If Bob Marley were around in Sheffield this Christmas, he would be a happy man – that is assuming he liked pie.
His No Woman No Cry is one of the dozens of classic songs to have been transformed into a witty ditty by city favourites Everly Pregnant Brothers.
Their version of Marley’s love song, however, is not about women or crying, it’s about pies – No Oven No Pie.
And this is just one of a vast repertoire of daft anthems the ukelele-strumming band included in their repertoire.
Artist Pete McKee – one of the brothers, although probably better-known for his caricature-painting style, said: “We are adding bits and bobs to the set all the time, but we are concentrating more on keeping the classics going.
“This means there isn’t a lot of room for new songs and we have to test things out on stage as we are a live band, not a band for the CD. We don’t have the luxury of hearing things in a studio.”
But is on stage where the band excel.
Pete says: “We have such a good time and Shaun Doane – who sings – has great banter with the crowd. Everyone joins in with the singing and I think last year we broke the bar record at the O2 Academy.”
The band are back at the city centre venue on Saturday for the Christmas special, Pie Hard 2.
And that is not all – this time they will be joined by a drummer and a double bassist.
Pete says: “It’s great because we’ve got Nick Banks from Pulp on drums and Johnny from Carmen Ghia & the Hot Rods on double bass. That really changes the sound. We’d like them on permanent contract, but they are both busy with their other stuff. They are our new secret weapon.”
Even rehearsals are fun for the cult Sheffield band.
Pete says: “We get together, drink beer and have such a laugh coming up with the puns. Shaun is the man for the words and the rest of us join in really, but the thing is hilarious and we are basically having the time of our lives.
“We’ve been playing around with the Village People song Go West and replacing the line with ‘string vest’.”
The band’s forthcoming show at the O2 comes with a challenge to the audience too, according to Pete.
“We want as many ‘grandmas’ there as possible so we are asking everybody to dress up in fancy dress,” he says.
The Everly Pregnant Brothers started five years ago, playing to a crowd of 100, following a ‘drunken dare’ in late 2008.
Pete and pal Richard Bailey responded to the challenge of playing Thornbridge Hall’s Christmas bash.
Pete says: “We’d got these ukuleles and dared each other to do something with them, so we did this gig with me singing – and it dawned on me if we were going to do something we would need a singer.”
Frontman Shaun Doane stepped in.
Before long the band had become a comedy cult and now attract thousands of fans to gigs.
The band’s obsession with puns underpins their catalogue of some of the worlds best-known songs.
These songs include the Strokes hit Last Night, renamed Last Pint, and Terry Jack’s Seasons In The Sun adapted – in true Brothers style – to Seasons In The Bun.
“It’s a cautionary tale about barbecuing,” says Pete.
“It is a chicken or the egg situation with us – what comes first, the song or the pun.
“ But Shaun is the words man really, he’s the one who masters the lyrics and we just throw the odd pun in here and there.”
The band’s talents aren’t limited to music, however.
Earlier this year its members – Pete, Richard, Shaun, Charley McKee, Klive Humberstone and ‘Ginger Dave’ –opened a pub.
Known as the Brothers in Arms – formerly the Shakespeare – the pub, on Well Street, Heeley, was purchased with proceeds from Everly Pregnant Brothers’ shows.
For now though, all landlord duties have been put to one side as the band prepare for their Christmas show.
Pete says: “The Christmas shows are really special. We always get a good crowd and the atmosphere is just something else. We always set a comedy challenge to the crowd too and this year we are encouraging everyone to dress up as grandmas."
But there is one downside to being in a band whose repertoire is laced with gags.
Pete says: “We love it, but it’s hard to play when you’re giggling at the same time.”
n The Everly Pregnant Brothers play the O2 Academy on Saturday. For tickets, www.02academysheffield.co.uk