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Farewell tour finds great British band at Solihull Arts Complex

IF there’s one song Slim from top British R ‘n’ B band The Hamsters aims to get right it’s Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing.

IF there's one song Slim from top British R n B band The Hamsters aims to get right its Jimi Hendrixs Little Wing.

It has a special resonance for me, said guitarist Slim, as he wrote it for his mum whom he lost early and my mum died when I was young too.

It means a lot to me and I always find it a particular challenge to get it absolutely right.

Slim, aka Barry Martin. was speaking on the eve of the bands gig in Solihull, part of a farewell nationwide tour by the three piece outfit after 25 years on the road.

Together with Zsa Zsa (Andy Billups, bass) and Rev Otis (Alan Parish, drums) theyve built up a formidable reputation as a great British band showcasing their own driving rhythm and blues as well as interpretations of the greats like Hendrix, Clapton and ZZ Top. As Slim puts it, they play rock music for grown ups.

The way we do Hendrixs material is always appreciated because we pay his songs their due respect and as a result were regarded in the UK as his leading interpreters, said Slim.

However we are not a tribute band, we dont dress up and do all the actions, we show our respect and treat the songs with delicacy.

Nevertheless 25 years on the road and 4,500 gigs have taken their toll and the band will be packing up their kit - almost for good - at the end of March.

It may seem like a dream come true to do what weve been doing but it is exhausting, were nearing 60 and were doing 70 to 80 hours week; mentally and physically were shattered, said Slim.

Forming the band was just something to do between jobs, we had families and mortgages and never set out to be stars, just enjoy ourselves. We never took it very seriously when perhaps we should have done.

Now, 25 years on The Hamsters are winding up, with only the odd gig or festival planned - including one in Portugal - for fans to see them.

However fans can catch them before they go at Solihull Arts Complex this Thursday, February 2 at 8pm. Tickets cost s14.50 on 0121 704 6962.



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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