RARELY off the road since the demise of Ian Dury in 2000, but now with Derek Hussey fronting the band, the Blockheads are still one of the most underrated British bands of all time, with a legion of fans of all ages.

Along with some new material the band will be performing old favourites including Hit Me with your Rhythm Stick, Wake Up And Make Love With Me, Reasons To Be Cheerful (Part 3) and Sweet Gene Vincent and many more at Watford Colosseum.

Starting out as the band behind Ian Dury, the Blockheads are a legendary outfit that has grown in stature from the early days of the Stiff tour in 1977, right up to the present day. Backing up Ian Dury’s poetic lyrics, this is the band that brought you ‘Hit Me with your Rhythm Stick’, among many others.

The Blockheads are fronted by Derek ‘The Draw’ Hussey, and Chaz Jankel, Norman Watt-Roy, John Turnbull and Mick Gallagher still remain from the original band. The current line-up is augmented by John Roberts on drums and a rolling line up of saxophonists that includes Gilad Atzmon, Terry Edwards and Dave Lewis.

Blockheads Q&A


'One of the UK's most underrated British bands' it says on your press release...

Is that a cry for help?

Underrated by whom?


Certainly not underrated or unappreciated by our UK/British audiences ….. in fact we are treated as National Treasures in some quarters. The ‘underrated’ term is used for the benefit of European promoters who have taken the attitude of ‘.. what is the point of The Blockheads without Ian Dury?’

Those few agents and promoters who have taken a punt and booked us in Belgium/France/Norway etc. have found the band to be surprisingly potent.


What makes your music as relevant today as it was back when Ian headed up the band?


As an artist or band ages, ‘being relevant’ is increasingly difficult.

It’s easier to be relevant when you are a charting band and ‘flavour of the month’.

People are more likely to read into your lyrics and find empathy with whatever message they believe is inherent in the songs when the media is telling them that ‘this is something special’.

The very nature of songs and music is one of development. . . new ideas, new attitudes. Not many artists can stay relevant beyond 4 or 5 years, but they can remain inspirational in their creativity and performance.

No, we are probably not as relevant in the eyes of the general public or the music industry as we were in our heyday, but we remain good entertainment.


How do you think the music industry has changed since the 1970s? What were the best parts performing then? How is this tour different to the Stiff tour of 1977?


The music industry has changed beyond recognition since the 1970’s.

Nothing is the same. Some changes for the good and some initially bad!

No more ‘development‘ patronage for new acts by record labels… Reasons for forming bands are different… Very few small venues left for developing bands to hone their art… Promoters don’t promote!!

Managers don’t manage!!

Recording is a totally different discipline… Marketing and marketing outlets have been completely re-routed… Music in general has lost it’s resonance and value..

I could go on, but on the positive side the changes have put more power in the hands of the artist…which can only be a good thing.

Best parts of performing back then?. . .being travelling troubadours with no responsibilities.

The Stiff Tour of 1977 was a huge record company advertisement for their colourful roster of artists at the time.

A well timed and planned enterprise by one of the first successful independent labels. As such it had the resources of innovative ‘in house’ publicity agents, sensational graphic artists and a ‘break every rule possible’ attitude …. All piled into one large coach playing various concert halls and a lot of Universities throughout the UK.

These days we mostly travel separately and sedately in our cars to the gigs making sure we don’t exceed the speed limit and, as a small cottage industry, rely on the mighty internet to herald our arrival in the area.


Same Horse Different Jockey was obviously like saying its business as usual but how important do you think it is to reinvent your previous work for new audiences?


We can never do live performances without playing our most popular works, which, in truth, never gets tedious. In fact there is a glorious release of emotion throughout the audience and band on the delivery of favourites such as Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, What a Waste, Clevor Trever, Reasons to be Cheerful and Hit me with your Rhythm Stick etc. but we consciously try to pepper the set with new material from our recent albums. It is important for us to continue to be creative and constructive and not rest on our laurels…however meagre.


How has Derek being the frontman shaped the band?


Our first solo album ‘Where’s the Party’ featured individual songs and vocal performances from various band members and, although absorbingly pleasurable and democratic to make, resulted in an unfocussed end product.

Derek has brought a more personable and focussed sound and face to the band which serves The Blockheads well.


Ian was a very handsome chap. Who is the band pin-up these days?


Norman Watt-Roy.


Could you tell us more about the Kickstarter project? How much were

your fans involved in enabling you to create new videos?


The fans were completely involved and enabling . . . that’s the whole

point of crowd funding.

It was a lot of hard work, pressure and fun 24/7 for approximately

three months and our fan base responded with gusto …..a very humbling

experience also in that the generosity and encouragement of donors on

every level, not only financial but of offers of time and expertise,

was at times overwhelming.


Express Yourself - who was involved in scripting/making the film? Do I

detect an air of Flashdance and Rocky in the mix?


A great video full of oblique and apposite references to the history

of the band.

We gave the 3 video project to a young independent film company called

‘Free Seed Films’. They were responsible for all aspects of the

shoots. Concepts, Scripting, locations, wardrobe, casting and filming


Flashdance and Rocky? Yes, I’ll go along with your comparison in that

the ‘Express Yourself’ video and both of those films cinematically

portray individuals achieving goals through positive application.


What inspired you to create the remix album? How did it feel to throw

it out there for people to collaborate and contribute to the tracks?

How did you choose the best ones?


The idea came from our contacts with the ‘NOW’ generation. ‘Give

it to the people..’ they said.

So we did.

After a preliminary stunned silence…the band warmed to the idea.

It turned out to be a great deal of fun initially and, by giving our

work away , we were the coolest band on the planet , , for about a


Then we had to deal with the onslaught…. Over a hundred plus remixes

to listen to and assess! An awesome task but we were looking for mixes

that that could throw the works in a different direction without

losing the integrity of the piece, and sometimes even enriching and

enhancing, the original recordings.

We were well happy with the result and everyone had a creativity



The Blockhead logo is enjoying a resurgence - what's the story behind

the design?


The Blockhead Logo was commissioned by Ian in 1978 as a band marketing

tool and it’s inspirational design was created by Barney Bubbles, then

working for Stiff Records.


Do you have a favourite track from your back catalogue?


We probably all have a different take on this question but one of my

own favourites is ‘Honeysuckle Highway’ from the ‘Mr. Lovepants’


‘Cruising down carnality canal in my canoe can I canoodle……’

magnificent alliteration.


What do you think Ian would think about your resurgence in popularity?




Are you looking forward to playing in Watford? What in particular

attracted you to perform here?


We look forward to every gig….. relish the opportunity to play


We are playing Watford because we were asked.


What's next for The Blockheads?


Apart from continuing the invigorating prospect of 50 or so live

performances a year for as long as we are still able, enjoying it,

and audiences keep appreciating our efforts, we are involved in

compiling extensive footage and interviews to complete and market a

history of the individual members of The Blockheads’. Before,

throughout and after the heady hit years. It will be called ‘Beyond

the Call of Dury’.

Hopefully ready for Spring 2016.


What would you say to people who haven't heard your music before and

are thinking of coming along to the gig?


If you haven’t experienced a Blockhead gig then you need it on your

bucket list!

Get down to Watford Colosseum on Saturday night and fill your head,

heart and soul with something old, something new, all original and, at

times, a little blue Funk/Punk.

Come and say hello….!