"One of Southern England's most exciting Celt style folk/rock outfits" -Traditional Music Maker, November 2000

"Very exciting.." Folk in Kent 2000

Gigs coming up:


Here's the latest info on what's happening in Rat Land!!


Best wishes to Les Bons Z'Enfants at the Herring Festival in Etaples. The November festival was the best yet and the Hot Rats have been asked to return in 2009.

Congratulations to Matthew and Judith of Accidental Records who had the Hot Rats with Tim Edey for their wedding on September 16th.

The Matthew Herbert Big band play jazz venues extensively in Europe and their new album is out here in the UK and Japan. Some of the band were on hand to provide the first dance. Brilliant food, by the way, from Wheelers in Whitstable!


What a brilliant Folk Week! The best ever - thanks to Warren and Brian for being great sound men throughout the week. Can't wait for next year.


The Hot Rats recently recorded a couple of 'live' gigs at the mysterious Soiree Que N'Existe Pas in Dunkerque and the following day at the Insolites in St Georges Sur L'Aa.

The results have been mixed and mastered - the CD is now ready and was launched at the Barnaby Rudge in Broadstairs on Monday 28th April. It's called 'Tour De France.'

Copies are available at 10 or 15 when purchased abroad.

You can send a cheque for 12 (including post and packing) to the address below.


Well, a week at the end of June saw the Hot Rats playing just north of Paris, back in Spain (standing ovations!) and a return to the Citadelle en Bordees in Dunkerque.

This was followed by another trip to the Insolites in St Georges Sur L'Aa and Bastille Day fireworks at Loon Plage. The passports are fizzing.


If you want to have a look click here . There's also one being posted by Joe Stead.


The weekend was a fantastic success with brilliant weather and great music!

The Hot Rats old friends, the Prague Castle Orchestra whom Dougie brought to England for the first time six years ago, were in sparkling form - apart from being denied admission to the Holiday Inn at 2am on Saturday morning - and French brothers Sur Les Docks were in splendid nick too.

Truckstop Honeymoon, Denny Laine, Ruby also shone along with the sunshine....


Le Bottleneck is a new venue in Dunkerque where the Hot Rats made their highly successful debut on 25th April.

As you can see from the poster the clientele is used to various types of music and the Rats were recommended by Chiche from Sur les Docks who played in Whitstable on 12/13th April.

You can see a clip of Orange Blossom Special played at this gig on You Tube.

On the following day, the Hot Rats returned to the Theatre Les Insolites where the new album was recorded in October last year.>


Doug appeared singing Medway Flows Softly on BBC South East on St George's Day in Priestfield Stadium.

He got a phone call out of the blue saying they wanted to do a piece for St George's Day on three 'artists' in the region who were 'influenced in their work by their environment'. In other words he has to wax eloquent about Gillingham.....

Since then he has done a songwriting workshop for the BBC at the Kent Show and they have asked him to record his impromptu song for the Dominic King morning show.


The Hot Rats went up to Nottingham and then down to Hayling Island for 'A Taste of Ireland' show and the duo played at Caseys in Canterbury and then the Emerald Bar in Ramsgate to complete a highly successful weekend.


The Hot Rats played at the 442 Club recently and scored a definite away win!.

  • The 442 Club is the brainchild of Andy Hessenthaler and Nicky Southall - still a Gills player - and is the former Lloyds Social Club on the junction of Featherby Road and Watling Street.


    A corporate surprise barn dance for Blueprint Partners was held in a temporary venue opposite a massive wooden sculpture in the centre of Brussels.
    Plenty of champagne and canapes ensured the unsuspecting punters threw caution to the wind and danced the night away.

    Thanks to Helena and Carla, but shame on the Belgian ne'er do wells who smashed Dougie's car window and tried to nick his Sat/Nav!


    The Hot Rats took Caba Roig by storm on Tuesday 18th December.

    Ian Smith, formerly of Ramsbottom and the Anchormen, now lives in San Pedro del Pinatar and organises a folk club in nearby Mono's Bar in Caba Roig.


    For their Christmas Party they flew out the Hot Rats and fed and watered them in return for a sell out concert which had the punters rocking in the rafters. Ole, ola.

    They returned in June for a summer special!!!


    The Hot Rats had a great week at Broadstairs with full venues, TV appearances and a healthy set of CD sales.

    They were on Meridian Tonight and Doug was interviewed live and managed not to offend anyone.

