Peter Agnew, (seen here second from the left) bassist and founder member of rock band Nazareth, chats with Kevin Cooper about the band’s former lead vocalist and his close friend Dan McCafferty, new band member Carl Sentence, their latest album Rock ‘n’ Roll Telephone and their forthcoming tour of Europe.

Nazareth are a Scottish rock band, formed in 1968, by vocalist Dan McCafferty, guitarist Manny Charlton (now replaced by Jimmy Murrison), bassist Peter Agnew and drummer Darrell Sweet (now replaced by Peter Agnew’s son, Lee).

In August 2013 Dan McCafferty announced his retirement from live touring after succumbing to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Substituting him with Linton Osbourne as lead vocalist, his tenure was short lived when he announced in January 2015 that it had not worked out with Nazareth.

Having recorded their latest album, Rock ‘n’ Roll Telephone in 2014, McCafferty was able to sing the lead vocals. It was always the case that McCafferty’s boots would be difficult to fill, but in February 2015, the band asked Carl Sentence to join them.

The band are currently busy preparing for their first tour with Carl on lead vocals, but Peter Agnew took some time out to have a chat with Kevin Cooper and this is what he had to say.

Hi Peter how are you?

Hi Kevin I’m fine thanks. How are you?

I’m very well thank you but more to the point, how is life treating you?

Things are actually very good at the moment Kevin. I’m fine and have no complaints at this time. And I have to say that things are finally starting to look up for the band. We are now really busy; we have new agents, we have tons of work already booked for next year, and there are a lot of things going on Kevin, so things are now thankfully back on track. We are actually doing more than we were doing before. Things have really started to build up again.

So tell me about the cancellation of your last European Tour?

Well Kevin that turned out to be a disaster. Our then new singer Linton (Osborne) came down with a throat virus half-way through the tour. It was a terrible thing to happen to him. He felt fine and physically there was nothing wrong with him, but the fact of the matter was that he just couldn’t sing. Obviously he went to see the doctor and we were advised in no uncertain terms to cancel what was left of the tour. The doctors found that Linton had white spots on his vocal chords so he was faced with a very long and slow recovery. As you can imagine it wasn’t our favourite way to end 2014 (laughter). So we were all hoping that Linton would be fit and well enough to start the UK tour which began back in January.

However, that was not the case. We were in the situation where Linton got his voice back but he was not able to exercise it properly, and on top of all that, he was terrified to let loose (laughter) as he feared that he was going to blow it out. He was recovering slowly but it had been a long time since he last sang. He was faced with a very slow recovery from this thing, whatever it was. So Kevin as you can imagine, we were all glad to see the back of 2014 actually (laughter).

So what did you get up to whilst you were waiting for Linton to get himself fit?

We recorded a live DVD in the Metropolis Studios in London back in November 2014 just before we went out on the European Tour. They are recording a series of them I think and it was recorded live in the studio. They had set up a stage and invited about a hundred people along to watch us perform. We had people there from Sweden, Germany, Canada, Norway; they came from all over and we had some of our biggest fans there. It was great fun but what we had to do is we had to go in to the studio to clean up all of the tracks, because when you record a performance live you are faced with spillage all over the place. It takes a lot longer to sort all of that out than it does to just stand there and play the show Kevin (laughter). Playing the show was the easy part (hysterical laughter). So that did keep us busy whilst we waited.

And so what finally happened to Linton?

That simply didn’t work out at all Kevin. By February this year Linton was gone. That was when we parted company as things just didn’t work out. I have to say that it wasn’t working out for the band at all. It was at that stage that we really did take a serious look for a singer; someone who we could get everything that we wanted in a singer. We really did look at a lot of guys Kevin as we had so many people out there looking for a singer for Nazareth.

How did you come to find Carl Sentence?

Someone actually suggested that we should all take a look at a guy called Carl Sentence and I have to tell you Kevin, when I first heard Carl sing, I couldn’t believe my fucking ears (laughter). I just thought that one way or the other this guy was for us. I had watched Carl on YouTube and as you know Kevin YouTube is bloody awful. You should never really judge anyone on YouTube because the footage is off people’s phones and stuff. However, having said all of that you can generally tell if someone has got talent or not, that much you can do. Most of what I saw was Carl performing with Don Airey from Deep Purple but then we all went to see him performing with the Classic Rock Show and he was just absolutely phenomenal.

