Shed Seven frontman Rick Witter chats to Gayle Ritchie ahead of playing Fat Sam’s in Dundee on November 22.
For fans heading to Shed Seven’s gig at Fat Sam’s, frontman Rick Witter promises a “rock n’ roll evening for a Monday night at the end of November”.
The Britpop legends were massive in the 1990s and while they’ve gone through a few changes in line-up over the decades, they’re as strong and musically tight as ever.
Famed for hits including Going for Gold, Chasing Rainbows and On Standby, the band have a loyal army of fans in Scotland.
They’ll perform an “intimate” warm-up gig at Fat Sam’s on November 22, followed by Inverness Ironworks the following day.
Rick, 48, says both gigs are being used to help “get into the groove again” ahead of a string of sell-out dates across the UK for their greatest hits tour.
“It’s weird because we usually do these tours every other year at Christmas,” he says.
“When we were in the throes of the first lockdown, we were conscious of the fact lots of bands were going to want to go out and play when they were allowed to again, so we started discussions about booking these gigs in March 2020.
“Happily we’re allowed out again now and we can get on with doing our days jobs, which is nice.”
York-based Rick reckons the last time the band played Fat Sam’s was in 2001 – and they graced the stage there a good few times in the 90s.
“It’s nice to be able to come up to Dundee again – it’s been a while!” he says.
“We thought we’d add a couple of intimate warm-up kind of shows to get into the groove again. And where better than Fat Sam’s!
“It’ll be a full show, just in a slightly smaller venue, just so we can find our legs and see the whites of people’s eyes.”
Getting back out there
The band played a couple of festivals in September, which, says Rick, helped them “get used to playing in front of a crowd again”.
“We were all a bit on edge because it was ‘new’ again and there were masses of people stood together in a field. But within two or three songs it was like Covid never happened.”
Back in August, the band announced that two of its founding members – drummer Alan Leach, and guitar and keyboard player Joe Johnson – would be stepping down from their roles.
The Dundee gig will be the first time they’ve played live with their new line-up, with “Maxi” (Audioweb and Ian Brown) on drums and Tim Wills on keyboard and guitar (Tim has toured, produced and co-written with Ian Brown and worked with The Cure and James to name but a few).
“That’s another reason why rather than jumping straight into the bigger venues we wanted to ingratiate them in front of a crowd,” says Rick.
“But the rehearsals are sounding absolutely immense! They’re both professional musicians who’ve been in loads of different bands, so they know what they’re doing.
“The guys are recreating our sound but obviously putting a little bit of their own slant on it – but there’s nothing that should worry any Shed Seven fan who’s been to see us a lot in the past.
“If anything it’s reinvigorated us and made us feel a little bit more hunger to do it. It’s also made us look at the setlist and we’ve decided to play a few songs we’ve not played since the 90s which will be a treat for the fans hopefully.
🚨🏴 DUNDEE & INVERNESS 🏴🚨
— Shed Seven (@shedseven) October 8, 2021
“There’ll be a few surprises but I think on the whole, people should just expect to go and see a great Shed Seven gig.
“We’ll be playing all the old hits and making it a bit of a rock n’ roll evening for a Monday night at the end of November!”
“Anniversaries seem to come more and more often which is a bit worrying; it shows we’re getting old!” chuckles Rick.
“We’re really lucky as a band. We’ve got a great set of fans and we’ve got a lot of songs from the 90s but they never seem to age, they never seem to get tiring to listen to.
“I often get asked – do you ever get bored of playing Chasing Rainbows. Never! The atmosphere while we play that song is just incredible so no way would we get bored of that feeling when everybody’s singing every word back at you.”
The band released a new album, Instant Pleasures, in 2017, which charted at number eight in the UK album chart.
“That made us a little bit more relevant,” reflects Rick.
“It’s not just a case of being a nostalgia act and playing songs from the 90s. We plan on doing a lot more of that in the new year. It’s just important to keep moving forward, as well as remembering and playing the songs from the 90s, which got us where we are really.
“I see people coming to see us now who are around our age who’ve bought tickets months ago and got babysitters lined up.
“They want to reminisce about the 90s and the songs they listened to then. It’s a great atmosphere. It creates a real buzz.”
“We thought we’d add a couple of intimate warm-up kind of shows to get into the groove again. And where better than Fat Sam’s!”
Support for the warm-up gigs will be from Kirkcaldy-based Shambolics.
“They seem like a great bunch of lads and I look forward to watching them live,” says Rick.
- For tickets, see gigsinscotland.com/artist/shed-seven