Blockheads’ TicketWeb Interview


We caught up with Derek from The Blockheads in the run up to their last run of gigs for the year. Check out all The Blockheads’ tour dates here and read our interview with Derek below:



TW: Hi Derek, how’s it going? What are up to?


D: I’m alright, just typing up some lyrics for when we go into the studio next week ‘cos we’re recording a new album.


TW: Cool, is that just something you do so you don’t get caught with your pants down as it were…


D: Ha ha! Yeah that’s right.


TW: And has that ever happened?


D: Oh yeah…definitely.


TW: Alright,just some question based around what we’re vaguely calling the nature of “Blockheadism”. First up, you’re listed on The Blockhead’s website as Singer, Percussionist, Ambiance Co-ordinator. What’s involved in being an Ambiance Co-ordinator?


D: Ah yeah, well all the other Blockheads have got profiles of themselves up on the site but I like to keep a low profile.


TW: Just maintaining the mystique are you?


D: Ha! Yeah, that’s right. Ian (Dury) always said “Don’t explain. Never complain.”


TW: So what does it take to be a Blockhead?


D: Well our problem is we can think too far into the future, we’re all a bit nutty like that, living for the moment I guess.


TW: And if you could recruit anyone as a new Blockhead who would that be?


D: Oh I don’t know you know (pauses). Quite a difficult one that. I don’t want to piss anyone off. Jimmy Page I reckon. He might add something.


TW: Good one! You’ve all been in the game a while now, what’s changed?


D: Well we’re more of a cottage industry now. When Ian was about the venues we played were a bit bigger but nothing’s changed apart from that. We’ve got a fabulous band and the best bass player in the world (the legendary Norman Watt-Roy. It’s part of playing together for nearly 35 years. There’s no such thing as a bad gig with a band like we have.


TW: We’re not promising anything …but it’s you’re opportunity to put it out there…Christmas is coming up so what are you after this year?


D: Aw I don’t do Christmas really but…maybe a Kindle.


TW: Right, Like I say, we’re not promising or even suggesting we’re getting you one. Are there are new bands that have caught you’re ear recently?


D: To be honest I try not to listen to too much music because I just think you can start writing something and you think “Oh, this is good!” and then you realise that it’s something you’ve just been listening to. I do enjoy listening to roots music though, country, folk, blues. But not much new stuff. Oh James Brown, Bootsy Collins, too, love them.



TW: Nice. Okay, here’s your chance, give us your best rock’n’roll anecdote.


D: Oh God, I’ve got a terrible memory. I can tell you what I was doing when I was 14 but I can’t tell you what I was doing this morning, short term memory is shot! Okay here’s one. Back in the day when Ian was still around and we did a lot of touring the tour van used to get in a right state. I mean crisp packets, pasty wrappers, coffee cups everywhere. So sometimes we’d hire a nice car if we were going to be in a town for a few days. Trouble is same thing would happen to that and I’d damn near have to valet the bloody thing before we could give it back. So I made a rule, no crisps, pasties, drinks,burgers, nothing like that in the hire car. One night after a show we were in the hire car and I saw a kebab shop so I said “Come on, we’ll all go and have one of these kebabs”. So in we went and ordered and then I was like “Alright, sit down, you’re not having it in the car, we’ll have it here.” So we all sit down and eat these kebabs and when we’re done I say ” Right, gimme your wrappers.” ‘Cos I know they’ll just put ’em in there pockets and then dump ’em in the car. I turn to Ian and say “Come on, gimme your wrapper.” He’s like “What wrapper?” He’d eaten the whole bloody thing, paper wrapper and all! Ha Ha!


TW: Ha Ha! Okay, now just a few questions we ask everyone, what was the first gig you went to?


D: Oh, I don’t know. That was a long time ago. I saw Dylan unplugged in ’64, saw Pete Seeger around then too but I think the first was John Mayall at Eel Pie Island ’63.


TW: Not bad for a first one, eh? What about the last gig you went to see?


D: That’s be The Animals, in a church, in Teddington. Our Mickey ( Blockheads’ keys player) plays with ’em. I’m just seeing my mates really. I Like going to watch Wilko Johnson though, our Norman plays with them.


TW: You’re all in it together.


D: ha ha, yep, we’re all at it.


TW: Derek, alright Derek, we’ll let you go. Thanks for talking to us and good luck with the new album.


D: No worries,good to talk to ya! Cheers!

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