“Ding-a-ling-ding-ding-ding-ding-ding-ding.” (Eric Weissberg: Duelling Banjos theme from Deliverance, 1972)

Since my rejoining of Nazareth in 1990, after Manny’s sudden expulsion, none of my bandmates had any direct contact with their founding member. He was never even mentioned in conversation. As one of the four directors of Nazareth Dunfermline, however, he had to be kept up to date with company matters and, of course, receive regular royalty statements and accounts. I, on the other hand, was in regular contact with Manny, usually by phone and never divulging anything sensitive, the same went for him. I’d only actually met up with him on one occasion since the Hire & Fire moment of 1990. That was to play him the No Jive album which he quite liked, well except for the drum sound and, in his opinion, Dan sounding a bit tired. Now, after my glorious gig with The Spiders, he gave me a call:

Flip 'n' Clop tour bus 2-3.81
Flip ‘n’ Clop tour bus February/March 1981

“How’s the new album sounding?”
“We’re all pleased with it auld yin, and we’re hopefully putting it out via Polygram thanks to Karin and Astrid.”
“Nice one. Can I hear it?”
“As long as I remember not to tell the band,” I reminded myself, out loud.
“Never mind, I’ll drop by tomorrow.”
So I did and Manny liked it a lot, I think.
“How many of the songs did you write?”
“Err, all of them.”
“Thought so.”
“Why? Are they too good to have come from Dan, Pete and Darrell?”
“Fuck No! They’re just lazy bastards.”
I then went on to explain the planned Polygram deals, i.e. Nazareth Dunfermline (minus Manuel) would sign the record contract and I the publishing.
“Are you having a stroke, old mate?”
“What are you getting out of this?” he continued, ignoring my concern for his medical condition.
“The publishing. My rights, ownership and control of my songs, for once.”
“Nothing from the record sales?”
“Nah. The other three put up the money to record it, so I’m okay with the publishing advance and any future royalties if it recoups.”
“And you think they’ll be okay with that?”
“I’m not going to make the same mistake as last time,” I assured him, in reference to when he himself along with the rest of the band screwed me over.
“They’re gonna want 75% of your advance.”
“Yeah, it’s been mentioned, but I’ve said I’d only consider this if Nazareth Dunfermline discloses how much of my royalties they got from 2XS/Sound Elixir and pay me some of it back.”
“But We’ve, sorry, They’ve spent it!”
“I know You’ve, sorry, They’ve spent it, but it was My money for My songs. Why would I do it again? Even You, sorry, They have to understand that.”
Manny nodded in agreement.
“Besides,” I continued, “Darrell says there are no accounts from back then so common sense would suggest there’s no case to answer.”

2XS tour 1982
2XS North American tour 1982

“No accounts? Erm, okay.”
“You’ve got accounts? Can I see them?”
“What? No! Are you crazy?”
“Okay, how much are we talking here?”
Manny turned pure white. Well, as pure white as a Spaniard could turn.
“Let me hear the album again, Bill.”
“Fuck the album. How much, Manny?”
“A lot. We’re still getting your royalties, sorry.”
“What the Fuck!”
“Don’t do this, mate. If you do, they will fire you.”
“I’m not doing anything Manny. Just keeping what’s mine this time. Why would they fire me?”
“Cos that’s why they fired me. I got fed up doing all the work, writing the songs, arrangements, production ‘et al’ while they swanned off to the pub.”
“They fired you for doing all the work?”
“No, for wanting to charge extra for doing all the work and getting to keep the publishing advance instead of splitting it four ways. I tried to reason with them, even mentioned it to the local press when the shit went down and Darrell countered with something like, ‘Well maybe we shouldn’t have let him write all the songs cos they were shit,’ I couldn’t win.”
Now, for those of you in possession of a cynical nature and thinking, “Hang on. Here’s a guy your bandmates fired telling you they’ll fire you too and you’re falling for this? He obviously has an axe to grind” (no pun intended) then consider how this day together ended.
“So you won’t show me the accounts?”
“Okay. Is it a lot we’re talking about?”
Deafening silence.
I’m at his front door now, giving him the customary goodbye hug.
“Promise me you won’t sue ’em, Bill.”
“I promise Manny, but why do you even care?”
“Cos I’d lose my house. I’m Nazareth Dunfermline too, remember.”
The penny eventually dropped.
Sensing this, Manny tried to lighten the moment.
“Move Me sounds really good, by the way. Much better than Snakes N Ladders.”
“Nothing personal mate,” I replied.

