The Wet, Wet, Wet front man, solo performer and musical theatre star Marti Pellow has decided to kick off his new Greatest Hits tour right here in Peterborough.
ESP’s Pep Cipriano chatted to Marti about his upcoming concert at the New Theatre, his new album Stargazer and discovered Marti is a big fan of Italian food…
PEP: Would I be right in saying this is your first return to the New Theatre since you appeared in Evita a few years ago?
MARTI:“You’re bang on right, the first time I came to Peterborough was to do Evita and I got a wee chance to spend some time in the city and there’s such a support for the theatres within the community – I think you have three there – the support for the arts I think is absolutely brilliant and the response from the audience, I remember fondly. The space in the theatre had just been done up and it was an absolute pleasure to entertain the crowds. I have nothing but fond memories.”
During lockdown your online sessions became really popular. You were really lucky to be able to lean on your craft to get you throw that time but were you surprised how popular these became and what started it?
“One of the fans, Sam, her family approached me as she’d caught covid and was in a bad way and her family asked if I’d sing into the phone for her and hopefully that’ll raise a smile. And I thought nay bother it’s a nice thing to do!
“Then 120 songs later – throughout the lockdown, every couple of days I just popped into the spare room, sing a wee tune into the phone it was a great way to use the social media platform to give the song a destination rather than just being visual noise.
“For me it was a great way to communicate and a great way for me to learn. I’d asked the fanbase to send me some songs you’d like me to sing and I was surprised how eclectic the music choices were. I thoroughly enjoyed it, so for me every day of doing those lockdown sessions was like a school day and it kept me away from the fridge door!”
Does the release of your new album Stargazer mean you’re just going to be performing and touring or will you do any musical theatre again?
“I think I’ll still do both very much so – I really enjoy the genre. I’ve been very blessed with the shows that I’ve done and will probably do more.
“In fact I’m writing my own musical which I’ve been working on for the last few years and it’s about me embracing the stories that I grew up with that my grandfather told me in Scotland, because I always looked across the pond to America for my inspiration, but I was always surrounded growing up with the whistles and Celtic music and just took it for granted.
"I thought with musical theatre there has to be more to stories than Brigadoon and I would like to bring these stories and the rich heritage and the arts into musical theatre.”
Like Peterborough there’s a massive Italian community in Glasgow isn’t there, has that had a big influence on you?
“I have so many friends who come from an Italian upbringing – and I love the traditional food – not what they serve in Italian restaurants, the only place to eat pizza is Naples.
“You can’t be in a hurry making pizza, you can be in a hurry eating it but you’ve got to show the love and it’ll show the love back!”
You’ve said your album Stargazer is homage to your heroes – what influences can we hear?
“On Stargazer I changed instruments when I was writing this album – usually I’d write on a piano. You interact with your instrument in a certain way and most of Stargazer was written on guitar and that made me a wee bit more tipping my hat to Bowie, or early Roxy Music or Iggy Pop - the music that I enjoyed. I’m not the best guitarist in the world so it made me write in a certain way but I really enjoyed that journey with it.
“All the musicians I used were completely different too. My last album I did in Los Angeles with the Tower of Power and Quincey Jones and Steeley Dan boys and it was very sophisticated in its arrangements and its production values. It was leaning more towards the Quincey Jones world of production style whereas this has more rock and roll feel to it. There’s a wee bit more bite and a bit more edge to it.”
What sort of show can we expect when you launch your tour at the New Theatre?
“I wanted to come out and to do a show that’s more about entertaining than educating. I think in this environment this is just about me embracing my Wet Wet Wet heritage, my solo work, I might include some of the lockdown songs - it’s an evening just about bringing some smiles and your dancing shoes. I might pepper it with a couple of new songs at the most.
“I just want the evening to be about songs you know and it’s a no brainer, I think we’ve just had enough time in the house, we just want to come out and feel that sense of connection and it’s not too demanding on you.
“If you shout loud enough and I know the song I’ll probably sing it!”
You have so much happening I really hope your career continues on the up.
“I hope so… because you know what I was a terrible painter and decorator!” (laughs)
Book now to see Marti on his Greatest Hits Tour at the New Theatre Peterborough, Wednesday November 17 at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced from £40.50 and are available from the Box Office – 01733 852992 or book online www.newtheatre-peterborough.com