Pre Fab! opens Florida Film Festival

Original Quarry Men drummer Colin Hanton and his drums at St. Peter’s Church Hall in Liverpool, the location where John Lennon was introduced to Paul McCartney in 1957.

We have written about it a couple of times during its making, but now the premiere is imminent. “Pre Fab!” has been named the Opening Night film at the 2022 Florida Film Festival, Friday, April 8th.

“Pre Fab!” is the story of drummer Colin Hanton, who started out as a member of John Lennon’s “The Quarry Men” (also spelt “The Quarrymen” at times). Colin, born 12 December 1938, was the mainstay in the band, even after all of Lennon’s original mates were replaced by Paul and George. Based on the book of the same name by musician Colin Hanton with Colin Hall — previously the custodian for John Lennon’s childhood home in Liverpool, “Mendips” — “Pre Fab!” is the story of one man, his drums, and the teenage John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison. Hanton serves as tour guide through this fascinating and highly entertaining chronicle of the rise of the skiffle music craze and its impact on post-World War II British youth, the influence of American rock ’n’ roll, and how a boy named John Lennon rounded up his closest friends to learn music and form a group in 1956 called the Quarry Men that would evolve in just a few years into the biggest and most influential band in music history — The Beatles.

Executive producer Todd Thompson.

The book

Focusing mainly on the years 1956-59, the film provides incredible insight into not only Colin and John’s early musical adventures, but a vivid social history of post-war Liverpool and Britain. Hanton was a Quarry Man when both Paul McCartney and George Harrison joined the group, and he tells the story of these heady and history-in-the-making days with both pride and a tinge of regret.

Skillfully combining archival footage, home movies, photographs, film clips, and music of the period, along with interviews with the surviving Quarry Men, Paul McCartney, Mike Pender, Billy Bragg, Peter Asher, family, friends, Liverpool residents and many others, “Pre Fab!” is where it all began. Shot by a small team in Liverpool and London, the film also documents the remaining Quarry Men visiting Abbey Road Studios.

In 1958 Colin Hanton played on the very first single that John, Paul and George ever recorded – their version of Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be The Day” and a Paul McCartney and George Harrison tune, “In Spite of All Danger”, which happened to be the only McCartney-Harrison composition. At the time, the Quarry Men were John, Paul, George, Colin and pianist John “Duff” Lowe.

Colin left the Quarrymen after an argument in January 1959.

I left the Quarrymen after playing a booking at LCPT Club in Norris Green. We had drunk a few beers during the interval and an argument started on the way home on the bus. I got off to catch another bus to take me home to Woolton and somehow or other that was that, they never contacted me again to ask me to play. I saw John a few times and he told me that they had got a drummer called Pete, which must have been Pete Best. After that I lost touch completely.

Colin then put his drum kit away and started his adult life. When the original Quarry Men sans Lennon reformed for a one off concert to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Woolton Village Fete in 1997, Hanton was back with other original members: Rod Davis, Len Garry, Pete Shotton and Eric Griffiths. The band has since then lost two of their members, Pete and Eric, but is still around today, with 1958 Quarry man John “Duff” Lowe and the Beatles’ stand-in bass guitarist Chas Newby added to the lineup.

The band is booked to play at Pete Best’s “Best Fest” at the Casbah Club Saturday August 27. Roag Best’s Magical Beatles Museum in Mathew Street also hosts “An audience with the Quarrymen” the next day, August 28, 2022.

Meanwhile, Colin’s original drum kit from his early days with John, Paul and George is going under the hammer at Julien’s Auctions.

Links: Florida Film Festival 2022: Pre Fab

3 Responses

  1. Rick says:

    Would the film be coming to small movie houses any time soon?

    • James says:

      Seems unlikely – it’s very niche! Liverpool FACT Picture House, maybe, but other than that, I really can’t see it.

  2. Nancy Lowell says:

    Just saw it in Tampa, FL (August 26, 2023). It was excellent, and I felt lucky to be there.

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