Ahead of concert dates in Armagh and Belfast later this month Folk and Tumble caught up with Fairport Convention’s bass player Dave Pegg for a light hearted chat about his musical career, Fairport Convention and a controversial Grammy win in 1989.
FT: You’re about to bring the tour celebrating fifty years of Fairport Convention to Ireland. What can fans expect from this tour?
DP: A mix of old favourites and some new songs from Chris Leslie
FT: There’s a rich musical heritage and history associated with Fairport Convention. Does that bring pressure of fan expectation for these shows?
DP: Not really as we have always tried to represent our ex members by playing some of their songs, especially, Sandy Denny, and Dave Swarbrick’s collaborations with Richard Thompson.
FT: Is it true that before you joined Fairport Convention you played in different bands with John Bonham and Robert Plant prior to their Zeppelin Career?
DP: Yes, Bonzo was one of my best friends and Robert and I are good chums.
FT: You were a member of Jethro Tull for fifteen years, joining them at a controversial time in their musical journey which resulted in the “A” and “Under Wraps” records. How did you find working on those more electronic based albums?
DP: ‘A’ was still very much an album where synth parts were played in real time by Eddie Jobson. “Underwraps” I didn’t enjoy working on at the time apart from the track “Underwraps 2” which is a lovely acoustic version. However now I love the album and appreciate the songs and playing much more.
FT: I can’t bring up your history with Jethro Tull without mentioning the “Crest of a Knave” record. How did it feel to be part of the band who beat Metallica to win the Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance in 1989?
DP: Very amusing! They were pretty choked as they had had a load of T- Shirts printed in anticipation of their victory! I think they finished up using them to clean their cars of which I imagine they had many! No, only kidding. They are a great band and so were Tull, but not in the metal sense
FT: You were instrumental in the foundation of the Cropready Festival in the mid-1970’s. What are your memories of the early festivals and do you think the festival was instrumental in the 80’s revival of Fairport Convention’s career?
DP: I have written a book “Off the Pegg” which answers this question and do check it out via my website. It would take too long to answer here as the van is picking me up in 10 minutes!
FT: What would you put the longevity of the band’s career down to?
FT: Fairport Convention’s Irish tour will feature County Down’s The 4 of Us opening the shows. They also opened the English leg of tour earlier this year. How did you find working with the Murphy Brothers?
DP: Brendan and Declan are fab. blokes, It was a joy to hear them everynight. They have been very kind inviting us over and letting us join them. We love Ireland and don t get over often enough. I hope we will see lots of our old friends and indeed make some new ones in a few weeks time.
FT: Thanks for your time and good luck with the tour.
DP: Thanks for your interest. Regards, Dave Pegg.
Fairport Convention’s current line up features Simon Nicol on guitar and vocals, Dave Pegg on bass guitar, Chris Leslie on fiddle, mandolin and vocals, Ric Sanders on violin and Gerry Conway on drums and percussion.
Tickets are on sale now for concerts in Armagh and Belfast featuring Fairport Convention with The 4 of Us.
23rd May 2019 – The Market Place Theatre Armagh
26th May 2019 – The Lyric Theatre Belfast