THE Grand’s 2013 events calendar concludes on a high note on Saturday, when Bad Manners roll into town.
Dubbed the “Kings of Ska”, the group are still fronted by the eccentric singer Buster Bloodvessel, famous for his shiny bald head, giant personality and his even bigger figure.
But these days Buster – real name Douglas Trendle – is quite literally half the man he used to be.
After drastic surgery, he lost a staggering 18 stone and the Hackney-born crooner, who once ran a hotel in Margate called Fatty Towers, with gigantic beds and an annual Belly of the Year contest, recalls: “I lost so much weight people thought I was dying when they saw me.
“When I got down to 12 stone I looked like a ballerina on stage. At one stage I was 31 stone and I collapsed during a show.
“I suppose I was living up to an image. People expected Buster to be huge. I liked the idea of being fat, eating, drinking, being jolly – to me those are fine qualities.”
Whilst Bad Manners’ hits My Girl Lollipop, Lip Up Fatty, Can Can and Special Brew topped the charts, Buster’s weight topped the scales.
And nearly 40 years on from their first gig – at Stonehenge Free Festival of all places – Buster and the boys are still mixing that heady mix of moon-stomping ska, reggae and punk.
“In every performance I was thinking this could be my last, the way I was performing on stage,” he recalled. “I suppose I’m a prime candidate for dying on stage.
“I hope that is in the distant future, but I’d rather go out that way than sat in an old people’s home.”
Bad Manners’ brand of goodtime party music still sounds as fresh as the day it was penned – although Buster is the only founding member to have lasted the marathon course.
“I always had a desire to perform,” he added. “On stage, probably as an actor more than a singer, but I chose singing because I absolutely love it. I don’t understand those bands who stop touring. Singing is my life and you can’t replace the feeling of jumping on stage and singing those great songs and everybody going nuts.”
Bad Manners tour every Christmas and the atmosphere promises to be electric. At the time of going to press, there were around 50 tickets left for the show. Revellers are strongly recommended to buy tickets before the weekend to avoid disappointment.
Bad Manners play at The Grand, Clitheroe, this Saturday, December 21st, with support act and DJs (£20adv). Box office: 01200 421599.