MARC Almond has every reason to look forward to getting out and performing hits from a career spanning 28 years as both a member of Soft Cell and a solo artist.

Less than four years ago he was involved in a near fatal road accident which left him critically ill and unconscious for over two weeks.

“I am just so grateful to be back on stage and performing,” said Marc who comes to King George’s Hall in Blackburn, next month.

“There are all the cliches about rebirth, but they are cliches because they are true.”

It took Marc two years to recover from the motorcycle accident.

“I’d say that now my voice is better than ever,” he said. “Since the accident I sometimes don’t remember songs like I used to so I will have a prompter on stage to help me but some nights I won’t need it and others I will. That’s just something I have to live with.”

Marc will be bringing his Stardom Road tour to Blackburn and he promises that there will be plenty for fans to enjoy.

“In a sense it’s a celebration of everything I’ve been involved in from Soft Cell onwards,” he said. “I’ve got a nine-piece band including a horn section and violinist with me and we’re all enjoying it so much.

“The problem has been what to include as there is so much material to go at. Stardom Road is basically full of fans’ favourites with the odd unusual selection thrown in.”

Marc burst on to the scene with Soft Cell in 1981 with the single Tainted Love which has become one of the defining records of the Eighties.

“I think that at first Dave Ball (his partner in Soft Cell) and I came to resent Tainted Love as we felt we had more to offer,” said Marc. “It was just such a big hit here and in America but I think that every artist who has a successful record goes through a period of hating it. As you go on you can apreciate how it opened so many doors and now I really enjoy performing it.”

As well as touring with his own band, Marc has been out on the road with Jools Holland and his big band.

Although he has always been a showman, Marc enjoys the camaraderie of sharing a stage with a group of musicians.

“With Soft Cell I was very much at the front of everything and the pressure on you is considerable,” he said. “Now I’m really enjoying myself doing all the old songs with a new group of musicians and getting a new angle on them. Some of the songs are a very different version from the original but I think we’ve retained the essence of the song.”

From working with Russian choirs to showcasing the work of Jaques Brel, Marc has never been afraid to follow his instincts.

“I think fans appreciate that I have always been true to myself. I have a distinctive voice which I appreciate people may love or hate but I think fans trust me and my taste in music and they are prepared to go with things that they might not otherwise have heard.”

As well as continuing with his Stardom Road tour and appearing with Jools Holland, Marc has also got back into writing songs.

“I suppose you’d call them soul and glam ballads,” said Marc, “they’re quite reflective.”

In addition a new DVD — Bluegate Fields: Live At Wilton's Music Hall — will be released in October capturing Marc’s sold-out run at the historic London theatre.

* Marc Almond plays King George’s Hall, Blackburn, on Friday, September 12. Details from the box office on 0844 847 1664.