Pete Ward - Living Legend!
Pete's early jazz career was actually as a piano player, and for some time he was all too familiar with a wide range of Slough's dodgy pub pianos. Before long - being a talented and resourceful kind of chap - he swiftly moved on to banjo, then in 1961 equally seamlessly onto bass, for being a bass player during the Swinging Sixties naturally brought its own special rewards ...
Later, he moved down to Somerset where his melodic style contributed to the success of a plethora of fine bands over many years. Among others, he staffed the 'engine room' of Nigel Hunt's Imperial Jazzband, the Panama Jazz Kings, Dennis Armstrong's Western Jazzband, and John Shillito's Rhythm Aces. He also travelled widely to play jazz throughout the UK, and appeared at many major festivals.
Unlike some less 'driven' individuals, Pete had an illustrious and high-profile 'proper' job, which brought him even more fame and fortune than his bass playing, namely Editorial Director at Haynes, the car manual publishers. Thanks to this automotive background, he has owned a greater variety of motor vehicles than the rest of the band put together, and was always an infallible source of automotive knowledge and expertise whenever a band member had a problem with a car or van. He was also able to offer useful 'insider' knowledge if one of us was contemplating purchasing a new vehicle.
By the time the rest of the band's present crew joined up, Pete was by far its longest serving sideman, having been with the Stompers since 1999 - only leader and founder-member Mike Denham has seen even longer service - and he soldiered gamely on through several health challenges (usually involving replacement parts, not unlike a vintage or classic car) before the bass finally became too much to manage.
He has now become the band's sternest critic, as well as one of our staunchest supporters, and is frequently seen in the front row at our gigs, listening to every note with a keen ear. Despite being officially retired from band duties, he still generously permits the occasional band rehearsal to take place in his luxury pad in the Ancient Capital of Wessex, and hosts these occasions with great aplomb, ably assisted by his faithful old retainer, Carruthers. Although we greatly miss his bass playing, he somehow seems to be still very much part of the band - long may it continue!