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  Tommy Vance - Remembered


Below is the last media interview with Tommy Vance. Recorded via telephone on 28th February 2005, Tommy chats to Andy Johnson of Spain's TBS magazine about his life, loves and future plans. He talks about John Peel's recent passing and of his new radio show on Spectrum FM.


1 "I'll tell you my history; I went down to Spain the year before last, worked on Spectrum for a while, trying to set up various things, that was fun, and that all collapsed because my personal life collapsed, I had to come back to the UK and then I followed that up to a degree, and got back to Spain to see if I could organise something of a similar nature, save working on the radio in Spain Currently, I record what I do in London and then send it over to them and they transmit it

Are you going to live in Spain I m not going to be living there immediately but there s a possibility of finding accommodation, finding an apartment somewhere in Spain because I like Spain a lot. I don t think I could afford to live there all the time, simply due to the fact that most of my work is based in London.

What do you like about Spain I like the culture of Spain, and I m not talking about Marbella. I m talking about Madrid, Bilbao, Valdepenas places that I would call real Spain. What do I like about it, I like the culture. I like the tempo and I like the climate. I kind of like the beer too, and the women, and all that stuff as well. Would you want to live in the South or a big city I would like to live in Barcelona and Madrid. If I was going to live anywhere, it would be there. I think Madrid is a fantastic city. A brilliant place to be. The skyscrapers are a bit dodgy at the moment.

What will your Spectrum show feature My show broadcast in Spain is going to be the same format as the show I did on the BBC for 15 years which was the Friday Rock Show - a two hour blast of rock old and new Is that your music of choice It s not so much my music of choice but it what I m definitely known for. I ve done it for so long that people almost associate me with rock.


2  Tommy Vance is not your real name What s the story Tommy Vance is a name that I adopted in the United States of America around about the time that they had their civil war, a long time ago. I was living in Washington state, on the pacific side and I was driving from where I was living every weekend up to Vancouver to see my girlfriend. Each time I d go through Seattle so I started to drop off audition tapes to all the radio stations in Seattle. Eventually one radio station phoned me up and said, yeah we kind of like what you do. They said would you mind taking on the name Tommy Vance because it was the name of another DJ based in Texas. They had already made a jingle package for him he couldn t come because his daughter had an ear infection. So they said - would I mind calling myself Tommy Vance and the rest is history I said, for this money you can call me what you like, mate Before that, my air name was Rick West


3 What was your reaction to the demise of John Peel People who don t die before their time in the music industry tend to go straight to the House of Lords. Unfortunate for him, but when you die you die, don t you Unfortunate for his missus who had to go through the rigmarole of getting his body back to the UK. That was a hassle but to be fair, he s dead and once you re dead, you re dead.

Did you have much contact with John at Radio 1 I knew John Peel when he was on the pirates. The first show I did for Radio 1 was a dual hosting thing with him called Top Gear; Sunday at 3 o clock in the afternoon

Is there anyone who s got the chutzpah to take over from John Peel s mantle A lot of people have got the chutzpah to take over John Peel s mantle but I don t think the radio stations, either the BBC or elsewhere will allow them to do that. There s a lot more regimentation in radio now than there was in those days. I don t know who would have the breadth of knowledge that John developed. He would play anything. Eclectic is good eclectic educates. It increases people s appreciation of any art form. It gives people the ability to choose and to learn but it doesn t sit very well with the accountants.

What do you see as the Future of Commercial Radio ; If I knew anything on that level about the future, I d be a very rich man There are too many restrictions and pigeon holes, too many people on the national radio are just bland talking heads without passion or fervour; that s all that s demanded of them.. that and turning up for their air shift


4 Would you be interested in Digital Radio I am doing that now; I have been working for six months or so for Virgin Radio Classic Rock which is a very small aspect of their operation it s on the net, it just goes out on digital radio in London, on Fridays. I am in talks with another Radio network who sent me an email yesterday who said they will phone my agent on Monday to make me an offer. It s digital in London and has total coverage in the UK as well as part of the Sky package, frankly a much better operation.

Do you have more freedom on Digital Platform I won t work unless they give me complete freedom It s not so much that I insist on it it s just that I don t play that game, you know Unless I believe in what I m doing, I might as well go home. Frequently people have said alright then f**k off - and I have - and then I ve not worked for a while, but that s life

Situation with Spectrum.. I worked here two years ago for this station and it was so much fun we decided to extend the relationship and so I decided to return here a year later to organise something more permanent. Spectrum is the one that stands the chance of growing completely national in Spain Spain is a very good rock country Spanish people like Rock so it s good to be on the air doing it. And I ll shut up now


5 If I play it right, the station has a good signal, they should do well. You re in Madrid. You Lucky sod; I m looking at f**king Wigmore Street in central London!



Here is a selection of personal messages in memory of Tommy, as submitted to the Guestbook soon after his death.


Barry Walsh Warrington Friday, 25. March 2005 Tommy Vance was a great DJ. I will always remember him for the unique way he presented the Top 40 between 1982-84.Plenty of info on the chart acts, and putting the music he played first every time. A real pleasure to listen to. Rest in peace Tommy.