    BANDSTAND 2007;


    Great night for the Hot Rats at the Hoppers' Ball on Saturday night - a sell out - and at the Anchor pub on Sunday where the crowd were in fine form.


    A great weekend at the Fete de la Mer in Boulogne where the Hot Rats were a big hit.

    Also on hand were Denis, Chiche and the others from Dunkerque's Sur Les Docks who took this photo.


    What a fantastic event!!!

    The Hot Rats were playing as the peloton sped past. Over two million people in Kent turned out to see this breathtaking bike race.

    'Chapeaux' as Johnny Green would say.

    Shame about the drugs, thoug!


    Doug's One Man Show was at the Brook on Thursday 19th July.

    Thanks to all those who turned up. Then he entertained the throngs of Folk Week at Upton School.


    What a great weekend in Belgium!!!

    Whilst rain lashed everywhere else - England, Germany, Holland - the port of Ostend celebrated good weather with a fantastic turn out of ships, bands, people and ambience.

    The Hot Rats played possibly their finest ever gig in the crew tent - keeping the audience dancing for nigh on two and a half hours. They met up withold friends Chiens d'Mer, Sur Les Rocks (Kriek Balise) and kate Janssens' group, Green Jacket. Not to mention of course the Grand Turk and their motley crew.


    The Hot Rats now have a site on My Space where you can listen to tracks and view pictures etc

    Go to the My Space site


    Another great festival in Rochester with Eliza Carthy, Oysterband, Sid Kipper, Tim Edey Band, John Otway and ColvinQuarmby in concert.

    Kriek Balise were terrific and rounded off the weekend with a stonker at the Barge in Gillingham.

    The Hot Rats had around 500 people for the open air stage at Boley Hill.
    Monday saw the usual finale at the Gordon Hotel as they sold the last of their 110 barrels of real ale.

    le soiree qui n'existe pas - this is a secret gig in Dunkerque in October for invited guests only!

    A result of some cracking gigs at the Monkey, Vieux Cahors and Estaminet Flamand.


    This great pub near Rochester Police Station has a selection of handpump real ales and German and Belgian beers and white beers.

    They already have world music nights on a Thursday and have decided to have a 'folk' night on Wednesdays now that the King's Head has gone over to tribute bands.

    Tell your friends - it's really rocking!

    IRRITABLE BAUL SYNDROME! Doug has returned from India where he played with a busking Baul Singer on the Darjeeling Mail.

    More details eventually on myspace.

    The website had 4346 visitors in 2007 who looked at 6716 pages, 3212 vistors in 2006 who looked at 5131 pages as opposed to 3043 people who perused 4963 pages in 2005.

    Ian plays with the Strawbs.

    Ian played with the Blue Angel Orchestra on Sunday 17th September which was a project put together by Dave Cousins of the Strawbs.

    It was part of Deal Maritime Festival and featured other members of the iconic 70s band plus Fred Wedlock and a transvestite!.

    Hot Rats on BBC World Service!!!

    Doug has been interviewed by a Russian broadcaster for the English language edition of BBC World Service which went out across Russia on September 25th.

    There was music, too, after the band were spotted at Faversham Hop Festival.

    If you want a copy I have a CD of the programme.

    The Hop Festival itself was a grand affair. Lots of people in the Shepherd Neame tent over Saturday and Sunday and the band's connection with Britian's oldest brewery looks set to endure, although not this year as they have decided not to have the tent.

    Many thanks to all the revellers for the response!!!

    The Hot Rats appeared in Calais as part of the Estivales festival along with pop star Bonnie Tyler!

    More TV coverage inside the Salle du Minck and they impressed the powers that be to the extent that the organisers want them back, same time next year.

    A great week at Broadstairs Folk Week with the Hot Rats and the likes of Seth Lakeman Band, Waterson-Carthy, Feast of Fiddles, Osibisa, T & LaTouche etc

    As the jetty can't be used because of daft red tape licensing laws, the band played their annual open air concert at the bandstand.

    It attracted the biggest crowd of the week with some 700 fans enjoying the music on Friday afternoon.

    Good gigs in the pubs, too which were full to bursting.

    Broadstairs is now as big as Sidmouth and is vying for one of the best national folk festivals.


    Last year the Sweeps Festival had Eliza Carthy & The Ratcatchers, Oysterband, ColvinQuarmby, Sid Kipper, John Otway and of course the Hot Rats.

