The Quireboys are back on home turf tonight as they open up for Thunder at Newcastle’s City Hall and lead singer Spike is in typically ebullient mood.
A busy summer has seen the band tour Scandinavia, ditch their bass player and lay down tracks for a long-awaited acoustic album – all of this in the year the boys celebrate the 20th anniversary of A Bit Of What You Fancy. And their lead singer is loving every minute.
rushonrock: Can you believe your big buddies Thunder are saying farewell to the rock scene?
Spike: Not really. It hasn’t sunk in. When we heard Thunder were calling it a day after 20 years we were shocked. But when they asked us to open up for them in Newcastle and Nottingham we jumped at the chance. We’ve played with them all over the place down the years and it’s a match made in heaven. We’ve got a reputation for getting crowds warmed up and that’s what we’ll be doing for Thunder. It’s just such a shame that the UK is saying goodbye to its second best rock and roll band. Thankfully we’re still going strong!”
rushonrock: We heard rumours of a golf day at a well known Northumberland course which would have pitted Thunder against the Quireboys. What happened there?
Spike: Yeah we looked at doing something at Matfen Hall on the day of the show but then I was having Sunday lunch at my sister’s and realised I’d left all my best clobber down at home in the West Midlands. It’s all the stuff I wear on stage so I had to make a quick return trip to get it. Oh, and I don’t really play golf.
rushonrock: So your sister’s a good cook?
Spike: She runs a pub with her husband in Stamfordham – it’s about eight miles out of Newcastle city centre. All the band is staying there around the Thunder show and both bands could end up there after the gig. So don’t pop into the Bay Horse around last orders….
rushonrock: You’ve interrupted recording a new album to do the two Thunder shows. What can we expect from that?
Spike: The acoustic album’s something we’ve wanted to do for some time and it’ll include some new tracks, some re-worked tracks from the past and a few covers. There are lots of fiddles on there and pedal steel guitars. It’s a great sound and a sound which suits us down to the ground.
rushonrock: When can we expect to see it?
Spike: We’re touring Spain around September time – we’re headlining eight shows over there – and we’d like it out for around then. We’re saying September or October and right now we’re on course to hit that target.
rushonrock: After that you’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of A Bit Of What You Fancy. How’s that taking shape?
Spike: That will be some tour. We’ve got big plans for the set list and the set itself. It’s the biggest tour we’ve done for years. We’re thinking about reeling out one of our favourite bits of kit from the past but I don’t want to give too much away right now. We’ve got Wolfsbane on the bill and we’re talking to our good friends from the North East, Fables Last Stand, with a view to getting them on board too. But this Thunder thing has come at just the right time. Everyone’s treating it like a big summer party.
rushonrock: You say everyone but not your erstwhile bass player Jimi Jimmi. What’s the story there?
Spike: The story is we’re touring with another bass player right now. Jimi has his own band and good luck to him. A lot of guys have come and gone in the Quireboys over the years but we move on. Onwards and, right now, upwards.