“Even Rolf Harris’ Greatest Hits sounds better than Snakes N Ladders.”

“Only way to feel the noise is when it’s good and loud. So good I cant believe it, screaming with the crowd.” (Motörhead: Overkill, 1979)

Lemmy Kilmister should be dead.


Let me qualify this statement cos obviously he is. I first had this thought when I was in his presence at London’s Electric Ballroom back in 1978. Ian, as I called him, was playing the fruit machine, cigarette in one hand, JD and coke in the other, leather-clad and cowboy hat on his head. He was totally oblivious to the fact that Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart were performing on stage with their pre-Eurythmics band, The Tourists. “Fuck! he exclaimed. “I’ve got a hold! Quick, lemme a quid mate,” hence Ian’s Rock and Roll moniker was instantly understood. Having been in similar circles of another Bass player around this time: Chris Glen from SAHB, I was no stranger to this strange but exotic species who only used 4 strings, but unlike Uncle Chris, Lemmy had no filter. He openly snorted grams of speed in full view of the venue’s security and they never even blinked, neither did he for obvious reasons. I was suitably impressed so willingly lent him the quid requested, several times if I remember correctly, but being liberal in his speed sharing, I can’t quite recall.

Fast forward to 3rd June 1994 at a bikers festival in Wiesen, Austria where Nazareth were headlining and who should be present but my long lost filterless pal.
“Ian! How ya doin’ old friend?”
“Fuck Me, Man,” he replied, grabbing me by the neck and planting a kiss on my cheek.
“You’re looking great!”
“I can’t believe you remember me, Ian!”
“Course I do!” he replied.
Course he didn’t, but that didn’t matter.
“How long’s it been?”
Eventually, he gave up.
“Sorry mate, but I don’t remember last night let alone 1978, thanks for remembering we know each other. Want some speed?”
Of course, I indulged, it was only polite, right?
Suitably wired, I regaled Ian with our shared experiences like when Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott and Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols fell down the stairs at the Ballroom. They should’ve broken both their necks, but instead had them recover enough to go on stage minutes later as The Greedy Bastards.

He didn’t remember that event either.

We were due to go on when someone thought it would be a good idea to have Ian/Lemmy join us for the encore.
“What key’s it in?” he asked before a song was even suggested.
“Seriously?” asked Pete to me, out of earshot.
“Is he for real?”
“Yep, Uncle Pete. If we play more than 3 chords, he’ll walk.”

Eventually, we came up with a plan. Give him Pete’s spare bass, tell him the key (A major for anything) and see what happens. Bearing in mind, I was already on Lemmy’s wavelength, so I knew it would be fine. Besides, we were playing to a biker crowd, Lemmy’s very presence was enough to satisfy. Afterwards, back in a converted railway carriage expertly redesigned as our dressing room, I had a last moment with my longtime friend Ian Fraser ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister, (We’d never meet again.) With hindsight, I think it went perfectly.

“Ian. You should be deid!”
“But ah’m not, Benny!”

That was close enough.

Raiffeisenzelt, Wiesen, Austria 3rd June 1994
Raiffeisenzelt, Wiesen, Austria 3rd June 1994
Raiffeisenzelt, Wiesen, Austria 3rd June 1994
Raiffeisenzelt, Wiesen, Austria 3rd June 1994
Raiffeisenzelt, Wiesen, Austria 3rd June 1994
Raiffeisenzelt, Wiesen, Austria 3rd June 1994
Raiffeisenzelt, Wiesen, Austria 3rd June 1994
Raiffeisenzelt, Wiesen, Austria 3rd June 1994
Raiffeisenzelt, Wiesen, Austria 3rd June 1994
Raiffeisenzelt, Wiesen, Austria 3rd June 1994
Raiffeisenzelt, Wiesen, Austria 3rd June 1994
Raiffeisenzelt, Wiesen, Austria 3rd June 1994
Raiffeisenzelt, Wiesen, Austria 3rd June 1994
Raiffeisenzelt, Wiesen, Austria 3rd June 1994
Raiffeisenzelt, Wiesen, Austria 3rd June 1994
Raiffeisenzelt, Wiesen, Austria 3.6.94

