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Steve Davis and Kavus Torabi bring music and talk to Wolverhampton Literature Festival

It seems an unlikely pairing, the former six-time World Snooker Champion and a underground psychedelic music lover.

Steve Davis and Kovus Torabi will talk about life and music at their event at Wolverhampton Literature Festival. Photo: Katie Davies
Steve Davis and Kovus Torabi will talk about life and music at their event at Wolverhampton Literature Festival. Photo: Katie Davies

However, Steve Davis and Kavus Torabi have formed a bond which has seen them tour the country as DJs, form their own band and will appear at Wolverhampton Literature Festival to discuss their new book, Medical Grade Music.

The book, which is part-autobiography and part-musical journey, details the journey of how the two met and how their shared affinity for visionary psychedelic music would lead to the forming of their band The Utopia Strong.

Steve, who dominated the world of Snooker in the 1980s, has been a known-enthusiast for "out-there" music and said the two first met when in Paris to see French progressive rock band Magma in the mid-2000s, and instantly hit it off.

He said: "I didn't know much about Kavus at the time, but as years unfolded, I was delighted to find he's a musical genius, as you don't go to a Magma concert unless you know a lot about music and are inspired by certain styles.

"I think he was shocked to see me there as well, but we found that even though we don't come from the same backgrounds, we have a lot in common and we've gone from that to forming our band to writing a book, so we have to pinch ourselves a bit."

British-Iranian Kavus said he had been shy about going up to talk to Steve as he remembered him from the snooker days, but said his wife helped make the connection.

He said: "I remember being quite shy about meeting him, but my wife walked over and started chatting and I came over and, like Steve says, we just hit it off and started doing things.

"We started hanging out first, started doing a radio show together, then DJing at festivals and clubs and playing the kind of music we played on the show, but in a more advanced state, then our first big gig was Glastonbury, which is pretty wild."

Initially, the two said they were seen as something of a novelty, but people began to realise they were far from a novelty after hearing the music they were playing and had become regulars on the festival circuits over the years.

Kavus said: "At first, I felt it was a little unfair on people who'd honed their craft for years and then we turn up playing this, to some people's ears, pretty unlistenable music and getting good slots at festivals.

"However, that subsided as people actually got what we were doing and we tend to get booked at festivals more specific to what we're doing."

The musical journey of the pair also caught the attention of publishers, who were keen to find out more about their musical tastes and wanted them to write about the music they loved, something Steve said they struggled with initially.

He said: "They wanted us to do a book on recommending unusual music, sort of like the Julian Cope book, one which recommends unusual artists, so we started writing and realised we weren't really record reviewers and it wasn't really our bag.

"We ran out of steam fairly quickly and realised that the book wasn't going to be fun to write, so we quickly changed it with the help of ghostwriter-cum-coordinator Ben Thompson.

"He identified that we had enough good stories about our experiences and that the book should be about that, so we began to talk about how we met and our journey, as well as recommend records off the back of it.

"We've ended up making a much more fun book which is anecdotal, hopefully inspirational and full of enthusiasm to anybody who is like minded."

The book, which was written and put together during lockdown, gave both Steve and Kavus a trip down memory lane in terms of their musical tastes, something they said they were keen to share at the literature festival.

Steve said: "The literary festivals are very new to us and I hadn't really had the experience of knowing what happens at one until we started doing them, but I find it quite fascinating because people are coming along to watch something different.

"People seem very interested in back stories, so you go along, check with the MC about what will be discussed, field questions from the audience and read a bit of the book, so you get that personal side from it."

Kavus said: "We've done a few of these and they are really good fun as we've just got used to sitting there and talking nonsense with each other.

"We're still pinching ourselves that the book has been so well received and we enjoyed making it, so we're looking forward to sitting in front of people and talk about it."

For Steve, the new career as a DJ is a like a dream come true for him, saying he was pleased that he'd taken one hobby and made it his career as a snooker player and was now doing the same thing in music.

Kavus said the fact he was playing music with someone he enjoyed watching on TV in the 1980s was a genuine thrill and said he found it funny to tell musicians who came on their radio show that Steve had been higher in the UK charts than them with Snooker Loopy.

Steve said: "You can't get away from it as it's part of snooker folklore, regardless of where it stands in the hierarchy of wonderful songs, it was a catchy tune and highlighted how much fun people were having at the time.

"We should have been higher than number seven as well because the Chicken Song came out at the same time from Spitting Image, but as I was in Spitting Image, I was on the song as a puppet, so I can claim a number one as well."

Steve Davis & Kavus Torabi: Medical Grade Music will take place at Newhampton Arts Centre, Dunkley Street, Wolverhampton on Thursday, February 3 at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £11 and can be bought at ticketsource.co.uk

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