NEIL Innes is convinced that too many people involved in the music business are far too serious.

And for more than 40 years he’s been on a mission to bring some fun back, both as a solo artist and with the likes of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and The Rutles, who come to Clitheroe’s Grand Theatre next week.

“Oh, musicians can be way too serious,” he said. “People are all individuals and need to find themselves and what works for them.

“The music industry treats the music-buying public as a mob, happy to accept what’s thrown at them without questioning.

“I’m afraid I’ve never been able to accept that concept. For a start, there’s no room for silliness.”

The Rutles have become a cult, beloved by music and comedy fans alike.

The original idea was for a sketch on Rutland Weekend Television, a TV series in the mid 1970s featuring Monty Python’s Eric Idle. Neil had the idea for a spoof of The Beatles’ Hard Day’s Night, which became a five minute sketch on the show.

That routine was later shown on the American comedy show Saturday Night Live and audiences across the States loved it.

This in turn led to the full spoof documentary, All You Need is Cash, which actually featured original Beatle George Harrison, and a cult was born.

“George got it straight away,” said Neil. “And John Lennon loved it. Paul McCartney was really the only one who took exception to it at the time.”

Now The Rutles are back on the road — the band performed live for the first time in 30 years back in 2008 and have played a series of shows ever since.

“We are a really tight band,” said Neil. “It’s fun to do and we all really enjoy getting out and seeing an audience react to all our songs .

“The music is totally affectionate towards any band from Liverpool you might be thinking of.”

Alongside Neil in the band is John Halsey, who featured in that initial TV sketch.

“We’re just enjoying having a bit of fun with the tour and at the end of travelling around the UK we’re off to Tokyo,” said Neil.

“The Rutles are massive in Japan. It’s like having a big family there.”

One thing Neil won’t be involved are the Monty Python reunion shows, even though he wrote many songs for the inspirational comedy team.

“It’s no secret that Eric Idle and I don’t really get on and he’s producing the reunion shows,” said Neil.

“But I’m very happy just too be doing what I’m doing and if I can spread a little silliness along the way, so much the better.”

  • The Rutles. Clitheroe Grand, Wednesday, May 28. Details from 01299 421599.