For many Gas Mark 5 were THE English ceilidh band of the 1980s and ‘90s. They officially called it a day in the mid-90s, but they’ve been lured back into action as very special guests as part of Towersey’s phenomenal ceilidh marathon. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back to the stage, Rob Gifford (drums), Trevor Bennet (tuba, trombone and keyboards), Chris Taylor (harmonica, guitar and melodeon), Terry Mann (trombone and keyboards) and – answering our questions - Dan Quinn (melodeon).
It’s been a while!
This is the first time this line-up has played together since the end of 1989! The original trombonist isn't playing any more so we called in Terry, who was my replacement when I left in '89.
Why now for the reunion?
We were asked, it's as simple as that [laughs]. We were asked to get back together for Towersey, so I rang around and was surprised to discover everyone said 'yes.' That made me quite happy, I'm very excited by the idea. We'll do two or three rehearsals and then do the festival, which is a festival I've always enjoyed. People like Towersey, so it's worth the effort. It's just so friendly, full of happy faces, the atmosphere is fabulous, and the organisation is second to none. You can't go wrong with Towersey!
Was the old magic still there after all these years?
When we got back together, we got back into it straight away - it was great to hear that trombone! But we've always got on, there was never any animosity [between us], it wasn't like that. I was sorry to leave but my decision to leave wasn't artistic, just my son [Matt] came along.
Any idea of what you’ll be playing yet?
Since we haven't played together since 1989, I had to sit down and actually write a sensible set-list and connect with Gordon Potts, who is calling it. We've got the songs... and he has all the calls, so it can't change now, it's set in stone.
Anything planned for Gas Mark 5 once Towersey’s over?
There's nothing happening at the moment.
Gas Mark 5 are often referred to as ‘the definitive English ceilidh band’- how do you feel about that title?
That's very nice isn't it? When the concept of ceilidh started - whatever that is - Gas Mark 5 were there. Gas Mark 5 was an off-shoot of Flowers and Frolics, who packed it in in '85/'86.
Your son, Matt, will also be appearing at Towersey...
Matt’s appearing with The New Slide on Monday and I'll be appearing with him as The Mighty Quinns. He's been playing for 6-7 years, he suddenly found he liked the music. He is a great musician, and he likes traditional music. He plays violin and mandolin and did four years in Newcastle on the folk music degree.
Catch Gas Mark 5's return at Towersey Festival on Saturday 24 August 2013 in The Ceilidh tent. On Monday 26 August, also see The Mighty Quinns in The Big Club, and The New Slide in The Ceilidh.