William Gask was born in 18th December 1945 in Leicester.
His first band was called Billy & The Fenders, and it was as a teenager that he first met up with Malcolm Allured and then with him formed the Golden Hammers along with another local musician Rod Greaves.
Their reportoire as a covers band included "Heartbeat", "I'll Never Get Over You", "Under The Boardwalk" & "Say Mama".
In the latter half of the '60s the band spent a lot of time gigging in Germany. They also briefly experimented with a female singer.
The band returned to Leicester and in the early 70s and played the local pub circuit, and it was here that they met up with Choise at the Fosse Way pub, and early in 1973 Showaddywaddy were formed.
It was after SWW's formation that Bill became known to fans by his more familiar stage name "Buddy". He became one of the band's lead singers, and occasionally played guitar. His main instrument was the bass, but could also play rhythm.
He was passionate about, and inspired by a number of vocalists, primarily Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley.
Showaddywaddy had ten top-10 hits, and Bill performed lead vocals on two of the 10, the band's first single, "Hey Rock And Roll" (1974) and "Heartbeat" (1975).
However, as the record company at the time (Bell/Arista) released singles that they saw as a 'winning formula', Bill only sang lead vocals on two more of the band's 31 singles released during Bill's time in the band, "Rock 'n' Roll Lady" (1974; the follow up to "Hey Rock And Roll"), and "Good Timing" (1982). He did however have lead vocal parts on "A Little Bit Of Soap" (top-10 1978) and "Soul & Inspiration" (1983).
Bill later said that, "In hindsight, Dave's voice probably suited the singles more than myself".
Nevertheless Bill provided lead vocals on a number of album tracks as well as non-album B-sides. Whilst he did not provide as many lead vocals as Dave he was an integral part of the backing vocals and harmonies.
Amongst Bill's strongest tracks are "It's Only Make Believe", "Chain Gang", "Big Big Star", "Lookin' Back" and "Just A Country Boy", and "I Don't Like Rock 'n' Roll No More", which he was particularly fond of.
However Bill's favourite Showaddywaddy song was "Smiling Eyes" which he insisted singing lead vocals on after first hearing the original demos.
Bill left the band in September 1987. With the relationship between Bill and the band becoming strained, he was asked to leave. Bill himself was quoted in a Summer 1980 fan club news letter as saying, "I count myself as one of the extremists in the band and always speak my mind. It's the only way to get things sorted out". It was the arguments behind the scenes that sadly led to the original line-up breaking up in the '80s.
Bill's final TV appearance with the band was "Why?" on 3-2-1, broadcast on 21.11.87, two months after his departure. The episode was recorded during the summer.
On leaving the band, Bill bought a pub in Battram, Leicestershire, which was his home for around ten years.
This was not Bill's first business interest, in the late '70s/early '80s he owned a farm - but apparently could not handle the gruesome part of farm life, and prior to this he part owned a music shop in Leicester called Soundpad, which was opened prior to Showaddywaddy forming
On leaving the band, he performed with his friend Bill Orton in local pubs and clubs as a duo called "Double Bill"(!)
Early in 1994, he helped form a band called The All-Stars which reunited him musically with Malcolm Allured. The band also spent some time performing using the Showaddywaddy name ("Duke's & Buddy's Showaddywaddy"), but this led to the original Showaddywaddy taking court action against their former colleagues. The band were subsequently renamed The Teddys.
The Teddy's primarily performed at Malc's clubs firstly Jimmy Dean's (later the Stock Yard) in Osgathorpe, Leicestershire, then from 1999, MFN in Nottinghamshire.
Bill left The Teddys after a gig in Croxton, Staffs in June 2004. He had also continued to perform as part of "Double Bill" right throughout his time in The Teddys.
After leaving Battram in the late '90s he moved to Beaumont Leys, not far away from where he grew up, and two years on he moved again to Groby.
It was here that his health steadily declined after many years of the stereotypical rock 'n' roll lifestyle, so the decision was made to retire to Alicante in Spain with his wife, who owned a property there.
For a while he made good of the different way of life, but sadly Bill suffered with poor health and Alzheimer's disease. He passed away on Tuesday 7th June 2011, aged 65.
Following Bill's passing, Russ Field recorded his own tribute to Bill:
"I first met Bill in 1970 when Malc Allured introduced him to Rod Deas and I as a potential vocalist for ‘The Golden Hammers’. This was a resurrection of a band that had previously toured Germany in the 1960s with the line up of Bill, Malc, Rod Greaves and Paul Martinez (Ray’s brother). He fitted in immediately and we found that his voice blended perfectly in harmony with those of Rod and I (listen to ‘I Don’t Like Rock ‘n’ Roll No More’).
It was around this time that we opened a music shop in Leicester (Soundpad) with rather a limited initial stock of instruments. Consequently after each ‘Hammers’ gig (and in the middle of the night) we would unload the van into the shop to augment the next day’s potential trade and the following evening reload the van with whatever equipment remained or using other appropriate trade ins!
When the idea of Showaddywaddy was first mooted it was Bill and Malc together with the then drummer with Choise, Richard Hough, who were the most enthusiastic supporters of the idea against the strident ridicule and opposition from some other members of the combined ensemble who variously described it as a ‘joke’ and a ‘circus’! In 1973 when the band entered (and won) the ‘Top Town Talent Contest’ it was Bill and Malc who provided the wherewithal to acquire our first stage suits and additionally when we went full time on the road in September ‘73 they offered their own personal cars as transport for the band.
Bill was always 100% committed and never gave less than his all in live performances, demonstrating time and again why he was such an asset as lead vocalist with Showaddywaddy. He could handle any kind of song from tender ballad to out and out rocker with equal aplomb, whilst also delivering crystal clear bass lines.
He could be obdurate, opinionated, belligerent and sheer bloody minded at times but underneath he had a heart of absolute solid gold. Later we became not only band mates but also neighbours when we bought adjacent smallholdings in the Leicestershire countryside.
I unfortunately lost touch with Bill in 1989 when I moved back to the North East. However we met up again much later (in 2001) when I sat in with ‘The Teddys’ at a gig in Berwick-upon-Tweed. Although it was apparent then that he was not in the greatest of health, his voice was as good as ever and he still retained his wonderful sense of humour.
Bill Gask, a great talent, a good friend and sorely missed.
May you rest in peace."
On Saturday 9th July 2011, a memorial service in Bill's memory was held in Woodhouse Eaves, Leicester. The service was attended by Bill's family, Showaddywaddy fans, whilst Russ Field and Romeo Challenger also attended to pay their respects.