Posted by: Admin | July 24, 2010

THE SATURDAY INTERVIEW 4 – Graham

Graham greets me amidst a flurry of excitable fur. Calming his dogs, a Tibetan Terrier and a Hungarian Puli, he apologises for his appearance. The night before he was setting the Heaton Moor Conservative Club alight, along with Stockport band, the Beavers. With a set list ranging from AC/DC through Led Zeppelin, Bowie and Thin Lizzy via Madness, the Zutons and Coldplay, it’s no wonder he’s feeling a bit ragged round the edges. Luckily, it’s in a cool, rock star kinda way. Apart from the day-glo orange football socks

I was at the gig the night before. A benefit for the Alzheimer’s Society, it was a marginally more sedate affair than usual. The Beavers play 3-4 gigs a year, two of which are at Woodford, and are always sell-outs. I normally manage to make at least one Woodford gig a year, largely because I’m guaranteed a good time. Why? Because the band always look as if they are having a good time – six middle-aged guys who, for one night only, leave the humdrum world behind and get up on stage and rock their socks off, big grins on their faces. I ask Graham, their singer, whether the impression I have of them enjoying themselves is right.

“Yeah, especially now we play less often,” he confirms. The Beavers formed in 1989 to perform for a friend who was emigrating to Canada (hence the name). The line-up has changed over the years with the current configuration of Graham, Jack (bass), Mark and Tim on Guitar, Ade on Keyboards and Nick on drums going strong since 1999. At their peak they once supported Suzi Quattro (though never met her) and Ruby Turner and played in Germany.

Making specs look cool

“It’s not about fame and fortune, though,” Graham tells me. “It’s about maintaining that sense of adventure.” So does it give him a sense of identity? I venture. He nods. “I think so – I’ve worked in the print trade all my life and it isn’t a high pressure job. Singing is fun.”

A bout of sinusitis almost put paid to the Beavers earlier this year and for the first time last night, Graham had to wear his glasses to read the set list. Apart from his obvious irritation at his failing eyesight, how does he feel about getting older?

“So long as I’m still learning, still improving, I’ll carry on. I just want people to enjoy my voice.”

It’s a good voice, well suited to the Plant, Ferry, Steve Harley hits he performs and well adapted to more modern numbers. Much of the excitement at the gigs is generated by the tremendous energy and physicality of all the band members, particularly Graham whose instrument is his voice. Given that he isn’t gigging every week, does he train before a performance?

“Three – four weeks before I start jogging.” He shrugs and I guess that’s it. Though he still plays a bit of football and coaches youngsters, so he’s a pretty fit guy. “We’re a covers band, so there’s less pressure on us than there would be if we were writing our own stuff. The band all gets on pretty well. We appreciate each other and now we’re older there’s less ego involved than there might have been 20 years ago.”

I ask him what music he listens to nowadays. His answer surprises me, given The Beavers’ staple set list. “Classical. With Rock, I’ve kind of done it to death. I have the radio tuned to Classic FM. I just find it more interesting.”

Any words of wisdom for the rest of us now he’s turned 50? He laughs. “Don’t take yourself too seriously. Relax.”

That’s enough of a “Rock and Roll” answer to satisfy me. And as long as the Beavers keep loving what they do, I’ll keep turning up at the gigs and pulling muscles as I shake my booty. But that’s another story.

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Responses

  1. […] interviewed Graham for the project50 blog way back in the summer of 2010 – you can click here to read it – long before the 50 Facing 50 Portrait Exhibition project had really taken shape, so when I had […]

  2. Hello from Vancouver. Sandra, the one who emigrated to Canada in 1989, says a great big hello, thank you and wow, amazing that you guys are still rockin. Happy memories, hope to see you next time I’m home.


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