Gertcha self along to Looe festival for 60 bands
NATIONAL treasures Chas & Dave are among the line up of 60 bands set to ignite Looe Festival next weekend from September 27 to 29.
The Rockney icons have a date with Oompah Brass, the 'legends in Lederhosen' and will be collaborating with them for a couple of numbers at the festival.
Chas Hodges explains: "We met them with Chris Evans at a Royal Wedding Day event and loved what they did.
"We swapped contacts, they learned a couple of our songs and we'll be performing them together – it should be a lot of fun."
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In fact, Chas still seems to be having as much fun performing as he did when he started his music career 53 years ago in his first band The Outlaws.
"We had such a lucky break. I was playing bass and somehow we got a job backing Jerry Lee Lewis on tour of the UK.
"He was my idol at the time and when I saw him play piano live I knew that was the instrument for me.
"I watched him every night, he'd show me how to do the idiosyncrasies – only once mind – and by observation, over time, I learned how to play."
Chas met Dave after missing the last bus and hitched a lift in a car in which Dave was a passenger.
Both bass players, they were good mates for ten years before joining forces.
"When I felt ready to go on the piano I called Dave and asked him to join me.
"I had been touring with Heads Hands And Feet – I was singing in an American accent in the US and felt such a fraud.
"I thought I needed to be honest, sing in my own Cockney voice about stuff that meant something to me."
And so 'Rockney' was born. Chas & Dave's debut album, released in 1975, earned acclaim from John Peel among others and they went on to enjoy eight top 40 singles and nine bestselling albums in a career spanning over 40 years.
Of all the songs he has penned, Chas says the one he's proudest of is Ain't No Pleasing You.
"Most I've written are comedy songs like Gercha and Rabbit, but I was really pleased to pull off a serious Cockney song."
And the highlight of his career with Dave?
"That was probably the first time we played Glastonbury in 2005. We really didn't know what to expect.
"Then as we walked out there was this huge football chant and when we arrived on stage there were around 30,000 people crammed into the field to see us, far more than we could ever have imagined.
"We were invited back and played three times the following year, including on the main stage."
In 2009, Dave's wife Sue, a driving force behind the band, died after battling lung cancer and Dave decided to retire.
However, the fan reaction was such that, following a hugely successful 2011 reunion tour, he was persuaded to continue in the band, marking their return with their first studio recording for 27 years.
The album is a collection of early R&B, skiffle and rock'n'roll classics, acknowledging their early influences, as well as a reworking of some of their own material.
Chas in particular still likes to perform and can't envisage ever wanting to stop.
"I find it hugely invigorating," he says. "In fact I'd go so far as to say I need it – like I need food and sleep."