2017 marks 25 years since Ian Prowse’s first ever album with his band Pele. Fireworks was a classic debut, bursting with energy and melody which gained Ian and his songwriting a sizeable fanbase thanks to the band touring the land constantly in the early ‘90s.
Ian, 53, was born at Countess of Chester Hospital and grew up in Little Sutton, so Pele’s forthcoming gig at Buckley Tivoli is almost a home fixture for the Tranmere Rovers fan.
“I’d forgotten how close Buckley was to where I grew up in Ellesmere Port and to where I live now in Liverpool so I think they’ll be a lot of familiar faces there,” he says, before revealing it will be the first time he’s performed in Wales in 16 years.
“We played the Tivoli on the Fireworks tour 25 years ago and when we found out it was still rocking as a venue we thought we had to go back and play it again.
“It was always one of those venues that was on the circuit and I’m thrilled it’s still going.
“We can’t play the Duchess of York in Leeds or the Princess Charlotte in Leicester anymore because they’ve gone, so it’s great to play the Tiv.”
Formed by Ian in 1990, Pele were signed to the independent record label, M&G Records, after gigging around Chester and Liverpool and within weeks the band set about recording their debut album which spawned the hit singles Megalomania and Fair Blows the Wind for France.
When the band split in 1996, Ian formed Amsterdam, famous for their song Does This Train Stop On Merseyside?, but this year has seen him back on the road performing Pele’s debut album.
“Everywhere we’ve been it’s been packed out and people have been singing all the old songs,” says Ian.
“The idea of this tour was to remind people that whether it’s me solo or with Pele, it’s really the same thing.
“We wanted to bring all the fans together because after we finished Pele I formed Amsterdam and there were people who didn’t discover that.
“Then when I went solo there were people who didn’t follow that. I wanted to bring it together and say it was really all the same vibe.”
Pele’s boisterous combination of Celtic folk and indie rock won them a lot of fans as did Ian’s anti-establishment lyrics which reflected his socialist leanings.
“If I had listened to those songs and felt a bit uncomfortable or embarrassed I wouldn’t have been able to take them on tour because you’d soon feel a bit of a phoney,” he says. “Luckily I still feel pretty much the same way.
“I’m still a republican and a lot of things I wrote about then have stayed with me. I wrote with a lot of passion in the beginning and that’s pretty much how I am now.
“I never went off on a big stylistic change, I never went hip hop or anything. It’s still me writing songs on my guitar and some have a lot of fiddle in and some don’t.”
The band’s great live reputation has followed Ian throughout his career, enabling him to continue touring across the country when other contemporaries have struggled.
“We were always really upbeat and positive, especially live,” he recalls.
“I always hated it when bands looked at the floor as if audiences weren’t there.
“My thing was to always try and entertain people and make them cry and laugh. When they’ve left the house and paid money to see you, don’t take them for granted.”
l Ian Prowse and Amsterdam play Buckley Tivoli on Friday, August 11. Doors 7pm. Tickets priced £10 are available from tivolivenue.com or seetickets.com. 24/7 bookings: 08444 77 1000.
See full story in the Chester Leader