HE is rock’s ultimate survivor. In 2005, two cerebral hemorrhages nearly killed Edwyn Collins.
The former Orange Juice frontman pulled through, but left with right-sided weakness and difficulty with speech, he faced the prospect of never performing again.
Still unable to strum his guitar but just as capable of unleashing his distinctive baritone voice, the former Orange Juice frontman will return to a city he has fond memories of to take to the stage at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall.
Edwyn, 53, is excited about the prospect of playing at the illustrious venue.
In 2010, he played at the Anglican Cathedral and old friend Pete Wylie joined him for a rendition of Velvet Underground’s Pale Blue Eyes.
He is hoping its famous acoustics will help.
“At the cathedral, the reverb bounced across it,” he recalled.
“It was quite a challenge for the engineers!”
Edwyn is full of praise for Liverpool-based Harvest Sun, the promoters who have set up a range of gigs in unique locations since forming two years ago.
His band Orange Juice were contemporaries of local legends Echo and the Bunnymen, Julian Cope, and Teardop Explodes.
Edwyn remembered the band and their manager took a keen interest in the music scene in Liverpool and a letter was written requesting a gig in the city.
They later played Plato’s Ballroom, Brady’s, Pickwick’s, De Montfort Hall and the Royal Court in the 1980s.
Edwyn is particularly passionate when talking about his favourite hotel, The New Manx Hotel, at 39 Catherine Street, then run by Jim Gilmore.
“It was the party hotel. Julian Cope used to stay the night there even though he lived in Liverpool.
“There were pictures of bands all around it. Apparently Orange Juice were the first to stay there.
“It was dead cheap – £5 a night. The breakfast was gorgeous. Jim said ‘it doesn’t matter what time you get up, you can get a breakfast.
“One room had a free-standing shower in the middle of it!
“You got a very warm wlecome and it was so slack.”
Edwyn is currently the subject of a documentary In Your Voice, In Your Heart in which he will give a personal account of his career and his battle to return to the stage after a double haemorrhage.
“First of all it was difficult for me but gradually I came out of my shell,” he says.
“Memories and emotions flowed out. Good memories, funny memories from my life.
“Funny situations and sometimes sad situations.”
Support at the Philharmonic will come from Manchester singer Gary McClure, of Working for a Nuclear Free City.
A nephew of Edwyn’s Scottish contemporary, Aztec Camera founder Roddy Frame, Gary’s album will be released on Edwyn’s AED label in April.
Morecambe band The Heartbreaks will follow.
For tickets to the gig on Saturday, April 20, priced £17.50, £23.50 call the box office on 0151 709 3789 or visit www.liverpoolphil.com/10594/events-contemporary-music/edwyn-collins.html.