Lee Bates & Billy Newton




The Last Gasp Spasm Band




The Last Gasp Spasm Band is the only authentic Jug Band in the UK. The band features some of finest Blues and Roots performers around, consisting of Jim Murray and Peter Mason, better known as The Hokum Hotshots, alongside Lee Bates and Billy Newton; another excellent Blues duo from the Northeast. Joining them on Jug is the wonderful Michael ‘Fruit-Lips’ Watson.

Formed in 2008 The Last Gasp Spasm Band play classic Jug Band tunes and Good-time Blues from the likes of the Memphis Jug Band, Gus Cannon’s Jug Stompers, Tampa Red, Big Bill Broonzy and Memphis Minnie. With countless years of experience of between them the Last Gasp Spasm Band always deliver a hugely entertaining performance. The boys manage to combine superb musicianship with what can only be described as ‘tomfoolery’- the show really has to be seen to be believed. Suffice to say, a Last Gasp Spasm Band performance is guaranteed to leave audiences with a smile on their face!

The array of instruments played by the band is staggering and includes an impressive selection of steel-bodied resonator guitars, resonator mandolin, Banjo mandolin, 6-string banjo, mandola, ukuleles, Tiple, harmonica, washboards, spoons, kazoos, a myriad of whistles and, of course, the ubiquitous Jug.

The Last Gasp Spasm Band are already causing quite a stir, with barnstorming performances at London’s Brooks Blues Bar, Glasgow Blues On The River Festival, Appleby Beer and Blues Festival and a headlining appearance at The Great British R’n’B Festival.

The Last Gasp Spasm Band are the perfect act for any Blues or Folk venue and festival. The band are available for performances either solely as the Jug Band or as three separate acts (the two duos, plus the band) able to supply an entire afternoons or evenings entertainment.


For bookings and further information contact: Lee via this site or visit The Hokum's website via our links page.

More Photos and video clips will be added soon, so keep checking back.

Details of all shows can found on the 'Gigs' page



Peter Mason- Guitar, Tiple, 6 String Banjo, Washboard, Vocals, Kazoo and  Baritone Uke

Billy Newton- Harp, Washboard, Spoons, Kazoo, Vocals

Jim Murray- Guitar, lap-steel and slide, Mandolins, Mandola, Kazoo, Vocals

Lee Bates- Guitar, Mandolins, Uke, Slide Guitar, Vocal, Kazoo

Michael 'Fruit-Lips' Watson- Jug, Kazoo, Percussion, Whistles etc and Beard

Also- Rob Mason on Harp for selected gigs.

You can watch an early Last Gasp performance here:



The Last Gasp Spasm Band owes a huge debt to the late, and much missed, Brian Cookman.