Was it difficult hunting down a new singer?

The problem was that we didn’t want to get ourselves a sound-a-like Kevin; we didn’t want that because then it all gets a bit stupid you know. The thing is with Carl is that he is more of a hard rocker, bluesy, Gary Moore type of vocalist, a Robert Plant type of singer. He has a much softer voice than Dan but then again everyone has a softer voice than Dan (laughter). He has a great range but a totally different approach to the songs. It was never going to be easy to replace Dan, and I have to tell you Kevin that if it hadn’t have worked I don’t think that Nazareth would still have been playing.

Tell me about some of the audition tapes that you listened too?

Well Kevin what I will say is that we had lots and lots of audition tapes which quite simply didn’t excite us. Let’s just say that they didn’t move us (laughter). Out of all of the tapes and emails that we got at least 90% of them were all putting on a Dan McCafferty voice; it didn’t even sound like their natural voice. It simply wasn’t what we were looking for. Obviously we didn’t want somebody to come in who sounded like Paul Robeson (laughter), we needed a rock singer but not somebody who squealed. We wanted someone who could actually sing tunes (laughter).

A sound-a-like was certainly not at the top of the list. If we had gone down that road then that would have left us open for direct comparisons with Dan and different types of reviews. People can’t do that with Carl because Carl isn’t pretending to be Dan McCafferty and I think that is good for the whole band. If someone wants to hear the record as it was recorded thirty years ago then don’t bother coming along because even when Dan was singing we didn’t do things like that. I think that the fans that we have got are the type of fans who wanted us to keep going no matter who we had got as the singer in the band.

I know people who still support Manchester United but George Best and Dennis Law don’t play for them any more (laughter) but they are still Manchester United fans. We grew up with Nazareth and people like what the band is. Everybody who has ever been in the band has contributed along the way; people have played songs, people have written songs, everybody has played a big part in making this band what it has been and we have still got guys who are doing that. Every person who has ever played in the band has affected what Nazareth has been.

However, this was obviously the big test for us Kevin when we lost our lead singer. Take The Rolling Stones for example, who knows who plays the bass for them, we don’t know and we don’t fucking care (laughter) simply because Mick Jagger is there. You couldn’t change Mick but you could give someone else Bill Wyman’s job. That was always the big test; could we keep going when Dan left. Any instrumentalist can be replaced; if a guitarist leaves there are a million guitar players out there. If we had been looking for a guitar player we could have sat back and taken our pick. If you wanted a drummer you could do the same but you cannot do that with a vocalist. That was always going to be the big test and to be honest I think that we have passed it with flying colours.

How are things working out now with Carl in the band?

Well Kevin, Carl has been a shot in the arm really, things are really cool now. He has managed to put all of the excitement back into what we do. It’s really great. We are getting brilliant reviews from wherever we are playing and all of my fears have been dissipated (laughter). The very first gig that we played with Carl was at East End Park in Scotland, and it had to be in our home town (laughter). So as you can imagine Kevin, not much pressure on the guy at all (laughter). Dan (McCafferty) was there with all of his family together with everyone who knew anything about the band, and Carl was fantastic. Dan was raving about him all day. It was a great gig and a great introduction of Carl to Britain. We now can’t wait to get back up onto the stage and play, it is a really great feeling. We are all well pleased with just how well things are going with Carl.

Has he put a spring back into your step?

Well what I will say is that since August 2013 when Dan finally left Nazareth, right through 2014, we were always thinking that things could be better and no one was really happy with how we were playing; nobody was really committed to it anymore but that all changed incredibly come March this year when the man stepped in you know. You can probably hear from the way that I am talking that we are all absolutely delighted to have him aboard.

So after his baptism of fire, how is Carl settling in, is he enjoying himself?

We have now played around twenty shows with Carl and he absolutely loves it Kevin. Carl still has contracts with other parties and come January and February 2016 he still has the Classic Rock Show to perform. In fact he did one show with them and we actually dropped him off (laughter). We had performed at a festival in Wales and after that we had to go to London to collect our American visas and on the way we dropped Carl off at a venue in Leicester (laughter).

