Musical research soon to reach its Peake

The Eccentronic Research Council - Maxine Peake with Dean (left) and Adrian
The Eccentronic Research Council - Maxine Peake with Dean (left) and Adrian
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THE star of BBC hit drama Silks will show a different side to her talents on Saturday when she fronts a new Sheffield music project.

In fact, actress Maxine Peake sounds a tad nervous to be facing the public in the Spielgeltent, in Barkers Pool, with The Eccentronic Research Council.

“I was a bit unsure at first as I’m not a musician or a singer,” she says, “but I’ve really enjoyed the shows we’ve done together.

“It’s nothing like theatre or TV. To be standing on the battle line facing the audience is pretty terrifying but, as with the best plays, I’ve Adrian’s genius to hide behind.”

Adrian being Mr Flanagan, of Kings Have Long Arms notoriety.

Also there is city producer Dean Honer of I Monster. They tipped their talents into 1612 Underture, an electronic, spoken word concept album based on and done in memory of the mistreatment of the Pendle Witches 400 years ago in Lancashire.

“A lot of the way poor people then were treated for being different or enterprising, or daring to have a voice, is very similar to how people are being treated now the world over,” says Adrian.

“If you have any kind of opinion or show resistance to how your politicians are treating you you’re either beaten with a stick, locked up as a troublemaker or made to disappear. These are very strange times we live in.”

Maxine got involved when Adrian asked her to appear in the video for Are You One by his other project The Chanteuse & The Crippled Claw.

“Adrian is a complete one off, an amazing talent and not afraid to do it his own way. I just got him straight away. We got talking about The Pendle Witches and agreed to one day write something on them together. I went away and in the time it took me to write a few lines Adrian had written four songs,” she says.

Adds Adrian: “What Maxine fails to mention is in the time it took me to write a few tracks she’d filmed half a series of Silk and a remake of the film Room At The Top.

“Maxine is reading my words across the whole LP and makes me sound cleverer than I am. She’s an amazing actor, in my book the best.

“Before she came along I’ve always been quite marginalised; curious-looking bloke that locally people have been either rooting for or gossiping about, but I never really got the ‘bigger breaks’.”

The album has been pulling highbrow press and radio attention, although brought just two live shows before Saturday night’s one-off.

“Strangely I’m now being asked to do arty BBC interviews with poets like Ian McMillan, being taken seriously as some sort of ‘writer’, but you know what, I can’t take it seriously, I just think everyone’s gone momentarily crackers.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s great the album is doing well, being talked about.

“But I think the plaudits are down to the fact a lot of musicians have stopped using imagination in their quest of making a fast but boring buck.”