Big Boy Bloater: "The ups and downs of touring keep you grounded"

A press shot of Big Boy Bloater and his band

Ranked at No.87 in a rundown of the genre’s 100 greatest singers compiled by Classic Rock’s late, lamented sister title Blues magazine, Big Boy Bloater has gained some serious traction with his latest album, Luxury Hobo. The guitarist/frontman checks in while preparing for his busiest year yet.

Your real name is a closely guarded secret. Who still uses it?

Almost nobody. Even my mum and dad call me Bloater.

Where does it come from?

My schooldays. And when I started the band I added Big Boy as a nod to the likes of Big Joe Turner and Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup.

And yet you can be a little frustrated when lumped in with the blues?

A little bit. There’s blues in my albums, but I’ve got many, many more influences. I love glam rock, T.Rex and Slade rubbed off on me, and I’m a big fan of Elvis Costello. I think you can hear all of those things in my music.

Luxury Hobo, your debut for Mascot, is regarded as a step up from what came before. Did the label try to influence its harder-rocking direction?

I was trepidacious over signing to Mascot, but they were fantastic. They left me alone for the whole creative process, which was cool as my goal really is to spread my wings with each album.

There must be a certain amount of self-mockery going on with a song called It Came Out Of The Swamp? Swamps are in pretty short supply here in London.

I’m originally from the borders of Hampshire and Surrey, but yeah. Of course humour is a big part of my lyrics. Coming from blues, the very nature of that music tends to be very ‘down’. I like to bust out of it a bit.

You once played to twenty thousand people, and the next day to just twenty, and said you enjoyed both shows equally.

It’s true. Both situations are great, those ups and downs keep you grounded. You also work harder for smaller crowds.

You’re playing at this summer’s Ramblin’ Man Fair. Have you attended the festival in previous years?

No, but I’ve always wanted to, so getting asked to play is a double-whammy.

Bloater plays the UK throughout 2017.