Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Blues Band

FOR Gary Fletcher, the old adage of being in the right place at the right time couldn't be more true.
The Streatham-born base player with the Blues Band was working as a cabbie in between gigs with other groups when drummer Wilgar Campbell got in his taxi.
"We got chatting and before you know it I met (Blues Band member) Dave Kelly who was forming a band with Paul Jones and Tom McGuinness from Manfred Mann and they eventually asked me to join," says Gary.
"It was pretty amazing really!"
That was 1979 and over the decades that have passed the group has stuck together touring across the globe and recording about 20 albums culminating in their current release Few Short Lines.
They are currently on a UK tour which sees a pit stop at Blackheath Halls on Saturday. (dec 8).
And for Gary it will be a welcome return home.
"We play here quite often," he says warmly. "It's a lovely venue. I visit quite regularly as I still have friends in Streatham where I grew up and whenever I'm here I always arrive a bit early so I can go for a bite to eat at one of the great restaurants before a walk over the heath."
And he adds the band is looking forward to the gig not least because Jona Lewie will be joining them on stage.
"We are very excited about it actually," he says warmly. "I have no idea what we'll be playing - with us there's no set list so sometimes we can end up playing stuff we haven't done for years so we just jam along. We usually get away with it though," he laughs.
"What's amazing is we never thought for one minute when we started that we would still be here all these years later but we are very grateful that we are.
"We've never been in the rock star category but do it because we love gigging and making good albums - we've never shifted albums for our pension funds!" he chuckles..
"And I think we've lasted because we only do about 65 dates a year, we have other interests outside the band and we never travel together so we aren't in each others pockets all the time. It works and we are still good mates which is great!"

The Blues Band is at Blackheath Halls on Saturday, December 7. Tickets cost £22. Call the box office on 020 8305 9300 or 020 8463 0100 or visit www.trinitylaban.ac.uk/blackheath-halls/

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