Hamsters - the Strat masters

Lindsay Jones BLISTERING blues-rockers The Hamsters – who count John Mayall, Suzi Quatro and Radio 2 presenter Bob Harris among their fans – have been packing out venues and collecting praise for 23 years. Their track, Taxi Driver, from latest album, Open All Hours, w

Lindsay Jones

BLISTERING blues-rockers The Hamsters - who count John Mayall, Suzi Quatro and Radio 2 presenter Bob Harris among their fans - have been packing out venues and collecting praise for 23 years.

Their track, Taxi Driver, from latest album, Open All Hours, was included in Classic Rock magazine's 100 Blues Anthems, and the title from album Route 666 is to be used in a forthcoming comedy-horror movie, Stag Night Of The Dead.

The band are even appearing in a new three-hour DVD documentary about the Fender Stratocaster guitar, Strat Masters, which also features Ry Cooder, Mark Knopfler, Jeff Beck, Chris Rea, Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch, Robert Cray, Rory Gallagher and others.


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Although primarily performing their own material, The Hamsters - who hail from Southend - are also widely regarded as leading interpreters of the music of Jimi Hendrix and, more recently, ZZ Top.

And that's what they'll be playing when they perform at The Standard Music Venue, Blackhorse Road, Walthamstow, on December 4.

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Lead singer and guitarist Slim says: "When we first started out, we would play our own material and add a couple of Jimi Hendrix songs and they went down really well because no one else was playing his stuff. This was before the proliferation of tribute bands.

"We've always done some of his music and some ZZ Top stuff as part of our shows, but this time that's all we're going to do.

"It makes a change."

Originally forming for their own amusement (and taking their name from the Sex Pistols, who once used it as a pseudonym to outwit hostile councils), the Hamsters say they enjoy the irony of being an aggressive band with a cuddly name.

They are one of the hardest-working bands in the country, gigging almost every night. But although serious about what they do, they don't take themselves too seriously - hence their names. Slim's full name is Snail's-Pace Slim. He has also played with Dr Feelgood and The Kursaal Flyers. The drummer is Rev Otis Elevator, and bass player is Zsa Zsa Poltergeist.

Slim says: "The names are just a bit of a laugh - we're not trying to dodge taxes!"

Tickets for The Standard gig are �12 and available from 020 8503 2523/8527 1966.

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