THIS weekend, 20,000 music fans are expected to head to Colne for the 30th Great British Rhythm and Blues Festiival.

The event gets underway tomorrow night and will see over 600 musicians playing live at venues throughout the town.

The Muni will once again host the main stage where the likes of Rufus Black, Mike Sanchez and Anthony Gomes will take to the stage.

But there are a three other main stages plus 12 official roadhouse venues featuring blues music of every possible style.

Tone Tanner, described as a one-man ‘kick ass’ band, is justb one of the many talented musicians waiting to play at one of the UK’s leading blues festivals.

Here we chat to Tone about his musical journey, emotional playing, nursing and ‘electric planks’.

What is your musical background (and are you self-taught)?

Yes, I’m 99% self taught. I started playing guitar at 14, and other instruments followed. I’m pretty handy on bass, drums and flute, and play a bit of harmonica and keyboards.

I’ve played in a lot of bands, with some great players (including Peter Miller), but aside from a bit of duo work with Garrington T. Jones, I’m strictly a one man ‘kick ass’ band now.

Who do you look up to as an artist?

My main man is Frank Zappa, with Hendrix coming in second.

I listen to all music though – jazz, funk, rock, punk, new wave, classical, disco, rave, even a bit of blues occasionally.

When it comes to writing songs, what circumstances or events give you inspiration?

My albums are personal, dealing with the human condition, and the futility/frailty of life. The last two albums have been quite political too – there’s plenty of fodder out there. I’ve collaborated with several artist(e)s on my latest album (‘Duels’), including with author Richard Wall, who wrote the lyrics to ‘Fat Man Blues’.

I don’t go anywhere near blues cliches like ‘my woman done gone with my neighbour’, deals with devils, boxcars, hurricanes in cornfields etc. What’s the point?

Which one of your songs means the most to you?

It’s off my latest album, called ‘Read to the End’. It’s very personal and I cry when I play it sometimes, which is really embarrassing!

Tell us one thing we may not know about you.

I was a registered nurse from 1989 to 2000. I specialised in the HIV / AIDS field.

In terms of your shows, what is your favourite track to perform live and why?

If it’s one of mine, then a ‘new’ version of an oldie called ‘Neva Trusta…’, a slide rock / rap tune – ‘cos it kicks ass!

My favourite cover to play is possibly ‘Glory Box’, the Portishead version. It’s just a great song.

What kind of music were you brought up listening to?

My dad was a jazz / military saxophonist. Some of his record collection was great – swing artists like Milt Jackson/Lucky Thompson, June Christie, John Coltrane.

He hated guitars though (‘electric planks’).

What’s been the most memorable time of your musical career?

Oddly, filling in the-spur-of-the-moment on drums for a great band (John Denton) when their drummer cried off sick. I pulled it off, and it was the best feeling!

I’ve played with Gwyn Ashton a few times, which is nice, and I’ve run a couple of workshops for Michael Messer which have been fab.

What else do you have in store for the rest of this year?

I’m releasing my third full studio album in the next few weeks. It’s blues and rock, but no blues-rock really. Oh, and a bit of swing!

What’s the meaning/history behind the name Tone?

Tone is short for Antony. Only my wife and mom call me that, if they’re angry (and when I want to sound posh for my clients).

Tone Tanner plays the Mini Muni in Colne on Sunday at 6pm. For details of the full line-up of the Great British R&B Festival visit