POLICE are investigating threats to Welsh rock and roll stars amidst fears there is an organised campaign to harm them.
The latest serious incident saw the Valleys social club where Tom Jones launched his career torched in an arson attack.
It follows a foiled bomb plot at a Shakin’ Stevens concert in Kent.
Detective Philip Marlow confirmed he would be questioning 47-year-old Paul Starbuck who has admitted calling a theatre in Tunbridge Wells while high on caffeine during a Shaky performance and claiming to have planted a bomb.
Unemployed Starbuck said he’d done so as he bared a grudge towards the Cardiff born star who recorded classics such as ‘This Ole House’, ‘Green Doors’ and er others.
Terrorists have since struck at the Top Hat club in Woodland Terrace, Cwmtillery, setting the venue where Jones performed in 1960s and was offered a professional contract, ablaze.
Det Marlow said: “It’s a bit dodgy innit? A bomb plot at a Shaky gig and then weeks later the Top Hat’s on fire. I think I’ve got some questions that need answering.”
There are now fears the annual Elvis Festival at Porthcawl may have to be called off amid security concerns.
Andrew Sargent, of South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said of the Cwmtillery arson attack: “The investigation into the cause of the fire has concluded the fire was caused as a result of deliberate ignition by a person or persons unknown.”
He then continued in the rambling style of someone with a keen interest in local history: “Funnily enough the venue was the first place a young Tom Jones was told he had star quality.
“Of course he was called Tom Woodward then, he played at the club with a local beat group The Senators during the 1960s and after watching the group, it was where music manager Gordon Mills signed them on. That was before the X Factor and singers had to build their names, touring the club circuit.”
Vernon Hopkins, the founder of the group, now a singer-songwriter living in Swansea, told WNN of his sadness that the club has been damaged beyond repair.
As we’re in the mood to indulge old men, here’s what he said: “Our main venue was the YMCA in Pontypridd. But you could say that it was at the Top Hat where things really took off.
“Tom joined us in 1961 when we were playing in Ponty for £5 a night, which was a lot then. But we would also play in the clubs across the Valleys. One night, out in the middle of nowhere in this club called the Top Hat in Cwmtillery, we persuaded Gordon Mills to come down and listen to us.
“It was packed and they were queuing right out the door. There were no seats left and Gordon, who wasn’t very happy to come all this way to the small club anyway, had to stand at the bar.
“It was a small club with a very small stage. It was a bit insignificant. I can remember it had very narrow doorways. It was there where Gordon said he wanted to make us stars. Well he bloody made Tom a star.
“He then took us to London, to a cheap hotel in Ladbroke Grove, where we lived on only £1 a week, which was more than it is now, but still not much. But it was that period Tom released It’s Not Unusual before parting ways us. The bastards.
“To think if we didn’t persuade Gordon to come down from London to the Top Hat, this small place in the Welsh Valleys, Tom may never have made it. It is very sad what has happened. It’s terrible. They should have a plaque there, or should have had a plaque it’s a bit bloody late now.”