Nazërhead – Raiffeisenzelt, Wiesen, Austria 3rd June 1994

“They’ve got a little slice, at any price yeah.” (Brinsley Schwarz: Surrender To The Rhythm, 1972)

Imagine for a moment you had come up with an excellent idea for a product. You present this product to an established worldwide company called, let’s say: “Yahoo-eBay-Rayban-Microsoft-Apple-Walmart” and, for the sake of Barry’s typing finger here, it shall henceforth be called “YER MAW”. Stay with me here. YER MAW loves your product so much it offers you 60% of revenues made from sales and, get this, 60% from advertising fees collected by selling your product on TV and radio, worldwide, forever. Now you could go it alone and own 100% of your wonderful product but, as we all know, no one can sell you quite as good as YER MAW. So you sign up and, with the added incentive of a cash sum up front, you can actually live for a while. It’s a no-brainer, right?
As you watch your product sail to great heights you realise, having spent the cash sum YER MAW gave you, things aren’t going too well. Maybe YER MAW is being economical with the truth when they grudgingly send you the royalty statements.

You need an independent adjudicator.

Let’s call him Bob, but he’s really called PRS/MCPS. Bob will (for a small fee collected from both parties) record each and every sale and advertising revenue of your product and, you’ll never believe this, collect the cash too. Then Bob will send you the 60% of TV/radio income directly into your bank account, fuck YER MAW! The problem lies with the contract you signed in which Bob sends 100% directly to YER MAW for each and every unit of your product sold and YER MAW is legally obligated to send you 60% of it. (Have you thought of a product to sell yet? Come on!) Unfortunately, this is where the system lets you down. When relationships break down and things move on, the Simple Solution (Oh, I’m on a roll here) is to have Bob sort it out, but he can’t cos he can’t divulge to you, the product creator, how much he’s given YER MAW.

With all this in mind, here’s my recollection of the call I made after visiting Manny.

“Good afternoon, PRS/MCPS, Bob speaking. How may I help you?”
“Hi, Bob. I’d like to enquire about a bunch of mistakes I made when I was a Dick.”
“Certainly, Dick. Can I have your membership number and your name please?”
“Aye, it’s Billy Rankin, no wait, William H Rankin, sorry.”
“Now is that William Hector Rankin or William Hardie Rankin?”
“Hardie. The William Hector is a drummer, played with Brinsley Schwarz and Frankie Miller.  I once got sent £0.79 meant for him and I kept it.”
“Indeed you did, Dick. And I see from our records he once received £3,000 meant for you and sent it back.”
“Really? I’m such a Dick!”
“He will remind you of this when you both connect on Facebook sir, but for now, how may I help you?”
“I think YER MAW has cheated on me.”

Brinsley Schwarz (Billy Rankin top right)

To cut a long story short, Bob couldn’t officially divulge any information to me except this:
“Nazareth Dunfermline is YER MAW and you need to speak to them on any issues of non-payment of royalties.”
I pressed further.
“But I’m in their band, Bob. They say they’ve got no accounts about this.”
“Sorry, Dick, you’re screwed.”
“Wait, I have one question. Is it worth my while suing Nazareth Dunfermline for unpaid royalties?”
After a short silence, Bob became my friend, or at least sympathetic.
“Tell you what, Dick. Give me the name of one of your songs you wrote with YER MAW and I’ll answer that, off the record.”
“Okay. Dream On. That was a biggie, Bob.”
“Well Dick William Hardie Rankin,” he replied after checking the system, “I can give you 350,000 reasons why it would be worth your while.”
“£350,000 of my royalties got paid to Nazareth Dunfermline for one song and I never got it? Shit!”
“Oh, there’s more. Love Leads To Madness, Where Are You Now, Games, All Nite Radio, the list goes on. There’s one here getting flagged up. Did you write a song entitled Hymn To Me?”

“What? No. Why?”

“Then I suggest you owe your namesake £0.79.”

