TyneIdols Pay Tribute To The Loss Of Two Friends In One Day


Newcastle based rock tour company TyneIdols are today mourning the loss of two great friends in the space of one day, James ‘Tappy’ Wright and Craig Gill.

Whitley Bay resident and frequent guest and honorary crewmate James ‘Tappy’ Wright passed away early Monday morning after a spell in hospital.
Tappy started off as road manager with The Animals, became right hand man to Chas Chandler, he went on to look after Jimi Hendrix, Slade, Ike and Tina Turner, Gene Vincent, Peter Noone amongst numerous others.
For many years his home was on the road until he decided to head back to his spiritual home, the North East. When Newcastle lads Ray Laidlaw and Paul Irwin created TyneIdols in order to produce music heritage tours on Tyneside they hooked up with their friend Tappy Wright to join their music tours and bring his worldwide rock’n’roll tales to the tours on Tyneside.

Paul Irwin:
“I’d known Tappy from my younger days playing in bands so when Ray and I started with TyneIdols we knew that Tappy and his anecdotes would be right at home with us. We would call in to Newcastle City Hall on our tours and Tappy would sit on the stage with our tour guests on stage too. They would be absolutely spellbound listening to reminisces of his travels around the world, looking after and meeting what I can only term as ‘music legends’.”

“As Eric Burdon of the Animals said ‘A good road manager is as important as a good lead singer. Tappy Wright was the best in the business’.”

“Tappy enjoyed telling us all about his fantastic experiences and we genuinely loved to listen, in fact we couldn’t get enough. It’s very sad that we won’t be hearing those tales any more but we feel very privileged to have been friends. Our thoughts right now are with his family and friends who, like us, will miss him dearly. Raise a glass to this star of the rock world and toast our pal on his way.”

After being told about the sad loss of Tappy, a few hours later the news came that Craig Gill, creator of TyneIdols’ North West equivalent, Manchester Music Tours as well as drummer for The Inspiral Carpets, had also passed away aged only 44.

TyneIdols and Craig’s Manchester Music Tours are both part of the UK consortium known as Britain Rocks which includes Liverpool’s Cavern Club, The Beatles Story in Liverpool, The London Rock Tour and many more.

Ray Laidlaw:
“Last time Paul and I were in London for a Britain Rocks AGM we swapped notes on music heritage and tours in general with Craig over a few pints. He was a lovely lad, full of enthusiasm for life and for sharing the music history of his city, Manchester, for which he was a true ambassador.
Our thoughts are with his family, friends and Manchester music fans. ”