Comedy icon, funk aficionado and 6 Music presenter Craig Charles has spoken to Headliner about his formative years as musician and punk poet, his journey from music into comedy and the upcoming release of his Trunk Of Funk Volume 2 compilation.
Though arguably best known for his role as Dave Lister in the legendary BBC comedy Red Dwarf – not to mention a raft of other TV and comedy role, including a decade-long stint on Coronation Street – Charles’s first passion was for music. Particularly the funk and soul scene of the 1970s.
Born into a household steeped in musical knowledge, Charles was writing lyrics and performing in bands by his mid-teens, before joining the spoken-word, political poetry circuit with the likes of John Cooper Clarke before hitting 20.
A pivotal moment in a period of musical discovery for Charles came in the mid-‘70s when he discovered US funk icons Parliament.
“That just blew my mind,” he told Headliner. “It was like a funk band sounding like a rock band but with such a wiggle in their walk and such a glide in their stride. So, once I got into that there was no turning back. It opened my eyes to so much really groovy music.”
Charles’s lifelong passion for the genre led to him presenting his own show on 6 Music and Radio 2, where he specialises in 21st century funk and shines a spotlight on some of the most exciting talent on the scene. Last year, he released the Trunk Of Funk Volume 1 compilation album, featuring choice cuts from his radio shows.
Such was the success of Volume 1 that on November 5 he is releasing Volume 2, which once again will feature some of Charles’s personal tracks from the world of funk and soul.
Below, you can watch Charles talk at length about his formative years, the music that changed his life and how he traversed the journey from music to comedy.