Standin Man is the solo project of former Sly Digs front man, Dean Fairhurst, .a ‘no holds barred’, psychedelic, rock n roll band from Warrington, Cheshire.

I had the brilliant opportunity of catching up with 3 members of the band: Dean Fairhurst, Paul Glover and Joe Kavaney, last week at a photo shoot at Warrington Parr Hall venue a few days before they headlined the Warrington Music Festival Winter Showcase there, then it was next door to Vandal bar for an interview.

Standin Man Are:-

Dean Fairhurst – vocal/guitar

Joe Kavaney – guitar/backing vocals

Paul Glover – bass

Peter Fleming – drums



Janet (All Music UK)  – Thanks so much, guys, for meeting us today. Obviously lots of exciting stuff, but let’s talk about the European tour with the incredible Vintage Trouble last summer.

Dean– Quite a lot of highlights, we did a lot. It was very intense, there was a lot of travel but all that gets overshadowed by the experience and the success of the shows. It was our first tour as Standin Man, of this format, and I have a saying “that you only become a band once you’ve been on tour” because you get into a realm of tightness that you can never get into by just playing sporadic shows. Over a tour you get this way of getting in the zone as a collective so you read off each other’s natural cues; it’s very hard to do, but it becomes subconscious and it shows how tight and connected you are in terms of experience. We did a few nights in France, then Holland, then a very strange place in Hamburg, yeah, strange. Anyway after that, heading to Milan, and between that we had the luxury of being in Switzerland, in the Swiss Alps. It was quite surreal up in the mountains, it was like a fairy tale land. We went for a dip, it was amazing. I’d driven through it before at the same time of year, summer time, but didn’t get a chance to stop off or anything.

Joe– Yeah, it was incredible; we went in this river that was freezing but at the same time felt really great and we stayed at this quaint little hotel; it was beautiful, so clear.

Dean– Yeah, the people there – I think they thought we were aliens; the owners of the hotel – I think they were scared of us. I mean we didn’t do anything nefarious or anything; they were looking for a space ship, had never encountered anything like us before. But it’s such a picturesque, beautiful place.

Janet (All Music UK) – Where was your favourite place to play, I’m sure there must be many, but stand out for whatever reason, where was that?

Joe– Falconberg was a good one, with the venue.

Paul– Yeah, Falconberg. Was that the place with the big amphitheatre?

Joe– Yeah, the amphitheatre. That was something else that was.

Dean– Yeah, that place was steeped in history as well; it was eerie, but how it had been designed was like a natural design, the acoustics were brilliant and it had all these secret tunnels built underneath because it’s built into the mountain, on top of a hill, and it was a really good gig as well.

Joe– All the Holland shows were good, we went down really well there, they really took to us.

Paul– It was right on the borders with Germany wasn’t it? It’s funny, cos when you do that many gigs so close together I forget which country we were actually in, I’d have to look them up, I just remember how the gigs went and that.

Joe– Yeah the energy just kept going up and up and every gig was just getting better and better.



Janet (All Music UK) – I can imagine, being so hectic and with all that travel, does it become a blur?

Paul– Yeah I can remember countries and places and I can remember gigs, but in my mind I can’t put them together.

Dean– It’s exhausting but it’s just worth it. Exhaustion and long hours travelling is the dark side of it, but the other side is meeting people who have never seen us before, playing to a new crowd every night and getting a different reaction every night, the tiredness just becomes insignificant.

Janet– Do you find that the music, the energy from that as music is a vibration – does that help carry you through so to speak

Paul– Ohyeah cos if you did that amount of travelling and stuff without the music and in that time scale, you’d just not make it, you d be dead.

Dean– It’s strange, cos whilst on tour you aren’t eating the healthiest of diets or consuming the healthiest of things but you still stay in some sort of shape and that’s because you get so much from performing at gigs. There’s a connectivity of playing with an audience and when it goes right.