I have to ask, how have the fans taken to Carl?

To be honest Kevin, that was the thing that we were most concerned with but we really didn’t need to worry. The reviews from last year were that we would never be able to replace Dan but now they say that Carl isn’t Dan but by god he is fantastic. Basically the fans love Carl and these are the fans who have been following the band for thirty years and who hate to see any kind of change. These are the people who are now saying if anybody was going to be able to do it then Carl is the boy to do it. Even Dan when he heard Carl sing said this boy is great.

Has Carl’s vocal range made any difference to how the band play the songs?

That’s a good question Kevin. We still play the songs which are Nazareth songs, the way that we have played them for years but Carl has such a different delivery and it is a good delivery. He is not trying to impersonate Dan in any way. He simply sings the songs in the way that he feels he has to sing them and I think that is what has helped a lot. We have not had one bad review about the guy, it’s great. Carl is a great rock singer but a different kind of rock singer from what we are used to.

Has he struggled with any of the songs?

He really loves to sing Beggars Day off the Hair Of The Dog album; that was one of the songs that clicked when he first sang it Kevin. He also enjoys singing One Set Of Bones and Rock ‘n’ Roll Telephone off the latest album. He enjoys singing those two but I know for a fact that he really enjoys singing Beggars Day. In fact I haven’t really heard him complaining about any of the other songs Kevin (laughter). He likes the material and as a singer, you have got to like the material that you are singing. I have played the bass in some sessions where we have played some fucking awful songs thinking to myself fucking hell I hope that no one puts my name on the fucking record (laughter) and when this goes out just don’t mention who played the bass on it.

As an instrument you simply play; sometimes you might put a little more effort into it if you love the song but generally you will play and nobody will be able to tell the difference. But for a singer they definitely have to like the songs that they are singing as it is far more of an emotional thing. Throughout our career, Nazareth have never played songs live that we didn’t like. I’ve recorded songs that I didn’t like (laughter) and please Kevin, don’t start asking me which ones (laughter) because I’m not going to tell you (laughter). Let me just say that there are plenty of Nazareth songs on plenty of Nazareth albums where I have simply said ok I’m out voted, I will play on this fucker but please don’t ever ask me to play the fucking thing live (laughter) because I don’t want to play it every night.

So the songs that we pick to play you have really got to want to play. We gave Carl a whole bunch of songs and told him that there were certain songs which we have to play. You wouldn’t expect to see Deep Purple and not hear Smoke On The Water or go to see Led Zeppelin and not hear Stairway To Heaven. There are definitely eight songs which we must play Kevin so we said to Carl that he would be singing these eight and he said fine because they were the songs that he knew (laughter). We then told him that they were the songs that we like to play and asked him which of those he would like to sing. I wouldn’t say that Carl picked the set but he certainly had a lot of input and I have to say that the set is very good. It’s more like a straight ahead rock set than we have performed over the past few years. Every night that we perform it feels really new; there is still a feeling of wonder about it.

How did the loss of Dan and then Linton affect Nazareth?

The problem is Kevin that without a singer in the band you simply cannot book any gigs. It’s as simple as that. At the beginning of the year we still didn’t have a singer because Carl hadn’t joined the band by then, and so we didn’t book any gigs. We tend to book our gigs a year ahead, and most people book Nazareth at least six months before they want us because of the promotion and advertising. We did manage to pick up a few festivals plus a couple of dates over in the USA but we haven’t played a whole tour, you know a back to back date’s tour. That is how you get a band to sound tight by playing a whole tour and to date we haven’t yet managed to do that (laughter).

On the subject of vocalists, how is Dan (McCafferty) now that he has left the band for good?

It’s funny that you mention Dan because I have just been speaking to him on the phone. He is always checking in with the band, seeing just how things are going on. Whenever I speak to Dan if his condition is the same as it was the last time that we spoke, and he hasn’t got any worse then that is a blessing. But in answer to your question Kevin, the simple fact of the matter is that Dan simply can’t do it anymore. Don’t get me wrong, the guy can sing, he can still sing if you want him to sing a song. He’s good for that, maybe even two but when he was with us, for Dan to sing three songs live, well it was becoming increasingly difficult. He simply cannot breathe properly. The last time that we were on stage he managed to get through three songs but he missed out half of the lines and half of the songs as he just couldn’t breathe. That is what is hurting him bad.