Gary Miller New Zealand Thursday, 24. March 2005 I have just heard of the passing of Tommy 'TV' Vance. A generation of people will sadly miss this charismatic 'Voice' and character. Tommy brought a genre' of music namely Rock, and championed the NWOBHM at a time when mainstream was all pop and hairspray. I remember many a Friday night sitting in my room as a teenager eagerly awaiting the opening sounds (namely Theme One) and Tommy's gravely voice welcoming us to another two hours of rock and metal Mayhem. Just as the artists' who he brought into our lives, Tommy was as influential and will be sadly missed. Thanks for the ROCK Tommy. Gary Miller


Lawrence Dyer  Doncaster Tuesday, 22. March 2005 I will always remember how Tommy was my introduction to a great genre of music and the highlight of my Friday nights. May the angels be rocking with TV


Neil Riddoch  Colchester Monday, 21. March 2005  Tommy Vance was a legend and I am so sorry he has passed away. I will look out for his plaque at Golders Green crematorium where he will be in good company with the likes of Marc Bolan and Freddie Mercury. RIP


steve harrison cardiff Thursday, 17. March 2005 I spent my formative years avidly listening to the rock show on a friday night. Tommy introduced me to a multitude of groups and albums. One particular track i remember hearing for the first time was the Four Horsemen by Aphrodite's Child. My other memory of Tommy was the top40 charts on Sunday evenings in the early 80s. He will be sorely missed. RIP


Rush Kagon  Reading Wednesday, 16. March 2005 Isnt it both annoying and tragic that two of the most honourable and most groundbreaking djs are gone from us within a matter of months! i will never forget The Vance when i first tuned in back in 1981 as an enquiring rock fan and all those amazing live sessions from the most obscure to classic.Its thanx to you Tommy my vinyl collection is what it is today! Long May you reign so c'mon TV PLAY THAT ROCK N ROLL! Rock in peace bro love you always you'll never be forgotten X X X Rushkajan


IAN CUSSICK HAMBURG GERMANY Thank You Tommy... I listened to your show every day on BFBS. Your great voice and the warmth of your personality shone through. I wish you peace... God Bless. IAN


Sonny Faiz SYDNEY AUSTRALIA Friday, 11. March 2005 Tommy, You will be missed mate. From the very first Friday Rock Show in 1983 when you broadcast UFO live thats when I grew and learnt more about heavy metal. I followed your shows from there to the World Service 1983-1994 even in Australia. I have some early recordings in 1983-1985 of your shows and never stopped playing them. Your shows will live on forever. I will dedicate my homepage to you once I get it up and running-For all HM fans look out for my site of the Friday Rock Show soon- also I just wanted to say a big FOFF to all of the people who axed his shows. This man was a Rock genious. TV was on the radio.


Einar Steinn Valgar son Reykjav , Iceland I was grieved when I read the news of Tommy Vance's death. I've been a long-time fan of The Friday Rockshow and Tommy was always sure to bring you the best rock on the box. I always found him a very pleasant and cool man eith his dark sunglases and deep whisky-throated voice and his knowledge of rock music was astonishing. I owe him much gratitude for bringing me good music, for countless hours of enjoyment on friday evenings and for introducing me to so many bands that I enjoy today. I am greatful for those good times. Rest in peace, Tommy Vance. Rock on!


Charles Foster UK Monday, 7. March 2005  Thousands of listeners who served in the British forces in the 70s and 80s will recall Tommy's contribution to BFBS. His daily show, BFBS UK, brought together families all over the world with music, requests and dedications as well as being BFBS's major interview programme. Tommy talked to hundreds of stars and personalities, including the Prince of Wales. Tommy was a true friend to HM Forces, only to happy to visit desolate places like the Falklands just after the 1982 war, and a key figure in the presentation team at BFBS - indeed to many young broadcasters who joined forces radio in the 70s and 80s he was an inspiration. We'll all miss him. Charles Foster, Controller BFBS Radio


kev myler west midlands Sunday, 6. March 2005  An absolute one-off broadcaster has been lost. The loss of Tommy and John Peel means that two of the best radio broadcasters this country has ever produced have gone in such a short space of time, and well well before their time. Tommy, like John. really liked the music he played-not just playing it as a job. Many a Friday night listening to the Rock Show when in school, thru to uni, thru to work. He was the genuine article. A real good bloke. God Bless you Tommy. Rest in Peace. Many thanks for the shows you made and the music you played. Kev Myler and family




See Also;  Tommy Vance Biography


Comments (1)

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John byars (North England UK) says...
Every Friday evening from early 1980 my week concluded with the legend that in all our hearts,who's memory is still very much alive...his name Tommy Vance,the programme The Friday Rock Show would begin! As far back as my memory allows this man was my knowledge of rock on the airwaves,these shows introduced me and my friends to a style of music that still remains alive and well today!. At 10pm every Friday the do not disturb sign disturb sign was displayed and with my other adictions in hand ... Read More
26th April 2015 12:24pm
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