HE was the one of the inventors of prog rock and the composer of some of the most lyrical and mellifluous piano music to grace a pop record in the past 50 years. But at the grand age of 64, Rick Wakeman has reinvented himself as... a Grumpy Old Man.
Not only is he a regular guest on the TV show, his Twitter address is @GrumpyOldRick and his blog is called Grumpy Old Rick’s Ramblings. But the fact is that in real life, he’s anything but grumpy.
When I call him at 9am on a Tuesday morning, a time you would expect most rock musicians to be sleeping off the night before or stumbling about in search of the first caffeine and nicotine hit of the day, he is chirpy and chatty and chipper, and it soon becomes obvious that his “grumpy” persona is just a typically British tongue-in-cheek way of dealing with his advancing years.
“There’s a very fine line between grumpy and angry and if you are angry people back off. I think I’m well on the grumpy side,” he says.
“You can moan about things but you know it isn’t going to change anything at all. I know from MP friends on both sides of the House that one of the things they like is people marching and having a moan because it gets it out of their system. But it rarely produces anything. They hand in petitions with millions of signatures and everyone goes away and says, ‘that was good’ but it never changes anything.”