Interview with David Wickenden of 4 Poofs and a Piano

Originally published on Thurs 14 April 2011 at

How did you meet?
We’ve been together getting on for 11 years now. Three of us met singing in a choir. About a year later David Roper joined us on piano. I used to work at the Groucho Club in Soho and our first gig was there. There was a producer in the audience, looking for ideas for the Jonathan Ross show, which was still in concept form at the time. They saw us, contacted us and asked us to go and try out, and we were pretty much involved with the show from day one!

What are the main musical influences on the band?
It’s a comedy influence more than anything else – visual, larger-than-life influences. Having said that, I’d say that Stephen’s main influence is Agnetha from ABBA; Ian’s is probably Dusty Springfield; David’s is Helen Shaprio; and mine would be Les Dawson!

You’re one of the singers in the band – do you play anything?
I do play – but not very well! I play the piano a little bit, I do one comedy number in the show – it’s quite simple.

Tell us about your new show.
Smoke and Mirrorballs is a show in two parts. The first half is a compilation of the best of our previous shows from over the years. The second half is essentially our Edinburgh show from 2009. It’s really high energy, really full-on good fun. We’ve been getting great responses from audiences – we were in Andover several nights ago and we had a really good night, people were really up for it. We love to interact with the audience and get them involved in the show: there’s lots of singing, lots of comedy songs, dancing and chatting with the audience. It’s all really good fun!

Have you played in Barnsley before?
No we haven’t, but we were in Sheffield a couple of weeks ago at The Crucible and we had a great night there. One of the guys in the band, Ian, is a Yorkshireman – he’s from Sheffield so we always get a really lovely welcome by all his family when we play there.

Where’s the best place you’ve visited in Yorkshire?
The North Yorkshire Moors are beautiful, and we love visiting Leeds – we always have a great night out when we’re there, we love the big gay scene in the city.

Do you have any rock and roll stories from your time on the road?
Apart from Stephen the Australian farting in the van, that’s about as rock and roll as it gets, we’re all tired with the long late night drives!

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