How ‘bluesy’ is our valley?

Nine Below Zero
Nine Below Zero

Hebden Bridge is rapidly becoming the national blues capital and Nine Below Zero are the latest legendary bluesmen to visit the valley, writes Paul Clarke.

The town’s annual blues festival has been voted UK Blues Festival of the Year two years running and we have two pairs of tickets to give away for Nine Below Zero’s gig at the Trades Club on Friday, November 22.

Dennis Greaves has been fronting the band for over 30 years and he is very clear about what makes the band so unique in the blues world.

“We’re a blues band with a punky edge which is really unusual and it is simply high energy R’n’B,” says Dennis. “We came out of the punk period but the difference was we started playing the blues influenced by Dr Feelgood so when I left school all my mates formed punk bands and I wanted to form a blues band.”

They soon made their way onto the lucrative university circuit and made their TV debut as the house band on the very first episode of anarchic comedy show The Young Ones.

“Rik Mayall saw us at university and we played the pilot show so nobody knew if it would get commissioned, but it was exciting to be part of something revolutionary in British comedy.

The energetic live shows became legendary and brought them to the attention of their heroes The Who and they ended up as support on their comeback UK tour.

“They’d just lost Keith Moon, and Kenney Jones, who took over, came down to the studio with our producer Glyn Johns and he said we’d love to have you guys touring with you,” recalls Dennis.

“It actually came off although they were a bit stressed out at the time as I think Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend weren’t really talking that much. I remember one soundcheck in Brighton when Daltrey didn’t turn up and the other three played The Real Me from Quadrophenia. I can still feel the hairs come up on the back of my neck it was that good.”

To enter, tell us who played bass in The Who and email your answer, with your name and a contact number, to: or The competition closes at 9am on Monday, November 11 and the two winners will each get a pair of tickets for the gig on Friday, November 22. Usual Johnston Press rules apply.