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BIG INTERVIEW: Chas and Dave play at Cheltenham Town Hall

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: April 12, 2013

Chas

Chas and Dave

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EVEN after all these years, Chas and Dave still have no problem drawing in a crowd when they perform.

With cockney classics such as Gertcha and Rabbit, Rabbit, the loveable duo are as popular now as they have ever been.

With a countrywide tour well under way and due to arrive in Cheltenham Town Hall on Sunday, the boys are selling out right across the land.

After making names for themselves around the British rock scene in the '60s and '70s, Chas Hodges and Dave Peacock joined forces to become the Chas and Dave we know today.

They go together a bit like Ant and Dec or Dick and Dom, in that although we all know them, most of us are a bit vague as to which is which.

If it helps, Chas is the slightly bigger one sitting at the piano, while Dave is the slightly skinnier one on the bass guitar.

But almost everyone knows the songs that have made them famous. Gertcha, Rabbit and Ain't No Pleasing You are just some of the cockney rock songs audiences will be hoping to hear this weekend.

"We always try to include these songs because they are the ones everyone wants to hear," Chas told The Buzz.

"Sometimes I lose track and forget to sing one and then, as we are winding up, someone in the audience yells out that we haven't sung it and we do it then."

Now 69, Chas is as chipper as he has ever been – and as enthusiastic about the music that gave the two friends their fame way back when.

"The first half of the show will include tracks by Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis, finishing off with Gertcha," he said.

Rabbit comes along after the interval, with the songs released from 1980 and beyond, right up to the present day.

"We have 57 dates altogether and are finding that we are getting more and more younger people coming along, as well as our original fans."

When Chas started out as a young man in 1960, he worked with Newent-born record producer Joe Meek as a session musician, supporting his hero Jerry Lee Lewis.

"When I first started out I heard him play the piano and immediately thought, that's what I want to do," said Chas, who is a Londoner through and through.

"That was back in 1963 when I was playing bass with The Outlaws on tour with Jerry as his backing group, which was like a dream come true to me.

"It was then when I first started playing the piano and Jerry was my inspiration for that. It kicked off my future career."

When asked whether he considers himself a national treasure, Chas is typically modest, but with a twinkle in his eye.

"I would never describe myself as that but it is nice to hear other people call us that," he said.

Football is also bound to get a look-in during the gig as both are huge fans of Tottenham Hotspur football club and have written many a tune for the team during their time, including the famous Ossie's Dream, otherwise known as 'Spurs Are On Their Way To Wembley'.

Considering the number of years the irrepressible pair have been around, there can be very few places they haven't performed in the Brish Isles.

"I haven't got any particular connection with Cheltenham other than the fact that my Uncle Bill used to live here I believe," he said.

"It's difficult to keep track of all the places we have visited over the years, there have been so many."

There's no doubt that the pair are living proof that, at the end of the day, hard graft and years of experience hold far more longevity in the world of music than a quick route to fame, X-factor style.

Long after the latest 'big name in pop' has faded from our memories, Chas and Dave will still be packing them in, in venues up and down the country with their "rockney" music style and refreshing, down to earth approach to their deserved fame.

And anyone who's a bit concerned whether Dave is really the original Dave Peacock or some sort of imposter, can rest easy - it was a suggestion made tongue in cheek by Bill Bailey on the Never Mind the Buzzcocks TV quiz show and has no basis in fact.

* Tickets for Chas and Dave cost from £21.50. Call 08445 762210. The concert starts at 7.30pm on Sunday.

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