We had a lovely chat with local blues rock poetry legend Dan Donovan about what he’s got in store for us…
Greetings Dan! To give us a flavour, if you could compare yourself to any other artists, or could cite any major influences, who or what would they be?
Influences are many. I think consistent references would be Tom Waits, Iggy Pop. I’m currently listening to The Kills, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and
The Dead Weather, they hold a certain left of centre approach to blues and rock which is definitely my bag.
Those artists certainly tie into your dark, alternative-blues kind of stuff. Can you tell us a bit about where you started out, what got you initially interested in playing music? And where are you based now?
Back in the 70’s when I was a teenager all I could access was chart music. The Sweet, T Rex and Alice Cooper would light up my life. In the late 70’s, the Old Grey Whistle test became my go to place to discover more. I remember The Police and Tom Petty doing their first TV performances, great moments for discovery. I’m firmly based geographically in the Fens now; big skies and solitude serve me well.
It’s always good to get away from it all for a while. So an you tell us a bit about any other projects, past, present or future?
I’ve recorded around 13 albums to date. Some are stripped down acoustic based, some are full on garage rock – and there’s always some room for ambient spoken word.
I’ll say! That’s quite an impressive back catalogue. Can you share any mad stories with us that happened along the way, about any adventures, gigs going wrong etc?
Not too many disasters on stage fortunately. There was gig in Brussels I played. It was quite a prestigious rock gig, big crowd. During our soundcheck there was a power cut and then when we hit the stage for the show I broke strings, the drummer’s cymbal flew off, my leads kept popping out of
my guitar pedals. It was a total nightmare and still haunts me, I struggled to keep it together.
Gosh that sounds awful! Poor you! Let’s talk about something more positive. Have you had any achievements as an artist you’re especially proud of? Like a particular song, show or recording experience?
In the late 80’s, my then-band, Tribe of Dan, was invited to record a session at The Maida Vale studio for Radio 1, that was pretty special.
Last year I had an opportunity to record at the infamous Ranch de la Luna studio in the Californian desert. Many great bands have recorded there,
QOTSA, Iggy Pop, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys to name a few. Joining me in the studio was long time friend Jonny Quinn
(Snow Patrol drummer), Dave Catching (Eagles of Death Metal, QOTSA guitarist) and Peterborough muso celeb Mark Ringer (Burning Codes).
Oh wow! Those are some incredible shoulders to brush with! What an experience that must’ve been. On the strength of that, have you got any upcoming releases, gigs or other exciting things in the near future?
This year I’ll be releasing the recordings I made at Rancho. I’m currently making plans to tour some dates with the project.
Excellent! We’ll be sure to keep our ears to the ground for those. Thanks Dan!