“Oh I Can’t Keep It In, I can’t keep it in, I’ve gotta let it out.” (Cat Stevens, 1972)

June and July ‘94 was taken up by yet another North American tour, this time with a short unplugged section mid-set which proved popular with fans and band alike. We were all getting along well despite the now typically harsh workload and, I for one, was determined not to spoil things by bringing up my newfound information gained from Manny and PRS/MCPS/Bob. My good intentions were thwarted early on, probably the first time drink was consumed, which would’ve been in the bar at Edinburgh airport prior to departure for the tour:
“Fancy another pint, Billy Boy?”
“Aye, Pete. How’s about 350,000 pints, ya cheatin’ basturt!”
“Eh, okay. That’ll be a yes then.”
“Hey guys,” said Dan who’d recently met the famous footballer concerned.
“How many goals did Kenny Dalglish score for Scotland?”
“Ooh, good guess William, but it was actually 30.”
And finally the one I got closest to getting right: “Fuckin’ hell boys! According to this interview I’m reading from this inflight magazine, Warren Beatty’s slept with, get this…”
“Let me hazard a guess, Darrell. Is it 350,000 women?”
“Naw. Jeezo Billy! It’s 13,000. Where’s your head at?”
Eventually, things came to where my head was at and I confessed everything to all, in a hotel bar where drink had been consumed.
The biggest surprise to me was that my bandmates didn’t dispute the £350,000 royalties for one song.
More important (to Pete in particular I recall) was that I’d spoken to Manny.
“What are ye talking to Him for?” he asked me later that night, privately.
“I’ve always spoken to Him,” I replied.
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“Cos he’s a C*nt! He’d love to see this band implode. He’s using you to get at us.”
“Really, Pete? Manny is still more involved in Nazareth than I am. He’s a quarter of Nazareth Dunfermline aka YER MAW.”
With this established we all agreed to put things on the back boiler til such times as it was going to be necessary (i.e. when Move Me got a release) to reopen old wounds.

Then it happened.

Polydor Records promo 94
Polydor Records promo 1994

Polygram Germany gave us the green light and Move Me was a goer. The first I knew of it was when Darrell called for a band meeting at the Pit and announced the good news. And it was good news. We were over the moon. As previously discussed with Karin & Astrid, Nazareth Dunfermline would be the signatories of the recording deal, and I would be signing the publishing contract with Polygram GMB for the songs. As Astrid clarified to me in a phone call, although other people were involved as co-writers (i.e. Pete, Dan and my mate Mick Paul) only my signature was required to do the deal.
“How much is the advance?” I quite reasonably asked her.
“How much do you want?” she foolishly replied.
“Let’s start with £350,000 per song,” I countered.
“Oh, Billy. That is so precise. That is so German. That is so not possible.”
“I know pal, what are you offering?”
“£50,000 cash.”
It was then I remembered being present during Alex Harvey’s negotiations with RCA Records at his house in North Finchley back in 1978 when he advised the ‘Suit’ on the line: “50 grand? Ye can have ma dog for that,” and realised Alex might have been a tad hasty. I didn’t quite put a Spanner in the works, nor due to Manny’s influence put a Spaniard in the works, but more accurately due to Let Me Be Your Dog, put a Spaniel in the works.

“I’ll take it, Astrid.” I concurred.

“Morning Boss. Back pocket still nippin’?” (Willie McQuillan to the manager of Dunoon hotel, 17th December 1994)

For those of you not from Scotland, I should explain the above comment from our tour manager on this particular morning. The back pocket is where most of us keep our wallet and nippin’ in general means stinging. So, the translation goes pretty much like you’ve been financially screwed. In this guy’s case, he’d recently hosted a very successful gig by SAHB and decided not to bother advertising our unplugged evening reasoning that word of mouth would be sufficient. It wasn’t. Having barely sold any tickets, he was informed, “Pay upfront or no show.” Willie McQuillan then followed him to various cash machines as he withdrew what he could. Not nearly enough. As a final desperate measure, he offered the band and crew a free bar for the night. Nazareth? Free bar? What could possibly go wrong? The barmaid was inundated with requests like, “Can I have some of that green stuff mixed with some of the pink liqueur in a pint glass half-filled with cider please?” This happened throughout the show and the very long session afterwards resulting in his back pocket nippin’ to such an extent in the morning. It was one of our end of the year concerts where we all had fun and yet played some of my favourite gigs I’d ever done with Naz.

