Dave Hemingway why I wasn’t ready to quit The Beautiful South

Dave Hemingway with The South

Dave Hemingway with The South - Credit: Archant

What do you do when everybody else wants to stop, but you aren’t ready to walk away just yet? Kate Houghton meets Dave Hemingway of The Beautiful South, and finds out

You don’t have to be a child of the 80’s to be able to bring to mind, in an instant, the iconic tunes and memorable lyrics of songs such as Happy Hour, Caravan of Love and Five Get Over Excited (Fun….Fun…Fun…) from the Housemartins. And you won’t be alone if you can sing all the words to Rotterdam, Dream A Little Dream or Song For Whoever either, just three of a string of hits for Britpop supergroup The Beautiful South.

Dave Hemingway joined Housemartins’ founders Paul Heaton and Stan Cullimore and enjoyed exciting times until 1988, when Dave and Paul joined with Sean Welch to create The Beautiful South, along with a host of other talented musicians and singers.

Almost a decade later the trio parted ways, but Dave wasn’t quite ready for the party to end. As he says:

“I saw it coming for a while, but hadn’t thought about what I might do next. After we split up, I pottered about for around 18 months, and then realised that I really missed it all. I knew I wasn’t alone in feeling like this, and contacted some of the others, including [vocalist] Alison Wheeler, Damon Butcher [keyboard], Gaz Birtles [Sax] and Tony Robinson [trumpet] and we decided to go again.”

A chat with Paul Heaton established that he was quite happy with this, and so from the ashes arose The South.

“My biggest concern was that people didn’t see us as a pale imitation of The Beautiful South,” says Dave. “So we did a few smaller gigs first and took the time to write some new material too.

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“Of course, people love to hear the old hits, and we always deliver those, but the new songs have been successful too and we’ve recorded an album with these which I’m very proud of.

“The new songs don’t go too far from our usual style; I think they’re best described as ‘melodic pop’, nothing radically different. The people who come to see us are patient enough to give us a listen, but we know why they’ve come!”

The South started their most recent tour in February, and on 18 July will be lighting up the theatre at Gawsworth Hall.

“I love the smaller venues,” says Dave. “In the past of course we played the huge venues and even arenas, but I never felt we shone there. Small, intimate venues like Gawsworth suit us better and we all feel much more closely connected to the audience there. We’ve played at Gawsworth a couple of times now, it’s a really lovely venue – especially if we time it so the sun’s going down as we come out on stage. Plus we like to pop out afterwards and meet the people who have come to see us. It’s good to have a drink with a fan and chat about the music!”

With nine band members on stage the audience can certainly expect to be wowed.

Dave laughs: “We’ve a great horn section, who create a powerful sound! But we can tone it down too. Alison’s voice is unforgettable and in a venue like Gawsworth the audience really get the full effect.”

He concludes with what might be modesty, or might simply be an understatment: “I think it’ll be a good gig.”

I think so too, and one which I for one won’t be missing!

Book your tickets at www.gawsworthhall.com or call 01260 223 456

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