New Amen Corner bring the classic hits to Bognor

GLEN LEON
GLEN LEON

The New Amen Corner have got something like 190 gigs stacked up for this year.

And that’s the way it’s been for the past five or six years now.

People are loving the music, and the band are loving performing it. They head to Bognor’s Regis Centre on Saturday, February 22, a place they enjoy playing and always get a great audience.

Front man Glen Leon said: “I have been with the band for about 20 years. We were a soul band originally, and we were looking to break into the 60s scene. We could see that there was this big retro thing going on, and our sax player was really good friends with Allan Jones who was in the original Amen Corner, and he said ‘Why don’t you take the name Amen Corner?’

“Someone else had done it before, but it had failed miserably. I have no idea why. But we thought it was a bit of a cheek calling ourselves Amen Corner when we had nothing to do with the band, so we decided to call ourselves New Amen Corner.”

They soon found themselves working with a number of guest vocalists from the 60s including Mike D’Abo and Chip Hawkes: “It just steamrolled from there.”

The original Amen Corner were active from 1966-1969, they had hits including Bend Me, Shape Me, High in the Sky, (If Paradise Is) Half as Nice and Hello Susie.

“We do about five Amen Corner songs,” says Glen. “We do the bigger hits rather than the albums songs. Looking back at the history, apparently Andy Fairweather Low was a bit of a heart throb. He burst onto the scene with them. They were a soul band originally and they had this sexy front man, but the shame about it is that they only lasted a couple of years. I don’t know why.”

For the rest of the set, New Amen Corner draw on the big songs of the few years that the original Amen Corner were together.

“We do all sorts, The Beatles, The Move, Manfred Man, The Walker Brothers, and they are great songs that you still hear on the radio now. We have been insanely busy. The last ten years have been unbelievable. We have been working on cruise shops and in theatres and we go out on tours. This year we have got 190 gigs and that’s been the way for the past five or six years. I have always been busy, but with New Amen Corner, it has just gone berserk.

“Getting the theatres was a big bonus. And we work with Cunard and P&O. You get looked after very well. We have got New York coming up. We have got Tokyo and Vancouver. We have been all around Europe, to places I never thought I would visit.

“And cruising is very easy. They don’t work us too hard.”

And it’s a captive audience: “They aren’t going anywhere!”

For Bognor, New Amen Corner are joined by Nancy Ann Lee, also known as Little Miss Sixties. Nancy has also toured as support with Marti Wilde, Eden Kane and Mike Berry. She has also been nominated and awarded for The British Country Music Awards numerous times.

“It’s great. It means we can do some nice Lulu and Dusty and Aretha Franklin covers,” Glen says.

Tickets 01243 861010 or http://www.regiscentre.co.uk.