Dan sang on our latest album and he is tremendous, it is a fantastic performance, but making records is a whole different ball-game from performing life. You can go in to the studio and sing one line, or if you feel like it you can drop in for one word. You can take three weeks to record a song and you can record one word at a time if you want too, so Dan can go in there, record a verse and then have a rest if he wants too. He would always give the perfect performance but when you are doing it live on stage you simple cannot do that. When you are up there you have got to be in full flow for ninety minutes Kevin, which is what Dan is up against so he really couldn’t continue with the band at all. Sadly to say obviously because Dan has been with us for a very long time.

Dan is quite good actually, he phones Carl occasionally to check how he is getting on. I still see Dan as he only lives five minutes away from me. He only lives two miles from my house (laughter) so it’s not as though he has disappeared into the fog.

So I take it that you are all having a good time?

Yes we are Kevin, we really are. It’s like a whole new band every time that we go out onto the stage. We are still looking at each other and asking can you remember this bit (laughter). I have to say that it is making for some really exciting times. Things have been coming together really great and we are really looking forward to touring Europe as that will give the band some time to really come together. Once we all know every bit of the songs we can start to relax a little.

Having said all of that it must be strange for you, looking over your shoulder on stage and seeing someone new there after all of the years spent with Dan?

Yes Kevin, it’s very, very different. I’m not actually looking over my shoulder, I find myself looking up into the sky because Carl is a giant (laughter). Dan’s a midget the same as me. When we first started Nazareth we were the big guys at five feet eight and a half inches (laughter). Now whenever we get our picture taken I feel as though I am standing down a well as I have now got three guys who are all over six feet and Carl is around six feet. So when I am up on the stage I feel a little bit crowded to tell you the truth (laughter). I feel as though I am in danger of being trodden on sometimes.

But yes Kevin, it is weird when you have been up there for the length of time that Dan and I were together; we were in the same band for fifty years. It got to the stage where, I am not going to say that you didn’t notice one another, you just took each other for granted. It’s not like that now. We didn’t play that many gigs in 2014. We toured Canada before the European Tour which we had to cancel, so we didn’t book a lot of shows because we didn’t know what was happening with the band at the beginning of this year. So we weren’t as busy as we normally were, so every gig at the moment still feels like a new band to me; it feels like a first gig.

I haven’t quite got used to it just yet but it will happen through time. But Kevin you don’t forget fifty years just like that. But having said all of that it’s a bit of a challenge again which I haven’t really had for a lot of years. We took him for granted, you knew that everyone did their bit, everybody was good at their slot, and you never really had to think about it. So what I can say is that it is different.

I have been playing the latest album Rock ‘n’ Roll Telephone and I think that Boom Bang Bang is absolutely fantastic.

Well I have to tell you that I like that one myself Kevin. If we still had actual singles these days, and if you actually sold records these days (laughter) as opposed to just being downloaded, then I think that track would have been the single you know. Nowadays we don’t have an actual single from the record but I think that Boom Bang Bang would have been the one to get played on the radio. I like that track myself, I love it, and my son Lee wrote that one. He writes a good song does our Lee.

And I have to say that Dan was sounding good on that track.

When we recorded that album, there is a recording studio here called The Sub Station and it is owned by friends of ours. In fact the original owner of the place, Mick, used to work with us; he was part of the Nazareth road crew back in the early 80’s. It is based in an old church at the side of the dockyard here in Dunfermline and it has now been there for the past ten years. We have never used the studio because we liked to record in a live-in situation; we like to get away from home and record. If you do it that way then there is nothing to bother you except the recording, you just don’t think about anything else, you just eat, sleep and play the records Kevin. So we have never ever bothered recording locally.

However, two years ago, we did record a track there for the world ski championships for Austria which was used as the team song. We all thought then that the studio was really handy and I can drive there from my house in eight minutes (laughter) door to door. So we thought that with Dan being as he is, it would be handy if we were actually at home. When we went away to record an album, Dan would come, he would be singing some guide vocals and so he would be in and out of the studio. If we went away for six weeks to record an album there would be a lot of the time where you are just sitting around kicking your heels. But back here at home Dan actually lives closer to the recording studio than me (laughter). He lives less than five minutes away.

