HE turned his back on being one of the ‘bright young things’ of the Eighties music scene, but Martin Stephenson is now enjoying life as one of the elder statesman of rock and roll.

As he prepares to return to Darwen’s Library Theatre next month for a solo show, the genial Geordie has found himself in a good creative place.

“I’ve been working with a couple of bands who have just got in touch out of the blue,” said Martin. “It’s so good when everyone has the right spirit and is up for it. With the Daintees I spent a lot of time with producers and I hung around Kitchenware Records when they were producing all the early Postcard records with Aztec Camera and The Fire Engines and I guess I must have taken in more than I thought.

“I must have been a bit of a sponge because now I’m able to pass on some of that experience to help other artists and it’s really rewarding.”

With the Daintees, Martin released a series of critically-acclaimed albums such as Boat to Bolivia but as major stardom beckoned he rejected the corporate nature of the music business preferring instead to start a new life living in Scotland writing and performing songs that he wanted.

Martin’s live shows are an eclectic mix of Daintees’ songs, new material and obscure material ranging from Western Swing to Delta Blues.

At Darwen he will be accompanied by guitarist Jim Hornsby.

“Jim’s a great guy,” said Martin, “He’s like some old cowboy who can really play — he puts me to shame. But we have a great dynamic. I can hit him with some really obscure stuff and it doesn’t faze him.

“I’ll just start playing something like a Richard Hell and the Voidoids song, which is completely outside his comfort zone, and he’ll listen and then just pick it up.”

Martin and Jim have just completed two albums-worth of new material which Martin hopes he will have available for fans soon.

Martin is also looking forward to a date at Glastonbury this weekend with the Daintees.

“We’ll be playing one of the acoustic tents which should be fun,” he said.

And then there’s the Darwen date.

“The people there are really good and make it really easy for you,” he said, “and we always get a great reaction which is why we keep on coming back.”

  • Martin Stephenson, Darwen Library Theatre, Friday, July 12. Details from 01254 706006 or 0844 847 1664.