“Mausoleum? Isn’t that where they put dead folk?”
“Yes, Dan, but we’re signing with Mausoleum Records.”
“Isn’t that where they write doon the names of the dead folk?”
“Oofft, Pete! We have a winner!”
(Band meeting, Pitfirrane Arms Hotel, Dunfermline, April 1991
)

The exact date of the conversation above is a bit hazy to me but must’ve taken place sometime after we’d gotten back from Zurich (14th April.) Regardless of the witty irony we displayed, this was an opportunity, no, the only opportunity Nazareth was given to release new music in early 1991.

Alfie-Falkenbach
Alfie Falkenbach

Mausoleum was formed in Belgium by Alfie Falkenbach and once named by Billboard as “One of Europe’s premier hard rock labels.” It has released quality records by LA Guns, Great White, Ian Gillan, Anvil, Warlock, Cinderella and even Molly Hatchet, who, like us, should be dead, but aren’t. Alfie offered the deal based solely on the demos we’d made plus my La Paz stuff and everything else Darrell could throw at them (including maybe recording an updated version of an old classic), so we couldn’t refuse. All that was required now was the other half of an album. We got to work at Shorty’s rehearsal studios and knocked out some tunes. Well, when I say got to work I mean we’d meet at the pub (I’d pick up Dan and Pete, Darrell would get there by cab) and wander down to where I’d set up the Portastudio and drum machine an hour or so later then see what happened.

A quick look at the writing credits for what was to become No Jive doesn’t tell the whole story. We’d already agreed to split the publishing income equally only after I’d insisted on at least being named for the songs I wrote this time around. The days of Dream On were behind us, (well Them at least) and nobody expected to make money out of this (and we didn’t.) There was no point in arguing over who wrote what. As it turned out, I wrote a lot of it and Dan, Pete and Darrell let me.

This was okay.

I remember, in particular, coming up with Do You Wanna Play House on the way to picking up Dan after listening to Thunder’s She’s So Fine in the car and blatantly stealing its whole structure. Lap of Luxury came about after Dan started the drum machine at the wrong speed when we’d just arrived at rehearsals together and I went all Black Sabbath on our Asses. Most memorable, however, was the one song in which I had absolutely no input. Pete started drunkenly chanting, “La, La, Dee, Dee, La, La!” to no one in particular and within minutes he and Dan were in each other’s faces insisting that they should Tell Me That You Love Me, which I have no doubt they still do. Armed with rough ideas I had for Hire And Fire (lyrics already written, as previously mentioned), Thinking Man’s Nightmare and Keeping Our Love Alive, we had almost enough material for the new album.

Almost.

If you listened to Darrell, then we already had the final track, but if you sided with Dan and Pete, we most certainly didn’t. For my part, I was, not unlike Derek Smalls in Spinal Tap: Between Fire and Ice. Or as Derek so splendidly put it, “Like a bucket of lukewarm water.” Or as all of my 3 bandmates would’ve agreed:

“Manny.”

“You’re playing all the wrong notes.”
“No. I’m playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order.”
(Conductor Andr
é Previn and Pianist Eric Morecambe: Greig’s Piano Concerto sketch, The Morecambe & Wise Show, 1971)

Frank Farian is German. Born in 1941, he was probably too young to appreciate how utterly fucked his country would be by the time he was 4 but, to his credit, he tried. As the creator of acts such as Boney M and Milli Vanilli, he was both hated and respected by the music business but, to his credit, didn’t really care. Frank owned the studio where we were about to start recording No Jive and visited us a few weeks in, with some interesting stories to tell.

Frank Farian with Liz Mitchell and Marcia Barrett
Frank Farian with Liz Mitchell and Marcia Barrett of Boney M

Those of you old enough will remember Boney M as being pish. Milli Vanilli were that too but also frauds. They had their 1990 Grammy award withdrawn after Frank himself admitted to not letting them sing on their hits due to them being pish:
“Vot I did,” he explained, “Vos I hired outstanding 
musicians and singers from the US army base in Saarbrücken then hired a pair of good looking models to mime to their performances

“Why didn’t you just use the Americans?”
“Because they were really ugly.”
This was Simon Cowell ahead of the times.
“Also,” he elaborated, “I felt this was eine kleine way of payback for what they did to Berlin in 1945.”

Wowzers!

It was a total mindfuck to discover that Herr Farian had produced Meat Loaf’s Blind Before I Stop album featuring Burning Down in this very studio.

Double Wowzers!

We then let Frank hear what we’d been doing with a playback of Right Between The Eyes. I pressed the play button. Frank lasted about 30 seconds then ran for the door with haste akin to that of someone reacting to an air raid siren going off. “Payback by Playback,” one of us should’ve said, but didn’t. I mention that I pressed the play button. That was because our sound engineer, Ian Remmer, had been largely banned from the studio and, before adhering to his banishment, had kindly shown me how to operate the studio desk and recording equipment.

This was required to save a life: His.

To be fair, Ian Remmer was a competent sound engineer: He very quickly got Pete’s Alembic bass sounding just right complete with the clicks and thunks so characteristic of our bassist’s style. Similarly, my guitar setup proved no problem to him in achieving the perfect racket, and Dan’s vocal sound was, we all agreed, spot on. Where he let himself down, however, was not endearing himself to Nazareth. For starters, on the studio worksheets under ‘client’, he’d written: Nazereth. “Fucks sake!” exclaimed Pete. “Ye haven’t even got our name right!” I suppose we should’ve been more shocked that he’d misspelt the city from where ‘Jesus of’ came from but things got worse, much worse.