So all we did was we went in there to record the album, and we told Dan to stay at home. If we needed him we just called him and he was there in five minutes.   So what we did was to say to Dan if he felt like doing a vocal, then he just had to give us a ring. Not only did Dan want to record some vocals, he also wanted to come into the studio and see what the whole thing was like and to see how the recording was going. It worked fabulously Kevin. For the first three or four days we never saw Dan in the studio and then he would come in for a day, sometimes he would just come in to hang out with the guys and not record anything, and then another day he would come in and record a vocal. The great thing was that he only did it when he really felt like it Kevin, so it was wonderful.

Now we are in there all of the time (laughter). Whenever any one of us has an idea, we are back down to the studio recording. We are their best customers now (laughter). I have to say that it was kind of nice to be recording whilst staying at home especially when you have all of the tracks together, you are not having to hang around days and nights working out new songs. When you are away it is handy for that because you spend a lot of time not actually recording, you are busy working out the songs. However in this case we had them all; Lee and Jimmy (Murrison) wrote the entire thing, with the exception of a few small lyrics here and there from Dan and myself. They had it already written and so they were not writing in the studio (laughter). So it was good and that is why we could record it at home. It is a great place Kevin, I would recommend it to anyone. Lots of bands use it, the main man down there, Michael, is the main engineer for the likes of Primal Scream, Faith No More and bands like these when they are touring. He is a very good sound engineer.

So were you all happy with the final product?

Yes Kevin we are all delighted with it. Myself and all of the people in the band, together with everyone working around us, all think that it is possibly the best album that we have ever made. It’s the most constant, it has some great material on it, and there are some really good performances on it. There is some different stuff, and it has still got that Nazareth raw edge to it without employing sophisticated recording techniques. We still like our albums to be basic you know and we have achieved it with this album Kevin. I think that some of Dan’s performances are tremendous. He is really, really proud of it. If it is to be his swansong from Nazareth, then it’s a beauty.

And is there any news of there possibly being a new Nazareth album?

Well as I have said Kevin, Carl has a few commitments to fulfil in January and February next year but as we don’t need a singer to record the album we are hoping to start recording in January (laughter). I know that sounds terrible but you really don’t need a singer when you start recording a new album, that’s just the way that it is. If you have got all of the songs written you can go into the studio and lay down all of the tracks. We can work on the new songs and get everything prepared for the vocal so Carl can go and do his Classic Rock thing and it won’t bother the band. So hopefully while Carl is away we will be starting to record a new Nazareth album Kevin and then we will start touring in earnest around March 2016. That’s the plan anyway Kevin (laughter).

Will Carl’s style of singing affect the writing style within the band?

That’s a good question Kevin because I have no fucking idea (laughter). We have never collaborated on songs yet but Carl does write. I know that Jimmy (Murrison) and Lee (Agnew) will be writing together and that they will give us great songs because they always do. Obviously Carl will want to be involved in the writing and I imagine that the three of them will get something going in the future. We have only just started and so it will be a learning curve for all three of them. We really don’t know what is going to happen until we get into the studio Kevin.

Do you still get a buzz out of touring?

I do but we don’t really like the six week ones so much anymore. Three weeks is as long as I like to tour nowadays. Hauling my weary arse around the world for three months at a time now is not so much fun when you are away for that length of time. What we do a lot of is to go out and play two gigs in Norway, two gigs in Sweden, two gigs in Germany, over the weekend. So you fly out on Thursday, and fly home on the Sunday, I quite like that. That’s good fun.

When you formed the band back in 1968 did you ever envisage that you would still be in the music business after all this time?

No, but I don’t think that any of the bands thought that. I don’t think that when The Rolling Stones popped up in 1962, or The Beatles, that they ever thought that they would be poncing around the stage when they were in their seventies. We were the bands who came from the golden era of the phonographs and you will never see those days again; they have disappeared. We never realised that we were part of a huge thing. The world had never seen music like it saw in the 60’s and 70’s. They had never had it where music meant that much to the world. Before that a record was just a record. Even nowadays it’s no big deal, because people have got their games machines and their computers and everything else.

