GLOBE columnist Peter Grant catches up with Leo Sayer before his concert at the Floral Pavilion, New Brighton.

"It's great that you are coming over to Merseyside on your UK tour and now you are visiting the Floral Pavilion on May 11. Have you ever played the Wirral before?"

Leo Sayer: "Oh yeah, many times.

"I did a few festivals there in the old days too. Can’t remember all the venues to be honest.

"My old sound engineer, Paul Boothroyd (Pablo), who’s gone on since to great fame with ACDC and Paul McCartney, is from there, and started with me on a gig there."

"Are you very 'hands on' when you go on the road?"

Leo: "Yes, I’m currently driving some South Africans round the bend over some Johannesburg dates I’m playing before I arrive in the UK for this tour. They think I’m mad – ha ha.

"But I’m a perfectionist and my live show means everything to me. It pays to be in control, and I get to work with great teams of people to get the job done. There are no ‘filler’ shows.

"Every gig I play, I play as if it’s my last. I’m just built that way, and I know the audience appreciate it."

"With such a fantastic back catalogue how do you decide what to put in a set and what to leave out?"

Leo: "It’s always challenging. I have to play the hits, and there are 16 of them, plus all the popular album songs.

"We have a floating set list with the band of about 30 songs. Last tour I did the whole show, no support, so we could fit in the lot.

"This year, it’s too much of a busy schedule, so we have a great support act on board, and I’ll pace it. It could keep changing every night of the tour I think."

"What can fans expect on this much-awaited tour, will it be a mix of your greatest hits and newer material?"

Leo: "Exactly, no one should be disappointed."

"Do you pace yourself accordingly?"

Leo: "Yeah, it’s inevitable with age.

"Now I eat more healthily, drink hot ginger onstage, try to avoid air conditioning, try to sleep more, that sort of thing.

"I had to have knee surgery recently, but it’s all healed and I’m dancing like a kid again, albeit very badly."

"Do you ever stand back and go 'wow I am still going strong and loving it?' - Has there ever been a time when you thought - ''no more touring?''

Leo: "No, I live firmly in the present. The show must go on. I’m still writing and recording, still gigging, and still loving it.

"I don’t have time to get too nostalgic though I’ve been doing this for 45 years now, so I suppose that’s a milestone.

"I may celebrate my 70th with a special gig or two, but that’s still a year off."

"Do you have any one album that you regard as your best?"

Leo: "They’re all very different, and quite deliberately so. I like ‘em all, and it’s hard to pick a favourite."

"Single wise, I love the storytelling in 'Orchard Road' and 'Moonlighting' - do you have a favourite single and what do you most love performing?"

Leo: "Both those most certainly. They come from a very real ‘stream of consciousness’ period for me. I never wrote the words down, just let them flow out to the music. Orchard Road was created on the spot.

"I made up the words as we recorded it, with Alan Tarney playing to my hand signals.

"We recorded that in one take. Mixed it straight afterwards. I can’t believe we actually did that.

"No second thoughts, blind faith and total commitment. Hard to believe that I must’ve sung it almost a million times."

"You fell in love with Australia, where you now live, how did that come about?"

Leo: "It’s been a long time love affair, starting during my first tour there in ’74.

"I just love all the space. Think of the Lancashire moors, and multiply the space by 100. There’s so much of it - great vistas, great opportunities.

"I feel very lucky.

"People are nice down here too, very creative and positive."

"What do you miss most about the UK?"

Leo: "Marks and Spencer’s sandwiches - no, I really do. 

"I don’t miss the small town architecture, high streets etc; I guess I’ve moved on in a lot of ways, but I still love returning and exploring cities like Liverpool.

"London and Manchester too – there’s always something I haven’t seen before.

"I’m lucky I still get invited back once a year, and that my fans still want

"You worked hard to achieve your own success - do you have any advice for those starting out now?"

Leo: "I wouldn’t know where to start. It’s all different now. I worked in a vacuum, I still do – creatively.

"I think if you stick to your beliefs and follow your nose, and if you have talent, someone will notice you.

"Beware of folks that need you more than you need them. Do it yourself, or with your bandmates, I think that’s still how it works

"You are always come across on stage as though you are loving what you do. What is your motto and your outlook on your life and career?"

Leo: "Like the guy in ‘Spinal Tap’ stated, I just try to ‘have a good time , all the time’. I have a very low boredom threshold, or is it high? but I love my job." 

"Have you ever written an auto-biography?"

Leo: "I’ve not had time to do it yet, but I guess I’ll get round to it sooner or later.

"My songs are my autobiography really, I’ve just recorded ‘One Step At A Time’ for my new album incidentally. I’m telling my autobiography on all my albums.

"The last two particularly feature that, ‘Voice In My Head’ and ‘Restless Years’. My new album continues along the same vein."

"You have achieved so much in your career do have any ambitions left? Any regrets?"

Leo: "None. Je Ne Regrette..."

"Who has been your greatest influence? How did you feel about the passing of Chuck Berry?"

Leo: "Dylan was my first real role model. Since then I’ve grown to love the Beatles more and more. I was supposed to host a Sgt Pepper lecture with engineers Geoff Emerick and Richard Lush earlier this year, but sadly it got cancelled. I feel very honoured that they both asked for me. 

"Chuck was a funny cat, tough and hard to love. But what would any of us be doing if he hadn’t been there?"

"Any messages to the fans here in Wirral who are looking foward to seeing you in concert?"

Leo: "Just come and enjoy yourselves. That’s what I’ll be doing."

Catch Leo Sayer on his UK tour at the Floral Pavilion on May 11. 

To get tickets visit or call the box office on 0161 666 0000.