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Live Preview: Colosseum

Drummer Jon Hiseman explains why the veteran British group are splitting up – and for good this time.

How did Colosseum come to record again after an 11-year gap?

The trouble with Colosseum is that we never think it’s ended. However, we are at the mercy of Barbara [Thompson, his wife and the band’s saxophonist] having Parkinson’s disease. We had thought we were done in 2008, but then after a big fight with the National Health the latest miracle drug came along.

Many fans consider Time On Our Side to be the best of the band’s three reunion albums.

I agree with that, mainly because it was the easiest to make. After all these years we finally found out how to do it – on our last record!

It’s certainly a playful title.

Yes. But we’re still here and we’re still doing it, and I believe that on stage we can give anybody a run for their money. Sadly, though, Barbara’s is a problem over which we have no control.

Her style is a lot different from that of former band member Dick Heckstall-Smith, who of course is no longer with us.

Dick was a rough, tough, bluesy player. Barbara’s approach, being softer and more feminine, served to broaden us out.

With singer Chris Farlowe and guitarist Clem Clempson it’s a heck of a line-up. Is it difficult to align everybody’s schedules?

Not really, because for all of us, playing with Colosseum is like coming home. We treat things like a family – everything is split equally, so there are none of the problems of most bands.

How do you expect to feel at your final show?

Of course it will be emotional. Barbara and I met in ’64 and married in ’67 and we’ve got two children, so there’s no way I’ll be off gallivanting around the world with another saxophone player. Barbara doesn’t have Parkinson’s – we have Parkinson’s. That’s the only attitude you can take.

The final gig is on February 28.

Dave Ling
Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.