Ian Remmer
Chief engineer Ian Remmer? Close enough.

While laying down Pete’s bass part on Hire And Fire, Ian stopped the tape without warning.
“Ooh, that was bad!” he grimaced.
“Huh?”
“Too clicky for my liking. Can you try dampening the strings with your wrist, please? That should do the trick.”
“But that’s my sound.”
“Well it’s not very good now, is it?”
If looks could kill, then Ian Remmer wasn’t long for this world. The rest of us defused the situation by advising him to desist from trying to teach our bass player how to suck eggs.
“Oh well. You know best I suppose,” was not the wisest response, but we let it go.
Then, during some vocal takes with Dan in full flow, he did it again.
“One more for me, please.”
“What? I was enjoying that.”
“Well, we weren’t Dan. One more, thank you.”
“Hang on. What’s wrong with it?”
Pete, Darrell and I were wondering the same thing.
“A bit Naff to be honest.”
Silence.
Then Pete pressed the studio talkback button.
“Hang on a minute, Dan. This won’t take long.”
Smack!
“Ow! That hurt! Why did you hit me?” squealed our engineer.
“Nobody calls Dan McCafferty’s singing Naff!”
What Pete meant was, we three in the band could’ve, but he got the message across regardless. To save any further assault, Ian suggested setting up 5 or 6 separate tracks on the mixing desk to record Dan and showed me how to operate it all. This way we could record then listen back to various takes of Dan, make notes on which lines from them we preferred and Ian could compile a ‘composite’ vocal track based on our written notes. We agreed.
“And I’d like to do this alone please.”
Again, and mainly for his safety, we agreed. We adopted this same approach for recording Pete’s bass parts, and all was well til Ian Remmer got complacent, or careless, or just stopped giving a shit. I arrived first on this fateful morning and settled down to listen to Ian’s composite of a Dan vocal we’d left him to do the previous night.
“You’ve used all the wrong takes Man,” I quickly deduced.
A brief comparing of notes followed then:
“Oh my, you’re right! What should I do?”
“Well, Pete, Dan and Darrell are due here any minute so I’d set up the mics for the day.”
“Oh, okay. Then what?”
“Run!”
“Run like Fuck!”
“Run for your Life!”
This was sound advice because, by the time the rest of the boys arrived and discovered the error, Ian Remmer was cowering in the bushes surrounding the studio and for good reason.
“Where are you, you little bastard!” Pete yelled amidst the bracken.
“Come out! Come out now you useless piece of Shit!”
“No,” came a quivering voice from behind the duck pond. “You’ll hit me again.”
“No, no, I’m not going to hit you, I promise.”
Relieved, Ian stood up from his hiding place. Face to face for the last time ever, their eyes met, and Pete growled:

“I’m going to Fuckin’ Kill Ye!”

“Two-bit losers can never be choosers. No nit pickin’ kickin’ the can.” (Nazareth: Lap Of Luxury, 1991)

In the absence of a large enough budget or longtime producer Manny Charlton involved (now that would’ve been interesting), we’d decided to produce No Jive ourselves with the proviso that someone ‘professional’ should be brought in at the mixing stage. The loss of Ian Remmer was soon forgotten as I took to the role of engineer like a duck out of, er, a duck pond. Pete insisted on having me present for the recording of his bass parts and me likewise for him being judge and jury over my guitars while Dan trusted Peteand me to get the best out of his vocal performance. Darrell worked with me and the drum machine and, while he usually liked my programming of drum fills etc., he was quick to point out things I’d done which he wouldn’t, in real life, actually play. We were having fun, all four of us. Every night, after a hard days recording, we’d dim the studio lights, pour ourselves a few libations and have a playback of everything we’d done that day.

Usually very loudly.

Far-Studios-St-Ingbert
CAS Studios, St Ingbert

If any of you reading this are familiar with the official No Jive album I’d encourage you to have a listen to the rough mixes available on this very website cos this is how we, the band, heard what we wanted this album to sound. With the technology available at the time (and the limited ability I possessed as a studio engineer) it was easy to transfer a rough mix from the multitrack tape to DAT (Digital Audio Tape) instead of the old cassette tape equivalent, and we did it often. Now, during previous albums I’d done with Naz and others, it was normal to leave the control room when a song got played you weren’t particularly fond of. On this album, we all loved every track. If you were caught unawares and had to pee, you’d wait til a song finished and exclaim, “Haud the bus! I’ve got a bladder like a Spacehopper,” and the playback would be paused.

Then the elephant entered the room:

“We’re a song short,” Darrell said. (No, I don’t mean Darrell was fat and possessed a trunk. It’s a euphemism.)
“But we’ve agreed to re-record This Flight Tonight,” someone countered.
“Aye, but that’s a bonus track.”
“We need another new one and we’ve already got it.”
“No! Don’t say it, Big D!” said someone else. (Okay, I’m paraphrasing here, but go with it.)
“The record company are insisting we record Cover Your Heart,” Big D continued.
(Shit! Where’s an elephant gun when you need it?)

