THERE will be a familiar face in the line-up when cult band Half Man Half Biscuit play King George’s Hall, Blackburn, later this month.

For John Donaldson, an adopted son of Darwen, will be bringing his latest musical incarnation JD Meatyard along as support.

Now living in southern Spain, John will be known to music connoisseurs in the area for his work with Calvin Party and Levellers 5.

“It’s going to be fun to get back to what I see as my roots, even though I was originally from Glasgow,” said John.

“I don’t know what it is about the area and Darwen in particular but there has always been that little spark there musically.

“Perhaps it’s something in the water but it seems as though there is always something happening in the town that’s just a little bit different, a bit out there.”

On his latest album Northern Songs, a collection of Darwen-based musicians figure prominently, with Steve Lindley on guitars, Phil Hutchinson on harmonica and singer Natasha Lea Jones making a guest appearance.

John’s uncompromising views of the music industry have earned him respect across Europe — he spent several years living in Holland.

“Sadly Holland has changed completely,” he said.

“All that freedom and creativity which it’s known for is being stifled by rules and regulations. That’s why I had to get away.”

Initially John went to southern Spain for a few months to recharge the batteries — over two years later, he’s still there.

“It’s a beautiful spot,” he said. “I’ve got the ocean one way looking across to Morocco and behind me I’ve got the mountains.”

Northern Songs, has been highly praised and is something he’s truly proud of.

“It’s much sparser than my previous two albums and it’s not really a band album,” he said. “I’ve given up trying to write for a full band, thinking about arrangements and the whole picture.

“I’m now much looser with my writing and I’m enjoying the freedom. It allows me to write with more feeling.

“I still rarely perform on my own and for the Blackburn gig I’ll have Steve Lindley with me plus a drummer.”

John has already supported Half Man Half Biscuit, including a date at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire earlier this year.

“I don’t think people realise what a great live band they are,” he said, “The London gig was amazing.

“They are legends and I actually supported them with Levellers 5 at the ICI club in Darwen way back when..

“I truly believe that Nigel (lead singer Nigel Blackwell) is one of THE great English social commentators and he’s a lovely fellow too.

“People see the quirky song titles and think that Half Man Half Biscuit are some kind of novelty band, but they are much more than that. Somehow they manage to pull off the trick of being amusing and insightful which really takes some doing.”

Half Man Half Biscuit with J D Meatyeard, King George’s Hall, Blackburn, Saturday, May 24. Details from the box office on 0844 847 1664.