Live at the Mayfair, Glasgow 13/9/82
This gig was the first gig we played as EMI artists having signed the recording contract only 5 days earlier in London. We'd agreed to play a showcase to introduce ourselves to regional EMI reps and had designated Glasgow Mayfair as being an ideal venue in which to impress our new label.
We had gone "professional" in April, soon after Pete Trewavas joined the band to complete the line up that would record our first single later in the year. I had set up a full Scottish tour including 3 shows in Glasgow (two on the same day at the Dial Inn, one a lunchtime gig; the other towards the end of the tour at the Mayfair in Sauchiehall Street, now called the "Garage") all on the back of our first radio session with Tommy Vance and Tony Wilson and broadcast on Radio 1's Friday night rock show at the end of February.
Our first "proper" tour was a great success and the Scots had taken us to their hearts. Glasgow in particular had become a stronghold and we decided to raise our flag as signed artists at the Mayfair.
We had driven up in our trusty green "walk through/sleep in" Commer Van which went by the name of "Margaret" but as we were now on EMI records we got hotel rooms! This was the first time I ever checked into a Holiday Inn!
There was a lot of excitement surrounding the band and the Scottish fans didn't let us down. They came in their hundreds to support us on the night.
These were the days of Leichner grease paint and full face make up. I remember sitting in a tight circle at a shadowy table under a dim light, drinking with some fans before the gig. The company moved and changed and a couple of joints were passed through the gloom across the table. I asked what they were and was told "home grown!" Someone mentioned "Thai sticks" but I had no idea what that was. I found out when I went to the dressing room to put on my face.
I actually thought someone had dropped an acid tab in my pint as the room swirled and my face distorted in the mirror. I was less than an hour off a showcase gig and was tripping. The anxiety attack hit me. I fought it down.
Our manager John Arnison was with me and was concerned. He also was desperate for the toilet and decided to pee out the window rather than walk miles to the gents. He raised the large casement window and pointed out a rotting dead pigeon on the roof below. I was staring at this seething mass just as the lower frame dropped, catching his manhood and resulting in him screaming in agony.
The band rushed in on hearing all the commotion and proceeded to burst into hysterical laughter at our manager writhing on the floor clutching his groin!
It took me about 30 minutes to get my makeup and myself together for the gig and have a memory of walking on to the stage and getting everyone to sit down on the floor. I think we actually opened with "Forgotten Sons" and the end section was particularly dramatic as the "Thai sticks" were still very much in my system.
It was practically the same set we had been playing throughout the year, all material that had been strengthened and tightened through endless gigging.
We had all come together as a band and were finding our own styles and characteristics, our confidence boosted by finally signing the elusive record deal that would take us to the next level.
We already had the material for the first album; in fact we had too much. At this stage we were even playing the first version of "She Chameleon", a track that would eventually turn up on our second album. The set lists were coming in at nearly 90 minutes on stage. Despite having no recordings available as yet the fans knew the songs as well as we did and the sing alongs and audience participation was inspiring.
It was a fantastic night and we did what we set out to do. Everyone from the record company was truly impressed and the fans were in as celebratory mood as the band.
Backstage after show we were euphoric.
We carried on the party at the "Ubiquitous Chip", a bar/restaurant in the city centre. We pressed the flesh with executives and introduced our unique cocktail "The Grendel"
I was glad we weren't picking up the tab and I have a memory of an EMI executive baulking at our bar bill. It wouldn't be the last time!
Needless to say the night dissolved into mayhem and we staggered back to our rooms at the Holiday Inn, kings of the world.
I think we demolished our first mini bar and had an argument with the manager, who had "forgotten" to pay the local PA company, until the early hours.
I only had a few hours sleep before we were up and in the breakfast room wolfing down our "free" food as if it were our last meal.
We were stopped by some guests who asked for our autographs. I thought we'd finally made it but was soon brought back to Earth when they disappointedly announced that they had mistaken us for "Iron Maiden".
Before we set off South I had to get back into make up for our first "serious" Kerrang magazine photo shoot which was to take place in wasteland across from the hotel and down towards the River Clyde. A strange feeling applying my gig face in a hotel room so soon after getting up!
In a few weeks we would be starting recording our first single "Market Square Heroes". The promotion machine was moving into gear.
Some of the memories are hazy and blurred by time and excess but I have some particularly lucid ones that will always raise a smile. We were innocents then and about to embark on a very heady journey that would change all our lives forever.
Fish, September 2008
© Derek Dick 2008
Early Stages sleeve notes 1