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Blockheads speak about life after Ian Dury before their Kingsmeadow gig
The Blockheads will forever be mentioned in the same breath as influential and charismatic frontman, Ian Dury, writes Tom Ambrose.
But, in keeping with the title of their latest release, it really is a case of "same horse, different jockey" for the remaining band members.
Dury died in 2001 but left behind a back catalogue of some of the greatest tunes and intelligent lyrics the world had ever heard.
But with new lead singer Derek Hussey belting out hits such as What a Waste and Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll, guitarist Chaz Jankel reckons they are fresher than ever before.
He says: “We are playing a mixture of the classics as well as some new stuff in our set at the moment. “The new songs have been getting an amazing response – I love the old stuff but it is nice to hear new material up on stage.
“I have only ever once been playing a song, I think it was Sweet Gene Vincent, when for a split-second I have felt bored and that was the only time.
“I think this is our best album since Ian passed away.”
Jankel first started working with Dury when he joined his Kilburn and the High Roads band, who were making waves in the London pub scene, attracting audience members such as a young Suggs.
But for Jankel, the band had hit their glass ceiling and describes the outfit as becoming "suburban".
“There was no ambition in the band," he recalls. “I didn't want to be playing the pubs forever but maybe that was as far as it could go with the Kilburns.
“The band was leaning towards rockabilly, but my influence was afro-American and British bands like the Who.”
He describes whispering in Dury's ear the suggestion of breaking away and writing their own material.
Jankel says: “Ian turned round and said 'cor blimey yes I do' and we started playing gigs and writing.”
That gamble led to the birth of the Blockheads.
Ian Dury's life was explored in the film Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll, starring Andy Serkis as the frontman.
Jankel says it was a good movie, with particular praise for Serkis, but likens it to something of a beginners’ guide to Ian Dury and the Blockheads.
He says: “It's like going on one of those open-top bus tours round London, you get some information, but not the full picture. It could have been more interesting.”
The Blockheads; Kingsmeadow, Jack Goodchild Way, Kingston; May 31, doors open 8pm; tickets £20, visit kingsmeadowlive.com for details.
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