Now before we go any further, Cover Your Heart is a perfectly good Rock song. I wrote the bastard and the version I did with La Paz would sit well on any Bon Jovi album but…
We were about to have the first and last band argument of this entire outing.

Pete: “I don’t like it. No offence, Bill.”
Me: “None taken, Pete.”
Dan: “I hate it! No offence, Bill.”
Me: “None taken, Dan,” though that smarts.
Darrell: “I love it! Always have. No offence, Bill.”
Me: “Fuck you, Big D! Yes, it’s a catchy tune, but it isn’t us. It isn’t Nazareth.”
Pete: “Well said, Bill. I didn’t get where I am today by doing catchy tunes I didn’t like.”
Darrell: “Well, maybe if you had, you wouldn’t be sat sittin’ here right now.”

Long silence… then:

Pete: “What key’s it in?”

So we did Cover Your Heart and re-recorded This Flight Tonight and, for the first time, some of us left the studio to pee while the nightly playbacks were in progress. Midway through, Barry and Keith flew out for a week. Check out the Webmaster’s Tales page to find out how it went. Recording over, we returned home a happy band.

Billy's notes re mixes Far Studios, St Ingbert 8.91
Billy’s notes re mixes CAS Studios, St Ingbert August 1991

Mixing is a tricky business. Especially if you weren’t involved in the recording process. Enter, Geordie, Mike Ging. I don’t remember who suggested him, but he called me at home, so someone who had my phone number was responsible.
“Why-aye Man!” he most definitely didn’t say.
What he did sa
y was, “I want you back out here a week before I start mixing.”
“Wha-Hay Me?” I might’ve said, but probably didn’t.
“Love the album, but it needs more guitar.”
“That’ll do me!” I most certainly replied. And so began a guitar-fest of overdubs which, by the time my fellow bandmates arrived, was a sonic overdose of what we’d previously committed to tape.

I liked Mike. He had a fixation with Scottish tradition, including his mother buying him Oor Wullie and The Broons annuals every Christmas since he was old enough to read. My mother did this for me too. (Note: To non-Scottish/Newcastle readers, buy them and try to read them: It will be a Mindfuck.)

Before playing the new (unmixed) guitar-enhanced tracks to us, Mike asked us to “Fook Off” down to the Irish pub while he did his first mix. The result was his take on Lap Of Luxury, and it was a revelation, but not in a good way to all involved. The drums were sensational due to Mike’s box of samples. The snare sounded like a sledgehammer, a point not missed by Darrell. “Ah, that’s Tina Turner’s snare drum,” said Mike when Big D asked. “No way!” said our drummer. “Is there no end to that lassie’s talents?” Effects on the vocals made Dan (and Pete and I) appear to have otherworldly talents and, as for the guitars, well let’s just say I couldn’t possibly hope to replicate them ‘live’ but the biggest, yet smallest change was Pete’s bass.

It wasn’t there.

I watched my mate sink further into his chair as everyone else whooped and punched the air listening to what was undoubtedly a masterpiece of modern recording prowess, and I felt for him as he got up and addressed Mike Ging thus:
“Well that’s impressive but where am I?”
“I don’t understand, Pete.”
“No. You don’t. Goodnight.”

And you know what? Pete was right. No Jive as a final release is a great sounding album but compared to the stripped-down rough mixes we did, it’s lightweight.

Or to quote author Scott Perry: Efficiency is Elegant, Less is More.

“Dont quote laws to men who have swords.” (Pompey the Great to Elders of the besieged city Messana, 83bc)

Way back in 1977, as a junior librarian at Bishopbriggs public library, I borrowed a book and forgot to return it. All You Need Is Love by Tony Palmer (a friend of John Lennon’s) was a brilliant history of modern pop music. The copy I now appeared to own had some great photography covering blues, jazz, rock & roll and dance competitions such as a 1940’s Jitterbug finals. One picture encapsulated the sheer joy of this dance routine. I brought it to the attention of my bandmates after we’d agreed on the newly recorded album’s title: No Jive.

No Jive pic
Original photo

We all loved the photo, but Darrell insisted on checking the copyright before sending it to the record company for their approval. They agreed with our choice but concurred with Big D on copyright concerns. Mausoleum arranged for an artist to replicate the image in case the original photographer sued us.

Wise? In hindsight, no.

The replication resembled more like two Demons wanting to possess your soul than the sheer joy the original photograph portrayed. One more detail was yet to be agreed: Who wrote What. To explain: Every record ever made requires two criteria. Recording and Publishing rights. In the case of No Jive, the recording rights belonged, quite rightly I agreed, to Nazareth Dunfermline aka Dan, Pete and Darrell cos I shouldn’t have any claim to earnings made from records before I was in the band.

Publishing credits form 21.5.92
Revised PRS form 21st May 1992

Publishing was a different topic. We would’ve typically signed a separate deal for that, but with who? No one would pay an advance on an album being released on a wee independent label by a band on their way down in everyone’s opinion. The only option was to list the songs as ‘unpublished’ through the PRS who would collect any writers royalties, however small, and pay the individuals directly. Keeping my 2XS and Sound Elixir losses in mind, all we had to do now was agree on the writing credits and sign the relevant forms.. So, before we left the studio, we sat down and (for the first time in my case) thrashed out precisely who wrote what. I came out well. Move Me would be different cos an actual publishing deal would be involved, but for now, we were all good on the splits.

