By Mark Hemmings
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
IT’S just a couple of weeks to go until Red Hot Chili Peppers and Dizzee Rascal make Knebworth Park go Bonkers. The Chilis will be playing one of only two UK dates this year alongside the grime star, The Wombats and Reverend And The Makers on Saturday, June 23. The Welwyn Hatfield Times caught up with The Wombats ahead of the concert.
FIVE years after having the stage invaded during a sold-out Welwyn Garden City show at The Doctors Tonic pub’s Green Room, The Wombats are returning to Hertfordshire for a slightly bigger gig.
Back in 2007, the three-piece from Liverpool blasted through hits from their debut album A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation.
Now they are preparing to support American supergroup the Red Hot Chili Peppers at their giant Knebworth open-air concert on Saturday, June 23.
Wombats’ drummer Dan Haggis took a break from recording alongside frontman Matt Murphy and bass player Tord Øverland-Knudsen to talk to the Welwyn Hatfield Times about their Knebworth Park date.
“It’s a great honour for us [to be supporting RHCP],” he said.
“As soon as we were offered the slot we thought ‘we have got to make this happen’.
“We’ve never supported a supergroup before, we have tended to do things our own way and slowly grow bigger and bigger, it has taken longer but that’s fine.
“It should be a great night, I’m looking forward to the Chili Peppers, I’ve not seen them before.
“When we were growing up Tord was a massive fan. I was as well, listening to the Blood Sugar Sex Magik album and then Californication trying to learn how to play Scar Tissue.”
The band came close to not being able to play on the bill, as Haggis explained: “One ridiculous thing about the gig is that we almost couldn’t play it.
“One of Tord’s best friends is getting married in Liverpool on the same day, we were desperate to play so our manager came up with the idea of him getting a helicopter to the show.”
Recalling less high-flying times, Haggis remembers performing at the Green Room in Welwyn Garden City.
“It was great fun, those gigs stand out more than some of the regular ones and you remember them.”
While the band has built a reputation in the UK, they have just returned from a month touring in America.
“It’s a little like when we played the WGC pub, it’s early days for us over there,” he said.
“One night we played to 1,000 people in New York and then 200 in Colorado and everything in between, no two gigs are the same.
“When you get a sold-out crowd you get a buzz.”
The Chili Peppers show is not the only major summer event The Wombats are involved with, they are also performing at two Olympic Torch Relay concerts in Liverpool and Bolton.
“We are doing a couple of gigs in the north-west which is fitting as that’s where we’re from,” said Haggis.
“It’s nice to be a part of it and help people get into the mood for the Olympics.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all of us with the Games in London.”
* RHCP – singer Anthony Kiedis, guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, drummer Chad Smith and bassist Flea – will be bringing their mighty back catalogue of hits and storming live show to a massive crowd at Knebworth Park on Saturday, June 23.
And if you want to be there with a friend, the Welwyn Hatfield Times has got two pairs of tickets – worth £100 a pair – up for grabs.
For your chance to be there with a guest, simply answer correctly the following question:
Where will the Red Hot Chili Peppers be playing on June 23?
A) Knebworth Park
B) Wembley Stadium
C) Millennium Stadium
To enter, text WHT PEPPER followed by your answer (A, B or C), name, address and postcode to 80058.
For example: WHT PEPPER A JOHN SMITH 31a Howardsgate, WGC, Herts AL8 6AP. Texts cost 50p plus your standard network rate.
* Terms and conditions: The competition closes at noon on Monday, June 11, 2012.
There are two prizes of a pair of tickets. Winners will be the first correct entries selected at random after the closing date.
Usual promotion rules apply – visit www.whtimes24.co.uk
Customer services 0207 6335020.