After a while I spoke to Rod and we decided that as we’d both written new tunes for the band that we’d like to record them. I called an old friend of mine, Paul Robinson who’d spent the past fifteen years playing with Nina Simone and he was really keen to get involved. We exchanged CD’s , discussed the music over the phone and I booked some studio time for two days. It was a crazy situation, two people who’d never met, about to make a CD together! I needn’t have worried, they were great and just about every tune was a first take. This came out the following year entitled ‘Colin Hodgkinson’s Back Door Too’ We played a few shows together and it was a great feeling, keeping that music and spirit going. Gigs are hard to get right now but hopefully things will pick up and we can play some more.
In 2003 I went out on tour with another of my favourite singers, Long John Baldry, with another great band, Zoot Money, Colin Allen, Ronnie Johnson and Gary Foot, lots of laughs! In 2006 I got involved with a new project, BBQ (the British Blues Quintet). This was fronted by the wonderful Maggie Bell who after quite a long time away from the business wanted to come back. She , Colin and Zoot went back to the 60’s and it was fun right from the start. We had 3 really good singers, Maggie, Zoot and Miller and for me it was great to play again with Colin Allen on drums, the ‘Time lord’ as we call him!
In 2006, I went up to Middlesbrough for the memorial service of my old pal Tony Hicks. Like Ron Aspery he’d died tragically young, only 57 and I’d been devastated to lose two people who I’d shared some of the best times of my life, musically and personally. At the service I met Mark Rea, Chris’s brother who told me Chris wanted me to get in touch. I’d known him since the early Backdoor days when he used to watch the band at Blakey Ridge, even then he’d written some great songs and we thought with a bit of luck he’d do well!
I went down to his studio for a play and it sounded good, he wanted to make a CD of 50’s and 60’s style instrumentals. I ended up making 3 CD’s with him in 2007 and was then offered a tour in 2008. Maggie and the band very kindly let me put a replacement Bass-player in for the 7 or 8 shows I’d miss so I went out at the end of January on a tour that would take me to places I’d never been before like Moscow, St. Petersburg, the Baltic states, all over eastern Europe plus the west and the UK.
So now I’m back with BBQ, having fun again. In 2010, Dave Kelly joined us. I’ve always been a fan of his, great slide guitarist and great singer. Miller had been playing a lot of gigs with his own band and decided to leave BBQ to concentrate on that, so this year Frank Diez joined us and has had some rave reviews for his playing.
Last autumn, I played at the Lahnstein Blues Festival in Germany, a really famous one that’s been running for around 30 years. This was an all-stars band that featured Jon Lord, Pete York, Miller Anderson, Maggie Bell, and Zoot Money. We had a great reaction from a sell-out audience, and Jon asked us all if we’d like to be involved in a blues project that he’d been thinking about. Everyone was very enthusiastic about the idea so we played the first show last month in Germany in April, another sell-out, and we have a lot of shows coming up in the autumn.