quireboys paulIt’s 20 years since the Quireboys went from rock and roll hopefuls to household names with the release of their classic A Bit Of What You Fancy album.

With that seminal record remastered and re-released and a UK headline tour selling out fast in December it’s been another landmark year for one of the hardest working Brit bands in the business.

rushonrock checked in with axe slinger Paul Guerin before the band headed off to Spain for yet another tour…

rushonrock: Everybody’s desperate to get their hands on a copy of the new acoustic record so what’s the latest?

Paul Guerin: We’ve recorded another last-minute track for the acoustic album – it’s called Halfpenny Dancer, the name of the album, but there wasn’t actually a song of that name. So Spike and Griff have written that and the CD is with the printers this week.

rushonrock: have you had a chance to recover from last week’s Classic Rock awards?

PG: Just about. It was an excellent night. There was a great turnout of pedigree rock stars – and me! On our table we had Mick Ralphs and Mark Chambers and the table at the front consisted of Brian May, Tony Iommi, Joe Perry, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Billy Gibbons. Joe Bonamassa won a prize and played a little acoustic set. Then Doc McGee got up and said that Joe must have balls of steel to perform in front of those guys.

rushonrock: So what were the highlights?

PG: Apart from our after-show set (!) Billy Gibbons stole the show. He told this story about wanting to get the tube to ZZ Top’s show in London. The District Line was off so he had to take a replacement bus and the story he told had everyone in stitches.

rushonrock: You’re a bit of a ZZ Top fan aren’t you?

PG: Oh yeah. I went to see them when they were in town with Steel Panther supporting. I’ve seen the Crue, Poison and loads of hair metal bands from 20 years back. The Steel Panther guys are just as good. I wondered whether some of the old school rock fans at a ZZ Top gig might think they were taking the piss. In fact everyone loved them and when it comes down to it what Steel Panther do is quality. It’s funny and it’s good. I just kept thinking wouldn’t it be great if they came out and wrote the classic 80s rock album. I just think they’re superb.

rushonrock: You’re off to Spain this week but return in time for the 20th anniversary A Bit Of What You Fancy tour. Is the excitement building?

PG: First off I don’t know if it’s by design or coincidence but playing the final show of 2009 in Newcastle will be a magical experience. We’re in the big room at the Academy with a big stage set-up and everyone who wants to catch us can catch us. Last year we were forced to turn people away and while it’s always nice to say you’ve sold out a venue it’s not great for the fans.

rushonrock: Tell us about how the tour’s shaping up?

PG: The whole tour will be pretty special. There will be two bars on stage just like there were back in the old days and we’re playing the full ABOWYF album in order. We were in Monte Carlo last month and played three successive nights in this amazing club. On the final night we did a run through of the ABOWYF material just to road test it.

rushonrock: You’ve only been in the band for seven years now (!) – do you know all those songs?

PG: Over the years I’ve played all of them but there are a few which haven’t been played for some time because you can’t squeeze in everything every night. The fact that Homewreckers & Heartbreakers proved to be such a successful record has meant more of the old stuff has been squeezed in the last year or two.

rushonrock: Can we expect a Quireboys party by the time the tour ends up in the Toon on December 20?

PG: We should have played around 80 shows in 2009 by the time we pitch up in Newcastle. It’s a few days before Christmas and a Sunday night so there should be one hell of a party in the Toon. I’ll be down on the Quayside on the Monday night too – I’m planning to make the most of it.

rushonrock: And how’s 2010 panning out right now?

PG: It looks like we’re going to be playing South America in April next year – we played a warm-up show in Leicester earlier this year and the promoters came over to see the show. I’ve never seen two people enjoy a gig so much and if you replicate that by 20,000 you get an idea of what it’s like at a South American show. They’d flown in from Brazil especially to see us and loved it. On the back of that it looks like we’ve got around five dates lined up next spring. We’re already booking shows for 2010’s acoustic tour in support of the Halfpenny Dancer record, we’re playing the latest Rock Cruise and we’ve been lined up for Sweden Rock again. 2009’s been a brilliant year for the Quireboys but 2010’s shaping up to be every bit as good.