted by Simon’s wonderful lead guitar.

The event was such a success that most of the cast went down to Blaze studios in Torquay that summer to record a tape of the songs. A repeat performance of the entire show was held in Exeter Cathedral in the Autumn of 1982. Sadly, by then the cast had changed due to people leaving school and although it was a good performance, it didn’t quite capture the magic of the original.