Hotpots bubbling over with fun

Lancashire Hotpots 2012
Lancashire Hotpots 2012
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With London 2012 behind us what is there to look forward to? The Lancashire Hotpots tell David Dunn they reckon they have an answer

ROUND about now is what newspapers and other media types label the ‘Silly Season’.

So what better time to write about a band that have for a while put laughs into music and penned lyrics about some of life’s real issues, such as beer and crisps.

Last month The Lancashire Hotpots released their sixth album, confirming that a need exists for their quality brand of humorous tunesmithery – putting the RnR into rock ‘n’ roll, if you will.

And with a Sheffield return in their sights, they reveal A Hard Day’s Pint is not only a nod to arguably the most famous band on the planet, but indication there’s still plenty more fuel in the think tank.

Masters of parody they might be, but don’t go suggesting they’re a modern day extension of ’80s chart jokers The Barron Knights or X-rated ’90s rockers The Macc Ladds.

“Well that’s no way to start an interview is it, by causing possible offence,” says lead singer Bernard Thresher. “You’re lucky I’m very very drunk while replying to this question. No, we are not an extension of a.n.other humorous outfit. We are, in fact, a totally original Houghton Weavers cover band with small and occasional references to episodes of Porridge.”

Either way, there’s no denying the Hotpots have thrived at a time when comedy is often described as the ‘new rock’n’roll’.

A veteran of two Glastonbury Festival appearances and Kendal Calling, where they shared a stage with Dizzeee Rascal and Maximo Park, Bernard weighs up the idea of them as the missing link between that and actual rock ‘n’ roll.

“To be totally honest, we get to play a load of great rock and/or roll festivals and venues and people turn up, pay money to come in and seem to enjoy themselves. Does that make us ‘rock and/or roll’? And does that make Kenny Body, our drummer, the missing link? We’ll never really know.”

Regardless of labels, the band have certainly gained a loyal following, their witty lyrics a smile-winning antidote to some of music’s all too serious players.

Bernard is swift to confirm the song comes first, rather than the pun of a title. And few things are done on a whim by the St Helens outfit.

“Always the song,” he nods. “In fact, after several months of research into a topic we try and condense our ideas into three minutes of mildly funny rhyme. Then we further condense that into three or four words to describe said topic. Piece of cake really.

“Several members have tried and failed to get their ‘hilarious’ song ideas past the Dickie Ticker filter – he being our percussionist and chief strategist. I seem to have moderate success but Dickie is the British public and knows what works.”

And with 18,000 hearing a preview of some of the new songs during a pre-match day at the new Saints Rugby Stadium, why mess with a winning formula.

They’ve even had beers brewed in their honour – the award-winning Lancaster Brewery is the latest, having teamed up with the band to brew A Hard Day’s Pint limited edition beer. And the band landed sponsorship from Fiddler’s Lancashire Crisps – like winning gold at the Olympics for any band?

“I would like to go on record as saying that Fiddler’s are the best crisps I have ever, ever had. To answer your question, yes, we still get free crisps. Can you tell?

“And we’ve had a few beers brewed in our honour. Winning the gold medal will be when they deliver a lifetime’s supply to my front door. I’m still waiting.”

In the meantime, the title of the new album – A Hard Day’s Pint – won’t have done that aspiration any harm.

“We’d had 24 cans in four hours and thought it would be a good idea to do an album about beer. Is that so wrong when it tasted so right?”

It’s hard to argue. The result was a musical round up of drinking and good nights out, spread across tracks covering every facet from the thirsty anticipation of good times ahead through to the messy end of night kebab.

With responsible consumption in mind, however, the Hotpots recently worked with Lancashire Police. The band has recorded a special song and music video to raise awareness of the ‘Be Part Of It’ Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner elections this November.

It has to be asked, what prompted that unlikely association? “A generous handshake and of course the thought that we might be doing something good for Lancashire,” says Bernard. “We’ve 25,000 views so far on the YouTube, so if the people who saw that got the message, I’ll sleep well tonight.”

For now there are several dozen sleeps until The Lancashire Hotpots bring their parody mastery back to Sheffield. They find Plug and plenty of friends on the white rose side of the north on October 27.

“I am sure there are some equally funny and entertaining musical outfits scattered all over this great land,” says Bernard at the suggestion the band are very much a product of northern humour. “Yes, we are a northern band, but the subject matter is universal. That’s why we travel so well, unlike mushy peas.”

Hendersons Relish fairs better, as The Everly Pregnant Brothers, arguably Sheffield’s answer to the Hotpots, will confirm.

Now that would be a dream billing of parody supergroups, would it not?

“We have indeed heard of T.E.P.B. – it’s a small musical comedy world, innit – with their Yorkshire brand of ukulele parody,” says Bernard.

“But have you seen how many are in the band? I fear with that number of people the cost of their rider would far exceed takings for the night.”