Official Showaddywaddy Web Site Romeo Challenger

Romeo Challenger - Drums - 1973 to present

Romeo Challenger was born in Antigua in the West Indies and moved to England in 1955 when his parents came over to study and improve job prospects. He learned to play the drums in 1963, and bought his first set for £12 after saving up by doing a paper round.

Romeo's played in his first band during school days, and later bands included, You Know Who, The Shy, Hal C Blake, Ned Ludd, Black Widow and Choise.

His first gig as a professional musician was with Black Widow at the Spa Ballroom in Bridlington, and he played with the band at the Isle of Wight festival in 1970 aged 19, an event which he describes as a career highlight. In 1971, he toured Italy with Black Widow as a support act to the prog rock band Yes, and also support with Deep Purple & Ginger Baker's Airforce. Black Widow have released a number of albums and Romeo can be heard on the LPs 'Black Widow' (1971), 'Black Widow III' (1972) and 'Black Widow IV" (1972 also).

He joined Choise after responding to a newspaper advert for a replacement drummer and attending an audition, after the original Choise sticksman, Richard Hough, had been sacked from the band.

Choise were an 'originals' band doing very few covers, and also featured Dave Bartram, Trevor Oakes and Geoff Betts (Al James). Choise merged with fellow Leicester band The Golden Hammers to form Showaddywaddy in 1973.

After drumming with a variety of bands with diverse styles, rock 'n' roll was not totally new to Romeo: "I have always loved rock & roll because my parents loved Fats Domino & Elvis, so the music was played at home all the time"

The drumming on Showaddywaddy's recordings was a lot less complex than that he played in Black Widow, but as Romeo describes, "The drumming became a lot simpler but it's very difficult to play simple and make it work, so that was a challenge in itself. The drum tracks to the songs were quite obvious and I just played by instinct”. Being on stage however gave Romeo the chance to show what he could do, and for many years Showaddywaddy gigs featured a 5 minute Romeo drum solo.

On sharing the drum duties with Malcolm Allured, Romeo explained, "Having two drummers in the band was a great idea and I gave Malc first choice with most recordings, but I played on most of our songs".

There have been many trials and tribulations within Showaddywaddy over the years, not least in the 1980s when the band were going through a rocky period. But Romeo says, "I have never felt at anytime the need to leave the band, it's my life and it continues to this day".

Romeo has also done vocal work on a number of tracks, including the band's number 1 hit, "Under The Moon Of Love", "When", "Who Put The Bomp", and more recently, "Sincerely" and "Do What I Do".

Away from the band Romeo plays music with friends in the local pub from time to time, and teaches drums at a school when the band is not working. But Showaddywaddy is Romeo's first love: "I'm performance driven so give me the stage every time. I still enjoy working with the lads." He is particularly proud of the band's latest release, "The Sun Album" and says it the best album in the band's history.

Romeo lives in Leicestershire with his wife, Dawn. He has three children - Mark, who works in business development management, also Ben, a retired Olympic athlete who achieved many medals including at the Commonwealth Games, and daughter Tamzin, an RnB singer/songwriter and business developer.

Below: Romeo playing with the band "Hal C Blake" at the Corn Exchange in Melton Mowbray in 1969 aged 19. A year later, he turned professional with Black Widow.