See yourself to a really rockin' time with '˜Doug'

Nicola Jaques meets a local rockabilly band that DID go to Specsavers...

Thursday, 14th April 2016, 12:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th April 2016, 12:07 pm
Doug Perkins and the Spectaculars to play The Continental. Photo DAVE BROWN

A sure fire way to make your band stand out is a rock and roll name which gets you noticed and it’s working out all right so far for one local band Doug Perkins and the Spectaculars.

Later this month the four-piece will perform their first full gig at Preston’ Continental (April 23), having this year already shared their authentic rock’n’roll at Chorley Little Theatre and Darwen Library Theatre.

Not bad for the rockabilly group who came together two-an- a-half years ago initially as the Spectacles, (the four of them wear glasses) then the Spectaculars ‘a little more rock n roll’ – but It wasn’t, says double bassist DB Spectacular, quite the 50s namesake they were looking for.

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A little help from the net led them to ‘Specsavers’ chief executive and founder ‘The’ Doug Perkins.

“It just worked”, says DB, “all the great groups in the 50s used to have the name of a band leader, like Bill Haley and the Comets. So to keep the glasses theme going we Googled the name of the chief executive of Specsavers opticians and it turned out to be Doug Perkins, which is a brilliant rock and roll name – and so that’s what we became.”

And it didn’t go unnoticed– via the local Specsavers branch their name winged its way to headquarters in Guernsey; impressed with the sound and clearly the name choice Mr and Mrs Perkins requested the group come perform at their annual summer ball.

“We have twice been invited to perform at corporate events they have held in Guernsey,” adds DB, “And we have had the real Doug Perkins on the dance floor.”

In true band style their first journey down was eventful... “We had packed all the kit in the van and headed down in plenty of time and we broke down. We spent a night on a car park – they flew us down the second time!”

Alongside DB, is Mad Eye Perkins on vocals, Captain Chet ‘Spangle’ Banner on lead guitar and Slim on drums. All hail from Lancashire, Chorley, Preston and Tarleton.

Taking inspiration from the pioneers of Rock ‘n’ Roll, the award-winning band have recreated a unique sound, emulating the greats from Presley to Perkins, Cochran to Cash as well as original tracks and even...Arctic Monkeys.

“We love the music, it’s such a great sound. We cover tracks but we also re-work songs with our own rockabilly twist.

“It goes down great with audiences of such a broad age....except my daughter! It’s taken off – we’ve played clubs, pubs, small festivals but this year we’re moving into some bigger venues and it’s going really well.”

This year they have also finished a second EP and will be out on the road throughout the summer.

“We’ve all been involved with music for many, many years. We’ve written songs on our own, together. Some of the tracks now are things we had written before the band but have now been re-worked with our sound and changed three or four times. When you play live we can change it up again and that’s what we love to do.”

It is paying off – as well as a loyal following and sell-out gigs, they also have awards to boast their unique talents.

In June 2014 DP and the Spectaculars won the People’s Choice Award at the annual Rock the House competition in which MPs nominate a rising band from their area and then the public are asked to vote on the internet.

They were invited to the Houses of Parliament in 
London to receive their awards.

The Continental gig on April 23 will be followed up with a set at the Jazz Festival in Clitheroe in May but what can audiences expect?

DB adds: “We’ll be on stage in our turned up jeans, rockabilly shirts, retro glasses and spats.

“We like getting the audience joining in and just having a really good time, hopefully we’ll throw in a few surprises.”

• Doug Perkins and the Spectaculars, Preston Continental, April 23, 8pm Tickets £6

Available from the Continental or via the website

Check out the group on Facebook