WITH his psychedelic glasses and long hair, Derek Hussey is precisely the kind of man you’d expect to front a Seventies’ new wave rock band. That’s exactly what he has been doing – but counter-intuitively, only since the year 2000.

After The Blockheads’ singer Ian Dury’s tragic death 16 years ago, close friend and long-time roadie Hussey became increasingly involved in songwriting for the band. Then, thanks to his Dury-esque London accent, singing lead vocals as well.

The Blockheads’ continued success and regular touring life makes them something of a rarity in the industry.

Was it difficult knowing how to carry on after Dury’s death?

“The guys wouldn’t tolerate just going through the motions, battering the old catalogue. There’s no integrity in it. We’ve always continued to write since Ian’s demise, and we will continue to do so.”

Hussey sees himself as privileged to have such great relationships with his fellow band-members. “I’ve been working with the boys since 1989 and there’s never been any serious falling out, or a shouting match or anything. We get along really well. There’s a mutual respect and we just love the music.”

Another key to their longevity, according to Hussey, is the unique musical talent concentrated in the Blockheads’ line-up. “Back in the day, everyone knew the Blockheads were one of the best bands around. Forty years later, these guys are just magic. It’s brilliant to play with them”.

Although he enjoys writing new music and is proud of the three albums released under his pen, Derek is unequivocal about his first love – performing live. “It’s the lifeblood of a musician. That hour-and-a-half is what you actually live for. Every time I head out the door with my kit-bag to do a gig, it’s fantastic.”

It’s a good thing he’s such a big fan of performing live, given his dismay at the current state of physical record releases.

“Making albums and trying to get airplay is a waste of time, so we try to get out on the road and spread the word live.” Hussey admits, however, that not relying on record sales is a silver lining and preserves their musical integrity. “We aren’t beholden to anyone, we make our own moves and do what we like.”

Hussey is keen to stress that although he wanted to remain true to the Dury musical spirit, his personal writing style is different.

“Ian very rarely wrote about issues, because he didn’t like to be telling people what they should be doing. But I write more about current things, issues that matter to me. I couldn’t write a song unless it was about something, otherwise it just seems to be a bunch of words rattling around in a bucket.”

There is a thread, however, linking the Dury and post-Dury eras. “We always put something a bit quirky and funny on the new albums, because Ian was quite famous for it.”

Hussey adds: “Most people thought that the first album we released after Ian died was Ian’s old outtakes, but it wasn’t. It was all brand new.”

With no plans for slowing down, the Blockheads are currently working on an as-yet-unnamed new album, for release next Spring. Work will also start on Beyond the Call of Dury, a documentary about the band’s evolution since the death of the charismatic frontman.

The Blockheads, Rock on the Lawns, Sheffield Green, Fletching, East Sussex, Sat, July 30, From noon, headliners from 5.30pm, £35, 01825 79020