Ipswich: Rockney royalty Chas and Dave come to the Corn Exchange

Chas and Dave are performing at Abbeyfest in Bury St Edmunds this summer

Chas and Dave are performing at Abbeyfest in Bury St Edmunds this summer - Credit: Archant

What do the late Princess Margaret and former frontman of The Libertines Pete Doherty have in common? Their love for rockney duo Chas and Dave, believe it or not.

Chas Hodges and Dave Peacock were both stalwarts of the British rock scene of the 1960s and early 1970s before teaming up to perform songs about life in London.

“It (their material) comes from the heart. I thought the songs we should be doing should be about things we know and care about and they’re standing the test of time.”

He decided to abandon the fashionable but fake transatlantic twang others sang in and for them to use their real accents after touring America with Heads, Hands and Feet.

“I thought ‘hang on a minute, I’m singing in this an American accent. It didn’t seem so bad doing it in England, but I’m in America singing to Americans’ and I felt a fraud.”

Memorable songs like Gertcha, Rabbit, The Sideboard Song and Margate and their music-hall humour have resulted in a career spanning 40 years.

“The tour could be subtitled the Chas and Dave story. The first half we do Chas and Dave in the 1970s when we first got together, we started to write and went out and played to pay the rent around London,” says Chas.

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“One or two songs we’d written ourselves but we used to take old songs and liven them up a bit. One or two Chuck Berry songs, a couple of Jerry Lee Lewis (who he toured with while a member of The Outlaws) songs.

“Then it’ll be Chas and Dave in the 1980s when we started having our big hits, right up to the present day. Apart from memories the first thing music does is it takes you back physically. You’re there (40 years in the past); my mum always said music keeps you young.”

Their audiences are getting younger too.

“Pete Doherty said we were big influences on him. We supported them on a couple of gigs at The Brixton Academy and The Kentish Town Forum in Brixton and gained a lot of their fans. Glastonbury in 2005 really was all it was cracked up to be. Just the feeling they’ve trekked across the muddy fields just to see us in their thousands, it was a great afternoon.”

Dave decided to wind down a little and in 2009 retired when his wife Sue, a driving force behind their career, lost her fight with lung cancer.

“He felt he couldn’t do anymore. It never heals completely, but as time goes on grief is easier to deal with. That’s what’s happened with Dave and he fancied doing another tour.”

Reuniting to great success in 2011, they are both looking forward to the latest tour.

“I think it’s nice to dig out some of our old songs and we don’t rehearse them; we did a warm-up gig last week and just went on stage and banged ‘em out as though it was yesterday. I can’t believe (it’s been) 40 years.”

He promises fans will have a great time.

“You’re going to go out uplifted, happy and you’ll feel better when you go out than when you came in. That’s the sort of show I like to and see and that’s the sort of show we give.”

Chas and Dave come to the Ipswich Corn Exchange on March 2.