Tuesday, 27 August 2013

the waterboys - under the skin, fanzines and following them around

Ah, The Waterboys and my 'Under The Skin' Waterboys magazine.  Between about 1985 and 1990 l thought they might have been the best band in the world, with only U2 giving them a run for their money.  Don't get me wrong, l liked lots of other music of the time (The Alarm, Prince. Springsteen, The Mission, The Cure, REM, Spear of Destiny, Echo And The Bunnymen), but from 'A Pagan Place' until 'Room to Roam' l absolutely adored them, and saw them on numerous occasions.  My favourite gig was probably at The Riverside in Newcastle in 1986 when Karl Wallenger was still in the band, as it was a very small venue, the show was great, it was one of the first times l had seen them, and the set was very, very long (and available on t'net).   Because of my love for them, l put together a magazine of stuff l would have liked to have been available to me as a fan (old cuttings, reviews and photos) as they didn't have programmes in those far flung days.  l thought l could flog them at their gigs, therefore paying for me to follow them around and enabling me to see them on tour.  As l couldn't drive, l had to hire a mate (hello Rocker!) as a driver, and we went all over Ireland and the UK flogging the magazines (I did a second one after the first Fisherman's Blues tour out of stubbornness!).  Beforehand, I had written to Mike Scott asking for permission to sell them at their gigs, but he declined and wished me luck.  He then put myself and my driver on the guest list of the Ireland 1988 tour when we turned up and met him before the opening concert in Cork (although he wasn't too happy at first about the old articles being reprinted). However, after a few dates, he took us off the list, as he probably thought we were raking it in (Hah!) and people may have thought it was the (non existent) programme for the tour. I nearly got into a fight with Mike after one of the early Irish shows about the magazine and how we weren't taking the piss (he obviously thought we were), but we were then taken off the guest list, and had many obstacles put in our way as regards selling them, despite other fanzine sellers (and pirate t-shirt sellers) being allowed lots more access and getting no grief.  I had no problems with the other fanzine or shirt sellers, bought their products, and got on with them, drinking with them and having a laugh.  To me, Saints and Angles was far and above the other fanzines as far as quality was concerned, but l enjoyed all of them and what they had to offer, as l appreciated their labours of love, and their wares appealed to me as a fan myself. Eventually, even the pirate t-shirt sellers were amazed at the treatment we were getting, as they made their wonga outside the venues while the Waterboys lackeys moved myself and my friend away from the gigs (whenever they saw us).  Because of our pitiful situation compared to the other sellers, we were actually given dodgy access all areas passes by the swag guys, so were able to see most of the shows (which was the whole reason for doing the magazine in the first place).  It was still a great experience because of the travelling around, seeing the band, and meeting people, but it was tarnished by the treatment we received.  Obviously Mike had his viewpoint and reasons, and l had my own, but it left a biter taste for a long time. I gave away a batch of left over magazines outside a Liverpool show a few years ago (I'm originally from there) and have seen the band since the Fisherman's Blues era and still adore their music, but it was definitely a 50/50 love /hate experience.  Love on my side, hate on theirs.  Hate is probably too strong a word, but who knows?
The good side was l met a lot of genuinely lovely and interesting people, The Saw Doctors stayed at my girlfriends place in Newcastle, The Hothouse Flowers were some of the nicest people you could imagine (as was The Edge and his brother), and I travelled around of the UK, without the experience putting me of the Waterboys music (Room to Roam did that at the time). One of the people we met (and gave a lift to) even ran off with and married my girlfriend (hello Graham and Dianne!), but luckily we remained friends. Rocker (the driver) said it was the best time he has had in his life, and who am l to disagree with him.  Drinks all round!!

toodle pip

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