The Voodoo Kings land local gig at Leamington Assembly

The Voodoo Kings: Singer and guitarist Dave West, drummer Terry Downes and bass player Sam Smith.
The Voodoo Kings: Singer and guitarist Dave West, drummer Terry Downes and bass player Sam Smith.

HOMEGROWN Midlands rock’n’roll will share a bill in Leamington with two young blues guitarists who have won national acclaim.

Coventry-based three-piece the Voodoo Kings will be supporting Oli Brown when he plays at the Leamington Assembly on Saturday.

Made up of singer and guitarist Dave West, double bass player Sam Smith and drummer Terry Downes, the Voodoo Kings have each been performing for more than 30 years, but Dave says their sound has been described as 21st century rock’n’roll.

He said: “It takes in anything that’s been called rock’n’roll from the 1950s onwards.

“When we started it was how rock’n’roll would have been when Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly were touring. We had quite a raw sound because the equipment back then was not that good.”

After taking up the drums in punk bands, Dave says he knew he wanted to play music after a gig with the Damned.

He said: “It hooked me from that moment. I was behind this big drum kit with people going mental.

“I’m a swimmer and used to do martial arts. It’s part of my makeup to do all this.”

As well as writing with Roddy Radiation from the Specials, Dave had played with Sam Smith in Bonediggers. Sam had played with Terry Downes in Coventry group Mantra Sect, and the trio formed not long after the death of that band’s singer Gus Chambers.

Their first gig was at The Zodiacs’ 50th anniversary party and their debut album, due out in the next few months, was recorded in Coventry and is being mixed at Woodbine Studios in Leamington by John Rivers, who has worked with Ocean Colour Scene and produced the Specials’ Ghost Town.

West said: “John’s very meticulous about his recordings and we wanted to record it as we sound live, so it has that sort of feel. We took it to John to clean up. He added a bit of his finesse and we have ended up with an album that’s very exciting, lively and listenable.”

With early rock’n’roll drawing heavily on the blues, Dave is looking forward to supporting a blues artist like Oli Brown.

And with Newcastle-born Mitch Laddie, who has attracted praise from veteran blues guitarist Walter Trout, also playing, Dave is looking forward to a night of modern roots music.

He said: “We have our audience and they are a mixture of all sorts of people, but it will be nice to play to people who like the blues.”

Tickets cost £15 and are available from the Assembly website or on the door. Doors open at 6pm.