I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.
I met the members of this band when I worked as a radio reporter/presenter for Radio 1. It was long after their heyday in the 70`s, this must have been at the end of the 80`s. I met them at the top of a restaurant/disco in my hometown where they had their own improvised bar full of whiskey and other “refreshments”. They were in a good mood when I came, but luckily for me Darrell Sweet (RIP) was fairly sober while conducting the interview.
Their press agent warned me beforehand that whatever I asked I had to remember they were scottish and never use the B or E word when speaking about nationality. Good advice.
Really great guys – and I really enjoyed speaking at length with Darrell. Enjoy this interview from their early days!
Nazareth – gigging fit to bust…
Steve Clarke: Liverpool
`Have you seen those chairs out there?” asks Nazareth`s Dan McCafferty, gesturing towards the demolished front two rows of Liverpool Stadium. “That`s why we don`t take our car to gigs.”
Okay he`s joking. McCafferty jokes a lot. But the point is made. Nazareth`s audiences are beginning to react in the timehonoured way. And tonight`s gig at Liverpool is no isolated incident, as the band and the scratches along their publicist`s arms will testify.
McCafferty leaves the converted boxing ring which serves for a stage at the stadium and a posse of girls pounce on him like a wild cat clawing its prey.
“It scares me a bit that guys up front might get pushed against the stage. It could have happened tonight,” says drummer Darrell Sweet, expressing fear more for the audience. Nazareth guitarist Manny Charlton agrees: “The thing that worries me is that some of the kids might get crushed up front. At least I can take a few steps back. They are only kids.”
Liverpool was the 32nd of 40 gigs on what is really Nazareth`s first headlining major tour. On their last trek around the nation, they were supporting Deep Purple – a band Nazareth have often been compared with.
They share a healthy respect for one another and Purple bassist Roger Glover produced “Razamanaz”, Nazareth`s third and what`s likely to be their first hit album.
“Roger was like a member of the band. He contributed quite a lot to the actual structure of the songs. He understood us and we understood him,” says Sweet.
It`s the single from the album “Broken Down Angel,” and its subsequent rise in the charts, that accounts for the growth of crowd hysteria.
At the beginning of the tour, says Sweet, their audiences were the nucleus of Nazareth fans who had supported them from the beginning. As the single took off, audiences got younger and now consist of 12 to 18 year olds, split 50/50 between male and female.
The band`s stage act leans heavily on the last album, opening with “Night Woman” – loud and heavy with McCafferty screaming out the words.
Look around and there are heads shaking everywhere. At the end the crowd leaps up ecstatically arms stretched out and peace signs pointing towards the sky.
It`s not until Charlton squeezes out the opening notes of “Morning Dew” (not that it`s easy to recognise the Tim Rose song unless you happen to be a Nazareth freak) that the crowd rush forward.
Arms are stretched out. McCafferty goes into a teasing routine, stepping nearer then retreating just in time. At the end of a number he too stretches out his arms.
To his left, bassist Pete Agnew looks slightly ridiculous as he trots around in circles, not taking any chances with his platform soles. Charlton wears knee-high silver boots and a black Gibson which, towards the end of the set, he unhitches to swipe at the mike stand.
Sweet hides behind his huge yellow drum kit, every now and then making his way around the row of tom-toms. He`s a fine drummer.
“Broken Down Angel” has the audience out-singing the band and the set closes with “Bad Bad Boy”. McCafferty bares his chest and allows his shirt to dangle by his hips awhile before throwing it into the crowd. They encore with rock `n` roll.
Although their music offers little food for thought, it`s difficult not to like the band. They obviously enjoy what they`re doing and are only now reaping the success they deserve after two years of heavy gigging.
At one time Nazareth used to support Rory Gallagher, who himself has a reputation as Britain`s hardest working rock `n` roller. It wasn`t until Gallagher`s bassist Gerry McAvoy came to watch Nazareth on several occasions that they actually realised they were, in fact, working harder than the Gallagher band.
“Over the last 18 months, we have probably been the country`s hardest working band,” claims Sweet.
As the current tour winds its way to a close, Nazareth do admit to being a little ragged round the edges. But backstage at Liverpool they still have time to meet the fans and go through the laborious task of autograph signing.
“The kids have paid money to get in. It doesn`t take much to sign your bloody name, and we are here to make friends,” says Charlton.
After the tour the band will rest, and then cut another album. Another single from the album, possibly “Bad Bad Boy”, is on the cards, though the feeling within Nazareth is that one single from an album is enough.
They`ve already toured the States twice, last time with Ginger Baker`s Salt – not an altogether successful tour. The band don`t want to risk another American tour as unknowns, and are hoping “Broken Down Angel” will give them the necessary recognition when it`s released there.
Meanwhile, their management are surveying the aftermath of the Liverpool gig, weighing up just how much will be deducted from Nazareth`s fee. But then, it is good publicity.
Right….just so we are clear.
This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Roxy Music, Greg Lake, Slade, Gary Glitter, Mott The Hoople, Silverhead, Clarence White, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Soft Machine.