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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

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Size doesn’t matter to West Cumbrian band Hammerhead

One West Cumbrian band has a positive way of looking at playing to a small crowd.

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ROCK ON: Hammerhead in 2010, from left: guitarist and vocalist Buzz Elliott, bass player Steven Archer, drummer Tony Steel, and guitarist and vocalist Brian Hodgson. The musicians have recently recruited a new singer, Steven ‘Pecker’ Woods

For Workington heavy rockers Hammerhead it’s all about having the chance to “mingle” with their hard core fans.

Hammerhead have risen in popularity over the years thanks to their “underground” cult status.

They’ve played gigs all over the country and are due to perform in their second overseas gig at the Hard Rock Hell Ibiza Road Trip on June 1.

Their first international festival in 2010 was Metal Cova, in Barcelona, and they are due to play another festival, in Italy next September.

Guitarist Buzz Elliott says: “To some bands that have really made it, playing to a small crowd may seem catastrophic.

“But the way we look at it is that you’re playing to your fans even if it’s a small crowd.

“It gives you time to mingle and speak to the fans after a gig which is the most important thing.

“We once had a guy who came all the way from Japan who didn’t speak much English but had followed us for years, and it was really humbling.”

The band was formed in 1978 by guitarist Brian Hodgson and bassist Steve Archer from Seaton.

The pair had played in various bands but decided to start writing their own material.

Around a year later they spotted Buzz playing with his band at Workington’s Carnegie Theatre, and he was recruited, with drummer Tony Steel following and singer Steven ‘Pecker’ Woods joining them recently.

The band played gigs within a 150-mile radius in the early days and enjoyed moderate success in the 1980s before drifting apart.

They joined up again in 2005 to play a gig at a friend’s wedding and then decided to reform.

Hammerhead have since played a host of national festivals alongside bands such as Uriah Heep, UFO, Diamond Head and Budgie.

They play their own songs, have released two albums and class themselves as a cross between Wishbone Ash and Black Sabbath.

Says Buzz: “Even though we’re playing songs from the 1970s there is still a big fan base for us.

“Despite being an underground cult sort of band our music is being discovered in all kinds of places around the globe.

“This is largely due to the internet but a lot of our oldest fans overseas have told me that before the dawn of the internet they used to send cassette tapes to other rock fans all over the world.”

The band is playing a warm-up gig at Workington’s Vine Bar tonight at 9pm.

Entrance is free.

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