From very humble beginnings Bruce McCaskill was to climb the music ladder much higher than many would have imagined. His personable style and knack for organizing groups would lead to much success beginning with the Kansas City Five and the Swinging Blue Genes, working with Eric Clapton's tour and culminating with the managing of the Average White Band.
Very little has been written about a role that did not materialize from Bruce with Cream. Peter Clarke of the Escorts and Steelers Wheel fame has kindly offered information regarding a discussion that he had with Bruce McCaskill. He comments
"I bumped into Bruce in Liverpool City Centre he said that Cream had approached him to go on tour with them, he said he was undecided what to do. I knew Bruce well enough not to say things like you should go etc., as that would have been a total turn off. Bruce said he was skint. He had been informed just to get himself down to London AND everything would be arranged. I asked Bruce if he had eaten he said that he had not. I suggested that we go to the cafeteria in Lime Street Station. Whilst we were eating our meal I made the excuse to go to the toilet,instead I went to the booking office and purchased Bruce a ticket for London.
We finished our meal and were walking out of the station when Bruce said there is the train for London. I said I know. I shoved the ticket in his hand he protested that he had no clothes. I said just get on the train."
That Bruce would get the ear of Jerry Wexler, one of the greatest "record men" of the 20th Century is a remarkable accomplishment. This signficant achievement is an example of the talent that was present at the Iron Door Club during the very early days. An aberration or coincidence perhaps? Did I forget to mention Cilla Black, The Beatles, The Searchers and Freddy Starr all of which graced the stage at the Iron Door?
Wexler passed away on August 15, 2008.
After leaving the Swinging Blue Genes a year and a half following the groups' debut, Bruce McCaskill formed Groups Incorporated. In concert with the promoter Ted Easton (a stage name) he organized for the group to play at Air Force bases in France. Described by some as a better manager than a guitarist, he would soon find his way a sound engineer for Eric Clapton which would see the end of his days as a performer.
With regard to the Air Force base gigs, fellow band member Paul Pilnick as quoted from Willis Prem-Pitts' Liverpool: The 5th Beatle would write
"Bruce McCaskill saw an advertisement to play in the American air bases. He fixed it up and we went across to France in 1962. Ted paid our fares and arranged our accommodation. At first it was in hotels, then we were put in the bases themselves. It was a fantastic time, as we played all the time. We really became tight. We were supposed to play for a month at one air base, ten move onto the next. We started at La Police near La Rochelle then went to Chatteraux and then Angely. The first thing they made us do was cut our hair, give us G.I. crops. Then we started to play. At first, we backed up Freddie Starr then later Frank Baron."
Bruce McCaskill passed away in the late 1990s in Los Angeles where he was living at the time.