• Andrew Atkinson talks to The Evil Trouser Monkeys trio Gary Hutchinson, Andrew Hopkins and Perren Armstrong in a Leader Exclusive.

“SINCE the coronavirus it’s been very frustrating from a performance and political point of view,” said drummer and backing vocalist Perren Armstrong, who resides in Orihuela Costa, who has played at Eras de la Sal auditoria and the Palacio de la Musica Theatre in Torrevieja.

“I don’t think the pandemic has been dealt with worldwide in a satisfactory way,” said Perren, who has been in bands, The Faith, Fire & Water, Kolted, Mr Shifty and now The ETM’s. “Musically, the coronavirus has deprived me of what I love doing – playing live music. We are glad to be back on stage after the easing of restrictions.”

Perren’s biggest career influences include (drum-related) Ian Paice, John Bonham, Stewart Copeland and Steve Gadd.

“The first gig I did was at The Pirate Bar in Playa Flamenca in 2009, when I joined 5 piece band The Faith.

“Along with performing in the UK and Spain, I’ve played in Kansas, USA.

“I did my first live gig when I was 17 in The Cyprus Tavern in Manchester City Centre, and went on to play famous venues in Manchester such as The Band On The Wall and the Boardwalk,” said Perren.

Manchester born Perren said: “I have owned a holiday home here since 1999. In 2009 I came over for a year’s trial living – and never went back!”.

La Marina based Gary said: “The biggest influences in my  career include Oasis, who made me first pick up a guitar. From there on I travelled back in time to the likes of, David Bowie, Jimmy Hendrix, The Cure, Gary Moore, Talking Heads and The Who.”

Gary, who first performed on stage as a teenager said: “My debut performance was in West Yorkshire aged 17 in Huddersfield, playing and gigging in local  bands on the circuit.

“I’ve always been a lead guitarist/singer, up until joining the band, where I learnt to play the bass.

Orihuela Costa based Perren Armstrong: Since the coronavirus it’s been very frustrating from a performance and political point of view.

“In Spain bands I have been in are The Del Fuegos, as front man, and Mr Shifty, also as front man and guitarist.

“I also play guitar for local 5 piece Rock band Energy. Pez also played drums in Mr Shifty.”

Gary, from Brighouse, West Yorkshire, a former mechanic, who quit his job, that eventually led him to Spain, said: “After saving up for an adventure in 2014 I packed in my job and went on a back-packing trip through Europe, finally settling here in Spain, close to my parents.”

On meeting The Jam Bass player Bruce Foxton, Gary said: “I met him at a Festival in Stratford Upon Avon and said to him, ‘you look like Bruce Foxton’. He replied he was! – but I didn’t believe him.

“An hour later he was on stage with the members of Big Country. I’ve also met Rick Astley’s sister in a Bolton night club!

“I think I would most like to meet Tommy Emmanuel, who is widely considered the best acoustic guitarist that ever lived.

“I saw him at a show in Halifax, West Yorkshire and was blown away by his performance.”

Gary, who has performed at the Concierto Benefico Torrevieja auditorium, said: “There are so many favourite venues here in Spain, with The Local La Florida always a fantastic gig. Also the Rock House, La Marina.

“Prior to the latest coronavirus lockdown our regular Thursday slot was at La Torre, La Florida.

“The coronavirus has been difficult, not playing and gigging for so long during the lockdowns.

“I’ve been a gigging musician for so long, I guess I took it for granted and being stopped from performing has really made me realize just how much I miss live music.

“If any good has come out of this whole situation, it is the fact that I understand now just how grateful I am to music, and also how grateful I am to have musicians to play with.”

The Evil Trouser Monkeys, London born Andrew Hopkins’ whose biggest influences are Jimmy Page and Eddie Van Halen, said: “I have performed in the UK, Belgium, Australia, and Spain, with the biggest venue being the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.”

Asked if he has performed alongside and met any famous people, Perren quipped: “No, none. I have no desire to meet anybody in particular. I know enough banal, crazy, and interesting characters to have enhanced my life without having to meet anyone famous!.”

Captions: The Evil Trouser Monkeys: Gary Hutchinson, Andrew Hopkins and Perren Armstrong.

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