But we were bought up during the 60’s and 70’s where your only thought was what album you were going to buy at the weekend, so music became a part of everybody’s life. Everybody grew up with that and so those generations still want to hear those bands, thank god (laughter) and it went on and on and on. We never thought that it would last this length of time; you could only look around you and see how long other bands were going on for. By the time that we had got into the late 70’s and then through the 80’s and into the 90’s we then began to think that this was going to go on forever. We thought that this was going to carry on until we dropped. People still wanted to come and see us play, the audiences were still there. Obviously the world was a more affluent place then compared to how it was back in the 30’s and 40’s. And even now the fastest selling concert will be The Rolling Stones. It’s still there Kevin, it’s never going to go away.

For the people of my generation, being a musician is a full-time lifetime job but I couldn’t say that for anyone starting out in the business now. I don’t think that you will see any of these people in forty years’ time. Not that I will be here to judge it (laughter), in fact I am not sure that there will still be music in forty years’ time Kevin (laughter). If it keeps going the same way as the X Factor there certainly won’t. Music is so important.

I have got to be honest with you Pete, I was a massive Soul and Motown fan in my early years, and then someone thrust a copy of Rampant into my hands and from that point on, everything changed for me.

(Laughter) I was exactly the same as you, I loved the soul music. I was not such a fan of Motown but that soul music, Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, well for me those were the guys. So there you go Kevin, we led you astray (laughter).

Nazareth were always known for doing covers of other artist’s songs. When I was recently speaking to Jim McCarty (The Yardbirds) I asked him what he thought of your cover of Shapes Of Things. He said that it had blown him away.

It was a good version was that and we got a lot of praise from the guys in The Yardbirds. All of the people whose records we have covered have always had good things to say about it. Whenever we did a cover record we always liked to really change it from the original version. We never ever covered a song intending just to make a version of the original. The secret of making a cover version is that you should always try to make it your own. We covered Beggars Day which was written by Nils Lofgren and which was on the Crazy Horse album. In fact that album was such a phenomenal album that everybody covered songs from it, including Rod Stewart. We actually covered two tracks from it, Beggars Day and Gone Dead Train. Nils Lofgren actually said in the press that he thought that the best version of Beggars Day was the one by Nazareth.

Joni Mitchell thought that our version of This Flight Tonight was tremendous. She just couldn’t believe what we had done to a Joni Mitchell song (laughter) which was really great. We really enjoyed taking someone else’s song and really messing around with it (laughter). We have always enjoyed taking a song and thinking right, now what can we do with this. How can we make it sound bizarre (laughter). The good thing is that we have always managed to get a good reaction from the people who had originally recorded the songs.

So do you have a personal favourite Nazareth song?

Every time that we make a new album I get a new favourite song. It’s funny, sometimes you can be someplace doing an in-store event, and in the background they will be playing a selection of Nazareth songs. You hear a song that you had forgotten recording and you think I like that one (laughter). You had forgotten that song because you probably haven’t heard it for over twenty years (laughter) so you go home and look it up. On the last album that we did, Rock ‘n’ Roll Telephone I’m with you Kevin, I like Boom Bang Bang but I also like One Set Of Bones and Rock ‘n’ Roll Telephone itself. So there you have three songs that I really like just from that album. There is no one Nazareth song that I could say that is the song, but I could give you a Top Fifty (hysterical laughter).

Who has been your musical inspiration?

I have never actually tried to be like anyone Kevin, I have just enjoyed a lot of other people’s music which I think has probably inspired me without me actually knowing. My favourite band of all time was Little Feat. We don’t play like Little Feat; I wish we could but I can’t because they are so amazing. I also love The Band and Laurence Evans. Sometimes when you are writing a song you think that you would like to write it along the vein of a certain artist. But I couldn’t say that any one person has influenced me. People often ask me who my favourite bass player is, but I never even wanted to play the bass (laughter). The only reason why I started playing the bass was because there was nobody in Dunfermline who could do it (laughter).

