music. At the end, we often get a standing ovation, which is something amazing. However, this time we’d get that after a first song,” he laughs. “I’ve been playing live since I was 12. It still excites me.”
While the bulk of his touring is complete, Richard has not yet started thinking about his next album.
“I’ve got loads of songs, but I’ve only just finished touring and I don’t want to really think about that for a while. When you’ve been doing something for a long time it’s very important to know when to take your foot off the gas and just live your life.
“I’m not even in the car, let alone [taking my] foot off the gas. I’m enjoying walking and exploring – I do it all year round. There’s no such thing as bad weather, kid, just wrong clothes!”
When not on tour, Hawley finds enjoyment through more peaceful pastimes.
“I walk the dogs; I’ve gone miles with these two,” he begins, nodding to his two dogs lying faithfully beside him.
“I don’t really have hobbies. I’m too conscious of the fact that I’d be having a hobby. I guess my life’s my hobby, I like tinkering around with guitars and being creative.”
Evidence of Hawley’s love of playing was perhaps best represented when he played a tour in 2012 in a wheelchair when he broke his leg slipping down steps in Barcelona.
“We had got months of touring booked ahead of us, and that was the beginning of the whole album,” he says. “We’d waited two years to go out on the road and I really love my time with the musicians and all our road crew. We have a lot of love and respect for each other.”
Waking up in hospital a few hours before he was due to be on stage, Hawley’s professionalism never wavered.
“I said ‘get me a wheelchair and a drum stool and I’ll do the gig – I’ll just try my best to do it.’ I just didn’t want to let anyone down. Literally, I’d have to have a severed head to cancel a concert.”
While Hawley has changed little since he first started out in music, one thing is noticeably different – he recently quit smoking to save his voice.
“I’ve not had a cigarette since January 2, because I wanted to keep going,” he admits. “I’m not interested in anything else – it’s just the music. That’s all I really care about.”
The Under the Big Top Festival, Sheffield, July 12 and 13. Richard Hawley will be appearing at Graves Park on the final evening.
For a full programme of bands or to book tickets call the box office on 0114 234 9979 or online at www. underthebigtop.co.uk
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IN GOOD VOICE: Richard Hawley has given up smoking in order to save his voice. “I’m not interested in anything else – it’s just the music.”
STEEL CITY BOY: Richard Hawley performing at Sheffield City Hall.