The Buddy Holly Story celebrates the legend in Crawley

Chris Weeks is Buddy Holly as The Buddy Holly Story hits the road in its 34th year.
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Dates include Congress Theatre, Eastbourne, Sept 19-23; and The Hawth, Crawley, October 13-14.

Even 64 years after his death, Buddy’s achievements still stand supreme. As Chris, who shares the role with AJ Jenks, says: “It was his drive and it was his ambition. A lot of people have got one or other of the two but he absolutely had both and as a by-product he changed the world. He was around only for 18 months really in the music industry and he went from country to rock'n'roll and then moved into orchestral just in that short time, changes most people would take maybe 20 years to go through. As a guitarist he was up there and as a producer in the room he was right up there too. He was coming up with revolutionary ideas like double tracking the singing and you see that in The Beatles. The Beatles saw him in Liverpool and he was an influence on them. As for his song-writing it was just incredible. He was still very young. He was not too heavy with it. He wasn't intellectualising it maybe the way Chuck Berry who was older was doing. Chuck Berry was watching it happen and was commentating on it. Buddy was just experiencing it and distilling it.”

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Part of the challenge is the songs appear simple: “You think you're just looking at a three-chord song but you just have to put so much into them. You have to bring an awful lot of emotion. It's all about the feeling with the songs and bringing a huge passion to them.”

Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story (pic by Rebecca Need-Menear)Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story (pic by Rebecca Need-Menear)
Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story (pic by Rebecca Need-Menear)

Sadly of course Buddy died so young and it's easy to wonder what he would have gone on to achieve had he lived: “But that's a dangerous thought but really who knows where he would ended up but maybe he was pushing himself so hard to do so much because perhaps he had some kind of inkling that he was not long for this world. His wife had all these prophetic dreams that he couldn't go on this tour or that tour because something awful would happen and he was always saying but ‘I have to go. We need the money.’ So maybe you do wonder whether he had some sense that something was going to happen to him. In a way I discovered his work through the show. I saw this show as a child. The show is now in its 34th year. I saw it in the late 90s and it was a real event when it came to our town but I really knew the soundtrack better than I knew Buddy’s original songs. We always had the soundtrack on in the car on and I knew every word and every inflection and then I got more into rock'n'roll as a genre and then I just got so much more in him. But you can't live in reverence. You can’t go onto the stage in reverence. That would never work. I think you would end up being really fake. You don't want to be thinking that you've got to show off this superhuman. You've just got to show this person who had all these wonderful skills but someone who's not really not a million miles away from me and the boys.”