IT’s going to be one of the biggest events of the year, so what better place for singer/songwriter and producer Ed Sykes to launch his debut solo single.

And there’s a very good reason for Ed to be performing at the Maniac Squat gig on Friday because the lead singer of the former Colchester band, Tom Wilcox, has signed Ed to his record label.

Born in Bury St Edmunds, Ed moved to Colchester in the Eighties where he first started playing in bands, eventually forming Obima in the early Nineties around the same time as Maniac Squat.

“We were aware of each other,” Ed tells me, “but unfortunately never played the same bill.

“I caught up with Tom when he brought the Holy Holy tour to the Colchester Arts Centre and basically picked up where we had left off all those years ago.”

When Bowie’s guitarist, Earl Slick, performed at the Church Street venue, again thanks to Tom, Ed got to support him with his most recent band So Called Humans.

And it’s also thanks to Tom that Ed has a rather special bonus track on his debut single, Whiplashed, a stripped-to-the-bone rework of the David Bowie classic Ziggy Stardust, which features the unmistakable avante-garde jazz-infused piano of legendary Bowie collaborator, Mike Garson.

Ed reveals: “Ziggy Stardust came about completely by chance after being asked by the record company ‘How are you at singing Ziggy Stardust?’

“Being a big David Bowie fan I still pinch myself that Mike Garson is playing on this track and wow what a performance. Nobody has ever heard Ziggy this way.

"I’m glad it came about naturally otherwise I’m unsure I would have chosen to take on such a huge classic song.

"It’s sheer size is very daunting but I’m over the moon and very proud of this version.

"I tried to bring a tenderness to the song and it’s story. I wanted to reflect a love and thankfulness for that iconic character who still lives in the hearts of millions and also to the man that created him who is dearly missed.”

Whiplashed is released this Friday and as part of the Maniac Squat gig on Saturday at the Colchester Arts Centre, Ed will make a special appearance on stage to perform it.

For tickets, call 01206 500900.