INTERVIEW with Bernard Thresher of The Lancashire Hotpots

The Lancashire Hotpots are comedy folk band offering a light hearted view on life from a distinctly Northern angle. They are headlining Southport rocks on Friday 8th July and before that they line up against U2 at Glasonbury. Deke Hardman caught up with Hotpots Bernard Thresher on his lunch break for a chinwag…

The new album is brilliantly entitled Achtung Gravy, is that a lucky coincidence given who you’re up against at Glastonbury?
You will come to realise that anything that involves Dickie Ticker (the groups multi-instrumentalist) is never a surprise, his mind works so fast. He’s a proper bonkers genius. I mean, Stephen Hawkins is clever but then you get your bonkers geniuses like Dickie Ticker, who walks around with a pen in his hand and his pants down. He knew what was going on from day one.

And there’s the Say No To Bono campaign, was that Dickie’s doing, and how do you think that will do?
Yeah, all the artwork and the name of the album were all building to this, and now we’ve got this campaign. Last time we were there we played the Avalon Stage and it w’ packed out so if we can get anywhere near that though The Croissant Neuf Stage isn’t as big. I mean, I like U2, but how many times can you hear ‘In The Name Of Love’?

Exactly, and you’ve got a new line up now, how’s that going?
Oh its great innit! I know it’s new to quite a lot of people but to us, we’ve done about six gigs! (Laughs) They’re just in there now making as many mistakes as the rest of us, and that’s all we can hope for. There’s one occasion when Kenny the drummer, he just stopped. In the middle of CHAV, he’d just had enough, he just gave up, and that’s the Hotpot way innit? A performance wouldn’t be right if there wasn’t a complete balls up somewhere in the middle of it!

I wonder if the nature of you’re songs sometimes gets lost on some audiences? I personally seemed to manage, though I do have to ask about the track ‘Hip Meddow’?
(Laughs) So, there’s me and a mate of mine called Andy, we were burning some wood in my back garden and there’s a there’s a bloke who comes round collecting your scrap metal, and on his transit van he’s got this recording of a trumpet sound, as he cant be bothered to shout like the pot man used to. He presses this button and this little speaker on the top of van goes (makes trumpet sound), and a bad recording goes ‘Hip Meddow!’ which is obviously meant to be scrap metal. As it goes further and further away, we’ve had a couple or three cans of Strongbow and were going “what’s he saying?” and Andy goes “is he saying Hip Meddow?” I’m going, no, but great idea for a song. About twenty minutes later it w’ done.

It’s sometimes that simple isn’t it?
No, its always that simple with the Hotpots, there’s no intelligent underlying or political messages with our songs. It is that simple.

Perhaps best shown in the track ‘Cottaging’?! Wonderful double entendres throughout!
It’s the one thing I’ve managed to get away with, just flirting with that line. The kids are gonna enjoy it ‘cos there’s a nice tune, and the grown ups are gonna like it ‘cos the kids don’t like it.

‘Mek Us A Brew’ is a great opener. How does Bernard Thresher take his brew? Two sugars?
No no, no sugars at all, sweet enough this lad. You gotta look after your teeth, ‘cos occasionally someone fro the St Helens Report will ask for a picture and the last thing you want is a big black tooth, so you gotta stay of the sugars but it is a strong brew, bag in, so when you get to the bottom its almost Bisto.

The last track I will mention is ‘Lucy Meacock’, is she aware of the little nod to her? (Meacock is a newsreader from ITV’s Granada Reports).
She has been played said track, and she giggled like a little schoolgirl bless her! She liked it, though we did edit the last bit out (the lyric ‘I know where you live’). We don’t want the woman to be worried do we?

Haha, hopefully she won’t read this then! So the album is out on Monday (27th June), the fifth in five years. You’re nothing if not consistent?
Consistently poor some people will say! You gotta give the people what they want haven’t you? You can’t ask people to keep coming to see you if you’re just gonna play ‘Chippy Tea’ four times, you gotta give them something new. Plus, were just annoyed by so many things. Annoyed and amused by so much so instead of keeping it to ourselves we might as well share it while we’ve got this ridiculous platform in which to do so.

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You’re headlining Southport Rocks, which I’m sure you’re excited about? What kind of things can we expect, because a big lights show after the sun goes down doesn’t seem to be the Hotpots way, I’m thinking more sunshine and a picnic bench?
You’d be surprised when we get the old Lancashire DJ out. We can drop a couple of phat drum ‘n’ bass beats don’t you worry about that! The thing about being asked to headline a festival is it’s dead nice isn’t it? If they think that people are gonna turn up and see us headlining, they’re there to have a good time aren’t they. You don’t have to be the Chemical Brothers to get people going.

You certainly wont have any problems getting people going I’m sure Bernard! You’ve been together for about five years, I suppose with regards to you’re style of music, you must have a constant stream of inspiration?
Thankfully we are living in an age where there is a constant rebirth and regeneration of idiots and third opinions! They’ve been put on this Earth by whoever or whatever to serve us as inspiration, and we’ll keep using them!

I suppose you’ll never run out of things to write about, maybe we can expect a sixth album pretty soon then?
Who knows, Dickie will have a concept album about cheese in mind or something I’m sure!

Well thanks for chatting to me Bernard, I’ll let you get off as I know you’re on your lunch break from your day job?
Yeah you gotta pay the bills, don’t get us wrong wed like to pack it all in and get on a bus but you’d lose a sense of who you were. Wed lose our Hotpot-ness! Half of my sayings come from the idiots I work with you know. In fact, the track of the record ‘Ill Have One Wi Yer’, the bloke here, that’s his saying. He never gets his wallet out when you’re at the bar, he just waits till someone whose got money goes up and he says, “Alright mate, haven’t seen you in ages… I’ll have one wi’yer”! He’s never paid for a pint in his life!
 

DEKE HARDMAN presents the monthly BIDO LITO! podcast

You can catch BERNARD and The Lancashire Hotpots at Southport Rocks festival, Victoria Park on Friday 8th July. For more details visit southportrocks.co.uk

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