However,there was an underlying problem and to explain we have to rewind a little.

When Polygram, aka Astrid and Karin, agreed on the publishing deal for Move Me, the contract was ready and waiting for my signature with the only proviso being I’d compensate the other writers from the £50,000 advance fairly and properly. That was, of course, acceptable so, when Polygram asked if I wanted the contract looked over by a lawyer, I immediately replied with, “Yes. Have it approved by James Ware of Davenport/Lyons. He knew Marc Bolan and saved my arse from hitting a tree once upon a time.” James was, as always, straight to the point:
“So William, you’re back with them despite the history?”
“Aye James, we’re all loved up.”
“Glad to hear it. The contract, for a change, is in your favour. They say 60/40%, but I suggest 70/30% would be preferable.”
“Whatever you say, James. Did you really know Marc Bolan?”
“No one really did. Oh, one small detail: The contract states your advance is to be paid to Nazareth Dunfermline. Is this right?”
“What? No. Who says that?”
“A certain Darrell Sweet. Isn’t he in your band?”
“Aye, James. He’s our fuckin’ drummer! That isn’t right.”
“I thought not. Apparently Mr Sweet has insisted this be considered ‘due process.’”
“Is he, as you would say, a chancing bastard?”
“Yes. We’ve had previous, but I thought we’d agreed to look into past discrepancies regarding my unpaid royalties and settle accordingly.”
“I play golf with the head of Polygram GMB, let me sort this out.”
In a nutshell what Darrell had done was to circumnavigate my publishing deal to make sure I only got 25% of the songwriter’s advance, fuck the £350,000 plus royalties I’d lost out on in the ’80s.
James didn’t take long.
“Oh, good shot!” I imagine he said to the head of Polygram GMB on the golf course.
“By the way. My client wrote the majority of the songs on your soon to be released album by Nazareth.”
“Oh Ja, Beely Rankin. He wrote Dream On, nein?”
“Sore point but Ja, he did.”
Within 24 hours I got a call from Mrs Billy an hour before me, Pete & Dan went onstage somewhere in England: “Bill. There’s £50,000 in our bank account and it wasn’t there yesterday.”
Dan and Pete got the same message, but from Darrell.
“The wee bastard has the advance. Some arsehole, James Ware, made it happen.”
Dan got really upset.
“Gimme my share!” he demanded. “Write me a cheque right now or I’ll kick your fuckin’ head in!”
Dan had never spoken to me like this before.
Pete, on the other hand, took a different approach.
“Let’s just do this tour and we’ll sort it out. We’re all-singing, all-dancing. Back the fuck up, Dan.”
Except he couldn’t. Midway through the gig, Dan excused himself and physically threw up out the back of the venue, so me and Pete became Simon And Garfunkel for a few songs til Dan rejoined us. Later, in our hotel room, we thrashed things out. I agreed not to spend the £50,000 advance in my bank account til we’d sorted things out and, in return, Dan agreed not to kick my fuckin’ head in.

At this point in the story, I’d like to remind you of Eddie Tobin’s original comment to me when he’d first recommended me for the job with Nazareth back in late 1980:
“Pete Agnew IS Nazareth. Whatever he says goes.”

It was about to be taken to everyone’s breaking point.

Expect No Mercy!

“No I’ll stand my ground, won’t be turned around.” (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: l Won’t Back Down, 1989)

I’ve thought long and hard about this final chapter of my musical career with Nazareth. Our paths will cross several times later, but I realise we will lose many of you after this section. Interest in me is, at best, limited for most of you. There will be some fans of SAHB, Frankie Miller and even The Spiders From Mars whom Barry and I hope have and will continue to enjoy this site as things move on, but it’s fair to say the majority of you are here due to your enthusiasm for all things Nazareth. As we said at the start of this website, everything here is free for you to copy, upload and share in whatever manner you wish and we’ll continue to present the content in a humorous yet informative way.

So why spoil things?

Well for my part, this last bit is all about some nasty stuff which led to my dismissal from the band. During research for it, I trawled through old lawyers letters and, after rereading them for the first time in 25 years, I became upset, angry, sad and even a bit tearful: Hell, I was going to have Barry put copies of all of it on this very site to let all of you read for yourselves how vindictive, vile, cantankerous, hurtful (and sometimes just Petty, excuse the pun) things became between us.

