Free Time

Chas (not Dave): ‘We’re still enthusiastic, we’re playing better than ever!’

Chas (not Dave): ‘We’re still enthusiastic, we’re playing better than ever!’ 1 2

[prev] …another – a friend of ours – we got on was Jools Holland, and Martin Taylor, who’s a great jazz guitarist, he’s on it, too. There’s a bit of a thing where people do an album later on in their careers and get guests on just as a token, a name, and the guest will do an overdub in a studio somewhere just to say they’re on it. These people really were involved in our music, they came down and we were in the studio with them, and enjoyed it. We did a week in Abbey Road and it was a really pleasant, enjoyable week and we got a really pleasant, enjoyable album!

Dave fact: It’s Dave on bass in Eminem’s My Name Is. Eminem sampled the riff from a 1970s Labi Siffre song called I Got The…

Your careers span almost 40 years now and you had a huge following in the ‘80s, but you’re still picking up a large number of new, young fans. How does that feel?
People who liked us in the ‘80s are still coming to the gigs, but also a lot of younger people – the beauty of recording music is that it becomes frozen in time, there to be discovered at any point. We’ve always been particular about recording our music – not fussy, but particular – and the feeling on our records has got to be right. I’ve got an old jukebox, and I put it on random play and sometimes the old Chas & Dave numbers come up on it, that I haven’t heard for a long time, and I’m pleasantly surprised by how… well, we done it right! That’s why we still get new fans, they discover stuff on CD and they think: these boys are still on the road! Then they come to see us on the road and say, ‘Hey, you’re better than ever!’ We’re still enthusiastic, we’re playing better than ever, the show’s better than ever – the longer we go on the better it gets.

So nowhere near retirement, then?
No, as long as I can play, I will. For me, music gives back what you put into it when you were younger. It’s just lovely to be able to go out the age I am now (Chas is 69) and be better than I was 20, 30 years ago. I can’t picture retiring.

It sounds as though not only do you still have really high energy levels, but you also feel as fresh creatively as you did in your 20s and 30s
Yeah, you’re learning your trade all the way through the years. When I first started songwriting, I found it incredibly hard, but it gets easier and it’s more enjoyable, and you seem to have more avenues to pursue the older you get, because you’ve lived longer. The ideas are brimming up and you’ve got to let them out, you’ve got to write. I met up with Neil Innes yesterday and we swapped CDs – we had a lovely lunch, it took three hours but it went by like it was 20 minutes, and we’re going to be doing something together in the near future. We don’t know what yet, but it’s going to happen, and it’s just one of those exciting things that happen in this life.

Chas (not Dave): ‘We’re still enthusiastic, we’re playing better than ever!’ 1 2

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