WHEN The Blockheads celebrate 30 years as a band with a show at Colne Muni, legendary frontman Ian Dury may sadly be no longer with them but his spirit lives on in the form of his best friend, minder and now songwriter Derek the Draw.

Derek has undergone every fans dream by going from backstage to fronting one of the most impressive set of musicians currently touring.

"I got friendly with Ian in the Eighties," said Derek, "and he wasn't in the Blockheads at that time.

"When the band got back together again he asked me to help him when they went on the road.

"I was his buddy and his winder. I was there to pick him up if he fell over on stage, which he rarely did."

Derek travelled the world with Ian until his untimely death from cancer in 2000.

"When the boys decided to carry on as a band they found that although they knew the backing vocals they didn't know the words so they started to split the vocal duties between them.

"While they were rehearsing I chipped in with some of the songs which I knew and then started to do a couple on stage to lighten the load and it all developed from there.

"I think it helped because my accent is fairly similar to Ian's but I'd never try to copy him."

Derek still can't quite believe his change of career.

"I ran a special effects company with my brother," he said.

"Before the days of computer generated images we could make any plastic item look like metal.

"We gave Jaws his silver teeth in the James Bond films and turned C3PO gold in Star Wars. I'm 50 now and I'm starting all over again, it's really strange."

As well as singing with The Blockheads, Derek ("Ian gave me my nickname because he reckoned I was handy with a pencil") has co-written the songs on the band's new album which is due for release next year.

"I've developed a talent I didn't know I had."

On the 30th anniversary tour, The Blockheads will be joined by comedian Phill Jupitus who will be singing some of the songs.

"Phill is a huge fan - now he did know all the words," said Derek.

"We will be sharing some of the vocal duties on tour.

"The great thing about The Blockheads has always been the quality of the musicians.

"The band has been a vehicle for them all to perform. For me it is such an honour."

The aniversary tour will feature the band performing their album New Boots and Panties in its entirety plus all their hits including Reasons To Be Cheerful and What A Waste.

The Blockheads with Phill Jupitus play Colne Muni on Thursday, November 8. Details from the box office on 01282 6611234