DENNIS Locorriere has thrown down the gauntlet to artists who refuse to play the old hits that made them a star in the first place.

Some of Dr Hook’s singles like Sylvia’s Mother and The Cover of Rolling Stone are now 45 years old.

But Dennis, who was the band’s frontman, wants to respect the wishes of the fans who have kept passing the songs down to the next generation like an heirloom.

He said: “It’s the music they want to hear. We have a great band and we play these songs the way they want to hear them.

“Because if that’s what made these tracks last why would you want to mess with them?

“Music now is a sense memory. It’s like smelling apple pie and remembering your mum’s house.

“So let’s do mum’s recipe here. Let’s not do the jazz version of Sylvia’s Mother because we’re so bored.

“It’s what Elvis Presley used to tell his fans every night. We might have played this song 2,000 times but there’s a bunch of people out there who have never heard it played live.

“I look for the things in every evening that make it different from the last one like a little exchange with the audience that was fun.

“What makes it worth it is when you walk off the stage feeling like you connected.”

There must be something in Dennis’s philosophy on show business because despite Dr Hook forming half a century ago, the group’s music is still in demand.

He tours under the name ‘Dr Hook starring Dennis Locorriere’ and this year alone he has already been to Australia, New Zealand and, for the first time, Iceland.

Speaking to Weekend last week Dennis added: “I was wondering how that was going to go and it sold out and they knew every song so it just goes to show the music gets to places you haven’t sometimes.

“We’ve also done summer festivals in Scandinavia. We’ve just got off the road 36 hours ago and next week we’re starting a 43 date UK and Ireland tour so there is no room to breathe.

“But it’s been unbelievable how well it’s been going.”

He admitted the extensive travel is a necessary evil though.

Dennis said: “The hardest thing for me these days is when you’re not doing a show you just sit somewhere – in a car on the motorway, on a train, on a bus, on a coach, in an airport, in a hotel, in a dressing room.

“And you’re waiting for those two and a half hours where you can be fabulous and then you sit the hell down again and you wait.

“We have one of those unusual jobs where we’ll get up at 5.30am and be down in the lobby to head to the airport and even though we got up at 5.30am our job doesn’t start until 9pm that night.

“So it’s a strange way to live but I’ve known that for years.

Dennis grew up in New Jersey but moved to the UK about 15 years ago.

And despite still having international appeal that is where he enjoys performing the most.

The 68-year-old added: “I love Liverpool, I love Glasgow. I like the places where the audiences are really demonstrative – where you don’t have to guess how you’re doing.

“You want an audience where if they don’t like you they’ll kill you and if they like you they might kill you trying to hug you.”

Dennis originally joined Dr Hook as a bassist but soon became the unmistakeable voice of the band.

They were thrust into the spotlight in 1972 with Sylvia’s Mother with a little help from the Grammy-winning producer Ron Haffkine who arranged their meeting with Clive Davis, of CBS Records.

It got more surreal later that same year when the band ended up on the cover of Rolling Stone...after they released a satirical song about success in the music industry called The Cover of Rolling Stone.

Dennis said: “There was a picture of me, Ray (Sawyer) and Billy (Francis) on the front and it said ‘What’s-Their-Names Make the Cover’ so a little begrudgingly they put us on the cover.

“But when the record charted they had to put us on there to shut us up.

“People still send it to me once in a while and it was a newspaper then, not the wonderful glossy magazine it became.

“We didn’t expect that and I was 20 or 21 when that happened so I didn’t have anything to say in my first Rolling Stone interview.

“I was a kid. They’d just thrown me out of high school. I didn’t have much to reflect on.

“But we were a bunch of friends who used to play bars and became an international success.

“We handled it with aplomb, nobody became a diva and when it ended there were legal wrangles but we were still, for the most part, pretty much friends.

“It was nice to be able to share very unusual things with people you knew and who cared about you.”

So that brings us neatly to the Dr Hook reunion that fans often ask for.

But Dennis has a very simple answer to that.

He added: “Four of the guys have gone and when somebody asks me about a Dr Hook reunion the first thing I have to say to them is that it’d have to start with a séance.

“I can recreate the music but I’m not a re-animator.

“I can’t bring anyone back from the afterlife...”

Dennis Locorriere performs at the Parr Hall on October 21. Visit or call 442345 for tickets