For those of you not familiar with the background story of Sweet – here are some facts for you:
The “accident” the article are referring to regarding Brian happened during sessions for the album. Brian Connolly was injured in a fight in Staines High Street. His throat was badly injured and his ability to sing severely limited. The band did not publicise the incident and told the press that subsequent cancelled shows were due to Connolly having a throat infection. The band resumed playing live shows nearly a full six months after Connolly’s throat injury, with band and critics noting a rougher edge to his voice and a reduced range.
“Turn It Down” received minimal airplay on UK radio and was banned by some radio stations because of certain lyrical content – “God-awful sound” and “For God sakes, turn it down” – which were deemed “unsuitable for family listening.” This may seem like a joke now as these lyrics would only be banned at the most fundamentalist Christian radio stations today. The difference between now and then is only a little over 40 years. Just think about it…
SWEET WON`T FADE AWAY
Once Sweet were frowned upon, now they`ve become a part of pop`s heritage and now, like a lot of other labelled stars, they are finding it difficult to break away from their image. Slowly but surely people are beginning to accept the band on their own terms. The band`s guitarist ANDY SCOTT spoke to PETE MAKOWSKI about the ups and downs of being a one time teeny bop band and gives his reasons why this band won`t fade away.
“It`s really strange playing at concerts without hearing people scream `Brian, Mick, Steve` the applause dies down and they wait for the next number…as Mick said we were crapping ourselves.”
Yes, now that Sweet have ventured forth into the realms of respectability i.e. Sweet go `eavy, life has become a whole different kettle of fish. The band are currently on tour, a tour that has been postponed and delayed due to the band`s untimely transition and Brian`s accident.
I spoke to the band`s guitarist Andy Scott, in between concerts. “It`s strange playing to such quiet audiences, I found it very hard to relate to it at first. I mean when I played for The Elastic Band it was different because we were playing to those types of audiences all the time.”
The band have recently returned from Germany where they have swept the polls and notched up a gold album for “Sweet F.A.”. “There`s a bigger record market for us there than in England,” said Scott, “at the moment the heyday`s gone in England, when you could sell a million singles…which we came close to a couple of times.
“It just proves that Germany is more aware, well…I know that `The Six Teens` was a good single and it should have been bigger than it was in England. I don`t even want to talk about it.”
At the moment Sweet are going through hard times in Britain. Once their singles were riding high in charts but their last two releases have not enjoyed such immense popularity. Andy is aware of this but also knows that if the band continued in their previous mould it would have been a short lived career. “I believe that if you really believe in something and you really enjoy it, the rewards will come in the end.”
Still, the fact remains that the band`s last single “Turn It Down” barely touched the chart and to add to this the band have been banned from appearing on “Top Of The Pops”. “We weren`t all that worried about the ban but as far as the single is concerned, we never chose it anyway, as far as we`re concerned we were just laying down another album track. In context with the album (`Desolation Boulevard`) `Turn It Down` fits, but it wouldn`t have been the single if it had been our choice.”
The band have currently released their second heavy platter, “Desolation Boulevard”. “We think there`s another two singles on that album. We`re not sure what we`re going to do yet. Nicky and Mike have written a couple of things but we`re not sure after `Turn It Down`. It`s hard for us now because…all right we know it would have been a hit if it was picked and went on `Top Of The Pops` but it just proves to us that with lack of exposure nobody knew we had a single out.
“All the publicity has been concentrated on the album, which is good for us, but when you think about it Sweet have always been a singles` band. When people see a Sweet single failing they think `ah that`s it, it`s all over for them`. Well we`re not looking at it from that point of view as far as we`re concerned the single didn`t exist. So we just bypass it…it`s a hit everywhere else. It`s just one of those things that you have to take in your stride. It sold over 50,000 in Britain and didn`t even get into the Top 30…I`ll just leave it to everybody`s imagination.
“When we were in Germany”, continued Andy, “we saw some videos of us taken in 1970 performing numbers like `Co Co` and it was like looking at a different band. It is a different group…as far as we`re concerned it is. It`s four young lads who gave a lot of people a lot of enjoyment.
“At that time we weren`t slagging what we were doing and even now we won`t slag what we did. We`ve been told that the counterparts of our time now are the Bay City Rollers which is something I cannot believe. Our earlier records God rest their souls, at least they had good production, they were played well. I mean alright we feel a bit ashamed of what we`ve done in the past, when we think of some of the things we`ve done, but there are some records around today that shouldn`t be where they are in the charts.”
One person who saw a deeper potential in the band in their early years was Pete Townshend. He, in fact, invited them to play at Charlton which they had to back out of due to Brian`s throat. “We`ve met the Who, on and off, quite a few times. We were playing on the `Top Of The Pops 500 Show` and we were talking to Pete for ages in the bar. It was such a mind blower to hear someone say, `I realise there`s always been more within the band than a hit single.` He was virtually saying everything the Who did in the early days was for money, it was a contrived thing. Times change, people change…so we`ve all got a (The sentence ends like this in the paper…Blog Editor.)
Once the band were totally manipulated now they seem to have gained complete control of their affairs. I asked Andy if he felt there were any more changes to be made. “Musical changes, yeh. We`ve even thought of adding people but I don`t see the band ever adding anyone at the moment. We`ve even had ideas of saying, `let`s stop Sweet right now,` look around and generally think about what`s going on, then reform with another member and record a whole different style of album because even with `Desolation Boulevard` we`re still trying to hold onto the past, we haven`t completely let go yet.
“We`re winning in Europe, they`re accepting things a lot easier. Things aren`t going too well here. I`ll make no bones about that, we`re not filling the halls. If we did tour earlier on in the year it would have been a sell out with a completely different audience. Now we`re getting a more appreciative audience.”
Times change. Although things aren`t as secure as before, Scott seems to be a very settled and satisfied person. The band are working harder now than ever before and it`s only their total belief in themselves that keeps them going. “Everyone has to be involved with us, totally believe in what we`re doing or they`re out. Our roadcrew`s changed twice in the last couple of months. “1974 has been an eventful year for us, because we haven`t worked for nine months which I think helped to set the rot in `cause England forgets. England will always look for another Sweet.”
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.
This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Nico, Steve Gibbons Band, Gentle Giant, Hawkwind, David Essex, Bob Dylan, The Who, Fanny.
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