    The Rats wereat the Gordon Hotel marquee on Monday lunchtime.


    Dougie completed a successful week at Sidmouth in a solo capacity, hosting a Room 101 with guest Chris Pitt and Paul Saunders, known as Wyndebagge on Wednesday (9th).

    VIDEO SALE!!!!!!

    There are a limited number of orginal Hot Rats videos 'Live at the Oast' now available at the knock down price of 5.

    This includes footage of the five piece band with Tony Rico and Tim Constable in the ranks.

    Repertiore includes Woman or a Man and Creole Girl.

    Call Dougie on 01843-868757 if you want one (plus 1 post and packing.


    The Rats played Fremantle's Fly By Night club and J.B.O'Reillys and the Irish Club in Perth to enthusiastic crowds and hope to go back for festival gigs next year.

    They met a lot of talented musicians and saw plenty of wildlife along the way!
    In one of the venues an ecstatic local Aussie gave immense praise to Ian with the immortal words "Fiddle player deserves a clap - one of the better ones".

    Thanks to Ruth and Gren for organising it and to Tay Chee Wai of De Claffer Music in Singapore for his hospitality on the way back.


    SIDMOUTH 2005;

    Here's a review of the above concert in October's Folk on Tap magazine: HOT RATS - Ham Marquee, Sidmouth Thursday 4th August, 8pm Pic taken by Sam Satyandhan Although I had seen Doug Hudson's amazingly funny solo act many years ago, (I remember well crying with laughter at his version of the '12 drinks of Christmas'), I had never seen him in band formation so I was looking forward to my introduction to Hot Rats. Doug's guitar and vocals were joined on stage by Ian Cutler on electric violin and Mike Peters on electric bass and vocals. They opend with a Klezmer piece, 'Arabesque' which led seamlessly into a wonderful version of 'Havah Nagila'. They had my attention from the outset. This was followed by a Red Army recruiting song (sung in Russian!) and 'Troika Ride'. We were informed that 'Swallows Tails' threaded its way throughout the piece, but I have to admit that I didn't spot it. Next came a lovely song written by Doug, 'Mira Dreams of England'. Doug told us that as the fare was more than two year's wages for the Russian Mira, the dreams had faded away. A Celtic tune set followed and next on the agenda was a speeded up version of 'January Man' followed by a pizzicato intro into the Irish tune 'Paddy Ryan's Dream'. Doug kept us laughing between the numbers with his own special brand of humour and all too soon it was time for their final rendition, a fantastic 'Orange Blossom Special' with some very realistic train sounds from the violin. I just loved the versatility of this talented trio and so did the rest of the audience for the applause which followed was wild and long as they were called back for another number. This may have been my first outing with Hot Rats but it certainly won't be my last!


    There is now a Barn Dance Album of the Hot Rats available with tunes and intructions for simple barn dances - especially useful for foreign students!

    Copies are available at 10.


    Christmas saw the SWAG Minstrels featuring almost all their stunts on the Channel 5 show being broadcast on ITV's 'Best Ever Hidden Camera Stunts' programme.

    We're told we were number 4 out of the 50 best ever stunts!!!

    There's more about SWAG below.


    Doug and Ian playing on the Arena Stage for Albion Morris.

    The band included John Watcham, Tom Leary, Guido Rincon and Tim on banjo and they lead the musical finale of a show called 'Leap'to around 2000 people.

    Back at Dougie's bed and breakfast, the newly styled morris musician found himelf in a bathroom converted for the disabled. After using the toilet he was curious to see the effectiveness of the flushing mechanism when a metallic pipe swung around from under the rim and squirted a jet of water into his face.

    Was this the only automatic bidet in Sidmouth?


    Despite strong winds and the Tour de France A Voile, the Citadelle en Bordees was another successful one.

    The Hot Rats played at the Seaman's Club and later on the big stage with TV screen! (Not of them unfortunately!).

    Mind you, can you imagine after a night of playing and a couple of beers, going down to breakfast and hearing a banjo being played - then an impromptu sea shanty session, followed by a kazoo workshop. All at the same time - 9am.


    In 2006, The Hot Rats played on the Grand Turk twice in May! Firstly, for a corporate 'do' in Ramsgate and then again in Ostend at the end of the month.
    The Hot Rats had a really fantastic time at Ostend - wonderful response from the public, the organisers and the crews to make a truly memorable trip!

