SOUTHSIDE Johnny pulls his truck over beside the ‘sidewalk’ as he drives through his hometown of New Jersey, with a friendly tone in voice that makes him an instant hit on the phone.

The singer, acclaimed by stars such as Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen is touring the globe, headlines Burnley’s 25th International Rock and Blues Festival with his band the Asbury Jukes on Saturday.

“Hey, good morning or should I say afternoon, let me just pull over near the sidewalk here and talk to you without doing something completely unethical,” said the singer, whose real name is John Lyon “I hate seeing people talking and driving whilst on their cellphones - but anyway away from that I just wanna get myself to Lancashire and show you guys a good time. Anytime us guys all get out of New Jersey, we are all looking for a good time,” he said.

“For two hours you can forget all the woes and it’s just two hours of relief when you’re on stage. I just can’t wait to get over there and see everybody screaming and yelling. These days it’s just good to get out there and play and with what’s just happened here with the tragedy in Boston, well it was just terrible. Music can help you deal with things sometimes too,” he said.

The band has been around since the Seventies and the band initially included E Street Band’s Steve Van Zandt first as guitarist and then as producer.

Albums such as Hearts Of Stone firmly established the band’s rhythm and blues credentials with fellow New Jerseyite Bruce Springsteen writing a number of songs for the band.

Their raucous live shows have earned the band the title of the ‘best bar band in the world’.

The band play a small number of UK shows each year, all of which are vitrtual sell-outs and continute to release acclaimed records. Their most recent is a live version of one of the early albums Men Without Women.

“I am ready for Lancashire,” said Southside. “I am a big Manchester City fan, I remember coming over there, to Manchester in the seventies and I loved them ever since. I follow the club, it’s just the way they play. Although my manager - my trombone carrier, he’s a Juventus fan and I have never understood that.”

Johnny added: “Hey, you know, I am ready to try a Lancashire Hotpot. I always like to taste the foods from the towns that I visit, so in Burnley I will try a Lancashire Hotpot. But really, we are all ready to give it everything and if we get the chance it will be good to go around and get amongst the crowd, before or after we have performed and see to the other bands on stage as well, I have heard that it’s gonna be great and if we can make it even better then that’s just fab.”

  • Limited number of tickets are still available from the box office at Burnley Mechanics on 01282 664400