I was originally a lead singer and rhythm guitar player; I never thought that I would finish up playing the bass so I never listened to bass players in my life (laughter). There are hundreds of great bass players and I could never have a favourite. You sometimes hear someone playing and you think that’s a nice line, I will nick that and do something with it (laughter). Everybody does that. We have been in the business so long that we now steal off ourselves (laughter). Eventually Kevin your own music influences your own music.

What was it like when you first appeared on Top Of The Pops?

It was exactly how we expected it to be Kevin. What I can remember is that there was a very quiet backing track playing; it was so quiet that you could hear everyone’s feet shuffling across the floor (laughter). Everyone who is sat at home in their living rooms can hear the music being played but when you are in the studio it is played so quietly, it’s hard to even pretend that you are actually doing it (laughter). When you see someone pretending that they are performing on Top Of The Pops believe me Kevin they are being very good to even be able to do that. I used to feel such a twat pretending to do it (laughter).

We had done loads of TV shows before we did Top Of The Pops. We had done lots of shows over in Germany so it wasn’t really new to us. It was good the fact that you were on Top Of The Pops because that was the big show to be seen on. But what was actually the best thing was when you were on The Old Grey Whistle Test. When you appeared on there you were actually recognised as being a proper band because you played live on there, and it was great. We loved that. Nazareth played The Old Grey Whistle Test more than any other British band because whenever Mike Appleton got stuck if somebody cancelled, he used to phone us up and ask us if we could play on the show. We never let him down, even if we were up in Scotland we always told him that we would be there in eight hours (hysterical laughter). We would never miss the chance to play on there (laughter). I saw a lot of people for the first time on The Old Grey Whistle Test playing live including James Taylor who was amazing.

Who did you first see play live in concert?

The first band who I saw using electric guitars was Mike Satan and the Hellcats playing at the Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline when I was twelve years old. My sister was in a dance show and Mike Satan and the Hellcats were the guests on that show, in fact Manny (Charlton) used to play the rhythm guitar in that band. I thought that they were unbelievable Kevin. I had never seen a band play live, and they even played electric guitars. They just blew me away (laughter). In fact it was so funny because later in life I was offered the job as Mike Satan. Needless to say I turned them down (hysterical laughter).

We used to go to the local Kinema Ballroom here in Dunfermline where they used to have guests artists every Wednesday. The local band was called The Red Hawks, again Manny eventually played with them. They were the pop group if you like, they covered all of the hits and played them live in the Ballroom. By that time I was playing in local bands myself, in small bands playing around the church halls and places like that. Everybody used to come up and play at the Kinema Ballroom even up to when we played there, we used to get people playing there such as The Who, Deep Purple, Spooky Tooth, and David Bowie. They would all come up and play three gigs in Scotland before they went over to tour America. They would all play the Kinema Ballroom, Stirling University and Strathclyde University in Glasgow. The Kinema Ballroom was on the map for all of the bands that toured.

When we played there as the resident group, we played with everybody. We went on and played before and after The Who, we went on before and after Deep Purple (laughter). We played on one stage while they played on the main stage. You just try and imagine Kevin when you are a local band, trying to follow The Who when they have just played Tommy for the first time for two hours, and Pete Townshend has smashed two guitars to pieces, then they go off stage and the Ballroom has only got ten minutes left, and the manager insists that you go on and finish. We said you have got to be joking (laughter). All of our mates are walking out past the stage saying you must be kidding (hysterical laughter). We grew up the hard way when it came to playing before and after bands (laughter). Lots of bands have supported people, but we used to have to support people and then play again after they had finished. That’s not so easy, believe me (laughter).

What was the first record that you bought?

The first record that I bought with my own money was either Stupid Cupid by Connie Francis or Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Pressley both 78’s. I can’t remember which the first was, but it would probably have been Jailhouse Rock. The first 45 that I bought was by Cliff Richard but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was (laughter). Don’t you think that it’s big of me to even admit that Kevin (laughter). At that time Cliff was considered to be a kind of rocker.

He was promoted as being England’s Elvis.

Well Kevin, let’s just say that they both ended up as cabaret acts anyway (laughter).

On that note Pete let me thank you for taking the time to speak to me; it’s been great fun. I hope to catch up with you later in the year but for now I appreciate your time.

Thanks Kevin, it has been fun. You take it easy. Bye.