Decorating days paint
the boys in a new tone

The Overtones
The Overtones
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The Overtones aren’t overkeen on talking about how they got signed.

Which seems a shame because not only is it testament to their commitment and desire to keep singing, but it’s a great story – which is why I’m going to tell it anyway.

The five lads needed a few quid to keep themselves afloat while still dreaming of a career in music, so set up a painting and decorating company – the idea being they could practise singing as they worked.

While working in a shop near Oxford Street one afternoon, they were heard by a Warner Brothers talent scout.

Next thing you know they’ve signed a five-album deal and their 2011 debut record Good Old Fashioned Love went to number four in the charts.

“The painting and decorating thing is true,” said Mark Franks, from Sale near Manchester.

“But we don’t like to focus on it too much because we’d been in London for years.

“I was a professional dancer for 10 years and I’d appeared in the odd pop video and done a few theatre tours with different productions.

“But all the while I was in this band and we were doing pub gigs and hoping the music would take us somewhere, because we always thought we were pretty good and we always went down well wherever we played.

“I suppose there were times, when you’re painting, that it was tough and you consider jacking it all in and giving up the dream ... but thankfully we didn’t.”

The Overtones – made up of Mark, Mike Crawshaw, Darren Everest, Timmy Matley and Lachie Chapman - are lovers of 1950s music and sing Doo-wop style songs.

They are in Blackpool, at the Opera House, on Friday March 14 and for Mark it will be nice to return to a town he knows well.

“Being a north west lad I came to Blackpool all the time as a kid, to the Pleasure Beach and the Illuminations, so I’ve always had a soft spot for it,” said the 36-year-old.

“We played the Opera House on our last tour and I remember it because not only is it a massive theatre, it is also supposed to be haunted.

“One of the ladies who works there gave us a tour because apparently there is loads of spooky stuff going on. Unfortunately I didn’t see anything myself...”

The lads have packed a lot in since being discovered in 2011 and Mark hopes the success continues for a long while yet.

“We’ve got a five-album deal with Warner but you cannot rest on your laurels or become complacent because if you are under-performing you won’t stay signed for long,” he said.

“But we work very hard, we practise a lot, and we love what we do. The albums have been well received and the tours are brilliant – it is the best part of what we do.

“I love writing and recording and putting tracks together, but the whole time we are thinking ‘how can we do this live?’

“We are proud of our live shows. We have a four-piece band behind us and there’s a lot of audience participation ... we even had a marriage proposal at one show.

“Because we play theatres there is a lovely intimate feel and we’re looking forward to going out on tour and doing it all again.”

Tickets for The Overtones at Blackpool’s Opera House are priced from £23.65 and available at