Sunday, March 26, 2006

George Shites His Pants

Left to right, Piper, Eric, Fish and George. It has been my great privilege over the past twenty odd years to be involved in many projects with my good pal 'Fish'. I first met the big man way back in eighty-five where we both attended 'Live Aid'. At the time he was still singing with 'Marrillion' who were doing great business in Europe. He was talking about moving back up to the Edinburgh area and as I was still living in Dunfermline we spoke about getting together to do some recording or gigs together. Years later I got a call from him asking if I would like to take part in a benefit gig for the people of Lockerbie. I told him I was more than happy to participate and I ended up playing in the same band as Hal Lindes from 'Dire Straits', Janick Gers from 'Iron Maiden' and John Keeble from 'Spandau Ballet'. We played a blistering set at Lockerbie Rex Cinema and Bingo Hall, made some great new pals and managed to raise a little money for what was one of the twentieth century's worst air disasters. One of the most memorable times I spent with him was when we recorded an unofficial Scotland world cup song and appeared on the late night Channel 4 programme, 'Under the moon'. The song 'Scotland by our side' was written by ex con Eric Rowan. I never actually met the other musicians at the recording as my guitar and mandolin were the last instruments to be over dubbed so it was great to actually meet up with the guys at Waverley station. The first guy Eric introduced to me was Big George. Big George is a legendary figure in Glasgow. Weighing in at around Six stone, approximately six and a half-foot in height, cowboy hat and dressed from head to foot in Black rock god garb, He looked like a really thin version of Johnny Winter. I was unlucky enough to share a table with George for the entirety of the train journey. Most of the other guys produced the usual tins of beer but George was a different style of drinker altogether. He pulled a bottle of Gordons gin from a co-op bag and started slugging it down like it was 'Irn Bru'. Eric's partner Abigail had hired in a suitcase full of tartan gear and traditional Scottish dress, as we would be appearing on stage with a couple of guys from the Wallace Clan Trust. These guys were heavy-duty Scots men who wore traditional Scottish clothes all the time. They had been involved in the making of 'Braveheart', 'Rob Roy' and a host of other Scottish movies that were becoming popular at the time. I can honestly say that I have never seen so much drink going down peoples necks, and I have been in rock 'n' roll for twenty years. George who was now on his second bottle kept accidentally flicking his fag ash into my tin of beer. I would open another one and again he would flick his ash into it, apologising every time. I was relieved when he lapsed into a coma as we passed through Doncaster. Our accommodation for the evening was to be spent at the old rock 'n' roll favourite, 'The Columbia'. We checked into the hotel and sorted out a rooming list. I was in with Fish, Eric was in with Abigail and there was a toss up between the other five members to see who would be sharing with George. As Fish and myself started to unpack there came an almighty mighty scream from next door. I went out to investigate and Eric rushed past me wearing only a towel, he then proceeded to throw up into our toilet. Abigail was still screaming as she ran out into the corridor.
'Bruce don't go in there 'she shouted.
I cautiously entered the room and then the smell hit me. It was one of the most repulsive smells I have ever came across and there standing in the middle of the floor was Big George, bollock naked and covered in shit from the waist down. Two minutes earlier Abigail had asked George to come into the room for a clothes fitting as Eric was having a shower. George, still under the effect of the alcohol started to strip of in front of Abigail and as he cocked his leg to get his trousers of, his bowels exploded and pebble dashed the entire suit case full of clothes. I kid you not there was shit every where, on the carpet, down the walls and on the bed.
'You filthy fuckin' bastard' screamed Abigail
George sheepishly apologised and proceeded to wipe himself clean with Abigail's bathrobe. By now everyone on the whole floor were coming out of their rooms to investigate.
'What's that fucking smell?' being the most commonly asked question.
George got himself cleaned up but came downstairs wearing the same shitty trousers as he hadn't brought a change of clothing with him. He was rancid and completely stunk out one of the limo's that Channel 4 had sent round to take us to the studio. As we entered the make up room, the make up lady nearly fainted as George walked passed her.
'Are you all right Sir?' she enquired.
'Apart from the fact that I've just shat myself I feel sound as a pound hen' he replied.
George disappeared of to the green room and came back with a crate of Becks that he had liberated from the fridge. He then stripped to the waste and asked the make up lady to paint a big blue 'Zorro' scar across his chest. She was so scared of him that she did. The wardrobe lady then entered the room to see if any body needed any ironing done. George stripped of his shitty trousers and told her not to put a middle crease in them.
All I can say is thank god we were miming that night .I was so pissed I couldn't even speak in tune, never mind sing.

Escape From Colditz

'It's not just a job, it's an adventure'. So the brochure says. Travelling on the Rolling Stones 'Voodoo lounge' tour we found our selves 'bored out of our skulls and out of welding rods' between Leipzig and Berlin. High on yonder hill there stood a castle that looked a bit familiar. As usual, being the global nosy bastards that we are, we decided to investigate. It turns out that 'yonder castle' is none other than 'Colditz' castle, world famous for being the castle that is known as Colditz, slap bang in the middle of a small town, known locally as Colditz. We made our way into the 'bad boys camp' and found ourselves in the imposing courtyard. What a fucking grim place to be incarcerated in I thought. It was a glorious sunny day on the outside of the Castle walls but inside, the high walls ensured that no light got in. A scruffy looking chap approached us and in his best English told us that we could wander free around the court yard but to be reasonably quiet as the former POW camp was now in use as a mental hospital. 'Home at last I thought' this would be the perfect place to spend an afternoon that would usually entail sitting on a tour bus with the same people that one has spent the last fifteen years sitting on a tour bus with. I decided to leave the group to get a smoke then some shut-eye. I wandered of into this room which I found out later was where they kept the Dutch prisoners. I don't know if it was the effect of the 'welding rods' or maybe I was just too tired but I was awakened an hour later by our scruffy friend. Seemingly I had wandered into another part of the castle and got my self locked in a wine cellar. The only way out was through one of the ill-fated tunnels that were partially concrete'd up. I was told that luckily I was still in the non-hospital side of the castle because if I was caught in the working part they would have kept me in thinking I was a patient trying to go 'walkies'.

Brzezicki Out Redgrave In

Big Country’s latest tour of the Balkans was thrown into chaos when drummer and flamboyant bachelor Mark Brzezicki pulled out due to a groin injury. Ginger Baker, Phil Collins and Steve Gadd were all in the frame for the gig but were pipped to the post by Vanessa Redgrave. On her return from the tour, a tired and emotional Redgrave stated that the boys were fuckin’ great.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Country Boys In Knighthood Shocker

Ladies and Gentlemen, An act of unspeakable vulgarity, The worlds tallest drummer bows down to the worlds smallest Queen. After a fleeting visit to the opening of the new Coronation Street set, our local heroes stepped into the Rover's for a pint of Newton and Ridley's finest. Little did they realize that outside was a very special guest cutting the ribbon. The inebriated pair spotted Her Maj' and decided to get in on the act. Tour stories were retold by both parties but the gag about getting 'stuck into Betty's hotpot' was definitely most frowned upon.
We are not amused!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Country Boys 'Stoned' In Grudge Game

Well into their late 30’s but still able to play a significant role at the top level of snooker, Big Country made what they described as the best comeback of their career at the 1995 Gallaher 'Park Drive' World Championship.
After a nail-biting 10-9 defeat of Keith 'Ricochet' Richards in the first round at the Voodoo Lounge, Watson recovered an 8-2 deficit against Charles 'Charlie' Watts to win 13-10 and reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 1990.
The match was thrown in to chaos when a urine sample for a random drug test accidentally got mistaken for apple juice.

The Boy In The Bat Suit

The surgeon removed the festering gauze bandage from my swollen face. Memories from the horrific incident with those genetically modified guppies came flooding back. ‘Mr Watson’ he said. I could here his words circling around my head. I was in a dream like state and was convinced I was holding my entire bodyweight whilst hanging upside down. ‘Mr Watson’ he said again, my name becoming clearer as the anaesthetic wore off. ‘You may feel a little discomfort for a while, but the sensation will wear off and we will have you up and about in no time’. The fat nurse ushered me to the bathroom for toilet training and that is where I saw the extent of my horrific facial injuries for the first time. Christ! I made the singing detective look like fucking Narcissus. My mother wept, screaming ‘ My Boy, My beautiful son, what have they done to him’. From that day on I wasn’t allowed out in public with out the costume. The kids in the street knew me simply as ‘The Boy in the Bat suit’
The Horror....

Dunfermline Carnegie Hall 21/10/78

Here is an early picture of myself playing with The Delinquents. The gig was Carnegie Hall Annexe in Dunfermline (now a dance school) where we were supporting The Simple Minds. The Minds were unsigned at the time and from memory they had 2 guitar players on stage. In fact Derek Forbes remembers the gig well saying that they got signed to Zoom records straight after the concert and that the other guitarist was called Duncan Barnwell.The picture was taken by Mike (SKIDS) Baillie's wife Jill.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Day I Evacuated Liverpool Airport

Here is an email to my manager Ian Grant.
Hi Ian. You are never going to believe this, but today I inadvertently evacuated John Lennon airport in Liverpool. I arrived at Edinburgh airport to discover that my briefcase that holds my guitar effects pedals was missing. I was on my way to report this to service air when I heard the message ‘ Would Bruce Watson please contact Service air desk immediately’. I was a bit shaken by this so anyway I went to the desk where the nice lady behind the counter handed me a mobile phone. The voice on the other end said that he was A DCI with the airport police and that they had found my case and wanted to know urgently what was in it. The case was locked and they couldn’t open the combination lock. I said jokingly to him” you haven’t blown it up have you’ to which he replied ‘not yet but we are just about to’. I told him that the case contained guitar effects pedals a power supply and a battery operated guitar tuner which were all linked together with cables. I then gave him the combination code. He said to wait 5 minutes and then he would get back to me. True to his word he got back in touch and told me that the case and its contents were safe. The security people had noticed that my case was going round on the carousel long after everybody else’s had been picked up. They tried to open it but couldn’t so they had a customs guy put it through the X ray machine. The DCI’s exact words to me were that the guy who put the case through the X ray took one look at it and shit himself. They immediately evacuated the whole airport thinking it was a bomb in a case. All this trouble was caused because a baggage handler in Amsterdam put my case on the Liverpool flight instead of the Edinburgh one. Now they are sending my case back to Amsterdam tonight then flying it over to Edinburgh tomorrow.Apart from that I had a great weekend.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Two Good Men and One Hot Chick

4GM go into demo mode this week. We have around ten brand new songs to get through. Ian is working on the lyrics for the first 3 songs and we shall be preparing drum loops and pulses for Smiley to play drums along with. These will be done at Derek’s home studio. The real drums will be recorded at Ivory Blacks night-club in Glasgow and the overdubs done at Mick’s and in a local recording studio. We hope to have the tracks mastered by the third week in March and the results will be sent to various radio stations in the UK and USA. So far we have 3 USA stations interested. We will probably have edited versions of these songs as downloads on our myspace sites
The group had hoped to be playing some dates in Israel but these have been postponed by the promoters who cannot guarantee our safety at this time. The South Shields date has been confirmed for the 24th of June and there are half a dozen other shows in Scotland being pencilled in over the next few months. We should have our electronic press kit finalised by the end of this week and everybody has been working hard behind the scenes on this. On a different note I went to see Nazareth last night at the Exchange in Edinburgh. They are still the best rock ‘n roll band in the world in my opinion. They had to rush offstage and drive up to the north of Scotland to catch the ferry to the Orkneys where they are playing tonight. Where do they get their stamina?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Four Good Men South Shields Festival

Saturday 24th June 2006Venue:
The Amphitheatre
Sea Road, South Shields, NE33
Enquiries: South Shields Tourist Information 0191 4546612