Worthing: The Animals & Friends Farewell Tour really isn't the end at all

It’s called the Animals & Friends Farewell Tour. But don’t worry. It’s not really.

The Animals
The Animals

Animals co-founder and drummer John Steel absolutely isn’t ready to quit just yet – whatever the tour is called.

“The Farewell Tour is what the agency decided it was going to be and this was on the cards before the pandemic started. I have just turned 81 but I don't feel like quitting – and I particularly don't feel like quitting because I feel we have lost two years now. It has been a desert until just recently. For the best part of two years we just couldn't do anything and it was horrible. I feel like we were robbed so I decided that as far as I am concerned we are going to extend the Farewell for at least another two years!

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“I just don't feel ready to stop. I don't quite know how I got into this situation, but the pandemic has changed a lot of things. But I still feel fit. I don't know how I've managed to do that but I've never gone overboard about anything. I didn't get burned out on acid. I was never a heavy drug taker, Caribbean woodbine or whatever. I have just never overdone things.

“1963 was the first year that we became The Animals. Eric (Burdon) and me started off when we met in 1956. That was the first day of our art college and that's how we began. We just formed a band and had various line-ups and various members and by the end of 1963 we became The Animals.

“It was ridiculous how quickly it took off. That was September 63 and we didn't really play together before. We just got up and played. That first gig was absolutely packed out we were just amazed how the band went down and it was just like that from September onwards. It got more and more exciting playing our kind of music and packing all these places out.”

The next step was to get to London and the contacts they made sent them down there: “We did an exchange with The Yardbirds. They came and did our gigs for a bit and we went down and did theirs but really London was the key for us. Within weeks we were scouted by Mickie Most and Peter Grant and the next thing we knew we had an agency deal and we were supporting Chuck Berry on his first UK tour.”

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