Pagham’s Gary Grainger celebrates Rod Stewart’s classics in Southampton

Pagham’s Gary Grainger is once again performing Rod Stewart’s classic hits - but this time without Rod.

Gary, who was in Rod Stewart’s band from 1976-81 - years which included the landmark albums Blondes Have More Fun and Footloose And Fancy Free, has got together with fellow former Rod Stewart band members to launch Apart From Rod.

Jim Cregan and Robin (son of actor John) Le Mesurier team up with Gary - all of them Rod’s associates from a time when he was at the height of his chart success.

The band, originally scheduled to perform at this year’s Real Ale And Jazz Festival in Chichester until the plan fell through, are now playing The Brook in Southampton on Friday, June 10 (doors 8pm).

Apart From Rod first got together a few years ago, but ran into difficulties given that Gary and Jim were the only two based in the UK. Now they are back up and running with a different line-up, bringing in Jimmy Stapley to do the Rod vocals.

“We didn’t know how it was going to work,” says Gary, “so it is very much on a suck it and see basis.”

Gary looks back on his five and half years with Rod as a fantastic time: “Rod was excellent. He was always very generous in sharing the song-writing. If you had an idea, you’d all work it out together. I think I co-wrote 15 songs in all.”

Gary’s co-credits include Hot Legs, I Was Only Joking, Ain’t Love A Bitch and Passion - all part of that great Blondes Have More Fun/Footloose And Fancy Free era.

As for which of the two albums Gary prefers, he admits he veers between the two: “But I think I like Footloose better at the moment.”

Either way, it’s great to be back together: “It has just been so easy. There was the same energy, the same vibrancy. It was all still there as soon as we started playing.”

Tickets on 023 8055 5366.