We had an album, we had a title, and now we had to sell the sucker.

Glasgow Evening Times 19.9.91
Glasgow Evening Times 19th September 1991

What followed was some one-off gigs and a short tour of Canada and the US. Due to our European popularity, the mostly one-off gigs consisted of festivals throughout the summer. These included playing with Donovan in Denmark, Saxon in Sweden, Katrina And The Waves in Wherever and Doctor And The Medics, believe it or not, in Switzerland. Some of you may recall they had a hit with a cover of Norman Greenbaums most excellent Spirit In The Sky. Their version was far from most excellent. It was whatever the opposite would be but, as we were headlining this outdoor festival, it didn’t matter. We would still be in our backstage caravan so wouldn’t have to listen to them. What did matter, however, was that the next day we were to support Status Quo during their Rock Til You Drop gig at the SECC in Glasgow as they attempted to enter the Guinness Book of Records for most UK cities played in a 24 hour period, a feat they would achieve. Our agent (and Quo’s) Neil Warnock had organised everything to the tiniest detail. When the festival ended at 11pm we, meaning band, crew and equipment were to be whisked to the local Swiss airport for an early morning flight to Glasgow. A day room at the Holiday Inn was booked for showers and freshening up (intended for the band only, but we extended this to crew too by renting a second room. Hey, we’re a clean machine.).

But there were troubles ahead at the festival.

Ronnie Dalrymple at lighting desk Town & Country, London 11.4.92
Ronnie Dalrymple at lighting desk. Town & Country, London 11th April 1992

First, the weather was uncharacteristically dreadful with heavy rain and winds threatening to blow down the PA speaker stacks. Subsequently, everything was behind schedule so, by the time we were due to close proceedings, we would’ve missed the flight and fucked things up for our record-breaking stablemates.
“We need to go on now,” we agreed. “Let the Medics headline. It’ll be a first for ‘em.”
10 minutes later, and with yet more time elapsed, the Medics had declined our offer of headlining for their first time, so Pete upped the ante.
“We’re the fuckin’ headliners so they either do as we tell them or they can go and take a running fuck to themselves. We’re going on now!”
This was relayed by our envoys Willie, Tam, Rab and Wee Ronnie to their counterparts in the Medics’ road crew, led by a 7 foot Nordic God of a guy with misspelt tattoos, big hair and even bigger muscles who had a counter-proposal.
“Or,” he began diplomatically, “We could smash your tiny Scottish heads in and do similar to your equipment.”
“Oh, ye fuckin‘ think so?” retorted Ronnie before whipping out a huge hammer from his tool belt and proceeding to pistol-whip Thor and his by now fleeing Asgardian companions while cheerily informing us: “On ye go, guys. Have a good one.”

Status Quo SECC, Glasgow ticket 21.9.91
Status Quo SECC, Glasgow ticket 21st September 1991

Thanks to Ronnie Dalrymple we made it to Glasgow and, I’m surmising, the Medics played a 45 minute extended version of their hit.

Moving on, at last I was promoting an album which I’d played on instead of just copying what Manny had played on for the last six or seven years… or more. We were very bold. For starters, we opened every gig with a new song, or two. Actually, it was two. Hire And Fire and Wanna Play House were the introductions to our audience every night instead of Telegram or Night Woman. This was a big deal to us, but we felt confident enough in the new material to just do it.

Oh but I digress.

This whole transformation or rejuvenation we all felt was akin to another band from our era who’d reinvented themselves and came back bigger and stronger. Our history with Aerosmith would eventually be revisited but, in the meantime, we were paired with a couple of older Rock connections in the shape of the eternally twin-guitar inspired Wishbone Ash and the Charles Dickens inspired Uriah Heep.

“Nothing can stop me now cause I’m the Duke Of Earl. (Gene Chandler, 1962)

For a small independent record company, Mausoleum did us proud in the promotional department. As well as paying for the actual recording of No Jive, they came up with enough cash to finance not one but two videos for both designated singles. Granted it wasn’t a masive budget for either song but, when you look back at our track record for videos on a big budget, the small bunch of filmmakers they hired did a grand job.

Every Time It Rains 7" 91
Every Time It Rains 7” sleeve 1991

First up: Every Time It Rains.

(Warning: If you’re reading this from a country outside of Scotland, e.g. the USA, buckle up cos this’ll (or should that be ‘Thistle?’) blow your balls off.)

Lennoxlove-House
Lennoxlove House

We met up at Lennoxlove House outside Haddington near Edinburgh. As the official residence of the Duke of Hamilton and family, Lennoxlove, or its tower at least was built by Robert Maitland (circa 1345) and improved upon by his ancestor William Maitland (1525-1573.) He was the Secretary to Mary Queen of Scots and married one of the “Four Mary’s,” Mary Fleming who accompanied the infamous Scots Queen to France in 1548 whilst fleeing Them Bastard English. This would explain why Pete was now exclaiming, “Ugly bitch, eh? as we gazed upon the actual death mask of our long-since beheaded Queen, complete with her real eyelashes. Jump back to 1702 when the house was purchased by Francis Teresa Stuart (Yep, Bonnie Prince Charlie’s relative by marriage) and who was once described by the famous diarist Samuel Pepys as, “It would be difficult to imagine less brain combined with more beauty.”

