Interview: “When you’re a songwriter your golden aim is to write something that outlasts you …”




Dave Bilbrough is an international singer, songwriter, author and West Ham supporter. He has played around the world and had some unexpected encounters. I chatted with him exclusively for my Back Story Podcast. Check it out by visiting

Dave Bilbrough: “I don’t really come from any religious background at all. I was far more interested in football, but I do come from a fairly musical family.

“When I was a teenager, I started to get really tuned into some of the singer songwriters around at the time. Not only did I love their music, but they were asking questions. Why am I here, and so on and so forth. Eventually I found myself turning up at a local Baptist Church; I think primarily it was because of the table tennis, but I saw changes in some of the lives around me, and that started me on a journey to faith.

“I began to want to translate that into music, so I started to play the guitar and write out some songs. The first one was just a very simple worship song, which was a prayer to God called Abba Father.

“Since then, I’ve played in lots of places around the world, in venues from abattoirs to cathedrals. I’ve met many well known people in my travels, but one of the oddest experiences happened at home.

“One night, the phone in the hall rang. My wife Pat answered it, and after a few minutes, she came through to me and said, ‘Dave, somebody’s on the phone; they say their name is Spike Milligan.’ Of course, I went to the phone thinking it was all a joke by one of my friends. And then I discovered it actually was Spike Milligan.

“He said, ‘I’m here at a dinner party, and somebody’s put on one of your CDs.’ Then he said, ‘I guess you call yourself an evangelical Christian.’ I said, ‘Yes, that’s right.’ He said, ‘Well, I’ve got this question.’ Now I’m trembling a little bit because I’m thinking to myself, ‘What on earth is he going to ask me?’ Spike had very sharp humour, but he could be quite volatile. Eventually he said, ‘I’ve got this question. Are you a vegetarian?’ So I said, ‘No, I’m not a vegetarian.’ He said, ‘I didn’t think you were because of your songs. There’s one here I’m looking at; All Hail the Lamb.’

“Actually, I found him to be very open, and we had a really good conversation, but it made me see how sometimes using religious language can make what we say go completely over people’s heads.

“When you’re a songwriter, your golden aim is to write something that outlasts you, so I hope the heritage that I leave behind is some of the songs and the essence behind them, which is that God is accessible, can be known, and we can have a relationship with him.”

Steve Legg

Steve is a British speaker, author and founder of The Breakout Trust, a Christian mission organisation based in Littlehampton on the south coast of England. Since 1988 he has travelled the length and breadth of the UK and 30 countries overseas, covering a staggering 1.5 million miles on the road, using a crazy mix of comedy, trickery and mystery to communicate the Christian message to young and old. He has performed at top venues globally including NIA Birmingham, Wembley Arena and London’s Royal Albert Hall. Radio and TV appearances are in the hundreds. His passion is creative communication of the Christian faith through performances, books, DVD’s and other resources. The author of 17 books, these days when he’s not on the road, much of his time is spent on the groundbreaking men’s Christian lifestyle magazine, Sorted.

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