Following recent performances with The Kast-Off Kinks and Mike Pender’s Searchers, Itchycoo Park return to Cumbernauld Theatre this Friday with songs from the Beatles albums Rubber Soul and Revolver.
Founded in 1995, the Cumbernauld band of Ronnie Davidson, Jim Logie, Kenny Little and John McNaught, have played all over the world.
We caught up with drummer and singer John McNaught.
Asked about the band’s passion for the music of the 1960s, John said: “Everyone in the band grew up with 60s music. It’s the music of our youth, or ‘my generation’ as The Who sang. Apart from that, we all feel that whilst there is plenty of great modern music being made now, it’s hard to beat the diversity and quality of 60’s music. Look at the movement through just seven or eight years from ‘Please, Please Me’ to ‘Sergeant Pepper’; it’s just a great story of creativity and wall to wall great pop tunes.
John also talked about the band’s origins, saying: “Some of us were in another local band that broke up in the mid ‘90s, and we decided to play music that we all liked, because sometimes that hadn’t been the case in the other band. We almost ‘rediscovered’ 60s music after we went to re-learn those songs. We were prepared for this material not to be popular, but we were wrong... it was a success with audiences from the start. We’ve only had a couple of line up changes since the inception of IP in 1996 - 20 years this year! - but our latest member Kenny (who joined about a year ago) feels exactly the same as us, so he’s fitted in really well, after he started to ‘rediscover’ the 60s after joining IP.”
In their two decades, Itchycoo Park have performed countless gigs all over the world. We asked John which experiences proved most memorable.
“A very hard question to answer... from playing in Manhattan at B.B. King’s club, to a Turkish beach bar, to a Swedish ice rink we’ve played so many unexpected places, but it might be a little closer to home.
“We played at The Cavern Club (with the arched brick roof like the original) filled with Beatles, fans, and bouncing and dancing and drinking while we played something really loud like ‘Twist and Shout’ and the place was jumping, well, it seemed like you could just about feel what it must have been like back when The Fabs were rockin’ the place in the early 60s during a lunchtime session. That’s one of the highlights, at least... and we’re going back in August this year so we’re all looking forward to playing at the home of Beatles music once again.”
On the appeal of live performance, John said: “Whether it’s a big or small audience, it’s about getting that feedback from the crowd that they are taking part in the moment, by going with the music, and dancing or singing along to a particular song. And if they clap, and stay around, and really start taking part, then you feed off their enjoyment and try to really perform for them.
“You can sense, and sometimes see, a crowd that’s working with you, and then you all have more fun. Naturally a big audience is better and we’re hoping for one at Cumbernauld Theatre for the RubberRevolver show!”
Itchycoo Park have played at Abbey Road on the River, the biggest Beatles festival in the United States, nine times. We asked what elements of that would be brought to the Cumbernauld performance.
“We know this festival really well - the promoter, other US and international bands, many fans and of course the songs of The Beatles, so the link with folks that like the RubberRevolver show we did there is direct with people who might want to come along to Cumbernauld on Friday.
“It’s the same shared love of the music and the sense that we are all celebrating a great period in modern musical history.
“Folks is folks, and music is music, so whether it’s Kentucky or Cumbernauld we’ll have the same great time playing our selection from both albums. Our RubberRevolver show this year was actually performed in the Ali Centre, in the top floor ballroom, so what we’ll bring is love from Louisville!”
And lastly we asked what playing for their home town means to Itchycoo Park. John said: “It’s fun to travel, but a real privilege to play in a venue like Cumbernauld Theatre where we’ve enjoyed many musical nights over the years. It’s great to be able to work with them on a musical idea like this, and to have family and friends, local folks, be able to come out and see what IP do when we’re playing in far flung places, like East Kilbride!”
The show starts at 7:45pm and tickets are £12 full price. Call the Box Office on 01236 732887 or visit cumbernauldtheatre.co.uk