I lap this shit up!

And we were making a video in the very house where very rich folk with too much money had gone before. Access All Areas. The filming itself was fun but, as we waited for individual curtain calls, the boys and I settled into a drawing room to drink beer. This room was chosen specifically because it had an old piano and we love pianos, and beer. As Pete and I were jamming heavily on the keyboard with cans of lager and cigarettes alight, in walks the current owner: The 15th Duke of Hamilton himself, Angus Douglas-Hamilton and his two children. “Haw Angus!” said Pete jokingly. (We weren’t disrespectful, just trying to be funny.) The Duke may have been offended but didn’t show it and was excellent company. His children looked horrified. “What ARE they, Daddy? Are they human?” they seemed to say. Our new bestie Angus then gave us a brief tour of his private quarters and even let us into some personal details of his family’s history, which I shall not reveal, ever.

drawing room
Lennoxlove House drawing room

Once back in the drawing room, we opened a few more beers and lit a few more cigarettes before closing the lid on the old piece of shit piano we’d been hammering to pieces.
“No, please continue,” said The Duke. “I haven’t heard that piano played in years.”

So we did.

Much hilarity ensued as we taught young Lady Eleanor (“Call her Ellie”) and Lord Jonathan (“Jonny is fine”) the basics of Boogie Woogie Rock and Roll like only four drunken Scotsmen can:
“Wonderful!” exclaimed Angus Douglas-Hamilton after a few more beers.
“This piano has been here since 1828 when it was transported at great expense by my ancestor, Lady Susan Hamilton, for her young  visiting Polish friend.”
“Oh, really? Who was that then?” we enquired before hurriedly removing all remaining beer cans and cigarette stains from the instrument.

“I believe his name was Frédéric François Chopin.”

“Mississippi mud never touched her fingers. See the girl dance.” (Crazy Horse: Dance, Dance, Dance, 1971)

After watching the finished result of the Every Time It Rains video, we were quite happy with it. We were also convinced we’d discovered the reasons why our previous promotional film outings were amongst the worst ever made, by anyone, by a long shot. Unlike Love Leads To Madness, our singer and part-time mobster Dan Corleone didn’t have to dress up in a white suit, clobber yours truly with a billiard ball and then drive away from the murder scene in a sports car without possession of a driver’s licence. Unlike Dream On, our singer and part-time spaceman Captain James T McCafferty wasn’t in charge of the Starship 2XS floating around in outer space while singing: A complete disregard for the laws of physics and a false representation of crooning in a vacuum. And finally: Unlike Where Are You Now, our singer Dan McCasanova hadn’t wooed the girl by Brylcreeming his curly locks down, joining a jazz band then having his mates chase what could’ve been an enemy gunship from Hamburg docks. In short, we played ourselves, playing our song, playing our instruments (albeit in an attractive and historical setting) and the film crew filmed us. Oh, one last thing we’d noticed which separated Every Time It Rains from its predecessors was no-one else featured except us, and no girls pretending to fancy our Dan, or, heaven forbid, the rest of us. Retaining the same director for Tell Me That You Love Me, we were quick to share our hypothesis with him. He’d built a soundstage in an abandoned slaughterhouse near the Corn Exchange, Edinburgh with only one stipulation: Bring what you’d wear and would play in a live setting. As an extra, I brought a mandolin cos I’d played one on the record, Pete and Darrell brought themselves and their usual equipment, and Dan brought a crutch.

Tell Me That You Love Me CD cover 91
Tell Me That You Love Me CD cover 1992

“It’s great you’re gonna film us just as we are. Nazareth, no-frills, no acting and no women.”
“Indeed, and yet quite depressing for a Rock band.”
“Aye, so like we said, film us playing, and we’ll hit the pub.”
“Not quite. There are women.”
“What? Women, plural?”
“Four.”
“Do they have to pretend to be attracted to us?” asked Darrell.
“That would be a stretch, but no.”
“Why?”
“Because you bear a striking resemblance to Roger Whittaker, your guitarist is playing a mandolin which we’ll have to make work, and your lead singer appears to be a cripple.”
(Wisely, Mr Director left Pete out of it.)
“I’ll have you know it’s a cane,” Dan countered. “I’ve sprained my ankle.”

Then we met the girls.

Straight out of a Robert Palmer video, they were gorgeous, young and absolutely fab.
“We canny be seen wi’ you lot,” said Pete, and the girls didn’t disagree.

So, on to the video.

We played to the song as if live with the mandolin issue sorted by me having it strapped above my guitar, and the women were separated from us by a large backlit screen. Then someone had a brainstorm, don’t remember who but it was one of us.
“Why don’t we switch positions with the girls?”
Ooh-err.
“Put us behind the screen and have them take centre stage singing the song.”

And you know what? It worked. If you look really close, Dan even manages to incorporate his cane into the proceedings. After all those failed videos, we’d finally managed to nail it by being ourselves.

A cripple, a folkie, a whistling beardy, and Pete Agnew.

