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Published on Sep 8, 2012
In 1963 he formed his backing group, The Mindbenders, and got a recording contract. He remained under contract to Fontana Records after parting with The Mindbenders. However, Fontana got his stage name from Elvis Presley's drummer, D.J. Fontana, rather than his record label. He soldiered on alone, using musicians under the name of the Opposition, notably Frank Renshaw (lead guitar) (born 22 June 1943, Wythenshawe, Manchester); Bernie Burns (drums); Roy "Rossi" Henshall (bass); Rod Gerrard (guitar, ex-Herman's Hermits, and Phil Keane (drums), among others. Sometimes they were billed as The Mindbenders, or just as the Wayne Fontana band. Fontana's most successful solo single release was also his last, "Pamela, Pamela", which reached #11 in the UK Singles Chart early in 1967. In 2005 he fought off bankruptcy but was arrested after police were called by bailiffs who went to his home in Glossop, Derbyshire. He poured petrol on the bonnet of a car and set it alight with a bailiff inside. Fontana was remanded in custody on 25 May 2007 in regard to the charge. He appeared at Derby Crown Court dressed as the lady of justice, with a sword, scales, crown, cape and dark glasses, claiming "justice is blind". He dismissed his lawyers. On 10 November 2007 he was sentenced to 11 months for setting fire to the car but was released because he had already served the equivalent of the term, held under the Mental Health Act 1983. After his release he settled in Spain. In March 2011 Fontana was arrested at the Palace Theatre, Manchester, after failing to appear in court in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, over an unpaid speeding fine. In the court, regarding this speeding fine, it was found that a ticket was never issued to him. He returned home to Spain unaware that he had an outstanding speeding ticket. It was also determined in Magistrates Court in Wakefield that points had been erroneously added to his license; they were removed by the court. All fines were paid at that time as well as pending parking fines. That cleared the record with the British government. Fontana continues to perform, notably in the 2008 Solid Silver Sixties Tour.