Folk rockers Fairport Convention play two-in-two Sussex dates
and live on Freeview channel 276
On Tuesday, February 20 they play Chequer Mead Theatre, East Grinstead, and then on Wednesday, February 21 they play the Connaught Theatre, Worthing, promising a mix of long-established Fairport favourites, plus some surprises from albums old and new.
Dave Pegg is delighted to be back on the road again. He's been with the band for more than 50 years.
“I auditioned in 1969 and joined the first week of 1970. For the audition I had to play some of their stuff from Liege & Lief, the album that had been released not long before. It was their biggest album and the most influential and ironically, Fairport being Fairport, two members left after the first gig. I was there on my 22nd birthday and I was watching the band and I thought that I'd love to be in that band and then the day after Dave Swarbrick said Ashley Hutchings was leaving and would I like to come and audition. He knew I had been a bass guitarist. It was incredible really. I had been auditioning for various London bands. The thing about being a musician from Birmingham is that you had to join a band in Brum and hope that they made it or you had to join a London band. So I was auditioning and I was failing miserably. I failed all of them but I managed the audition for Fairport and that's when it became a boy band. Sandy Denny left at the same time as Ashley and so for the first time we were this hairy boy band!”
And still to be going is quite something: “We didn't plan on being around that long, that we wouldn't be treading the boards quite so long or that there would be health issues. And it's sad that a lot of our contemporaries are no longer with us, but I think treading the boards and doing the gigs and having our festival and just being a bunch of mates are the things that have kept us going.
“There have been the lows when people have left or when people have popped their clogs. When we lost Sandy it was an awfully sad time, and when Swarb passed away that was really sad as well and before I joined the band there was a crash which killed the drummer. That was an awful time for the band.
“But there have been some incredible highs. We supported Traffic on six of the American tours and we supported Jethro Tull on one of their tours. And I was in both bands at that point. I was in Jethro Tull for about 15 years.
“In the late 60s Tull made a couple of fantastic earthy type albums. Tull were a much more technical band than Fairport and didn't really use the traditional songs that Fairport started to use. Liege & Lief was credited as being the first ever folk rock album – or frock as they called it!
“But there have been so many highs with Fairport. We have played in some incredible places.
"We played the Carnegie Hall and we also played Sydney Opera House. We were the second English band to play there in late 73 or early 74. The first was the Spencer Davis Group. And we were the first band to do a Hungarian tour way back in 1971.
"There have been some great times.”
Tickets from the venues.