Pop legends still enjoy busy
life on the road

The Searchers
The Searchers
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As Frank Allen says, the anniversaries are coming thick and fast out of every orifice at the moment.

Last year was the 50th anniversary of The Searchers; this year is the 50th anniversary of their first number one single, Sweets for my Sweet.

Always busy, the band are on the road to mark the occasion, with a date coming up on August 30 at Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre.

The point is that they enjoy it as much as ever: “That’s the main ingredient. For most people, it is not normal to enjoy your work!” says Frank. “To a certain extent, it was about making a living in the early days, but the great thing was that we were part of the greatest and most important period of pop history. Anyone that finds success during a time like that will achieve a certain longevity.”

His only regret is that he didn’t enjoy it more at the time: “You don’t realise what you have got until much later. We thought it was one of those things that was going to through and then just leave us behind, and I suppose it was a bit wasted on me.

“We did stints in Hamburg, and I was very, very homesick. I was counting the days. Now with more maturity, I would love to be doing something like that.

“But just getting the chance to be pop musicians was a phenomenal thing.

“We worked everywhere. Germany was a fantastic opportunity for us. They paid twice as much as anything back home, but I was just not used to being away from home.”

But he’s making up for that now, loving the travelling more than ever: “We tour Australia every February and March for six weeks. New Zealand is coming back in now. The Philippines are coming back in. It’s great.”

And, of course, they are touring now in far more comfort than they ever did: “Even when we were at the top of the charts, we had to budget consciously.

“We were travelling around in minibuses, and we were getting ripped off outrageously. We were conscious that it was happening and we were just too afraid to rock the boat, especially when the hits started to go down and we were afraid that we would get dropped.

“The old managements knew all the rules and could get away with anything.”

It takes a change in fortunes to gain financial control.

“Once you fall out of favour, you are more or less left on our own. You have an agent to look after you, but the people that were interested are not interested. You then make your own way and you take charge of your own destiny.

“By the time of the ’80s, things were starting to go really well again for us. Before that, we were just treading water really. Then we became quite sought-after. People realised that we we’re part of British history, and the last 25-27 years have been the best years we have had.”

A good job they didn’t lead a rock ’n’ roll lifestyle in those early days: “We were just not that kind of people. I joined in 1964 as a replacement for Tony Jackson. He was the only one of the band that lived any kind of wild life.

“There was a split in the band, and then there were the four of us, and we lived like nuns! I was absolutely teetotal at that time. I just didn’t like the taste!”