“Im wasted and I Cant Find My Way Home.” (Blind Faith, 1969)
Carnival In Rock tour itinerary cover Feb/March 1992
Carnival In Rock tour Feb/March 1992
Carnival In Rock tour Feb/March 1992
Carnival In Rock tour Feb/March 1992
Frankfurt Music Hall poster 19th February 1992
QU, Regensburg ticket 22nd February 1992
Sunday Mail 23rd February 1992
Die Halle, Berlin Weißensee ticket 26th February 1992
Carnival In Rock tour Feb/March 1992
Carnival In Rock tour Feb/March 1992
Sweden Rock Festival, Olofström, Sweden advert 6th June 1992
Carnival In Rock tour itinerary cover 2/3.92

Promotion for No Jive continued into 1992 with various gigs and festivals throughout Europe and the US mainly, but not exclusively, in partnership with the aforementioned Heep or Ash. The first excursion was in February with Uriah Heep entitled Carnival In Rock for reasons unclear to any of us but was a tremendous success. The promoter supplied us with an Itinerary which dispels the myth that Germans don’t have a sense of humour and both bands were in top form, on and off the stage.

One particular memory I have is of us all sampling various distillations of schnapps in a local bar when, suddenly, Heep drummer Lee Kerslake fell to the ground screaming, “I’m Fuckin’ Blind!” We all thought he was kidding, but he was not. “Honest to Fuck guys, I can’t see! Everything’s bright white! Somebody help me for Fuxxake!” As we helped him to his feet, Mick Box turned to both sets of concerned band members and delivered a drunken sermon from his barstool while poor Lee whimpered and flayed around (literally) blind:

Billy & Lee
Billy & Lee, long after his sight returned. Glamrock Festival, Esbjerg, Denmark 12th June 1993

“It’s the apple one,” The Reverend Mick pronounced.
“What?” said his bewildered flock.
“The apple one,” he repeated. “That’s the one wot did it.”
He, of course, meant the apple schnapps.
“How do you know?”
“Oi just do.”
“So Lee’s the only one of us who’s drank it?”
“No. Oi drunk it too and Oi’ve been blind for the last ten minutes, just didn’t wanna cause a fuss.”
“So what do we do now?”
“Oi’d suggest not drinking the apple schnapps.”
“No, what do we do about Lee?”
“Fuck knows. Oi’m gonna pass out now,” and he did.

Occasionally we found ourselves playing with Heep AND Wishbone Ash which could be equally entertaining. Putting three 70’s Rock bands on the same bill could’ve been cause for concern for many a tour manager or promoter, but it’s fair to say we got along well, even when we’d be drunk together in the hotel bar and began to dissect each other’s material.

Andy-Powell
Andy Powell

“We’re gonna Razamanaz you all night?” quoted Wishbone’s Andy Powell to a laughing Mick Box one night. “I mean, what the Hell does that mean?” Unfortunately, this was within earshot of the ones responsible for the Razamanazing you all night, so it didn’t take long for repercussions to happen:
“So Andy,” I began, trying not to be too mean about my favourite Ash song, Blowing Free.
“I thought I had a girl, I know because I seen her.”
“Care to elucidate? Did you merely ‘think’ you had a girl? Or did you in fact, actually visually witness her presence?”
“Aye!” interjected Big D, “Or did we just Razamanaz her all night?”

And don’t think for a minute Uriah Heep escaped merciless ridicule. We rewrote their Gypsy track with lyrics so filthy I couldn’t possibly quote them here but, suffice to say, all three bands had much fun at each other’s expense.

(On a more serious note, I bonded with Heep bassist Trevor Bolder which would lead to more than a serious note later in this story.)

After the Carnival In Rock gigs, Naz played a short UK headline tour culminating at London’s Town & Country Club where I finally lost ‘Eric.’

To explain I need to take you back to December 1983 and to San Francisco’s Cow Palace where I met up again with Lee Dixon, my guitar tech with the Zal Band back in the day, who was now working for a certain Mr Clapton. It was part of three charity gigs for Faces bassist Ronnie Lane’s Multiple Sclerosis cause and featured everyone from Jimmy Page to Ringo. Afterwards, I spent a few minutes in Lee’s hotel room with both Pagey and Clapty before they left, probably bored with my hero worshipness. Alone with Lee, I had to ask about the Fender guitar case in the corner of his room:

Clapton & Blackie
Eric Clapton & Blackie

“Is that IT?”
“Yep.”
“Blackie?”
“Yep.”
“Can I see it?”
“Yep,” said Lee, opening the case.
“Can I play it?”
“Fuck No!”
He then took this most precious of instruments out and began polishing it lovingly as I looked on.
Then I spotted something else in the case: A brass bottleneck.
“Is that touchable?”
“Yep.”
“Can I have it?”
“Fuck No!”
“Aw c’mon Lee. Puleez!”
“Ach, go on then. I’ve got a spare.”

Eric (on mic stand) takes a final bow. Town & Country Club, London 11.4.92
Eric (on mic stand) takes a final bow. Town & Country Club, London 11th April 1992

And so I became the proud owner of Eric Clapton’s slide, the one he’d used that night on Blackie, which I still wasn’t permitted to touch. Throughout the following years, I coveted ‘Eric’ (which is what I called this piece of metal) playing it nightly on Vigilante Man, Bad Bad Boy and it appears on Tell Me That You Love Me from No Jive, but not overly it would seem. Many a time it would drop from my mic stand and roll under Darrell’s drum riser or even beneath the stage, but we always got it back. Until April 11th 1992 at London’s Town & Country Club. During a non-slide guitar solo, I noticed a guy from the audience reach up and grab it from the mic stand and run. “He’s got Eric!” I yelled to no one. And just like that, Eric was gone. But here’s the way I look upon the tragedy:

This thieving bastard thought he’d obtained the bottleneck used that very night by the guitar player of a Scottish Rock band from a smallish London venue. In reality, he’d stolen, and was now in possession of, the brass slide used by Eric Clapton on his classic Fender Strat known as Blackie in front of 15,000 people at The Cow Palace, San Francisco, December 1983.

