WIN tickets to see The Hoosiers in Doncaster

The Hoosiers play Doncaster later this month.
The Hoosiers play Doncaster later this month.

One of the happiest bands in music are back with a revised line-up, new album – and date in Doncaster.

The Hoosiers had planned to release a series of EPs throughout 2015, but pressure from fans meant it became one album, with The Secret Service released today.

And, to accompany the release, the band are hitting the road, including a show at Doncaster’s Diamond Live Lounge on Friday, October 23.

However, for the first time in five years they will be touring as a trio, following the ‘amicable’ departure of bassist Martin Skarendahl earlier in 2015.

Keyboard player Sam Swallow, who joined the band full-time in 2010, says: “The remaining three of us all still get on really well. It’s different, but it’s fun.

“We have got a new bass player, Bill Banwell, for the tour, so it’s different.

“Martin’s departure was amicable, but it came from musical frictions.

“We had different ideas of where we wanted to band to go.

“There were no arguments, we had different ideas that caused friction – we had a lot of debates.

“There’s no bad blood, but it’s smoother now, because we are all on the same page.”

The Hoosiers.

The Hoosiers.

The band of Sam, frontman Irwin Sparkes and drummer Alan Sharland are now looking forward to their “really exciting” new album and tour.

And they have promised to keep the fun and energy that marked the band’s arrival in the mainstream, despite the amended line-up.

Debut album The Trick to Life shot to number one in the UK, spawning top-five singles Worried About Ray and Goodbye Mr A, with the band’s joie de vivre winning friends and fans across the country.

Disagreements with their record label were partly to blame for the second album not doing as well – only reaching number 10.

We had nothing to lose, but a lot to prove.

Irwin Sparkes, The Hoosiers frontman

A band spokesman said: “The prophetically titled second album, The Illusion of Safety, was, all the band agree, a troubled project from the start.”

Irwin says: “The word ‘hit’ is substituted for ‘good’.

“There’s an art to writing under those conditions, but it wasn’t one that worked for us.

“It exacts a toll on too many writers. You give up too much if you do that.”

Last year’s The News From Nowhere pleased the band and die-hard fans, but failed to attract the attention of the buying public, only reaching number 96.

However, Irwin says: “Doing it on our own terms and actually having a proper say in it, felt wonderful.

The Hoosiers are Irwin Sparkes, Al Sharland and Sam Swallow.

The Hoosiers are Irwin Sparkes, Al Sharland and Sam Swallow.

“We had nothing to lose, but a lot to prove.”

And the band have high hopes for The Secret Service, which comes out on Friday, October 9, and tour.

Sam, from Guiseley, Leeds, says: “The drive is still there. We are true to ourselves as people. We’re not trying to reinvent ourselves.

“We try to have fun and energy. I know I am, as much as I can, given I am still behind a keyboard.

“We’re not doing fancy dress stuff like we used to do, but we are having fun.”

Your newspaper has teamed up with The Hoosiers to give away four pairs of tickets to their show at Doncaster’s Diamond Live on Friday, October 23.

And that’s not all – each winner will also get a signed copy of their new album, The Secret Service on CD.

To be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets and signed CD, enter our free draw by post, email, or Twitter.

The deadline for entries is noon on Saturday, October 10. Winners will be notified the following week.

To enter, send your name, address and a daytime phone number to The Hoosiers comp, Jon Ball, Sheffield Newspapers, York Street, Sheffield S1 1PU, email with ‘The Hoosiers comp’ in the subject line and those details in the message, or follow @jon_ball33 on Twitter and Retweet any of his #StarCompHoosiers tweets – usual SNL rules and terms apply.