Joe– You can feel the buzz, you feel it going up and up and the crowd didn’t know us at the start of the gig but by the end they’re going mental, after 5 or 6 songs they’re with us fully.

Dean– It’s the expression, it’s being able to perform on stage.cos you wouldn’t get up on a stage and perform if you weren’t some sort of extrovert; it’s a form of ego, but then it’s not really wanting at the same time to give too much out. I feel like that anyway, it’s a strange thing, I feel more natural on stage – I think that’s my happy zone.

Joe– Yeah I know I do; first show you’re still figuring out the tech, the sound; it’s still brilliant but by the end you’re really on top form; and from watching Vintage Trouble perform too, Ty (Taylor) has such energy you really get a buzz from watching that too.

Janet (All Music UK) – Do you find it’s an inspiring energy and creative connection?

Dean– It’s like finding your tribe, your people, you’re most comfortable when you’re around people that you’re akin to really, most definitely. Being in certain connectivity with the right people is essential.



Janet– That makes sense now, from listening to your music I always find it very spiritual, the eastern influence, the psychedelic aspect, almost a little bit altered state feeling or inducing – is that a conscious thing?

Dean– I think that’s a maturity thing, I think that when you’re really young and wanting everything now, and we are in a world where you get everything now regardless of age, my instincts and feel go against that. I always feel that’s too much, we’re having too much, so finding spirituality in other aspects is important to me, I’m always self conflicting. A lot of songs are like that but we only realise what it’s really about once it’s finished. A lot of songs just start off being one thing and end up taking a whole other direction, sonically and lyrically. So you actually outdo yourself in meaning, which is always important I think.

Janet (All Music UK) – I get real 60s feels coming from your material – is that fair to say?

Paul- Well we all grew up with that influence and we all love that era so it’s definitely a big influence.

Janet (All Music UK) – Most random gig experience?

Joe– We’ve had a few (laughter) but Salty Dog in Northwich was one!

Janet (All Music UK) – Myself and Warren Millar (photographer) were at that one; I think it’s one of our most random too!

Joe– Yeah that guy who was there and had been to MacDonald’s or somewhere and he’d bought about 50 burgers, put a table up against the stage and emptied them out on this table! Just piled them up there for everyone!

Paul– Oh God, Yeah. They were falling on the floor and everyone was laughing and taking pictures of this ridiculous pile of burgers that no one was gonna eat!

Dean– I’ve been to so many random gigs honestly!

Joe– Yeah, you do that – burgers in the Salty Dog pub – then you’re in a stadium with the Who – that’s random!

Dean– I remember starting out at a pub that’s not there anymore, the Leigh Arms in Newton le Willows. My parents met there. We used to practice there upstairs in this tiny room, so to pay for rent we started doing gigs in there. It was a funny place and at some point a pole got put in there, a pole dancing pole, I’ve no idea why. So one night we’re playing and someone starts dancing round this pole and we’re trying to play when somebody smacks a snooker cue over someone else’s head – snaps it right in half right in front of us – then there’s like 5 separate fights all going on in this place while some girl is still dancing round a pole! That was random and we didn’t drop a note or anything!

Janet (All Music UK)– How do you not get distracted by this stuff or not get confused by what’s going on around you?

Dean– It was like the Titanic, when they just kept playing while everything’s sinking!

Joe– So many random gigs (turns to Paul). What about you? Didn’t you cut your finger on stage or something?

Paul– I got stung by a bee on stage, it stung me in the nose! I’ve fell off my stool a few times whilst playing keys (lots of laughter). There’s probably not enough time in this interview for me to tell you about all the random gigs I’ve experienced, to be honest (laughs).

Dean– I wanna hear about the getting stung in the nose by a wasp (laughter).

Paul– Well it was an outside gig, we’re going back many years, I was playing bass, there was this wasp buzzing around and I’m flicking my head about trying to shoo it off when it lands on my nose; you can’t take your fingers off the guitar to waft it away but it’s crawling down my nose. At this point I’m shaking my head trying to get it off when eventually it just goes for me, I could see it was coming for me… then arrgh!!

