Celebrating ten years of the Everly Pregnant BrothersPosted by: Richard Abbey
'Big' Shaun Doane, outside the Harland Cafe
Richard Abbey sat down with ‘Big’ Shaun Doane to find out what the brothers have got planned got planned for their tin anniversary
It’s hard to believe that something that started off as ‘just a laugh’ will this year celebrate its tenth anniversary.
When the Everly Pregnant Brothers – Shaun Doane, Pete McKee, Toby Foster and friends – picked up their ukeleles and took to the stage at Art in the Gardens in September 2009, little did they know that they’d pick up a cult following over the years, not just in Sheffield and Yorkshire but much further afield.
Their parodies of popular songs with a Sheffield twist have become sing-a-long anthems at pubs, concert venues and festivals up and down the country. If you’ve not heard No Oven, No Pie, Chip Pan or Hendo’s, I mean, where have you been?
“I think we’re quite chuffed it’s lasted this long,” beams frontman Shaun Doane, or ‘Big Shaun’ as he’s perhaps more commonly known. “It started off as a laugh, it was never meant to be this huge behemoth it’s become.
“We’ve got fans right across the board, literally from kids and teenagers right through to people in their eighties that love what we do.”
So what will they be doing to mark this most momentous of occasions?
“We want to do bits and pieces throughout the year,” says Shaun, as we tuck into a full English at the Harland Café just off Bramall Lane. “But the actual date is around 4 September, because that’s when we did Art in the Gardens. We’ve got a few ideas. It’s probably going to be a kind of pop-up, guerrilla gig where we just turn up and play.”
So far, so secretive. Already confirmed in the coming months are gigs at Holmfirth’s Picture Drome (11 May), Barrow Hill Beer Festival in Chesterfield (18 May) and Fibber’s in York (1 June). Then there’s the small matter of Tramlines (19-21 July) before gigs at the O2 Academy Islington (20 September) and Birdwell Club in Barnsley (4 October) and not forgetting the Brothers’ annual Christmas bash in December, which, this year, could be a bit special.
“It’s still under wraps but there’s a bit of a plan going off,” reveals Shaun. “It’ll be all-singing, all-dancing, bells and whistles, we’re really going to go to town on trying to get special guests involved, just to make it one to remember.”
Sandwiched in the midst of all that are plans to release another Everly Pregnant Brothers album, hopefully before the band take to the Tramlines stage.
“There’s near enough an album’s worth already written,” says Shaun. “We’ll be covering Kylie, Fleetwood Mac, more David Bowie, we might do a Talk Talk one… and we’re covering The Beatles’ Dear Prudence, that’s going to be all about students. It’s just the usual fodder – beer, pies and bodily functions.”
So far, so Brothers. If last year’s Tramlines gig was anything to go by, this year should be a riot, especially for fans of some of their older material – “We’re bringing back a couple of old ones. For anybody who’s a fan of Losing My Best Pigeon, it’s coming back into the set.”
Part of the Brothers’ charm is their ability to relate to the everyday working man (and woman). They come across as normal blokes having a bit of a laugh who haven’t let a bit of success go to their heads. Stop Shaun in the street for a selfie and he’ll happily oblige, in fact, he positively encourages it.
“I’d love to be famous, that’s why anybody gets into entertaining,” explains Shaun. “If I did get to a point where I was really well known, I’d love it. I’m only Z-list but I can’t walk around town without someone stopping me. Can you imagine being Bono? Bono can’t go to Sainsbury’s, he can’t go for a pint because he’s going to be mobbed. I think I’d embrace it, I’d enjoy it because I like people.
“The worse thing for me was someone who knew who you were and didn’t want to know you. I don’t mind people not liking me, at least they have an opinion, but if someone’s completely indifferent to you, that’s the biggest insult of all.”
When he’s not front and centre performing with the Brothers, Shaun is also in a band with former bandmate Toby Foster and will be playing at the Wentworth Music Festival on 15 June. He’s also a comedian, DJ, presenter, photographer, guest speaker and, most recently, actor.
Shaun is a man who likes to keep busy (“my brain needs to be occupied” he admits) and after taking up an invitation, appeared in the Crucible Studio production of Me Brother, Dan, which was written by Sheffield schoolgirl Molly Meleady-Hanley and tells the story of how a local family were affected by the World War One conflict. He played a sergeant major in the recruiting office as well as a tunneller and narrator, an experience he describes as “awesome”.
Also awesome is the fact that Shaun recently turned 50, something he is embracing with open arms (after a little kick up the backside from a very good friend).
“Fifty’s the new 30,” he grins. “My fifties are going to be like my thirties should have been, only better. I’m going to push myself out there a bit more, I’m not going to wait for the world to come to me.
“Toby Foster has been responsible for a massive change in me. He said to me a couple of years ago, you’re big problem is, tha spends too much time thinking ‘can I do this?’ You’re better off just going out and doing it. I stand to that.”
We mop up the last of our breakfasts with bread and butter and drain our mugs of tea (coffee for him), then head out into the rain to shoot a few pictures before going our separate ways. As we’re finishing up, a family come over to him, confess that they’re big fans and ask if they can have a picture. “No problem,” he says. “Rich, can you do the honours?”
Catch the Everly Pregnant Brothers at Tramlines 19-21 July. Visit http://everlypregnantbrothers.co.uk for more.