The Chicago Blues Brothers are back at the Beck Theatre with a bang on September 26. JERRY LYONS speaks to the tribute band's guitarist, Hillingdon man Leigh Heggarty,to discover what treats the audience is in for on the 30th anniversary of the creation of that unforgettable muiscal duo, Jake and Elwood
WITH the trademark pork pie hats and familiar dark sunglasses, it is unmistakably the Blues Brothers on stage, right? Wrong - but you are very close.
The Chicago Blues Brothers (CBB) band is a well-established tribute band paying homage to the manic musical duo, immortalised by the late John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd in the smash-hit 1980 film. The pair are now entertainment legends and the Chicago Blues Brothers band does them justice with its performances of songs from the film's playlist.
Hillingdon guitarist Leigh Heggarty, 47, plays in the band and is both excited and anxious about performing at the Beck in front of his friends and family. He says: "I have played with the band for around five years now and we've played all over - in France, Germany and Holland - but this is the first time I have played so close to home.
"At least I will get home at a decent time which is unusual after a gig!
"My Dad will be in the crowd and he won't hesitate to let me know if he thought the show was not up to scratch.
"It's an absolute pleasure playing with the other musicians in the band. Some of them are stars in their own right, having played with the likes of The Kinks and Amy Winehouse, and the music we get to play is sensational. Anyone who plays guitar has to have a soft spot for the blues."
Leigh also works in a music shop in Ickenham and as a guitar technician for the We Will Rock You west-end hit musical. He has been strumming away for more than 30 years.
"I love performing especially when it's music you love," he says. "I joined the band quite by accident.
"A few years ago I was teaching guitar lessons and playing in a band called Neck. One day a student showed me a flier for the Chicago Blues Brothers band and I recognised an old pal in its line up. I contacted him and told him quite casually that if they were ever looking for another guitarist I would be very interested.
"I got a call a few days later about some work with another tribute band that covered The Commitments and when the guitarist from CBB retired, I jumped at the chance.
"We always get a really good response from the crowd and I'm sure the show in Hayes will be no different."
* For ticket information call the Beck Theatre box office on 020 8561 8371.