The Drifters are back in town

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The DriftersFOR the past 60 years, the music of The Drifters has echoed across the Atlantic, bringing songs such as Under the Boardwalk, Saturday Night at the Movies and Sweets for my Sweet to the UK and beyond.

Now, following sell out shows across the world and their very successful Masquerade Tour in 2012. The quartet is back in the UK once again with their up and coming Optimum Tour, stopping at the Queens Theatre in Hornchurch and Southend’s Cliff Pavilion.

“The people of Essex are fantastic,” says Michael Williams, who has been a member of The Drifters for the past 10 years. “I always have a good time when I come to visit the area. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for our next visit down here.

“It’s going to be one big party,” he enthuses. “There will be the classic songs that we are performing, as well as the newest ones from our album La vie et L’amour, the second half of the tour is also James Bond themed so that’s pretty exciting, it’s going to be amazing. Expect a party atmosphere.”

Discovered in a New York club by The Drifters’ original manager’s daughter, Tina Treadwell, Michael became an understudy for the group in 2006 before a lead singer just one year later.

And having performed with the group for the near part of a decade, the music has certainly grown with the foursome, who have just released their new album La vie et L’amour.

“Dance with Me is a lot of fun, it’s from our new album,” says Michael. “However my all-time favourite Drifters song has got to be You’re More Than a Number in my Little Red Book because it stems back to a very happy childhood when my parents used to play it.”

Indeed, growing up in Alabama with his parents who were fans of the band, Michael tells me that they couldn’t have been prouder of him.

“They were very proud and extremely happy when I told them I was part of the group,” says Michael. “They’re big fans of the band and I grew up listening to their music, it’s a great honour.”

Known as one of the world’s most successful bands, Michael claims there are ‘many reasons’ behind The Drifters’ long term success.

“We are passionate in what we do and we strive to give the fans something,” he explains. “We also want to appeal to new younger fans as well as maintain those who have been by us since the earlier days.”

With previous line-ups including icons such as Clyde Mcphatter, Ben E King and Johnny Moore, the band, now consisting of Michael Williams, Daniel Bowen-Smith, Ryan King and Damion Charles are determined to put on an incredible show for the fans on the Optimum Tour kick starting next month.

“We are very excited for our Optimum Tour, some of which will feature performances with local school children,” says Michael, who has been an ambassador to schools in both the UK and USA for three years. “We run a workshop which encourages kids to achieve where they set out to be in life; we want budding young characters to understand that it’s not just the talent TV shows like X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, where they can get their big break. They get to experience all of the opportunities.”

The Drifters come to the Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch on Tuesday, 22 July and the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend on Thursday, 18 September.

To book tickets at the Queens call 01708 443333 or for the Cliffs Pavilion, call 01702 3511135.

by GEORGIA BARTLETT

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