Dean– Did you just look like you was into the music and that? (Laughing)

Paul– Yeah, I was a true professional, I never dropped a note, no one else even noticed. I bet the crowd thought I was just loving the music with my frantic head shaking, but no I was fighting a wasp!

Joe– I was in a tribute duo, a Led Zeppelin tribute, and this one night the other guy turns up in this wig, and it was a proper big wig; now this wasn’t the norm, and as the gig went on this wig was just getting bigger and bigger and frizzier by the minute, I just couldn’t stop looking at it!



Janet (All Music UK)– Did you get distracted?

Joe-I did. yeah, I got very distracted; I couldn’t focus… all I could see was this growing wig!

Paul– I get stung by a wasp and carry on, but you get distracted by a wig (lots of laughter). Dean’s hit with a broken cue and carries on, but you can’t because of a wig (raucous laughter)

Joe– It was actually very distracting and a bit weird; the show must go on though eh? (Laughs)

Janet (All Music UK)– Saturday night I’m gonna wear a huge frizzy wig and stand right opposite Joe!

Dean- Don’t do that, you’ll distract him (laughter)

Joe- Yeah I’d probably do better with a wasp! The Who gig was a bit mad, not in the same random way but in another level kind of way. I mean, we’ve been on tour then we come and do a gig with the Who!

Janet (All Music UK)– It is mad, wonderfully mad, going from burgers at the Salty Dog to a stadium with The Who. Dean, you’ve done some mad stuff, played Dubai, and played with Liam Gallagher among other things?

Dean-Yeah, yeah I have. It is mad. Hey not many people know I played Dubai but yeah I did, that was amazing and yeah with Liam Gallagher in Milan. It’s all mad, but playing places like the Salty Dog are just as important and are sometimes just as big energy wise, and amazing atmosphere. A lot to be said for small, grass roots venues, Salty Dog’s a great place!

Joe– It’s equal in merit and equally rewarding.

Paul– Sometimes it can be too big, you don’t get the best sound in a stadium, but then the buzz is epic, it’s all relative really. You can get a bit lost (sound wise) sometimes in really big venues,

Dean– But it teaches you, it teaches how to let go of things, to not be so concerned about how it sounds. I sometimes have an issue with that, I get fixated with how it sounds, so not being able to control it is good, cos you learn to go with the flow a bit and enjoy the energy more. You just gotta get into the groove a bit and not worry. It all goes back to the introvert/extrovert thing. You want everything to be as great as it can be, and when you get the gig there’s just so many intrinsic, moving parts that you just can’t be perfect cos of course shit goes wrong. But it’s exciting; it’s all part of the ethos.

Janet (All Music UK)– Going back to the energy again, so it’s about the feels, performance, presence as well as sound?

Paul– That’s why a tour is great, cos you get a new set of ears every night, different country, different crowd.

Dean – I think it’s good how it transcends culture too, music doesn’t have borders, doesn’t have boundaries. We go to different places with different ideas of what culture is, but music is that common ground, we all experience music, that’s its beauty.

Joe– It’s that vibration thing again, we need it don’t we?

Janet (All Music UK)– Absolutely, How about that moment when you knew this was for you, how did you all get into music. Dean? Obviously you’re quite well known, was it a conscious thing to become a known musician, or did it all just evolve?

Dean– Well for me, I was always around music, I was fascinated by music from a really young age, and was lucky enough to have parents who had good taste in and a good sense of music, so then it was always in that environment where music played a major part. Then as I got older I became really fascinated by music and I was using my ears, then I didn’t see it as a career, it was a thing that I just wanted to do, I saw it as beautiful. People have that thing where they can look at art and appreciate it, I did that with music, I had an extreme ‘want to do what they’ve done’, you know, to see artists and think “that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life”. It’s expression in its finest form, whether that be song writing, performing live, I think it’s the most personal thing we can do, to perform in front of an audience for the enjoyment of yourself, but also for the enjoyment of the other people, there s nothing like it.

Joe– You get lost in that moment, that expression, you’re there but you’re not there, there isn’t anything else like it, it’s amazing.

Dean– It’s like a meditation or something.

Joe– I’ve always loved performing even from a young age, my Mum’s a classical guitarist so I was always surrounded by it and she taught me at a very young age how to play. Dad was into Led Zeppelin, folk music and all that… very varied.

Dean– Good taste in music in’ it?

Joe– It does come from that, from what you hear as a child.

Paul– I always loved music, I was never a performer, but I loved music, but that’s why I went into bass playing, it’s more of a supporting role. I’m happy doing that, I’ll do my own little thing but it’s come from a love of music, it’s hard to think of a time before that; I love every element of it.

Janet- So, the album, can we talk about that?

Dean– The album, yes, we’ve an album which is due for release April time so not long now, the release is to coincide with some more shows, a UK tour, our first headline tour, then maybe some more dates later on in the year, maybe Europe. But yeah the album for us is exciting.

Janet (All Music UK) – Can you describe Standin Man’s sound?

Dean– That’s a hard question that one, that’s really hard for you to ask that question, cos what are you gonna get as a response from that? Where do you go with that?



Janet (All Music UK) – Sometimes I get a long, in-depth response, sometimes a snappy one-liner, there s no right or wrong response!I find I can really gauge the essence of what each musician is from their replies, from my point of view it’s a valuable insight and it’s probably my favourite thing to delve into!

Dean– OK, I’ve got some for you, I think, it’s a modern take on influences from the 60s, it’s got the vibes but it’s also an exploration into newer sounds, with interesting, different ways of approaching songs, sounds and sonics. Different themes and different scenarios and different sounds that were not available in the 60s, that’s the beauty, we can delve back into eras but use today’s technology and build on that.

Joe– And they really are strong songs, good strong songs, and good melodies, which is really important.

Paul– That’s the thing, we’ve got the songs, we’ve got the sound, and we’ve also got technical ability and musical ability.

Janet (All Music UK) – Parr Hall (Warrington). We must talk about that, obviously with you guys playing there at the Warrington Music Fest. Dean, you’ve played there as the Sly Digs, it being your home town’s biggest venue – it must mean a lot?

Dean-Yeah, it means a lot. I love the venue, another steeped in history, then from a personal level I remember camping outside when Arctic Monkeys played there, waiting to get tickets. I’ve seen so many good gigs there and talked to so many great musicians about what it’s like playing there. Even the bigger names, as soon as I mention I’m from Warrington they always say about the Parr Hall.

Joe– Yeah, top venue, very popular and we’re made up to be playing there!

Janet (All Music UK)– What are we gonna get Saturday then? What do we get at a Standin Man show?

Dean– You get an electrified stage performance! We like taking the audience on a journey (laughter) ”Come join us on our musical train” (intense laughter)

Joe-YEAHH !!

Dean– It’s quite intense from an energy point of view, but also we love to play loud and fast!

It’s truly been a pleasure spending a few hours with Dean, Paul and Joe. It radiates from each of them, the pure love of music and performing they have. Music is their life blood and crafting it is important to them. This translates into explosive and genuine performances and incredible sounds. Creativity is abundant within Dean, and he’s an inspirational force to be around. Standin Man create something very special indeed, and today has been a fascinating insight into that. Thank you Dean, Paul and Joe.

Huge thanks to Pyramid and Parr Hall and Culture Warrington for allowing us to use the Parr Hall and for being so accommodating, particularly David Morgan whose help has been invaluable . Massive thanks to Mike and Jenny at Vandal bar, Warrington, for their hospitality and for welcoming us to their stunning bar to conduct this interview.