WILKO HANDS OVER HIS CROWN
WILKO JOHNSON TO HAND R&B CROWN TO THE 45S AT CANVEY ISLAND GIG
Dr Feelgood legend Wilko Johnson will hand his R&B crown to teenage band The 45s, when he plans to join them onstage at a sell-out gig in his hometown of Canvey Island on Thursday, 19thSeptember.
The gig, which takes place at the island’s Oysterfleet Hotel, will see Johnson join the Carlisle-based group to play some classic Dr Feelgood songs, before The 45s headline the show.
Johnson, who is terminally ill with pancreatic cancer, believes The 45s – who are all 16 years-old – are the next generation of R&B sensations, saying, "The 45s are my favourite band. When I first heard them I thought my manager was playing a version of a Dr Feelgood song I hadn’t heard for years. When I asked him, “Where were we when that was recorded?”, he told me it was a young band from Carlisle called The 45s. I thought it was us!”
Johnson and The 45s guitarist Tom Hamilton-Hughes first met two years ago when the then 14 year-old blagged his way backstage at a gig in Kendal. After Johnson had given the aspiring rocker his autograph, he then asked Johnson about his playing technique. Wilko handed Tom his famous Fender Telecaster and said, “Show me how you do it?” The pair then jammed together, with Hamilton-Hughes receiving a guitar master class from the R&B icon in the process.
Encouraged by this encounter with one of his heroes, Hamilton-Hughes then sent Johnson a demo The 45s had recorded, which impressed him so much he gave the band the support slot for his date in their hometown. However, with the gig scheduled for November 2012, the announcement of Johnson’s terminal illness led to the cancellation of the show.
With The 45s believing their chance to perform with Johnson had gone forever, when his farewell tour was announced Johnson’s management contacted The 45s and invited them to open for him at his date in Glasgow, which they did to a fantastic reception from the crowd.
Then, at the Great British R&B Festival at Colne, Lancashire, on 26th August, Johnson joined The 45s onstage to perform the Dr Feelgood favourite ‘Roxette’, before presenting one of his signature Fender Telecasters to Hamilton-Hughes.
The 45’s guitarist said, “It was such a thrill to play with Wilko at Colne. I never believed it would actually happen! And now we are going to play with him in his hometown of Canvey. This is what dreams are made of, ours anyway.”