Christmas rock 'n' roll nostalgia heads to Crawley, Portsmouth, Eastbourne and Worthing

Producer and vocalist Trevor Payne, creator of rock ‘n’ roll variety show That’ll Be The Day, put his time to the very best use when the pandemic forced the show off the road.

That'll Be The Day - Pembrokeshire Photography
That'll Be The Day - Pembrokeshire Photography

He sat down and wrote his biography, Last Man Standing, which will be out on December 1 and should be available on his Christmas tour.

Trevor and the gang bring their Christmas show to The Hawth, Crawley on November 29; the Kings Theatre, Southsea on December 2; Eastbourne’s Congress Theatre on December 14 and 15; and Worthing’s Assembly Hall on December 16.

“To pass the time I wrote a book about the whole thing, right from the beginning from when I started back in Worthing where I grew up. It is my biography. It goes all the way through from Worthing and then there is 20 years until we got to That’ll Be The Day and it’s really how that formed and how it has become what it became.

“For the first 20 years we did all sorts of stuff, going out to the Far East and the Middle East and all over Europe which was a lead-up to doing what we are doing now.

“It is all in the book which will be available on December 1. It is called Last Man Standing and the reason why is because I know the DJ Mike Read who wrote a book called The South Coast Beat Scene and he interviewed lots of guys from all the bands that were around Worthing and Bognor and so on. Somebody pointed him in my direction and I got to know him and we got together and did Cliff the musical in the West End. We only had a limited season. Mike and I and another guy wrote it and another guy directed it. I look back on it and think maybe we could have done it better!

“But Mike interviewed lots of people from these old bands on the south coast and his book is pretty thick. And he found out, about 20 years ago, that I was the only one left that was still working in the business full time out of all those guys in all those bands. So that’s why I called the book Last Man Standing. It is a story of perseverance. It is what you need in this business. So many guys just gave up but I managed to keep going.

“I have kept diaries since 1964 and so I had those as a starting block for the book.

“And I took Mike’s advice. He just said throw everything at the wall and then sort through it all into categories and so on. He said don’t just start at the beginning and think that you will remember everything. And it has been interesting doing it in a lot of ways. When you look back on all the things that have happened in your life, you realise that you went one way when you could have gone another, that you took this direction rather than that direction. Sting said that making music for a living and surviving in music is a success in itself because it is a difficult business. And that’s what I think. I have been in the business for more than 50 years and it is hard to survive without having to do something else but it has worked out well for me.

“My biggest fear has always been failure and I think that’s what drives me on. I think failure would be having a show that people didn’t want to come and see but luckily that has never happened with That’ll Be The Day. That’ll Be The Day is the opposite of that. We hold lots of box office records all over the country and we’re still pulling people in even in a pandemic. And it has been going 35 years. You imagine when you start that perhaps it would keep going for a little while and then the next year you think let’s do it again and maybe change a little bit and then you make it a little bit better and so it goes on and on. We’ve been doing the 35th anniversary show Most of the work we did when we started it was in holiday camps and social clubs and Butlins. We did a lot of work in Butlins in Minehead and Bognor and that was the breeding ground for That’ll Be The Day. Each week we were trying out new things, new ideas and we got the formula.”