Then I thought “Who the Actual Fuck Cares?

To most of you reading this I was a small part of a greater history, a jigsaw piece if you like from a band who were already huge before I became involved and are still fuckin’ going, so long as Pete Agnew has breath in his body and a bass in his hands. I’m still friends with Pete, Dan and Manny. I was at Darrell’s funeral, as were all of us, so why try to explain a moment in time which, unlike when Manny got the heave-ho, didn’t even make it into the local newspaper?

I’m on a hiding to nothing. Only a crazy person would do it.
But this is my website.

So here goes:

We set up rehearsals at Rosyth Naval Dockyards in early January ‘95 to prepare for the upcoming tour of Germany in support of our new (and first release on a major label for many a year) album, Move Me. During frequent breaks, frequent arguments would break out and always revolved around the same topics. Dan, Pete and Darrell wanted me, whom they considered a ‘Two-Faced, Thieving, Weegie C*nt’ to hand over £35k of the £50k Polygram advance for the songwriting of Move Me. I wanted those whom I regarded as ‘Cheating, Lying, Fife-ish Bastards’ to supply me with proper accounts and royalties they should’ve been doing since 1982 for 2XS and Sound Elixir, but in particular for Dream On:
“But we don’t have either accounts or money to give you from that far back,” didn’t wash with me, the Weegie.
“PRS has accounts. MCPS has accounts. Fuck, Manny has accounts.”
“Aye, he’s a C*nt tae, like you!” didn’t wash either.
Being honest here for a minute, I knew that they knew accounts existed which would show they’d gotten a ton of my royalties over the years, but I also knew they no longer had the money to give me. My intention was, by making the accounts available to me would for want of a better word ‘shame’ them into not expecting me to give them any more.
“You’ve shit on ma heid, now you wanna pish in ma mooth?” was one of my better retorts.
Things went round in circles and always ended with the usual: “Give us our share or we’ll kick yer head in!” or, “We’ll break your fingers,” or sometimes the really hurtful, “We’ll tell yer Mammy!”
Eventually, Pete took me aside and showed once again who was really in charge of this band called Nazareth.
“I’ll look at the accounts I can find. There’s a pub down the road. Meet me there in two days and we’ll sort this out.”
I thought the worst when we met in the prearranged bar.
“I’ve looked at what I could find and it’s bad!”
“I know Pete. I’ve always known mate, I’m sorry.”
“Oh, I don’t mean for you.”
“What? Then for who?”
“Wait. What’s Darrell done?”
“Plenty. While I was going over the accounts, I realised he’s been skimming off the top and stealing from Nazareth Dunfermline.”
“Shit! What’s gonna happen then?”
“Well, I’ve spoken to Dan and we’re going to have to fire oor drummer.”
Just to clarify here, Darrell was not only Oor Drummer but also Oor Manager and, crucially, Oor Accountant so any cooking of the books was down to him thus yet another founding member was about to get the bullet. This would in fact happen, about five minutes after it finally happened to me. Unlike yours truly, he would be reinstated days later after showing Dan and Pete a fax from our agent, Neil Warnock, stating, “I will no longer represent Nazareth if Darrell Sweet isn’t in the band.”
As for me, Pete suggested I make a token payment from my £50,000 of say £18,000 then he’d make sure I got to see the accounts.
“But the money the accounts will show I’m owed?”
“You know we don’t have it. Would you really split up the band for 50 grand?”
“Would you, Pete?”

