Shaky’s out to prove he’s still going strong

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ROCK n’ Roll legend Shakin’ Stevens is out to prove he hasn’t lost any of his spark as he makes his Leamington bow.

Despite over 30 years on the gig trail ‘Shaky’ has never performed in Leamington and is looking forward to coming this month as part of his UK tour.

He said: “I haven’t been to Leamington before, I’m looking forward to it. I hear the Assembly is quite art deco and is a good venue.”

Stevens has the distinction of being the biggest UK seller of the 80s, following on from Elton John in the 70s and the Beatles in the 60s.

“It’s 30 years since the first hit, Hot Dog, and I am doing a 19 date tour,” he explained. “I’m coming out with a ten piece band and will be doing some of the hits, some new songs, tracks from the albums and a few surprises too.

“You get your die hard fans, and there’s some new fans too, lots of them in fact, it’s a real mix.

“Hot Dog was a Corky Jones song that Buck Owens did, and I followed it up with Marie Marie which broke me into Europe, and then This Old House. I had a good run.”

Despite now being a household name and enjoying massive success around the globe, it hasn’t always been an easy ride for Shaky, with no X-factor shows around to help bring more immediate success, and musicians having to endure a long slog to the top, and an even harder job to stay there.

“I started when I left school in the 60s. I believe I was put here to sing and enjoy it immensely. When I left school my main aim was to sing.

“Shakin’ Stevens and The Sunsets started at a young age and being from Cardiff once we got a van we started doing the valley clubs, and then went on to do University gigs.

“I remember we did a gig at Abersythwyth University and got paid £40, and thought we were well in the money!

“We were so naive when we were trying to make it, but there’s books, colleges, and different work schools and technologies now.

“If you believe in what you do then give it a really good try. I was at it for a long time and I used to hear people say ‘he’s still at it? Somebody give him a hit for God’s sake’!

“In ‘76 it came to an end with The Sunsets, we’d gone as far as we could go really. I got signed by Track Records, who had had Jimmi Hendrix and The Who on their label, but it didn’t really take off.

“I did a West End musical for 19 months which was a great experience and then signed a deal with CBS.”

Subsequent television appearances and the release of Hot Dog soon made him a household name and several years of pop stardom and chart dominance ensued.

“I had a great run in the 80s, but come about 1985 I should probably have stepped back and looked at things, but I was dashing around and being kept in the crazy whirl that I didn’t have chance,” reflects Shaky.

“In the 90s my contract ran out and I just looked at things and thought where am I going next, and spent some time trying to find my way, while continuing to tour.

“There have been a lot of high highs and low lows, and they do help with writing and creating music, because I think life is not a bed of roses, and they certainly came out in my music.

“I can’t wait to get out there on stage now, I haven’t done a UK tour in a while.

“I’m also in the process of putting together a box set, and it’s fabulous to hear some of the old harmonica and slide guitar solos again.”

Stevens will turn 63 this year, but can’t imagine calling it a day and is excited by what the future holds.

He added: “I have got a lot more to give, there’s so much stuff I still want to record. We get out what we put in, and the tour will show that I’m still going strong.

“Music and performing is my life and I love it. It’s great to see people enjoying themselves and I love being part of that.”

He will be performing at the Leamington Assembly on Sunday February 20. For tickets and information call 523001 or go online.