Golden oldie Joe Brown talks about being on the road, his career and why he loves Blackpool.
JOE Brown is as busy now as he ever was.
And the man who The Beatles supported, who stole the show at the George Harrison Tribute Concert and who gained a standing ovation when he received his Mojo Award, is looking forward to coming back to Blackpool in just under two weeks as part of his current tour.
His shows are normally sell-out affairs – his triumphant 50th anniversary at the Royal Albert Hall was certainly that – and in recent years, he’s played Glastonbury, Cropredy and other festivals, headlined at Trafalgar Square and joined Status Quo on their arena dates. And he loves being on the road.
He said: “I always enjoy coming to Blackpool. It’s the Las Vegas of the North. The people are great up there.
“Somehow it sometimes seems a little bit sad there, but in the summer when it’s busy, it’s bustling and buzzing.
“I bet it’s great when it’s like that. We used to do so many summer seasons there.
“I like the way Blackpool has always been a place of entertainment, as far as the north is concerned. We like to get up to the north. We are looking forward to it.”
After so many years in the business, Joe always tries to keep things fresh.
His career has encompassed all aspects of entertainment – including recording, performance, song-writing, films and TV, the West End Theatre and he has established himself as a popular DJ.
A multi-instrumentalist, Joe plays guitar, mandolin, fiddle, ukulele and trumpet on-stage. And he tries to mix up the set during tours.
“We try to change our set round. People seem to like it. I’m looking forward to doing some of the old stuff with the new record.
“There will be all sorts of music. We always aim to keep it fresh - that’s what keeps it interesting musically.
“There’s a lot of bands go out and do the same thing they’ve done for 40 years, the same songs.
“We will be playing different instruments. We have a ukulele, it sounds fantastic.
“We’ll have to see what the public think. Our main priority is whether people like it or not.”
Asked if this is something Joe will be doing forever - his early professional musical career included playing guitar with Johnny Cash and Eddie Cochran and appearing with Bill Haley and Jerry Lee Lewis – Joe replies: “I’ve already done it forever! This is what I’ve been doing for such a long time, it’s something I enjoy and it’s great.
“I have a captive audience, a great band and I’m still having a great time doing it.
“It’s a pleasure to go out and play. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it. I just couldn’t.
“I think this was always what I wanted to do. I just started to play and people seemed to like it, which egged me on.”
Ever since he was first spotted playing guitar by Jack Good and put on the Boy Meets Girls show in 1959, Joe has enjoyed every minute of his career.
Unlike other stars from the 60s, he has never stopped or taken a break away from music before coming back and still performs nearly 200 shows a year.
He said: “I have been very lucky – after 60 years, I can say, it’s been a great experience.
“It’s very difficult to pick just one moment as a highlight, there have been so many great moments.
“A few years ago, we did my 50th anniversary concert at the Albert Hall. That was a wonderful feeling.”
And looking forward to Blackpool, Joe adds: “I hope after the show, people will go away with a smile on their face.
“We’re going to do our best to play good music which people will enjoy.”
>> Among the awards Joe has won: 1991/2 Clubstar award in the best musical group section and the 1992 BASCA Gold Badge of Merit for services to British Music.
>> Joe grew up in Warrington listening to the family’s old gramophone and playing rugby.
>> Joe is at The Grand Theatre, on March 23, at 7.30pm. Call the box office on (01253) 743346.