Steve Harley is coming to play at Bangor University on Saturday, 21st May. I recently talked to Steve, and he spoke with the enthusiasm of a 20-year-old when it came to the subject of playing live and all it entails!
Q: Hi, Steve. Do you still get a buzz from touring?
A: Yes, I do. It’s a job like any other, but I still take it very seriously. I’ve been playing for 50 years now, and I know the country like the back of my hand. I’ve played everywhere in the UK, from Inverness to St Ives.
I still find it very exciting when I’m sitting in the dressing room. There’s no tension or nerves because I’ve experienced everything that can happen before, so nothing surprises or fazes me. That’s a helpful backup to have in your psyche… it stops you from worrying.
It’s reassuring to know you’re playing with guys who are virtuosos. Barry Wickens has played more shows with me than anyone else in my career. They are so good I can give them a lot of space.
I think the quote by Virginia Woolfe still applies to me: “All is experiment and adventure.”
Q: How do you travel around?
A: We use a splitter van, a long-wheelbase Mercedes Sprinter converted to hold a central table and very comfortable reclining leather seats. All the gear then goes in the back.
Q: Do you still find new things about where you’re touring?
A: Yes, for example, one of the charities I endorse is the RNLI Lifeboat Society. There’s a guy who lives up at Seahouses in Northumberland. He asked us if we wanted to take a detour and see where Grace Darling rescued some shipwrecked sailors around Banborough Castle and also look at their rescue boats.
He has a friend who runs an upmarket café just off the A1, and they want to invite us for a free lunch at the café!
Also, if the tour manager thinks we’ve got some time to spare, he’ll stop off somewhere to visit. There are so many great places we visit in the process of touring. For example, we stopped off at the Arctic Circle when we were up in Scandinavia.
Q: Do you still play “Sebastian”?
A: Yes, we still play an acoustic version. Barry is a master of the electric violin. With a couple of pedals, he can sound like eight instruments and reproduce these sweeping strings that were a feature of the original song.
Q: You still look very good for 75
A: It must be the moisturiser I use!
He’s still got a keen sense of humour. Get tickets at ticketmaster.co.uk.