JOE Crabtree, from Read, lives in Hollywood, but he will be back on home turf next Saturday when rock fans from all over the world descend on Clitheroe for the annual Wishbone Ash convention.

Crabtree replaced the band’s long time sticks man Ray Weston a decade ago, and since then the Clitheroe Grammar School old boy has toured the planet with one of the most unlikely heroes of British rock.

“I’ve got many warm memories of the Grand when it was an old cinema, and I used to go there as a kid, eat ice cream and watch a film,” said Joe.

“It was a fun place to visit with my friends, but now it is this incredible music venue.

“When I played there with Wishbone Ash it was like stepping back in time, seeing so many of my old friends again, and when we were looking for a venue to stage Ash Con it was the perfect place.

“We’ve got fans from New Zealand, Japan, China and South Africa coming and they all love Clitheroe.”

Wishbone Ash developed their sound in the Sixties and Seventies, and as pioneers of the twin-guitar rock sound they influenced Thin Lizzy and metal monsters Iron Maiden and Metallica.

“I’m 37, and Wishbone Ash had been playing ten years before I was born, and I find that amazing,” he said.

“The funny thing is, my uncle Peter from Burnley, was always a huge fan of Wishbone Ash – they are his favourite band – so when I got the job he thought it was pretty cool.

“It was one of the reasons I joined Wishbone Ash. The whole thing is a bit of a dream really.”

The powerhouse drummer has also sat on the stool for Pendragon and the David Cross Band, but he admits he is very aware of Wishbone Ash’s rock story.

“Wishbone Ash are a world renowned rock band and there is still a great thirst for their music,” added Crabtree.

“I’ve played on several albums since I joined them, and while it is great fun to play the old stuff, the fresh material has also been very well received by fans from every generation.”

The Ash Con convention begins at noon with a Wishbone Ash tribute act - Strange Testing – then a brief appearance from Wishbone Ash followed by a headline show in the evening, their last concert of a 44 date US and British tour.

Joe added: “I live half my life in Los Angeles but it gets a bit boring there because it is always sunny, and there’s not a lot of character in the city.

“When I come back home and walk in the Ribble Valley everything looks so beautiful, like somebody has coloured in the green fields and hills, and I didn’t really appreciate what was on my doorstep when I was younger.

“Instead of five lanes of traffic I can drive down a quiet country lane.

“And if it rains in Los Angeles then it is a huge event, people talk about it for days, but we don’t really have that problem in the Ribble Valley!

“I’m really looking forward to my home gig, though, it is going to be a very special day.”

Ash Con, Wishbone Ash Convention, The Grand, Clitheroe, Saturday, November 18. From noon: Selected artists. From 7pm: Wishbone Ash playing live.

Details from 01200 421599 or