VIDEO: Sir rocks! Sheffield teacher is chart star

Joe Carnall is living a double life but his secret is out – he’s a history teacher by day and a rock star by night, writes Graham Walker.

Saturday, 21st December 2013, 6:12 am
Joe Carnall, centre, with pupils, left to right, Anastasia Thomas, Jayde Gibson, Luke Spencer, Iesha Quinn, Jack Ledgerd, Charlie Parkin-Smith

The 26-year-old is bass player with chart hit makers Reverend And The Makers and also fronts his own band, The Book Club.

He was a member of Sheffield indie rockers Milburn, who inspired their pals Arctic Monkeys to form a band.

But when he’s not globe-trotting, playing venues from Dubai to Doncaster, he’s teaching history to GCSE and A-level students at Dinnington Comprehensive School.

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Joe Carnall, centre, with pupils, left to right, Anastasia Thomas, Jayde Gibson, Luke Spencer, Iesha Quinn, Jack Ledgerd, Charlie Parkin-Smith

He’s even ended up marking books on the tour bus.

And as far as pupils are concerned that makes him the coolest teacher on the planet.

VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our exclusive video report, including our chat with Mr Carnall and his pupils.

A-level history student Anastasia Thomas, aged 17, said: “I actually knew who he was, because I like the band he’s in.”

Reverend and the Makers, left to right, Joe Carnall, Laura McClure, Jon McClure, Ed Cosens and Ryan Jenkinson.

Charlie Parkin-Smith, 14, one of his GCSE history students, said: “I didn’t know until everyone put it on Facebook.”

But Tom Chambers, 15, was in the 3,500 strong crowd to see Sir perform on stage with Reverend And The Makers last month at Doncaster Dome and said: “Yeah, it is quite cool.”

Dinnington Comprehensive is a real school of rock – it’s where Sheffield’s Grammy award-winning Eliot Kennedy was taught and he played a charity concert earlier this year.

Joe, or Mr Carnall as he insists on in school, has a busy year ahead, including a tour next spring to promote the forthcoming Reverend And The Makers album, Thirty Two.

Mr Carnall teaching at Dinnington Comprehensive School

Before that comes his annual Christmas bash – Joe Carnall and Friends, at The Leadmill, on Monday, December 23, from 7pm. Ticket details at on see below.

Also visit The Star’s entertainmetns and listings web site for this and other events at

In our exclusive video chat Joe, from Sheffield, said: “I don’t know how I find myself in this situation but it’s a nice one to be in.

“I was in a band called Milburn, from when I left school. I did my A-levels, went back to the University of Sheffield and did my history degree, then a Masters in modern history.

The Book Club

“And throughout all this I had my own band, The Book Club. We’ve a guitarist who is a doctor and it’s really hard to make a go of it with when everyone’s so busy. So I decided to train to become a teacher.”

Reverend And The Makers star Jon McClure asked Joe to answer their prayers and play bass in the band, which he’s been doing for a couple of years.

His rock star secret was already out but spread like wildfire on Facebook and Twitter when they played Doncaster Dome.

“I walked on stage and to my surprise three of my students were stood right in front of me,” he said.

He laughed: “I would rather be in front of 3,500 people than 30 Year 8s on a Monday afternoon. That is by far the most scary situation.

“I’ve become used to getting up at silly hours and working late. The gig before last I was doing some A-Level marking on the tour bus.

Milburn- Joe's first band inspired the Arctic Monkeys.

“But that’s what I’ve got to do. So it’s fine by me. And it’s interesting.”

* Tickets for Joe Carnall and Friends at the Leadmill are £9, may be subject to a booking fee.

Buy in person, call 0114 2212828 or visit


Follow Joe Carnall on Twitter at @JoeCarnallJnr - CLICK HERE.

For more about Joe’s band The Book Club, like their Facebook page at - CLICK HERE.

For information about Reverend And The Makers visit their web site at - CLICK HERE or follow on Twitter at @Reverend_Makers - CLICK HERE.

Sheffield band Reverend and The Makers.