Not every band made it during the fruitful days of ska. Some bands who performed live but never recorded disappeared from history like a ghost, only to whisper that they once existed. Case in point is a band called The Presidents. I have only been able to find two articles on this group, one an advertisement and one bearing a photograph of the band. I can find no evidence of them ever recording. They, like many other bands that come together in youth and dissolve as life happens, were really just kids when they formed, as referenced in this article from the Star Newspaper on January 8, 1963. The caption reads, “They call themselves The Presidents, but they could well have been The Youngsters or The Teenagers. However The Presidents is their name and they are one of the newest bands to hit the local music scene. Just over two months in operation, the average age of the band is a little more than 15 years. From left to right are guitarist Carley Simon, Bobby Demercado (leader) and Phllip Chen. Back row (left to right) Bill Pitt, percussion, Francis Chen, percussion, Sidney MacFarlane, drums, vocalists Peter Dawes, Richard Kirkwood, and Neil Dalhouse, Clive Morris, trumpet and Sidney Smith clavolin.”
This advertisement above must be from one of The Presidents’ first public appearances, if the Star article is correct that the band had formed two months prior. This show occurred two months prior and the names are relatively the same in the lineup with the addition of a saxophone player, Rupert Williams.
What ever happened to these musicians? Did they grow up and move into other occupations? Is Phillip Chen on bass the same Phil Chen that became the world-famous bass player with Jimmy James & the Vagabonds, the Vikings, Bob Marley, Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart, Jackson Browne, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, Jerry Lee Lewis, and countless others before being awarded the Order of Distinction from the Jamaican government in 2014? If anyone has any further information on these young guys, please add to the discussion below!