Hook, line and solo

HOOKr''Dennis Locorriere - singer with Doctor Hook at Buxton Opera House.
HOOKr''Dennis Locorriere - singer with Doctor Hook at Buxton Opera House.

THERE hasn’t been much in the world of country pop since Dr Hook dominated the charts with hits such as Sylvia’s Mother, When You’re in Love With A Beautiful Woman, Cover of the Rolling Stone and Sexy Eyes.

And, in spite of the all-American references, the seventies alt country stars band always did better in Britain than the US. When You’re in Love With a Beautiful Woman reached number one in the UK, but only number six in the US.

For Dr Hook frontman and founder Dennis Locorriere, UK audiences have always just ‘got it.’ That’s why, as a solo artist, Locorriere’s taken his bat, ball and wickets out of New Jersey and has relocated to Sussex as a successful artist about to embark on a UK tour. But his shows are not just rehashing Dr Hook’s past.

“In the UK people want to hear my stuff, which is just as well as you can go and see a Dr Hook tribute act in a casino in America. There are plenty of Dr Hook tribute acts but I want a career in which I have to keep coming up with new stuff.”

So, as an adopted Brit, Locorriere’s forthcoming UK tour is relatively local in scope compared to touring the States.

“I played in Horsham, Sussex, recently and I was there in 30 minutes – I even slept at home that night. I always had a feeling I would move over here o the UK.”

Locorriere does play some Hook numbers but the set is mainly of his own material, which includes three albums (Out of the Dark, 2000, One of the Lucky Ones, 2005 and Post Cool, 2010). He has also written songs that have been recorded by Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Indeed, he’s happy working as a solo artist. “I’ve always been used to my own company. I was an only child, so I used to play alone.

“Even when we played Dr Hook shows there were times when the rest of the band would leave me alone on stage for 15-20 minutes.

“I like touring alone, I like going out there and seeing everyone when it’s just me.

“If somebody starts a conversation and I want to talk, I talk, I don’t have to worry about the lighting man waiting for the guitar player to do his bit. Though I did tour with my last band, Tomorrow Road, and that was brilliant.”

He says that writing fresh material and not just sticking to singing Dr Hook classics keeps him on his toes: “It keeps me thinking. I love the flexibility of being solo – that’s the best aspect. In some ways it’s harder but it makes me come up with the goods. I have to. I don’t want to be on autopilot.”

The solo work is more contemplative than Dr Hook’s self-mocking ditties.

“Songs like Millionaire have more lyrical meaning than You Make My Pants Want To Get Up and Dance,” he says.

“But sometimes people think that you’re not supposed to change as an artist – that I should still be the age I was in the seventies playing the same songs.

“The old fans have gone off and had kids and they forget that we have too. Even if I lay on my back for 30 years something would change – I’d show that I’d aged. But I’m still here, doing stuff. I have a book of poetry coming out soon – I don’t want to take that part of my life and make it mindless.”

Dennis Locorriere brings his solo show to Doncaster Civic Theatre on March 25.