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Interview: Dickie Ticker of Lancashire Hotpots
THEY are like the Houghton Weavers for the iPod generation and they are taking the country by storm, singing about great Lancashire institutions as the Chippy Tea, weekly line-dancing and pints of mild.
Formed just two years ago, they are currently supporting celebrity fan Paddy McGuinness on his 70-date tour.
But the popular Lancashire lads are breaking off to appear as part of Blackburn’s You Must Be Joking comedy festival.
By day, three of the band are college lecturers in St Helens, teaching youngsters and then writing about their idiosyncrasies.
Embracing their new folk image, the band no longer go by their real names and now only refer to themselves by their stage names, Bernard Thresher, Willie Eckerslike, Bob Wriggles and, speaking to JEMMA DOBSON, Dickie Ticker.
Last year your debut album, Never Mind The Hotpots, went to number one in the iTunes comedy album chart — what has been happening since?
It’s been a non stop round of gigs, festival appearances and writing and recording new material. It’s a good job we’ve got the stamina of oxen. We regularly use Bullworkers before we go on stage, don’t you know. I’m legally bound to state that last sentence may not be entirely true.
You've talked about sat navs, chippy teas and emos — what's next?
You’re probably referring to our brand new CD, Pot Sounds, available from all good record stores and digital download. The new CD features topics such as climate change (Don’t Make The Polar Bears Cry), Saturday afternoon shopping (I Fear Ikea), illegal file sharing and how ultimately binge drinking Britain can ensure sporting success in 2012 (The Beer Olympics). And all tunes that the milkman can whistle, too. How do we do it?
How have you found going on the road supporting Paddy McGuinness?
We’re more than halfway through our Paddy support dates and it’s going really well. Paddy is a really nice chap and is often found in our dressing room trying to swipe one of our cans . . . he’s still one of the lads.
Do you have any other celebrity followers?
The first time we met Paddy McGuinness he recalled being backstage at the Manchester Arena having Chippy Tea sung to him by the Kaiser Chiefs, The Feeling and Shaun Ryder from the Happy Mondays. It made us feel a little odd to have such famous fans.
What has the public reaction been like? Any strange requests from fans?
The reaction from the public is always fantastic wherever we go. You name a body part and we’ve probably autographed it. We signed some lad’s head in Burnley the other week. Daft!
Is it right that you have been working with Hollands pies on some advertising?
We’ve distilled the Hotpots sound into 30 seconds of pastry-based music for the purposes of a radio advert for the wonderful Hollands Pies. All we need now is to be commissioned to write a jingle for Gaviscon and our two favourite products will be covered.
Any sign of being able to leave your day jobs behind and make the band your full-time jobs some time soon?
It’d be nice but I think we’d have to be hobknobbing with the likes of Jonathan Ross on a weekly basis before that happened. Give it time, cockers, give it time.
Are you looking forward to performing as part of the comedy festival at KGH — what can the audience expect from the set?
It’s a non stop cavalcade of Lancashire nonsense; wonderful songs about drinking, having fun and being from the North. Be sure to be wearing your dancing shoes. We had an audience conga at our last gig in Burnley.
What's been the highlight of your career so far?
We’ve played to a sell-out 1,200 capacity crowd at the 53 Degrees in Preston and we’ve also opened a branch of Greggs. We still can’t decide which one of the two gave us the bigger thrill!
Any other news for us . . . and what are you aims and plans for the future?
We just hope the new album is as well received as the first one. We’re gigging with our ‘Pot Sounds’ tour till the end of the year so if you want a top night out, come along and have some fun.
l See The Lancashire Hotpots tonight at King George’s Hall, as part of the ‘You Must Be Joking’ comedy festival. Tickets on 0844 847 1664.