Interview with Danny Britain

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Frankie V interviews Danny Britain, lead singer of the Piccadilly-Bullfrogs/180044463685″ target=”_blank”>Piccadilly Bullfrogs and former lead singer of the Stargazers.

How did you get into Rockabilly/Rock N Roll?   

Went to see Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers in 1976 at The Nashville Rooms (as it was then) in West Kensington – it was life changing

Who were the first 50s artists you listened to?    

Crazy Cavan, Vince Taylor, Elvis, Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent, Bill Haley, most Rockabilly, R&B and Doo-wop

What was the scene like when you were young?   

Very exciting, tribal and reasonably violent

How did you get into singing and songwriting?   

In the mid-seventies my mates had a Heavy Rock band called Apex that I used to hang out with and I asked them if they would help me write some rockabilly songs – they became my first band ‘The Barnshakers’ – I converted them… brilliant

Your songs with Jenny Cash are very well crafted and funny. How has your song writing evolved over the years?   

Why thank you! I love story songs and a lot of those songs are wordy, but I have to be careful not to be too clever clever – I love word play and the old lyricists like Cole Porter and Gershwin and great lyricists like Chuck Berry – but you can’t get too lyrically indulgent – it sounds wanky if you over step the mark and with Jenny Cash I do ‘walk the line’

Who inspires you now?  

Pretty much everyone who can be bothered to go through all the logistics and chaos of keeping a band together

I love the bullfrogs you guys perfectly complement each other and like great art just seem complete/archetypal. How did you meet?  

Through the Stargazers – that’s always been an outfit that prides itself in going a little against the grain and the Frogs are one of many off shoots from that old core of musicians – they are all still evolving – Hence August 14th will be The Mississippi Bullfrogs – a top night and a sad one being your last Diamond Jive night – for a while (?) – Hurry back from Nashville Frankie!  (I feel a song coming on)

When i watch you guys I can see all sorts of cultural references such as English comedians from the 70’s not just rock n roll. What are some of your influences outside of rock n roll?  

The wife, Benny Hill, Mel Brooks, Carry On Films, Viz Comics, Star Trek, Family Guy and (guilty pleasure) 70’s Disco

What are some of the venues you have played at over the years which are the most memorable? 

The Hope n Anchor (first gig supporting The Stukas and The Vibrators), The Dublin Castle in Camden – more than 70 times  – The Hammersmith Odeon 17 times (with ‘Shakey’ and Elton John) – The Birmingham Hummingbird, The Glasgow Apollo (now gone) – A tour of Germany with The Comets and B B Kings in Manhatten to name but a few – the gigs at The Dublin Castle were always best though

Looking back what song/band brought you closest to chart mainstream success to date? 

The Stargazers sold enough copies of their first release to go top twenty but there was a two week postal strike so our ‘chart registered’ sales receipts never got to the gallop offices and we missed out on Top of The Pops

Lastly and most controversially who is your favourite Rockabilly artist? 

Carl Perkins

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