Guitarist John McNally talks about the enduring appeal of The Searchers ahead of band’s visit to Buxton Opera House

The Searchers are Frank Allen, John McNally, Simon Ottaway,  Spencer James, pictured left to right.
The Searchers are Frank Allen, John McNally, Simon Ottaway, Spencer James, pictured left to right.

With a regular touring schedule of 200+ shows a year and career that has now exceeded five decades The Searchers are arguably the hardest working band in showbusiness and seem to be unstoppable and indestructible.

“We enjoy what we do - it’s a good life, even at our age,” said guitarist and group founder John McNally.

As to the enduring appeal of the band, he admitted that was a hard question to answer. “I think you have to look at our recordings from the 60s to start with then add our live performances over 52 years but we basically just try to entertain.

“What keeps us going is the enjoyment and the love of music along with the great feeling you get with a good audience playing live.”

Touring for over a half a century means the band have become familiar faces in venues around the world, including Buxton Opera House where they perform on Sunday, April 26.

“We played the Opera House last autumn on the 60’s Gold Tour and we have played it numerous times on our solo concerts,” said John. “It’s such a beautiful preserved theatre - we always look forward to a night in Buxton.”

Seeing a mix of age groups in the audience is also a pleasing sight for the band. John said: “You have all our 60s fans, fans we have picked up over the years with our live concerts and also up and coming musicians who want to know how we produced the sounds so our attraction is very wide,”

The Searchers have performed for the Queen and Princess Margaret, headlined over Motown luminaries Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Martha & The Vandellas and The Temptations, toured Australia and New Zealand with the Rolling Stones and strutted their stuff in front of 80,000 people at Wembley Stadium as guests of Cliff Richard.

Popular in America, they played their third gig in Las Vegas last year. And on one special evening in New York they allowed Searcher aficianado Marky Ramone of the legendary punk pioneers to sit in on drums for Needles & Pins.

As well as The Ramones, they can count Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, The Byrds, Marshall Crenshaw and others as musicians who came under their influence.

The Searchers started life as a skiffle band and had an impressive run of hits in the glory years from 1964 to 1966, including Sweets For My Sweet, Sugar & Spice and When You Walk In The Room.

Their career has been a rollercoaster ride with members coming and going; the drum stool seeing the most changes over the years. Current drummer Scott Ottwaway is the fifth to fill the position since the band’s professional inception back in 1962 and at this point has been a Searcher for five years.

Tickets for The Searchers concert cost £17 and £20. Contact 0845 127 2190 or www.buxtonoperahouse.co.uk