Ian Prowse talks about music and revels in pop/rockers Amsterdam’s show ahead of visit to Buxton Pavilion Arts Centre

Ian Prowse, frontman of Amsterdam
Ian Prowse, frontman of Amsterdam
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This one might just lift the roof off Buxton’s Pavilion Arts Centre on April 11. Ian Prowse’s songwriting has given rise to two great bands, and his songbook crackles with energy and verve. So how did it all start?

This one might just lift the roof off Buxton’s Pavilion Arts Centre on April 11. Ian Prowse’s songwriting has given rise to two great bands, and his songbook crackles with energy and verve. So how did it all start?

“I was a late starter at 16. I didn’t have anyone in the family who was musical but I was inspired by the music around me: The Clash, The Jam, Squeeze, Blondie – bands in the punk and new wave eras. I had almost delusional self-belief.

“I’m from a council estate near the River Mersey and all my friends got jobs, bought cars and had holidays. Becoming a musician was like choosing voluntary poverty.’

Ian’s determination paid off and he formed Pele in 1990 gaining a loyal UK following and a number 1 in Africa!

“Pele was great but the A&R guy who signed us left the company and although we had fans (and some great t-shirts) the new guy didn’t want to know because we weren’t his. We were kind of in limbo for two or three years.”

“When we play we go into battle, we make sure that the audience go away wanting to more.”

Ian Prowse

Pele gave way to Amsterdam in 1999. The group’s second single Does This Train Stop on Merseyside famously elicited an emotional response from John Peel’s widow Sheila Ravenscroft, who said on Radio One ‘John was not capable of playing it without crying’.

“It was a total privilege; John Peel was someone who I had always admired. When I was a kid it was the station that we tuned into. For all those years later for him to have such an emotional response to something I had written, I felt incredibly honoured.”

The song also became the centre piece of Irish legend Christy Moore’s 2009 album spending five weeks at No.1. Is that what sparked Ian’s desire to do a masters in Irish history and become a member of the Irish Seas Sessions?

“Christy Moore (one of the most famous Irish singers) covered my songs, it got me interested in where Irish folk music comes from, because there has always been a flavour of it in everything that I do. There was no such thing as the Scouse accent before the famine; Liverpool became a Celtic enclave in a protestant country and gave birth to the city we know and the music we love.’

Another fan of Ian is Elvis Costello: ‘I’ve done everything with Elvis now, we’ve been his backing band on the Jonathan Ross show, we’ve been his support act around the world and I’ve even done a duet with him, a cover of The Searchers’ Don’t throw your love away.”

What can people expect from Amsterdam’s gig in the Pavilion Arts Centre on Saturday, April 11?

“Well I believe I’m Bruce Springsteen,” he jokes. “ When we play we go into battle, we make sure that the audience go away wanting to more. Expect everything – tears, laughter, revel-rousing, a sing-along and hopefully dancing!”

Tickets are priced at £15.50, to book, contact 01298 72190 or visit buxtonoperahouse.org.uk