For one night only, Gary Fletcher and his band will be joined by ex-Fairport Convention drummer Dave Mattacks at Worthing Southern Pavilion on Thursday, April 5.
Gary, a key member of The Blues Band, will also be joined in his own band by Alan Glen from The Yardbirds and Nine Below Zero, Tom Leary from Lindisfarne and Feast of Fiddles, Andy Billups from The Hamsters and ex-Mud guitar player Nick Ritchie.
Regarded as one of the world’s very finest drummers, Dave Mattacks, who lives in Boston, USA, doesn’t often play in the UK nowadays but having been introduced to Gary’s music by Feast of Fiddles colleague Tom Leary, he suggested playing a show with the Gary Fletcher Band.
“And we ended up in Worthing because, I think, Dave is staying in Worthing,” Gary said. “He stays with a friend when he comes over here, and he is here for quite a chunk of April touring with the Feast of Fiddles band.
“Dave got to know my stuff, and out of the blue I got an email from Dave from America saying he was coming over to do a tour with Feast of Fiddles and would it be possible to do a gig with me. I was super flattered. I had been aware of Dave ever since his Fairport days and all the other things he does.
“I have actually met him, last year or the year before when he was doing his Feast of Fiddles tour. He has already told me he has scored all the songs for the gig out. I sent him some recordings plus all the studio versions, but obviously we will all have a run-through beforehand.”
So what makes him such a special drummer?
“I just think he has got an amazing pair of ears. I know that sounds a bit of an obvious statement, but they are connected to a really good head and a really good heart, and it all just connects into the songs he is playing. There are other drummers that do that, but they are not as plentiful as you might think.
“There are a lot of drummers that are technically amazing, but emotionally perhaps are not suited to the songs, that don’t perhaps have that special feel. Dave just has that ability to play, to get within the song he is playing and not to overplay it. That’s the crucial thing. He doesn’t get too busy.”
As for the Gary Fletcher Band, Gary admits he’d rather it was called the Gareth Fletcher Band, his real name: “But back when I was starting out, people used to shorten my name to Gaz, and when I got my first publishing contract, the people that were drawing up the papers put my name down as Gary, assuming that that was what Gaz was short for… and it kind of stuck!”
Gary’s own band allows him to stretch his wings a little.
“With The Blues Band, I play bass predominantly. We have just made a new album. On that I play a bit of guitar and a bit of double bass and a bit of banjo, but by and large when we are playing live I stick to the bass. In my band, I don’t play bass at all. I play acoustic guitar for most of the set and then I play electric slide and a bit of banjo and also I sing.
“It is just an opportunity for me to indulge myself. I have written quite a lot of songs. I tend to write as and when rather than for a project. I am not good at writing to order, but I will just sit down and noodle away at a guitar and something pops out that eventually morphs into something that becomes a song!”
Dave is also playing a jazz date at the Hare & Hounds, Worthing (April 3), with John Donaldson, Andy Panayi, Andrew Cleyndert.
For other stories by Phil, see: https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2