Darren McNeil has helped so many people get on in their music careers that it’s about time he had a bit of success himself.
McNeil taught Rae Morris how to play piano (the Blackpool girl set for worldwide stardom when she releases her debut album next year) and was an early supporter of Karima Francis when he taught music at Blackpool and The Fylde College.
After years of teaching others how to play and make music, he decided three years ago to set up Kazoobian, a covers band with no more loftier aims than to have fun on stage and make sure whoever watches has a good night.
Then, in a moment of inspiration, McNeil and the band (Adz Sebastian Reason, Scottie Muldoon and Ian Timbo Wilkinson) wrote a parody song about South Shore and watched in amazement as it racked up more than 40,000 hits on YouTube.
The follow-up Moving To Poulton isn’t too far behind in terms of popularity, all of which has taken the band a bit by surprise.
“I wrote the first one around the time 999: What’s Your Emergency? was on TV and it was painting Blackpool in a bad light,” said McNeil, a South Shore lad who still lives in the area.
“I knew I could make the song funny and although it has some lyrics which aren’t for the faint-hearted it is genuinely meant to be an affectionate portrayal of the place, albeit in a very mickey-taking way.
“We played it for the first time in the Farmers Arms on Lytham Road and it went down a storm.
“I knew we were onto a winner then because I knew if I could play it in a pub in South Shore and come out of it alive, then it must have something going for it.”
The band are terrific live, mainly because they refuse to take themselves too seriously.
“We play gigs for a bit of extra spending money, not because we’re craving fame,” said McNeil, who is in his early 40s.
“When we first started we were playing gigs where there were more people in the band than in the audience.
“But if you can get 10 people having a really good time, then you do the same to 100 people.
“We have such a good time when we’re on stage and our guitarists have battery packs so they can walk out into the audience. It makes everyone feel a part of it and might make them think ‘this is worth staying and listening to’.
“We’ve got a pretty big following now, especially in South Shore because of the song.
“When we play a gig now everyone is chanting out for it and they sing the words back at us. It feels bit weird really but it’s helped us get a lot more gigs, which is great for us.”