INTERVIEW: Ahead of this week's MK11 date, The Blockheads spoke with Total MK...

The Blockheads make a very welcome return to Milton Keynes on Friday night, helping you wave goodbye to the working week in style, and they arrive with new goods.

Aside from the usual heap of Block classics, the band will be playing tracks from their new album, Beyond the Call of Dury.

Recording of the disc took place in Bedford, at Damage Studios, but it took a little time to pull things together, as Mick Gallagher told Sammy Jones.

“Being a ‘cottage industry’ of sorts, in that we don’t have a record company nor any dedicated management investment, organising the band into ‘studio mode’ isn’t easy….
“With their commitments to various other musical projects and bands it’s hard to get some of them off a stage somewhere in the world long enough to record some new stuff!
“Trying to herd cats would be easier,” Mick said, “Once we were in there it all ran very smoothly.

“We had already distributed ideas and demos around the band leading up to the recording dates and had selected a list of songs to work on…..even though, at first, we pretended to ourselves that we were just going in to capture a little bit of creativity on tape without the pressure of compiling an album. After the first three tunes were laid down with guide vocals …everyone was making an album!”

“We try to keep the process simple and as representative of the band as possible in that we tend to lay down the basic tracks ‘live’ with drums/bass guitar/guitar and keyboards playing together with a guide vocal from Derek.

"We usually had the definitive backing track within two or three completed attempts.

"Then we added the saxophone, lead vocal and backing vocals and some atmospheric synth-y stuff and then mixed it.
"We used Damage Studios as it belongs to our road tech and he gave us a great deal.”

It’s 41 years since the band first played together, and yet you make it seem like you are playing the classics for the first time. How is that possible after so long?
“I think the secret is in the song. If it is well written and interestingly structured you can’t get tired of playing it….ever! “

And on the menu for MK11 ticket-holders?
“We will obviously be doing the ‘hits’, Sex & Drugs/Hit Me with your Rhythm Stick etc, but we are very keen to showcase some of the songs from Beyond the Call of Dury’.
“We enjoy the freshness of performing new material. Our audiences have been responding in kind with positive appreciation and encouragement.
“We will be delivering something old, something new, nothing borrowed and a little bit blue….It’s all good!
“It’s always a delight to play with The Blockheads.  We know each other so well it’s like a musical conversation at times.”


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