CONSIDERING his nickname is the Tasmanian Devil, it comes as a surprise to find that blues rock virtuoso Rob Tognoni is a man whose conversations are punctuated by laughter.

These days he lives in Germany near the Dutch border but his native Aussie twang remains as strong as ever.

Rob will be heading to East Lancashire next Thursday for a warm-up gig ahead of his appearance at the Great British Rock and Blues Festival.

The free show at the Barnoldswick Music and Arts Centre will give fans a chance to see a powerhouse guitarist in intimate surroundings.

“Oh mate, I love it round there,” said Rob. “I’ve played the blues festivals at both Burnley and Colne in the past and always had a great time.”

Rob was always destined to forge a career as a musician. Growing up in Australia he was hugely influenced by a band just beginning to break through Down Under - AC/DC - to such an extent that when asked by his headmaster what he wanted to be when he left school, he memorably replied “a guitarist”.

Rob is much more than that, although his trusty guitar is never too far away.

“It is like third limb to me now,” he said. “When I’m away on tour if I’ve got a big enough bed my guitar will sleep with me. I’m not joking.”

Rob’s live sets are packed with blistering solos and huge amounts of energy.

It is no surprise to learn that his live albums are in great demand.

“I’m working on one now,” he said. “We did a gig at a club in Bremen around 2010 which was recorded but I forgot all about it then I found the hard drive recently. listened to it and it sounded really good. So I’m just getting that ready to sell at gigs, it should be available next month.

“At gigs the live CDs are the most popular merchandise now, it has changed, people do want live albums now. It’s that emotional point of sale. If you put on a good show, people are pretty ripped and want to take some of that show home with them.”

The live albums convey the power and energy or a gig, whereas Rob’s studio output adds a different dimension to things.

“When I record in the studio, I do a lot of layered guitars,” he said. “When I’m being creative I don’t want to be stuck with just one guitar line. Course the problem comes when I then have to work out how to do those songs lives - there are some I can’t do live because they just wouldn’t work.

“But I love to play live. I’ve got a great band and we get on like a house on fire. People can see we are buddies on stage. We are having a hell of a time.

“Then I’ve always got my guitar. Let’s face it, if you want to have sausage, it’s got to be electric!”

Rob Tognoni, Barnoldswick Music and Arts Centre, Thursday, February 18. Admission is free