A final band meeting was set for a few days time at the Pit, where it had all begun for me back in 1980. I knew the second part of the agenda would be the sacking of Darrell but, as for the first, it would all be down to who would back down and who would not. As I left to drive through to Fife I hugged Mary and assured her I wouldn’t crack. My wife had been through hell since I’d rejoined Naz, for all sorts of reasons, but mainly financially and the fact that her husband had become Billy Big Time again she was understandably doubtful. She knew £50,000 wasn’t a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but also knew how much the band meant to me and the extent to which I would go to keep it together. “Don’t let them bully you anymore,” was probably heartfelt and sound advice, but she had never gone up against 3 angry Fifers. The meeting went pretty much like the earlier ones had, but Pete’s proposal that I might be willing to part with £18,000 (£6,000 to each of them for practically doing nothing) was met with partial interest.
“What we propose in return,” he continued, “Is that we will supply you in future with all relevant accounts and pay you the royalties due, backdated to 1st July 1994.”
“Are you kidding me? I give you 18 grand for practically hee-haw and you don’t pay me or even let me see anything from further back than 6 months ago?”
I stood up and began putting my jacket on.
“That’s crazy guys. That’s not gonna happen.”
“Well, Fuck Off then Bill. Just Fuck Off!” said Dan McCafferty.
“I AM Fucking Off!”

“Well,” he replied. “Can Ye No Fuck Off Faster?”

“Come on now, I hear you’re feeling down. I can ease your pain, get you on your feet again.” (Pink Floyd: Comfortably Numb, 1979)

Hello, is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Ah, so some of you Nazareth diehards are hanging on hoping for some hope.

Good, cos so was I.

After the debacle at the Pit, I returned home to my family with a heavy heart, but still hopeful things could be turned around. If Darrell was fired (which he was several times in the coming weeks) then maybe I would be reinstated. My wife, Mary, had seen this coming and suggested a family holiday might be in order, so Florida for two weeks was hurriedly booked. What she’d also done was what any long-suffering wife of being married to a ‘Billy Big Time’ would’ve done. The second she informed me 50 grand had been paid into our joint bank account, Mary transferred it to another joint bank account which, regardless of Nazareth Dunfermline’s legal claims, could not be touched, even by me. The considerable business loan we’d taken out to support my career as a member of Naz during this time she paid off that same night and it took up half the advance itself. I remember telling Pete about this during our meeting in the Rosyth pub, and that’s why he suggested £18,000 would be an acceptable compromise, cos that’s just about all that would be left. “I know why she did that,” he concurred. “She’s taking care of the family cos sometimes we forget to.”

The other thing I did was meet up with Mick Paul. Mick was the manager of a Glasgow pub I’d played in, but more pertinently he had co-written Can’t Shake Those Shakes with me. I met him for lunch at the pub and gave him a copy of the Move Me album. He was chuffed to bits. I then gave him £500 in a brown paper bag as a down payment for his contribution. “Nah, mate. Ah canny accept this. Ah’m just happy tae see ma name on a record.” After being assured he would be further compensated if the record went into profit, he took the dosh then immediately bought some speed. (For co-writing Can’t Shake Those Shakes? Oh, the irony, part 1)

Before heading off to warmer climes, I got a brief call from Pete.
“Go enjoy yourselves. We’ll talk when you get back. By the way, do you know any good drummers?”
I suggested his son and fellow Broons member Lee Agnew. Pete concurred Lee would be an ideal replacement for that bad, bad boy Darrell (Oh, the irony, part 2) then continued:
“And do you know any good guitarists?”
“Aye, Pete, but ye keep firing us.”
“Haud oan! We didnae fire Zal,” was followed by an awkward silence then, “Ach, yer right, Billy Boy. If he hadn’t quit, we would’ve fired him tae!”
Although our conversation kind of hinted that I wouldn’t be reinstated, there was an outside chance, both me and Darrell might be, mainly because there was a Move Me tour booked to kick off in February, but I wasn’t holding onto that hope too much, and I was right not to. During our vacation Mary and I did a lot of talking, mine around how much I’d miss being in the band, Mary’s more the opposite and who could blame her?

Although we both agreed I could make a decent living from going back full time as a pub act, the other idea I put forward was I could become a major songwriter for Polygram. That would mean never leaving the house again, a prospect my wife for some reason only grudgingly accepted with the proviso: “I might very possibly kill you, darling,” and again, who could blame her? The one thing Mary insisted on was that regardless of the possible outcomes of both scenarios, I’d give it a year.
“Then what?” I scoffed.
“Well, hear me out, Bill, but you could always consider a real job.”
Saying this to someone who’d once stamped books in Bishopbriggs Public Library for a few months and several years later carried bricks up a ladder in North London for a similarly short spell but, in-between times, had ‘Rocked the World’, this was not a concept I was familiar with.
“A REAL job? Like what?”
“Oh, I don’t know. You’ve always liked driving. Remember when you told me about having a try in a big truck (actually a Volvo FH12 Highliner) while you were touring Russia with the band.” I remembered. We had 5 of the bastards taking our equipment between gigs, and I did indeed enjoy illegally driving them a few times, truck drivers always had the best drugs.
“Or a bus?” she continued, seeing my scoffing face returning.
“How about driving a bus?”
The red mist descended and I answered with what we both remember as a pivotal moment in our lives. Well, mine at least. We laugh about it now (actually we still don’t) but I, aka Billy Big Time, responded thus; “I AM NOT A BUS DRIVER!” (Close enough: Oh the irony, part 3)