Imagine the asking price difference on eBay.

Last night was a night of bad dreams and ambiguous visions.” (Sophocles: Electra, circa 410 BC)

I may not have mentioned this til now but, while at Secondary School, I played the cello. This was not cool as I was also playing electric guitar in a Rock band. My cello teacher was Geoffrey Scordia, a cool name and a great player. He was the lead Cellist in the SNO, or Scottish National Orchestra to you and I. He had to teach brats like me to enhance earnings he made from the SNO and, as I was already playing 5 gigs a week with Phase, we had absolutely nothing in common. He lived in Bearsden (a posh suburb of Glasgow) with his wife and kids: I lived with my parents cos I was only 15. My instrument was a cheap £120 steel-strung cello supplied by the school. His was a nylon string 120-year-old beauty. On the plus side, my guitar was a 1959 Gibson ES335 my Dad had recently bought me, so we had a mutual respect for quality. Geoffrey saw some raw talent in my scratching between my legs. He got me recommended for not only a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music and Drama if I wanted it but, more importantly to me, a record voucher redeemable for any two albums of my choice. I played it safe and opted for one Classical and the other Rock. The Rock one was a no-brainer for me, but I asked Geoff’s advice on which Classical recording I should choose.

Pierre-Fournier
Pierre Fournier

He recommended Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B Minor by soloist Pierre Fournier (another great name for a Cellist) and my life was changed for the better. By that I mean when faced with the choice of becoming a cello teacher a few years later or joining a Rock band called Zal, I took the 17-year-old option and ditched the spike-based classical axe for the Marshall driven instant high of the Gibson. The Rock album I’d bought certainly helped with my decision but Pierre’s rendition of Dvorak stayed with me, so much so that if I could go back in time and choose a gig to attend, forget TYA at Woodstock, The Beatles at Shea Stadium or Be Bop Deluxe at The Duke, Hull. I’d opt for Mr Fournier with the Berliner Philharmoniker, 1970-something.
(Bear with me, we’re going somewhere with this.)

Lycabettus-Theatre
Lycabettus Theatre

The perfect venue for my fantasy would be the Lycabettus Theatre, Athens. Set on a hill overlooking the city and its historical ruins, this outdoor facility encompasses everything you’d need for a perfect rendition of the most wonderful piece of non-Rock music I’ve ever heard.

Instead, on June 13th 1992, they got Nazareth.

I’d mentioned all the above to the site manager on our arrival at this place and he calmly informed me a rendition of Dvorak’s masterpiece was performed here a few weeks ago. But not involving Pierre Fournier so fuck that!

The stage was set, we were up for it then a guest arrived: None other than Ian Gillan. I’d never met him, but Dan, Pete & Darrell had. Much wine flowed and, by the time we hit the stage, we’d convinced Ian to join us for the encore: Tush.

Lycabettus Theatre, Athens ticket 13.6.92
Lycabettus Theatre, Athens ticket 13th June 1992

“Nah,” Pete said. “Let’s do one yours too.”
I jumped right in and suggested Black Night, Into The Fire or even Child In Time, but Ian wisely suggested Smoke On The Water.
“Even you lot can play that!”
“Aye,” Pete agreed. “3 chords, easy.”
“No, Pete,” I cautioned. “Status Quo plays 3 chords. Deep Purple plays 4, or sometimes even more.”
“Whatever. Billy Boy’ll keep me right. Right, Billy Boy?”
Resistance was futile.
Everyone was pished.

Ian-Gillan
Ian Gillan

Come the moment, Ian joined us for the encore and it wasn’t going too badly although Dvorak and Pierre may have differed. Then, during the first chorus of Water, Pete realised he didn’t know the 4th chord and yelled in my ear,
“What’s that?”
“G Sharp!” I screamed back.
“How can you not know that?”

Tush/Smoke On The Water – Lycabettus Theatre, Athens 13th June 1992

Later backstage, Ian, despite being totally smashed like the rest of us, couldn’t resist announcing: “You are the only band ever who can’t play Smoke On The Fuckin’ Water!” And he was right. Incidentally, you may be wondering what Rock album I bought with the record voucher I won as a cellist all those years ago.

It was Deep Purple In Rock.

