You don’t need to ask Mark Feltham twice if he is excited about returning to Bermondsey to play with his blues band Nine Below Zero, writes Joey Millar…
“It’s going to be magic!” he said. “I’ve still got the passion for the area. I left in 1974 but I still get a buzz every time I go back. It’s going to be tremendous to play in front of old friends again, I’m really happy to be heading back.”
This will be Nine Below Zero’s third time at the Bermondsey Carnival, and the harmonica player has loved each previous visit.
“It’s always great to play in front of Bermondsey people. The area has changed, but the people are still the same. The community spirit is still here.”
Mark began playing with the band during the late 1970s, when they performed at venues including the Thomas A Becket pub in the Old Kent Road and the Apples and Pears on the Bonamy Estate.
They made it big in 1980, releasing their first album and headlining at the Hammersmith Odeon.
The following year they supported The Who and The Kinks on tour, and soon after released their album Third Degree, which spent six weeks in the UK charts.
The band broke up soon after, however, with band members going their separate ways. Mark went into session music, most notably with Rory Gallagher, whom he spent many years supporting.
However, they reformed in the early 1990s, occasionally touring and releasing new music since. Playing at the Bermondsey Carnival has been a constant highlight for Mark, who still holds fond memories of growing up in the area.
“My dad ran a fruit’n’veg stall down the Blue and I remember other people selling their wares from wheelbarrows. It was a different time, everyone had their doors open. I moved out to Beckenham and it is just a world apart.”