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IBEX It was a Merseyside-based trio comprising two eighteen-year-olds, Mike Bersin (guitar and vocals) and John 'Tupp' Taylor (bass and vocals) and a "mad milk-man" drummer by the name of Mick 'Miffer' Smith. Bersin and Taylor had played together since 1966 in a band called Colour, under the influence of Cream. On 23rd May 1969 Ibex played their debut in the small Merseyside town of Penketh and had packed off a demo-tape to the Beatles' Apple label. Freddie, who had not quite persuaded Smile to take him on as a vocalist, first met Ibex on 13th August 1969. Such was his enthusiasm, that just ten days later, he had learned the band's set, brought in a few new songs and had travelled up to Bolton, Lancashire, for a gig with them - his debut public performance. The date was 23rd August and the occasion was one of Bolton's regular afternoon 'Bluesology' session, held at the town's Octogon Theatre. Peter Bardens' band, Village, preceded Ibex on stage. Freddie's first-ever public performance was well-documented. There were at least three photographers present and the proceedings were covered in Bolton's 'Evening News'. This even featured an uncredited picture of Freddie, the caption of which ran: "One of the performers gets into his stride" The following day, Ibex appeared in the first 'Bluesology pop-in', an open air event on the bandstand in Bolton's Queen's Park. Back in London, a rivitalised Ibex began to make plans. They were spending much time together, working out a new set which included different covers and some original stuff. In September Mike Bersin came back to Liverpool to begin his pre-diploma year at the local art college. The pre-dip freshers, new students, threw a party. Needless to say, Ibex provided the entertainment. Ibex's third and final gig took place on 9th September 1969 at the Sink Club in Liverpool, which was situated on Hardman Street and was a small venue. Their appearance at the Sink was recorded by a Ibex's roadie, Geoff Higgins who had a Grundig TK14 reel-to-reel machine. (They used to record almost everything, and practically all of it is now gone). Tupp was on the right-hand side, Mike on the left, Miffer in the middle and Freddie out on the floor in front of the stage. The tape runs for thirty-five minutes and demonstrates Ibex's love of Cream, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. IBEX's Final Gig - Tracklist 'I'm So Glad' from Cream 'Communication Breakdown' from Led Zeppelin 'Rain' from The Beatles 'We're Going Wrong' from Cream 'Rock Me Baby' from Jimi Hendrix 'Stone Free' from Jimi Hendrix 'Jailhouse Rock' 'Crossroads' from Cream 'Vagabond Outcast' Freddie's composition! 'We're Going Home' a variation on the Ten Years After R&B 'I'm Going Home' Smile were in Liverpool that night, playing another club, possibly the Green Door. It has been said that Roger Taylor and Brian May went to the Sink and wasted no time in joining Freddie on stage. They probably bashed out a few Smile numbers (and Freddie did know all the words!) and this occasion marked the first time the three of them played together in front of an audience. Shamely Geoff Higgins' tape recorder ran out before the three musicians had the chance to play a note together. Sometime between 9th September and the end of October 1969, while Freddie was staying in Liverpool with Geoff Higgins, Ibex underwent an upheavel: Freddie had the idea of calling the band WRECKAGE, but it seems that nobody was very enthusiastic. However, Freddie equivocated by giving each member a ring, and asked him if he didn't mind the name-change at all, given that the others had already agreed. As Mike Bersin recalls, Freddie had the same conversation with each member. So it was WRECKAGE !