A VETERAN band is ready to rock and roll again after rehearsing for the first time in 15 months.

Rockers Reunited had to cancel 23 gigs as restrictions were brought in to tackle the Covid pandemic.

But the musicians, who first got together more than 40 years ago and used to play venues like the Locarno, are preparing once again for a summer of performances.

Last week the Adver highlighted the impact of the shutdown on the music industry and live venues. Groups disbanded and musicians lost their live audiences. Swindon-based rapper Grim Sickers highlighted his fears for young people starting out in the industry.

Band member Ray Stratford said: “No matter what their situation, it has ruined everything and we’ve missed making people happy and we really want to get back up to some entertainment level.”

“Bands are still out there ready to play as we’re still going despite the setbacks and lots of places are helping us out.”

The group was relieved to have its first rehearsal at the Highworth Community Centre last week.

Drummer Ray Stratford said: “Our rehearsal went well - we made a few errors but surprisingly we picked it up. A lot of bands have finished playing because of Covid, but we salute them all for giving us so much pleasure.”

The members, now in their 70’s, stopped gigging in the 1970s but reformed around ten years ago to raise funds for Prospect House and Wiltshire Air Ambulance. Ray is joined by founder Dave King as vocalist, Alan Minns on bass and Alan Broom on lead guitar.

Dave said: “Realistically, because of Covid we haven’t been able to be together but it’s good to see pubs and clubs open again. We have to associate with our audience and do music they like as the older generation wouldn’t want modern music.

“There is a concern about access to venues as we need to go out and enjoy them, but lots have closed. We still need to get together and practice it’s important.”

Back in the sixties they played for different Swindon bands including Vince & The Vigilantes, The Satellites and Clive & The Cyclones who were well-known on music scene. They played at venues like McIlroys, Locarno Ballroom and the Majestic.

They still perform 1960’s inspired music from some of their favourite artists including Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley and the Beatles.

Alan Broom said: “We come from a different age of music, our music is purer there is no manipulation, people could just play the instruments and it wasn’t artificial. Music bought us together and we all get along and our wives come along too we call them our WAGS – Wives and Grannies.”

The friends kept in touch during lockdown, sharing music videos and have seven shows lined up with the first one in August.