Rod Stewart classics at the Cellars at Eastney with Cregan & Co

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Rod Stewart’s band mate Jim Cregan will be delivering those great Rod Stewart classics with his new band Cregan & Co.

The band, which will be playing The Cellars at Eastney (56 Cromwell Road, Southsea) on Friday, May 8 at 7.30pm (023 9282 6249), grew out of the band Apart From Rod.

Jim, best man at Rod’s wedding and close mates with him still, was in Rod’s band from 1976-1994.

“I was wanting to start a new band, and it seemed ridiculous, here we were looking for something to do and yet we had this great catalogue of songs to draw on,” Jim said. “I hadn’t even considered playing it. We decided to give it a go. The other guys all came together. We knew within four bars that it was going to work.”

Jim was the main-stay of Rod’s first band after he left the Faces. With Rod, Jim co-wrote the hits, recorded the albums, and toured the world in an era which produced tracks including You’re in My Heart, I Was Only Joking, Baby Jane, Blondes Have More Fun, Forever Young and D’Ya Think I’m Sexy.

Jim went on to work the biggest names in the music business including Art Garfunkel, Ronnie Wood, Ringo Starr, Elton John, Willie Nelson, Joe Cocker, Katie Melua, Michael Bolton, Paul Carrack, Paul Rodgers, Cat Stevens, , Gary Brooker, Frank Zappa and Jeff Beck.

With Rod, though, he certainly had some memorable times: “I think at a certain point you realised that you just had to slow down,” concedes Jim. “Your body can’t take the abuse for hugely-extended periods of time. I just stopped.”

But it wasn’t necessarily a pressurised time. Far from it, as Jim recalls: “It was an endless party. Rod was a really really good guy to work with. I have worked with people who would have a post-mortem after a gig. I have known some band leaders make all the guys in the band listen to a recording of the show right after - and there is nothing more annoying. Every blunder is picked apart, and it becomes destructive.”

Not so Rod: “If you made a mistake, he would just laugh. If it was a big enough mistake, you would just roll around on the floor laughing. He was really good fun. He was really easy-going.”

On vocals for Cregan & Co is singer/guitarist Ben Mills who teamed up with Jim and the band in October 2011. An accomplished singer/songwriter in his own right, Ben reached the final of UK X Factor in 2006 (the year Leona Lewis won), and launched a successful solo career on the back of it.