Takin’ for granted, gets taken for granted too much.” (Billy Rankin: Move Me, 1992)
No Jive tour 92
No Jive tour 1992

Looking back as we are at 1992, I’m at a loss to explain just how much effort we put into promoting our new album. Touring and media aside, we all felt part of a Nazareth rejuvenation so to speak and naturally upped our game regardless of how we were doing commercially, which wasn’t much despite the positive feedback No Jive had gotten from the press and fans alike. The live set got more adventurous with inclusions such as Gone Dead Train and a song we’d always kept in reserve in the event of a technical problem from way back: Long Black Veil. Now we’d put it in the actual set, A capella like before but with the added bonus of us all playing percussion. Darrell handled the snare drum because, as he said in his own defence, “I’m the Fuckin Drummer!” Pete battered a floor-mounted bass drum and I dum-de-dum’d wearing a strap-on tom-tom like we were leading a sinner to a medieval execution, which if you evaluate the lyrics, we were. The spectacle worked not only visually, but showed the audience we could all actually sing. Well, except Darrell. We never gave him a mic.

Long Black Veil – Zeleste, Barcelona, Spain 14th May 1992

Add to this, I was writing like fuck. Every chance I got I scribbled lyrics onto napkins or hotel stationary then worked on and demoed them once back home. The day I wrote, then committed Let Me Be Your Dog to the 8-track, I drove the 30 miles to Pete’s house. Not to play it to him. Only to say, “Get in. There’s something I want you to hear,” before driving him the 30 miles back to my abode. I didn’t make the couple of minutes drive to Dan or Darrell’. If Pete liked it, then they would too. Back at my house we both rejoiced at the demo, went to the pub, came back to my house where I played him Demon Alcohol to more rejoicing. We returned to the pub and eventually called Pete a cab after he’d politely refused my offer of staying over, much to my family’s relief. We were buzzing. For no real reason. After all, the Mausoleum deal was for one album and hadn’t sold enough to justify a second, so what explained the enthusiasm. The answer is what’s driven every band from their humble beginnings: Hard graft and the belief that wherever they are in the business, things can and will get better.

Move Me rewritten lyrics Amsterdam 15th February 1992
Move Me rewritten lyrics Amsterdam 15th February 1992
Move Me rewritten lyrics envelope Amsterdam 15th February 1992
Move Me rewritten lyrics Amsterdam 15.2.92

My new songs were written with this mindset and were embraced by Dan, Pete and Big D plus, despite no prospect of an actual release by a record company, kept our spirits high and belief in Nazareth intact. Every chance he got, Pete, in particular, would drag a promoter, an agent, a fellow ‘band on the bill’ member, a roadie, a groupie, in short anyone around to our hotel room, stick some headphones in their ears and announce: “Check this out. Billy’s demos for our next album. Fuckin’ awesome or what?” Not that I needed it, but I had a new bond with my Uncle Pete, which took shape further due to our good old friend, Eddie Tobin.

At the end of 1992 and back home for a bit of downtime, we were made aware of The Party Boys. Basically, it was Eddie’s idea to build on the recently reformed SAHB’s limited local success by using them to play pub gigs in Glasgow with whoever was available at the time. Guests included Fish from Marillion, Big George from Big George And The Business (a truly legendary blues player, check him out) and our very own Dan McCafferty. Pete and I joined in on a few occasions, and that gave Eddie another idea. “You and Pete would be lead singers in any other band except Naz. Dan’s got that covered. Why don’t you form a band without McCafferty?”

Not a bad idea, right?

The Party Boys, Rocking Horse, Glasgow 1992
The Party Boys, Rocking Horse, Glasgow 1992
The Party Boys, Rocking Horse, Glasgow 1992
The Party Boys, Rocking Horse, Glasgow 1992
The Party Boys, Rocking Horse, Glasgow 1992
The Party Boys, Rocking Horse, Glasgow 1992
The Party Boys, Rocking Horse, Glasgow 1992
The Party Boys, Rocking Horse, Glasgow 92
The Broons, Rocking Horse, Glasgow January 1993
The Broons, Rocking Horse, Glasgow January 1993
The Broons, Rocking Horse, Glasgow January 1993
The Broons, Rocking Horse, Glasgow January 1993
The Broons, Rocking Horse, Glasgow January 1993
The Broons, Rocking Horse, Glasgow January 1993
The Broons, Rocking Horse, Glasgow January 1993
Spoof press release written by Billy January 1993
The Broons, Rocking Horse, Glasgow setlist January 1993
Pete's chords reminder January 1993
Proposed setlist for The Broons 92/93
The Broons, Rocking Horse, Glasgow 1.93

And so, The Broons were born. It wasn’t a long-lasting endeavour, we only did a handful of gigs, but fuck it was fun. Me, Pete and drummer Lee Agnew, (or as he was introduced “Peter’s son Lee,” a lame take on the duo ‘Peters and Lee’ who were pish) made a wonderful noise. We all had personal input for the setlist. The audience could expect anything from rejuvenated Naz stuff like Big Boy and This Flight Tonight, but also the, yet to be recorded, Naz stuff I’d been writing such as Move Me, Let Me Be Your Dog, Steamroller and Can’t Shake Those Shakes. My personal favourite, however, was The Broons take on Aerosmith’s Lightning Strikes which neither Pete or Lee had even heard before. It was glorious. Then, as 1993 loomed, we received some excellent news. No Jive was getting a US release and we were once again destined for an Aerosmith-style return to Stardom.

Or so we believed.

Big Boy rehearsal, Sinky’s, Dunfermline December 1992

Rip It Up rehearsal, Sinky’s, Dunfermline December 1992

Gone Dead Train rehearsal, Sinky’s, Dunfermline December 1992

This Flight Tonight rehearsal, Sinky’s, Dunfermline December 1992

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