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Glastonbury Gertcha

PUBLISHED: 11:37 16 April 2008 | UPDATED: 13:01 11 August 2010

Chas & Dave

Chas & Dave

They drew an audience of 30,000 at Glastonbury, Pete Doherty is a fan and the Americans love them. Cockney rock and roll duo, Chas and Dave, have been experiencing a revival during the last few years and they seem to be enjoying every minute of it. The

They drew an audience of 30,000 at Glastonbury, Pete Doherty is a fan and the Americans love them.

Cockney rock and roll duo, Chas and Dave, have been experiencing a revival during the last few years and they seem to be enjoying every minute of it.

The pair, who will be playing at the Barking Broadway next month, have been writing and performing witty and affectionate songs about London life for over 30 years.

Their heyday may have been in the early 80's with sing-along, catchy hits like Rabbit and Gertcha, but Chas Hodges and Dave Peacock have recently been enjoying sell-out tours across the country. But what is most surprising is that the Rockney two, now in their sixties and still sporting their trademark hat, beards, braces and boots, are attracting ever younger audiences.

Their new fans may have something to do with indie rocker and tabloid favourite Pete Doherty, who has cited Chas and Dave as an inspiration.

In 2003 Pete's band, the Libertines wanted them on their bill, and it wasn't long before they were performing for hoards of youngsters, at venues such as the Brixton Academy.

Appearances in front of thousands of people at Glastonbury Festival followed. From being seen as somewhat of a novelty band, popular mainly with an older male crowd, they suddenly gained a new wave of respect and recognition from people who weren't even born when Chas and Dave made their breakthrough.

When asked what it's like to play for such a young crowd, pianist Chas says: "Much, better. Younger audiences really listen to the music, they enjoy the piano playing.

"They know all the words and sing along to the songs. They are the best audience we have ever had!"

It seems the young fans even enjoy the old classics: "If we miss one they tell us to get back on and do it!"

Chas began his career in the 60s playing in a number of bands. He spent some time touring America and even backed music legend Jerry Lee Lewis, which, he says, is how he learnt the piano. As was common at the time he would sing in an American accent.

He explains his change of style: "When I got back to England I said to Dave that we should sing in our own accents, about things we know about, whilst still retaining Rock and Roll."

Although guitarist Dave stopped writing songs a few years ago, Chas is still busy penning new lyrics, which he says keeps him "lively".

"I get inspiration from other peoples lives. I wrote Ain't No Pleasing You after my brother split up with his missus. He was putting up some curtains and his missus said they weren't straight. He said: "There ain't no pleasing you" and that's how I got the idea.

"The song I'm writing now is about my roadie who is splitting up with his missus."

It is not just the English who love Chas and Dave, the Americans can't get enough of the pair of Cockney musicians either.

"Our biggest fans are Americans - their appreciation is fantastic. In Milwaukee a radio station started playing one of our songs and I heard that we became the biggest sellers at the local record store, beating bands like The Stones!"

Legendary American producer and engineer, Jack Clement, who has worked with stars including Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis and Johnny Cash, has said he loves everything Chas and Dave do and believes The King of Rock himself would have been a fan.

For now, however, they look forward to playing closer to home and Chas says he's excited to be performing in Essex, where they always get a fantastic reaction.

You could wonder what the secret is behind Chas and Dave's lasting appeal. Chas puts it down to their live performances: "Our live show is better than it's ever been."

But he thinks their attitude has also helped: "We just get out and do it. If you like it - great. If you don't, then.... well, there's something wrong with you!"

Chas and Dave will be performing at The Barking Broadway on May 2. Tickets are from £15 to £17, and available from the box office on 020 8507 5607.

They will also be at Ilford's Kenneth More Theatre on June 1, and the Civic Theatre, Chelmsford, in January.

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