By Christine Lavelle
EX-CORRIE star Denise Black has discovered a new way to tackle “empty nest syndrome” – by forming a rock band.
The actress, best known for playing Ken Barlow’s squeeze during the 90s, is getting set to play a string of midnight cabaret shows at Edinburgh’s Fringe festival with her band the Loose Screws.
Denise, who made her living as a singer long before joining the cast of Coronation Street, said she is excited to hit the capital after doing a stint in Calendar Girls in Glasgow.
She said: “I had put my acting career on hold while my children were still young because I wanted to be at home with them.
“As they got older I realised I was worried about having an ‘empty nest’ so decided I had to get back into doing something I love, and that’s where the idea for the band came from.”
Daughter Dandy is 19 and studies costume design and her older brother Sam just turned 22.
Denise, 52, said: “My kids keep me right with what’s hot and what’s not – they keep me young.”
The gigs begin tonight and will run until 29 August at the Ghillie Dhu venue in the city’s West End.
Denise says she plans to give the audience a lift with upbeat songs about all the men she has known in her life.
And the English actress is no stranger to a few onscreen love affairs.
When she started on Coronation Street in 1992, she said she was overjoyed to hear her character Denise Osbourne would be having Ken Barlow’s lovechild.
She said: “That was my real big break, and I ended up there for three and a half years – I think Ken and my son must be about 16 now.
“You’re lucky to get a snog out of Ken Barlow – I had a cup of tea with him and I got pregnant, that’s how sexy Ken is.
“Filming that scene was hilarious, I was naked under the bedsheets and Ken (William Roache) was still fully dressed.
“I asked the producer: ‘Wouldn’t he have his clothes off?’
“And he ended up taking off his shoes and socks.”
The Loose Screws are primarily a trio made up of Denise’s old busking pal Max Moonlight, and guitarist Graeme Taylor, who played in 70s folk rock band Gryphon.
But, Denise says, audiences should be prepared for some very special guests including Elaine C Smith and Peter Straker.
She said: “The show is one that is very cheerful and upbeat, it will send the crowd away in a good mood I’m sure, just talking about coming to Edinburgh is making me frustrated because I’m so excited.
“The Calendar Girls cast are coming through to support me on one of the opening nights which is just so lovely.
“It’s hard to describe what genre the band falls into, I like to think we are gypsy pop, but I was once told by a sound engineer at a show that we were Tarantino chic – not sure what that means but I’ll take it.
“I’ve tried to keep in kind people of all ages, everything from 18 up.”
Denise plans to keep busy, as after the Glasgow stint of Calendar Girls the show will move to Edinburgh.
She said: “I absolutely can’t wait to get into these shows.
“I’ve been through to the festival as a visitor but haven’t been on stage there for a long time, it’s going to be really good fun.”