Gareth Calway: How’s the hand?
Dave Pegg: Receiving painful physio. Matt (Dave’s son, deputy on the Wintour and veteran of Procul Harlem and Ian Brown tours) will play four tracks on the new album.
GC: When can we expect Fairport back in this area?
DP: We’re at the Open, Norwich, in June and always look forward to gigs at the Princess, Hunstanton, at which many nice comments were received. There are Norfolk dates on next year’s Wintour, which starts earlier at Celtic Connections in Glasgow (Jan 16)
GC: After 45 years, do you still get nervous before a gig?
DP: Not when I’m playing with Fairport or guitar and mandolin at smaller venues with Anthony John Clark and PJ Wright but I’m still not a confident individual, especially without a bass guitar doing the spoken intros. But Fairport audiences are always very friendly and on your side and it helped having Edwina Hayes as a quality ‘warm up’ act.
GC: What do you feel your audiences come to your concerts for and what do you try to give them?
DP: They come to hear old favourites and be entertained and we don’t take ourselves too seriously. But we try to blend in four new songs – on this tour it’s got them ‘played in’ for the new album - and (serious) songs from the back catalogue.
GC: What would you want a new audience to say about you?
DP: That with us the song comes first – we all have to like every song we play; that the individuals play as a collective; that we tread the boards rather than the studio. Cropredy (Fairport’s own annual festival in Oxfordshire) is where we extend our appeal to the kids and grandkids of our original 60s fans because it has something for everyone. The Waterboys, Chas and Dave, Cara Dillon and Marillion are all guests this year.
GC: Why did you choose the bass guitar? – what does it gives to a band?
DP: Good question! I started off in The Uglies and the Steve Gibbons Dylan Project as a guitar player influenced by the Shadows and the blues, but was replaced! So I bought a bass for £80 and found myself playing with legends like Ralph McTell, Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson and Jethro Tull. (Pegg was in Jethro Tull for 10 years). The bass is essential to rock music; most bassists (ask Paul McCartney) play the guitar and it gives you scope to go into all areas of music, even, as Matt does in some projects, as a lead instrument. Gerry (Conway, ex Fotheringay and now long-established drummer with Fairport) and I interlock instinctively – we know how to avoid getting in each other’s way.
GC: What’s your favourite Fairport album?
DP: Rising For The Moon, because I play on that with Sandy and The Swarb.
n Legendary fiddle player Dave Swarbrick, part of Fairport’s 1975 Rising For The Moon tour brings ‘An evening With The Swarb’ to Folkspot Internet Radio live at Great Massingham Village Hall on Saturday, April 12. Advance tickets £10 via firstname.lastname@example.org