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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Rockin’ the attic

A NEW rock 'n' roll band featuring TV antiques expert Paul Hayes visits Barrow this weekend. KARL STEEL finds out more.

THE last place you might expect to find an antiques dealer would be fronting a rock ’n’ roll band.

The two roles don’t exactly go hand in hand, but for Cash in the Attic expert Paul Hayes, the formation of his band is the culmination of a life-long passion.

“I’ve always loved rock ’n’ roll since I was very young,” he says.

“It really stemmed from the fact that my dad was an antiques dealer as well, and we always used to get these job lots of old records.

“I’d listen to them, and I really got into it. When the other kids at school were listening to Wham, I was listening to 50s and 60s rock ’n’ roll.”

The 40-year-old Morecambe-based antiques dealer has been a regular face on the BBC over the past decade, on Bargain Hunt, Housecall and more recently Cash in the Attic.

He may be more commonly associated with English pottery than Elvis Presley, but his passion for music led him to form a band, The Paul Hayes Collection, earlier this year.

Paul says: “Singing is a passion and a hobby of mine, and if anything, it’s a bit of a release for me.

“I’m just doing it for the love of the music, that’s the only reason. We cover a lot of Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and the rest of the 50s and 60s rockers.

“We’ve just had a gig with James Burton, who’s one of the all-time greats – he was once guitarist for Elvis. He was coming over here for a few gigs and his agent scouted us and was obviously impressed.

“We’ve only had a few shows, but so far it’s been great.”

Paul’s ambition to start up a band stemmed from a visit last year to Memphis, and in particular Elvis’ mansion, Graceland.

Having seen the birthplace of rock n’ roll and witnessed first -hand how half a century later the legacy of the greats lives on, he was inspired to call upon an old contact.

Fellow Morecambe antique dealer, and veteran guitar hero, Golly Goulding learned of Paul’s desire to play live and invited him to sing at a jam session, and it went from there.

With bassist Gary Pugh, drummer Frank Holmes, and keyboardist Susan Hedges all on board, the five-piece outfit are heading out across the North West, stopping off at The Vault Bar, in Barrow, this Saturday.

Former Fabulous Fontaines and The Leaders guitarist Golly says: “I’ve played in all sorts of R ’n’ B and rock ’n’ roll bands over the years, and played all the venues in Barrow back in the 60s.

“There was a strong scene in the North West back then, and all the big names used to come to Morecambe to play venues like the Floral Hall Ballroom.

“They used to run coach trips down from Barrow to the big shows, and my band was support for pretty much all of them.

“I’ve played alongside The Kinks, The Yardbirds, The Who, The Hollies and The Stones – but that just seemed normal at the time.

“I’ve been in antiques since 1967 and I used to deal with Paul’s dad, so I’ve known him since he was a lad.

“He mentioned to me his love for rock ’n’ roll and his visit to Memphis, so I invited him to come to a jam and sing a couple of numbers. It just worked, and it started to become a little side-book for me.”

While Paul refers to his band of talented musicians as ‘a collection of priceless artefacts’, Golly is happy to let him take the limelight.

“Paul’s a popular lad,” he says.

“Wherever we go with him, everyone always wants to have their picture taken with him, and all the older ladies who watch him on the telly really like him – and I don’t think he has a problem with that.

“It will be a bit different at the show on Saturday, but we’ll just be playing some rock n’ roll and we’ll have a bit of fun.”

Forget Cash in the Attic, this weekend is all about rock in the basement.

l The show at The Vault Bar, accessible through the Duke of Edinburgh Hotel on Abbey Road, starts at 9pm and there will be a small charge on the door.

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