Steve Davis gets interesting as a prog rock DJ

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Get ready for an "interesting" mix of avant garde jazz and psychedelic rock. The secret musical life of Steve Davis, the snooker legend, will be revealed when he presents his own show on the BBC 6 Music radio station.

The six-times world champion was mocked for his clinical style of play and "dull" image. He once scored a top 10 novelty hit with Chas & Dave's "Snooker Loopy". But in reality the "Plumstead potter" has nursed a passion for rock music's LSD-fuelled outer-fringes.

Now Davis, 53, who was world number one for seven years, will share his record collection with the nation after being invited to present a show on 6 Music, the cutting-edge digital station.

Davis will fill in for Jarvis Cocker, who takes a break from his eclectic Sunday Service show, when he rejoins Pulp for a summer reunion tour. Just don't expect to hear Lady Gaga.

"I'd like to play a 60-minute track by the minimalist Australian jazz group The Necks. It's called 'Drive By' and it's brilliant," says Davis, who has had more time to prepare his show after failing to qualify for this year's World Snooker Championship.

"I'll be playing music you never knew existed," he told The Independent. "Stuff from all over the world, music that can be quite complex. A melting pot of jazz, classical and rock, usually with a beat.

"I might delve into the psychedelic stuff from my schooldays, bands like Gentle Giant and Gong. I wasn't a Beatles fan, I had my ears opened by this magical period of music in the Seventies. It should be a very interesting alternative show, in line with my reputation."

Davis is a particular fan of the "Canterbury scene", a group of late 1960s artists that mixed pastoral psychedelia, folk, rock and jazz. He says: "I grew up listening to Soft Machine, Caravan and Hatfield and the North. And lots of French bands, like the legendary French group Magma.

"I once promoted a gig of theirs. Their style of music is not easily accessible. It's like classical if you're prepared to spend time listening to it. You have to work at it to get the benefit. The jazzier stuff borders on classical."

Davis struggled to interest his fellow snooker professionals in his outré musical tastes. "I did get Terry Griffiths to listen to one particular Magma album, which was cool," he recalled.

Cocker, who won a Sony Radio Academy award for his show, handed his producers a "dream list" of presenters to fill in, including Nick Hornby and Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, while he returns to the stage.

Davis, who has presented a music show on the Essex community station Phoenix FM, was surprised to be on the list. He said: "I imagine they think if they got a proper radio presenter to do it, the star could be out of a job. If they get someone enthusiastic who they think is a bit rubbish, it's perfect. But it's been interesting to see how Bob Dylan has made the transition to radio DJ."

New indie groups could also get a look in on the Davis show. "I want to give airtime to some good British bands that don't get much exposure. I went to see Pete And The Pirates and there's a great new band called Frankie And The Heartstrings."

The BBC expects the Davis show to air in July. The man himself is on an evangelical mission. "This music is very marginalised," he admits. "I hope people take the trouble to listen, then buy a record or nick it off the internet." As for his DJ patter, Davis says: "I'll probably keep it to 'Here's another one of my favourites'."

He won't be delving into his own musical past though. "It's the 25th anniversary of Snooker Loopy and the BBC is planning to do something to celebrate it. I don't think I'll be playing it or Romford Rap, the follow-up."

It's an era of Top of the Pops performances that Davis, the one-time pop star, remembers fondly. "At one stage I had two records in the charts at the same time. 'The Chicken Song' (from Spitting Image) stopped 'Loopy' getting to number one but the royalties still come flooding in."

My playlist, by Steve Davis

Gentle Giant

British progressive rock band famed for complexity of their music, incorporating baroque. Stated aim: to "expand the frontiers of contemporary popular music at the risk of becoming very unpopular".


Canterbury scenesters mixing jazz and psychedelic rock who became a regular festival act in the Seventies.

The Necks

Experimental minimalist "trance jazz" trio from Melbourne, Australia, playing improvisational pieces of up to an hour in length that explore the development and demise of repeating musical figures.


French progressive rock band founded in Paris in 1969 by drummer Christian Vander. Influenced by choral music and jazz.

Frankie & the Heartstrings

Contemporary Sunderland indie band led by Frankie Franics, whose swooning guitar-rock has been compared to The Smiths and Dexys Midnight Runners.

Soft Machine

Influential "Canterbury scene" prog rock band featuring Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers and guitarist Daevid Allen, who went on to form "space rockers" Gong.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Feeling all at sea: Barbara's 18-year-old son came under the influence of a Canadian libertarian preacher – and she had to fight to win him back
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Living the high life: Anne Robinson enjoys some skip-surfed soup
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
Doctor Who and Missy in the Doctor Who series 8 finale

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
    Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

    That's a bit rich

    The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
    Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference