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15 Things

You never knew about Big Country | Big Country


• The most successful single was 'Wonderland' which was in the charts for eight weeks and peaked at no 8, 'Fields of Fire' made it to 10 but was around for a whole three months.

• Bruce's pre-music jobs included cleaning the radioactive ballast from nuclear subs and checking that the welders' oily rags didn't catch light.

• Big Country's strongest image is its guitar sound, but that almost killed the band off in the early days. When they first sent their demo tapes out, A&R men dismissed them because the country was in the grip of the synthi-pop boom.

• Mark uses two snares on either side of the hi-hat so he doesn't have to cross his hands. The second has a timbale tuning, often with the wires off.

• Bruce has a Vox 12 string only used for home demos, because Stuart has banned him from using it on stage... the shape's too horrible.

• Stuart started in the Skids and first met leader Richard Jobson at a Rezillos gig in Dunfermline where Jobson assured him he sounded like Lou Reed and was "a great singer".

• Stuart married the sister of Bruce's school pal Raymond. Complicated, innit.?

• When Big Country had their first gig (Dunfermline, 1983) the line-up included brothers Peter and Alan Wishart (keyboards and bass) but "brothers always argue", so they split.

• Their first support tour was for Alice Cooper, (taking the place of Depeche Mode who had been suggested for the slot). Alice was... awkward and they parted company after two gigs.

• Tony Butler's early band experiences were with Pete Townshend's brother. They recorded in Pete's quad studio, but no one had any quad equipment to listen to the tapes.

• Tony Butler and Mark Brzezicki came to Big Country as a fully formed rhythm section after meeting in earlier bands. But Tony did once warn a previous group that Mark was "a right creep" before he turned up for the first rehearsal. He'd been on at Tony for a gig.

• Stuart's first, school formed group was called Tattoo and they rehearsed four times a week. The final break up came when they forgot to put anti-freeze in the van, and the cylinder block cracked. No more gigging.

• Mark's father was a trained singer who worked as an aircraft fitter and engineer. Stuart's dad worked on deep sea trawlers and Bruce's pa was a gold miner while they lived in Canada.

• An early starter, Mark bought his first drum kit with paper round money, and was doing sessions by the time he was 16.

• On an American tour Stuart was once pinned to the floor in his hotel room by a questionably sane gunman. It turned out to be the hotel security officer - a moonlighting member of the New Orleans police force. They later apologised - not before booking Stuart and taking him downtown.


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Mrs Electricity


Making Music - Copyright: Track Record Publishing Ltd, Nexus Media Ltd.

 

Making Music - May 1986

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