    A return is virtually certain next year and the Rats made many new friends including an impromptu percussion set from Galician Band, A Contrabanda.

    Promises, too, of similar festivals in Liverpool and Holland.
    Also seen in Ostend was Belgian singer, Kate Janssen, who lived and worked as a vet in Gravesend for some years.

    She did the support for some of Dougie's One Man Shows in the early 90s.

  • SWAG

    The second series of SWAG has been filmed and Doug and Ian featured at the Whitfift Centre in Croydon trapping unsuspecting punters into running off with mobile phones and wallets, only to be confronted by singing minstrels and jesters.

    Ludicrous behaviour and the new series began on Tuesday 29th June with Doug & Ian appearing on July 7th and 14th's editions.

    As mentioned, they won 4th out of the 100 Best Hidden Camera Stunts on ITV.


    This is what Joe Stead though: "The Sweeps Festival is just wonderful. The town of Rochester is filled with herds of dance troops all whirling away in a vivid dash of colours. The streets smell of hot dogs and Chinese food and the bars are filled with great music.

    Dougie Hudson is the musical director for the festival and he also makes a musical contribution with Hot Rats who feature the amazing Ian Cutler on fiddle and Mick Peters on a very tidy and exciting bass. I promise you I have now heard the definitive version of Orange Blossom Special!"


    Laura Patrick, for the Kent Messenger, reviewed Doug & Ian's latest gig at the Barge in Gillingham.

    She wrote "I'm always keen to listen to new music so I jumped at the chance to see the Hot Rats play in Gillingham...what made this gig such a change was the live experience Doug Hudson and Ian Cutler bought (sic) to their performance...I couldn't fault tonight's performance and left feeling smug I hadn't talked myself out of coming."

    Roger Allston of the Pier in Lower Upnor said: Hi Doug

    Very many thanks for an absolutely fantastic evening. Yours was one of the best folk gigs we have ever staged. Well done to you & for his electrifying fiddle work, please pass on our warmest regards to Ian.<


    On TV recently they showed a programme called '100 Sexiest Moments' - up pops a clip of Ian Cutler playing the violin followed by a naked gyrating Britt Eckland in a scene from 'The Wicker Man'.


    Below you can see former Hot Rats members and what they are doing now, but occasionally the Rats augment to four with a special artist.

    Last summer saw Kiwi sensation Brendan Power playing with the Rats for a wedding function.

    Brendan was the featured soloist in Riverdance for some years and has provided music for Love Actually, Shanghai Noon, Auf Weidersehn Pet and now the Hot Rats.

    Dave Mattacks famously played at the Woodville Halls barn dance a couple of years ago.

    Now resident in the US he rarely comes to the UK, although Ian's Feast of Fiddles tour is one such gig!

    Guido Rincon from the lamented Shave The Monkey is another occasional player.

    He's a multi instrumentalist and singer who also features in Ian's Slaughterhouse line-up.

    Finally, the phenomenally gifted Tim Edey is a regular occasional player with the Rats.

    Equally brilliant on guitar or melodeon he is also guesting with the Sharon Shannon Band, Capercaillie , Afro-Celt Sound System and currently Frankie Gavin.

    Catch him when you can cos he's increasingly globe trotting.


  • You can see the following albums featuring the Rats individually and collectively
    • Hot Rats Live
    • Like Flies
    • Hot Rats Three
    • Tour de France
    • Happy Now?

      Doug Hudson's solo album has taken five years to complete and contains some great new songs

    • Slaughterhouse

      You can hear some samples of Ian's new album by going to the sound clip page.

    Some of the Rats gigs

    have been highlights in the history of the group. You can see a typical set list that has impressed audiences in the UK and in Europe.

    Addresses and contacts

    Doug Hudson, 4 Rectory Road, Broadstairs, Kent CT10 1HG
    1. telephone: 01843-868757
    2. fax: 01843-868757
    3. mobile: 07941-238377
    4. send an e-mail to doug
    5. send an e-mail to ian
    6. send an e-mail to mike


  • Alternative Hot Rats site

  • Doug Hudson

  • Ian Cutler

  • Peter Knight

  • South East Folk Arts Network (SEFAN)

  • Medway Folkus

  • North Kent Folk

  • Kent Folk Listings

  • Broadstairs Folk Week - 10-17 August

  • Colin Reece's Homepage

  • Brendan Power

  • The Amazing Mr Smith

  • Gren's Images

  • Skinners Rats (No relation!)

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