The Nervous Fellas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

One of Canada's Rockabilly bands, The Nervous Fellas began in Vancouver around the winter of 1986. The band took its name from the lyrics of a Smiley Lewis song titled "Real Gone Lover". Their set list comprised obscure covers from the 1950s and their own original songs.

With Butch Murphy on vocals, Ronnie Hayward on bass, Chris Colt on guitar and Al Black on drums, they played mostly in Canada and were known for their stage show and fast-paced Rockabilly. They often played at "The Railway Club" ( ) in Vancouver, where the idea of the band was formed. By the winter of 1987, the band had a following and were billed as "Canada's rockabilly Madmen".

They play rockabilly and blues that are raw, biting, and aggressive

— Tom Harrison, The Province Newspaper Tuesday June 28, 1988

In the beginning, they started as an opening act for such bands as The Pogues, Tragically Hip, George Thorogood, and Junior Wells, but it was not long before they grabbed the main stage themselves.

They had several recordings on EastSide Records. Their first self-titled release was produced by Jimmy Roy from the Ray Condo band. It was recorded in Jimmy Roy's living room. Their second studio recording "Born To Be Wild" was released on the UK label Nervous Records in 1990. While the band had a strong showing on the college radio charts, they were unable to break into mainstream radio play.


Many personnel changes happened during the fellas short life. Chris Colt left in late 1987 to be replaced by Mark Johnson. Al Black left in 1990 to play full-time in the Last Wild Sons. Butch Murphy was also in the Last Wild Sons. Al Black was replaced by John Decan, who was later replaced by Billy Rogers.

Billy Rogers ( )had tasted some success with such bands as Johnny Thunders and the Ramones. Billy Rogers died from complications due to pneumonia, at his home in Toronto, on Tuesday, August 7, 2001.

Ronnie Hayward left in 1990 and was later replaced by Pete Turland. Pete, originally from England, had been in The Baskervilles along with Darrel Higham. The only original member to stay to the end, which was in the beginning of 1992, was Butch Murphy. Butch and Ronnie later teamed up to start the Bughouse 5.

Recent postings of the band on YouTube have piqued the interest of rockabilly fans.

Reunion Show : Nervous Fellas (featuring the original members), Swank, The Deadcats @ Rickshaw Theatre June 20, 2009. At the reunion show, a CD release was made available for the first time, which contained lost recordings from 1987.

On their Facebook page, it has been reported that Ronnie Hayward was no longer in the band. Phil Addington from SWANK is now playing upright bass.

Keyboardist Gary Fraser joined the band in 2011.

Al Black left the band in 2012 to work on new projects but rejoined in 2017 to play StanFest with the Fellas.

Members History:

Butch Murphy & Gary Fraser are currently playing with "The Greasy Kings".

Al Black was the Vice President for the Nanaimo Blues Society 2011-2012 ( and also founded the "Vancouver Island Roots Music Group" 2009. Currently playing with The Clanns ( ).

Ronnie Hayward is currently playing with "The Ronnie Hayward Trio" in Toronto. A film is currently being made about his life.

Chris Colt has a local band in Vancouver called Chris Colt and the 45's.

Pete Turland lives in Alberta and has released several original recordings.

Phil Addington plays with SWANK and runs his own business "Bone Rattle Music".

The Nervous Fellas in 2011

The Nervous Fellas name was also used by a band in UK after the original band broke up but does not have any of the Canadian members.


  • The Nervous Fellas - Born to be Wild - Released in 1990
  • The Nervous Fellas - Raw & Biting - Lost recording from 1987 - Released in 2009
  • The Nervous Fellas - Live at the Rickshaw - Released in 2010
  • The Nervous Fellas - The Other Side of Rock & Roll - Released in 1987 - very rare tape release
Nervous Fellas first release on cassette - rare


  • Georgia Straight November 30–December 7, 1990 by Norah Holtby
  • The West Ender November 30, 1989 by Mike Usinger
  • The Winnipeg Sun January 20, 1989
  • The Province by Tom Harrison Tuesday June 28, 1988
  • The Vancouver Sun by Michael Groberman April 16, 1988
  • Nites Moves May 1989
  • The Calgary Herald, Nitebeat September 13, 1988
  • Music '91 Labatts Canada Live February 24-march 5, 1991
  • Vox Magazine December 1990 by Hector Litorco

External links[edit]