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Tony Hicks of The Hollies: ‘I can’t wait to be in Cambridge’

One of only two original members in the current incarnation of 60s legends The Hollies – along with drummer Bobby Elliott – lead guitarist and vocalist Tony Hicks is gearing up to embark on yet another nationwide tour.

The Hollies
The Hollies

There may only be two original members in the present line-up, but that’s pretty good going considering many of the band’s contemporaries from that golden era of music have long since stopped performing live altogether.

Tony Hicks, who is speaking to the Cambridge Independent from his home in Henley, has been on the road almost every year since 1962.

What does he like to do when he’s not touring? “Well I’m used to being quite a fitness fanatic,” says Tony, 77, “I mean round here it’s very nice and I keep my fitness going with either cycling or running, or playing squash.

“But funnily enough, as you speak to me now, I’m just nursing a knee replacement that I had about a month ago so that’s curtailed those kind of things, but we’ll see how we go when it starts feeling a bit better…

“I can see light at the end of the tunnel; it started out very painful actually, which is no surprise when they take half your knee away, but you’ve just got to keep doing the exercises which I’ve been doing my best to do.”

Now in their seventh decade, The Hollies still regularly entertain audiences with timeless hits such as Just One Look, Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress), The Air That I Breathe, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, and Bus Stop.

Tony, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, alongside classic-era bandmates Allan Clarke, Graham Nash, Bobby Elliott and the late Eric Haydock – plus long-standing members Bernie Calvert and Terry Sylvester – has a particular fondness for the Cambridge Corn Exchange, where he and the band will be performing on October 21.

“I’m so fond of Cambridge because we go back so far,” he observes. “We first played at the Corn Exchange in Cambridge probably in ’63 or ’64 when we only had a couple of hit records. It was a standing audience then, before it changed into what it is now.

“We’ve been going back there regularly and I think it’s just an absolutely beautiful place to be, Cambridge, and I’m madly looking forward to being there again.”

Alongside Tony and Bobby, the current Hollies line-up also includes lead singer Peter Howarth, bass player Ray Stiles, keyboardist Ian Parker, and Steve Lauri on rhythm guitar.

Although the band have toured pretty much every year since 1962 – they celebrated their 60th anniversary with a number of dates last year – Tony, who doesn’t rule out playing with Allan Clarke and Graham Nash again in The Hollies, notes that they have slowed down a bit.

“The pace isn’t what it used to be, which was seven nights a week constantly,” he says, “starting out in the ballrooms until we moved out and started doing Europe, Scandinavian countries, and then we got over to America…

“But all we’ve done so far this year is some gigs over in Norway – it’s a country that we enjoy going to, the theatres are great, the country’s great. So we won’t be doing anything else during the summer until we start the dates in the UK.

“And what’s good about that is the dates are fantastic; what I mean by that is the right venues on the right nights.

“The last tour we did – mainly because of the lockdown and things weren’t back as they should have been – we were doing places on like a Tuesday night, which we would never choose to do.

“Well this tour, from what I can see, it’s either Wednesday to Saturday, or Thursday to Sunday, and all the great venues, like your own in Cambridge, it’s on a Saturday night and that makes a big difference, so we’re really looking forward to it.”

[Read more: Interview: Hollies drummer Bobby Elliott raring to go for 60th anniversary tour, Graham Nash of Hollies and Crosby Stills & Nash fame to make Cambridge Folk Festival debut]

The Hollies are set to appear at the Cambridge Corn Exchange on Saturday, October 21. Tickets, priced £35.50-£50.50, are available at cornex.co.uk. For more on The Hollies, go to theholliesofficial.com.

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