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Thursday, 02 July 2015

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‘I’d make Simon Cowell wish he was deaf, but I give it a go’

On stage, he’s a pint-sized pocket rocket with more energy than a tin of beans, and next month Dez Rumney will be back where he belongs – in front of an audience.

BACK FROM THE DEAD: Dez Rumney, of Workington rock outfit Zonked Out On Acdo, with some of the props that will feature in the band’s show at the Carnegie Theatre on November 3

Singer Dez, whose day job is as a painter and decorator in Workington, is a lifelong fan of Black Sabbath and can often be found belting out their classic tunes alonside his own material at music festivals up and down the county with his band Zero.

But he is best known for the annual Zonked Out On Acdo show – a full-on, two-hour tribute to the Sabbath and lead singer Ozzy Osbourne – which will return to the Carnegie Theatre in Workington after a two-year break.

It had become a fixture on the yearly live gig list for music fans in West Cumbria and something to look forward to.

But Dez, 47, decided to retire the show after the 2009 performance was almost cancelled 10 minutes before he was due on stage because a controversial ‘hanging’ scene – beloved of rock gods like Alice Cooper – was deemed unsuitable.

Dez says: “We were told it may traumatise the audience, despite the fact we’d done it before.

“I wasn’t going to do another gig because of the hassle we had.

“But we had so many people saying to us that we should resurrect the show and we thought to ourselves ‘why not?’ because it’s always a great night.

“It feels good to be doing the show again, although it is a lot of hard work. We make all the set ourselves and there is a lot of work, including risk assessments and health and safety assessments and courses, which we have to do in the run-up to the performance.

“The hanging scene will go ahead this year too – we’re hanging my son.”

His 19-year-old son is named Ozzy, after Mr Osbourne of course.

The show – called the Back From the Dead tour – features a light show, giant Grim Reaper, skulls, zombies and severed heads.

Dez says although it is a tribute to Black Sabbath, it is not done in a po-faced way.

“It’s not a serious affair at all – while we love Black Sabbath and some might say I am fanatical, it’s also about entertainment and it’s done with a knowing wink and nod to the audience.

“We aim to have a lot of humour in there too!”

Zonked Out on Acdo started in 1988.

Dez is the only original member in the line-up – the rest of the musicians left so they could see the show rather than perform in it – and the band has evolved over the years.

This year, he will be joined by his fellow Zero members Angus Smeaton on drums, Andrew Lillico on guitar, Lindsay Hudson on bass and Steve Hadfield on keyboards.

Dez recalls they originally wanted to be called Zonked Out On Acid but were asked to change their name by the Carnegie’s then manager Paul Sherwin.

Dez says: “The Carnegie didn’t want to be associated with the rave scene which was really big at the time.

“So we had to change our name and Acdo, a washing powder, was the first thing that sprung to mind. It just stuck.”

He is looking forward to this year’s show, which he promises will be bigger and better than previous productions, and is excited about performing in the newly revamped Carnegie Theatre.

He adds: “It’s going to be great to get on stage there. I’ve been watching the redevelopment with interest and it’s just brilliant to see it looking so good. I can’t wait.

“I’m not someone who has a voice which would be good enough for shows like X Factor.

“In fact, I’d probably make Simon Cowell wish he was deaf if he heard me, but I give it a go and I’m a good performer.

“The whole band always puts on a great performance and we always get really good feedback from people who come to see us.”

This year’s show, on November 3, will feature 18 Black Sabbath songs, including Dirty Women and After Forever.

It starts at 8pm and tickets are £7.50.

Call the box office on 01900 602122.

The after-show party in Monroes will feature Slagbank.

Have your say

"Dez says: “We were told it may traumatise the audience, despite the fact we’d done it before."

I saw Dez at the Carnegie almost 30 years ago - at that time there were no macabre theatrics, yet I remain traumatized all these years later.

However, I bear no grudges and wish him well.

Posted by Evil McBad on 13 October 2012 at 10:48

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