Otway and Barrett's history with Friars goes back a long way as can be
seen by the posters (to 1969 in Willy's case) and this doesn't include
the free gigs they did in Aylesbury some of which were at Friars and are
included in the award trophy. However whilst huge in Aylesbury, they
broke into the mainstream with Really Free which got them onto Top of
The Pops and the Old Grey Whistle Test. Although they didn't always
appear together at Friars, Otway, in 1979 became the first local artist
to sell out Friars. The pinnacle was headlining a free Friars concert in
the Market Square to 20,000 people. .
Willy had started before me - he used to run a club at the Derby Arms
(Aylesbury pub no longer there) called the Bog Hog and was one of the
first places I did a gig. I used to go and do regular guest slots and
got to know him through that. He used to bash me up when I was even
younger ! But that was my first real introduction to Willy. Then I used
to try to get Dave Stopps to give me my first spot at Friars.
Dave Stopps was
so brilliant and put Aylesbury on the map and part of the reason I have
had a career I've loved is down to him and down to Friars.
Wild Willy Barrett and John Otway
accepting the Friars Heroes Award, Kingston, London, April 2009
Picture: Mike O'Connor
A selection of John and Willy's history at Friars