Once back home in Scotland, I called Pete and my position was finally confirmed. I was, as suspected, still oot but, in a weird twist of fate, or blackmail, Darrell was back in and had instructed tour manager Willie McQuillan to visit me to collect all my Naz-related equipment. It was embarrassing for both Willie and myself, but we got through it by agreeing to just two criteria:
1. I wouldn’t talk about what happened nor try to convince him my ex-bandmates were Bastards. (Apparently, he’d insisted a similar stance be taken with him from those Bastard ex-bandmates of mine.)
2. Willie would only take what I had in my home from an extensive list given to him by my ex-bandmates, aka those Bastards. If I said I didn’t have it, he wouldn’t take it.
Once agreed, we shook hands and had a drink. The list was, as I’ve said, extensive, but common sense prevailed.
“Eh, right. Let’s dae this Billy. 4 Marshal 50W amp heads and 8 Marshal 4×12 cabinets. Dae ye have them?”
“Naw, Wull. They’re in storage, at Shorty’s.”
“Aye, so they are right enough. Moving on. A ‘Zoom’ rack-mounted effects unit. Says here it’s worth 2 grand.”
“Well, it was. It’s here, but it’s fucked.”
“What? Since when?”
“Since you dropped it down a flight of stairs when we did that gig in Zurich with Ten Years After.”
“Ah’ll take it anyway. Mum’s the word, okay?”
“Fucked’s the word mate, but okay. What else is on the list?”
“Tascam 8-track portastudio. Was that what ye did all the demos for No Jive and Move Me on?”
“Yep, no worries, Wull, Nazareth paid for it so see if ye can teach ‘em how to even switch it on. I’ll buy a new one. Anything else?”
“Just guitars, Bill. Noo, this is the time ye might wanna lie to me, just sayin’.”
“Okay. What’s on the list? I’ll try to be honest.”

Move Me tour poster
Move Me tour poster (the tour that never was)

“Okay. Here goes. Gibson Les Paul, Fender Strat, Washburn 12-string and Gibson 335?”
“The first two, Aye, Wull. They’re here, in their flight cases.”
“And the other two?”
“They’re mine. The 12 string’s sitting in the corner, see?”
“Eh, aye, but Ah never seen it. Whit aboot the 335?”
“Had it since I was 15 years old, Willie, as well you know.”
“The one you let Alvin Lee play and he only let you look at his? Aye, Ah remember it well. But is it here? Ah need to score it aff this list.”
“Aye, it’s here.”
“Can Ah see it?”
“Naw!” (Oh, the irony, part 4)

So, with a bit of bobbing and weaving, Willie and I had managed to avoid a potentially volatile situation and hence ended my career with Nazareth on agreeable terms, or so I thought. Days later and close to our intended Move Me tour’s commencement I got a call from Astrid at Polygram.
“Beelly! I’ve been trying to call you for weeks. What has happened?”
“They fired me, pal.”
“Fired you? Why?”
“Best you talk to them about that. Sorry I missed your calls, but I just got back from a vacation in Florida with Mary.”
“I don’t understand. They said you’d gone AWOL.”
“No Astrid. It was all planned, the band knew all about it. I even timed it to resume rehearsals if they changed their minds. They told you I’d gone AWOL?”
“Yes, but they were more specific than that.”
“Shit! How more specific?”
“Well, you are sure you were in Florida with your wife?”
“Yes, Astrid. That’s the facts. Why?”
“Well, according to them, you buggered off to the States with some Tart!”

BOOM! (Oh, the irony, part 5)