Andy Scott (seen here in the middle), a Welsh musician, songwriter and lead guitarist with glam rock band, The Sweet, chats with Kevin Cooper about working with Sari Schorr, his prostate cancer diagnosis, buying himself a Silver Cloud Rolls Royce for Christmas and their forthcoming Full Circle 2023 Tour of the UK.

Andy Scott is a Welsh musician and songwriter, best known for being the lead guitarist and backing vocalist in the band Sweet. Following bassist Steve Priest’s death in June 2020, Scott is the last surviving member of the band’s classic line up.

Scott started out playing bass guitar and his first gig was at St Peters Hall in Wrexham with The Rasjaks in November 1963. He then progressed to guitar and played with other bands including The Saints, The Forewinds and The Missing Links. In 1966 he joined The Silverstone Set who won the TV show Opportunity Knocks five weeks running. They also supported Jimi Hendrix in Manchester in January 1967.

In 1970 Scott replaced Mick Stewart in The Sweet after an audition in front of Brian Connolly, Steve Priest and Mick Tucker.

He has also pursued a solo career having released Lady Starlight in 1975. He released his second solo single, Gotta See Jane, in 1983 under the name Ladders. In 1984 he released two more solo singles, Let Her Dance and Invisible.

With The Sweet he has released fifty one singles, fourteen studio albums, eleven live albums, and twenty four compilation albums.

Whilst busy rehearsing for his forthcoming tour of the UK, he took some time out to have a chat with Kevin Cooper and this is what he had to say.

Good afternoon Andy how are you?

I’m very well thank you Kevin, how are you?

I have to say that at this moment in time all is good thank you and before we move on let me thank you for taking the time to speak to me today.

That’s okay, as always, it’s my pleasure.

And just how is life treating you at this moment in time?

Life is treating me not too bad at this moment in time. I’ve got a couple of small things currently going on with my health, but nothing that will stop me doing things. It’s just that as we get older together with the little side alleys that prostate cancer can send you down, it’s like a car, I need a bit of an MOT once in a while. Its fourteen years now since I was diagnosed and I think that I am now being used as a milestone with the oncologist, who I have to say is absolutely fantastic.

We have done a hell of a lot of fundraising for the Bristol Oncology Centre for which I am immensely proud. Unless you are falling down, and you can’t do anything for yourself then you simply get on with it. At least we are both here (laughter). Suzi Quatro’s husband once said to me that “it is far better to be over the ground than under the ground” (laughter).

I have to tell you that you and I last spoke back in 2021 when the whole country was in lockdown.

Really, wow that’s a while ago now.

We have moved on a wee bit since then.

Yes, we have, a little bit. I’m not sure whether things, especially with what the hell is going on in the world, it is going to be a bloody long time or maybe never that things will ever get back to what we had pre-Brexit for example. Being a musician who travels abroad it is most definitely the worst thing that has ever happened. The weird thing for me was how anybody could push ahead with a vote that close, when all other votes involving the government have to be at least two thirds; it is just madness.

People talk about us rejoining the EU but it is simply too late. We are finally realising that we have totally undone relationships with certain countries; you simply do not walk away. Anyone who thought that we were going to save money is absolutely raving mad. Politicians are out and out liars and you have got to realise that. They are able to be liars and break the law without, it seems, having anything thrown at them which is simply unfair.

But they will claim that they weren’t telling lies but that it was merely an oversight (laughter).

(Laughter) or misspoken.

Moving swiftly on, let’s talk about something decent. Just before we last spoke Isolation Boulevard had just been released. Were you happy with the reaction to the album?

I have to be totally honest with you and say that the reaction to the album was absolutely superb. It made inroads into National newspapers and some of the reviews started with, “I don’t usually like re-records, but I have to say this is like a breath of fresh air, listening to those old Sweet recordings the way that they have been put together” and I have to say that it is.

Not everything was to prove to be plain sailing though, was it?

You are talking about the drum tracks, aren’t you (laughter). You are quite correct when you say that not everything went as smoothly as we wished. We couldn’t re-record drum tracks, so we had to find new drum tracks from some live recordings that we had got, or some outtakes. I have got a brilliant guy who works in the studio with me and once we had found around a dozen drum tracks that were, shall we say, acceptable, and the sound of the drums remember will be different from when you are in that clinical drum studio, so you are already starting with something slightly different.

One of the things that I was able to do, on Fox On The Run for example, because I had the sixteen track recording of that from back in 1974, I was able to lift the original ARP Synthesisers off that recording and stick them into the new recording. So those are the original synths that I played back in 1974 which are now on the 2021 recording. I found it remarkable that we were able do that without too much pushing and shoving.

The wonders of modern technology (laughter).

(Laughter) I was never an advocate of digital recordings because when CDs came out and when original digital recordings came out it had so many teething problems and the CDs didn’t sound right. Having said that, now I am an absolute advocate of the way that digital has come along because I can’t tell the difference now as to whether the track was recorded on multi-track 2” tape or on a computer anymore. The way that we record, we still record in the old way of trying to put tracks together as a band. Whereas I think that a lot of modern recordings are made by engineers who have never miked up a drum kit for example, so they think that a drum kit sounds like whatever comes out of the box (laughter). Whereas we go right back to the 60s where it was the infancy of recording and what you have to remember is that a lot of those Elvis (Presley) recordings were made with just one or two mics in the room let alone everything miked up individually.

You listen to the quality of those recordings and it just shows you that with a bit of perseverance, it has got nothing at all to do with the technology in the end, but where technology right now helps is, if somebody hasn’t quite finished what they were doing; they have gone away and they are not in the studio anymore, you don’t have to get them back in order to repair a bit of vocal because there will be another take somewhere that might just work or there will be a device that will be able to repair that certain note that sounds flat and as if by magic, that note won’t be flat anymore (laughter). It is almost like putting a paint brush across it, and all of a sudden all of the colours have come back (laughter).

It’s nothing like the old days when you would be flying master tapes all around the world, which has all gone now.

Yes, it has, and I was just thinking about the number of times that I flew over to America with master tapes for a new album locked inside two battered metal trunks (laughter). You couldn’t really do that much today as everything now has to go through a scanner and you would be frightened to death that there was nothing left on the tape (laughter).

Coming right up to date and the new track, Changes, I have been playing it now for the past couple of weeks and I have to say that I love it.

That is brilliant to hear, thank you. What can I say, it is different, and I have to say that it is actually a track that I wrote fifty years ago. That is where the songs origins are, and I never got to finish it because the very next project that Sweet went into was the Sweet Fanny Adams album and Changes just didn’t seem to fit on that album. Mick Tucker and I were at that time producing a band called Angel and I had written a couple of songs for them and Changes is the kind of song that I thought might just work with them. But you have to remember, it wasn’t the way that you hear it now, it was done a little bit more like a band playing with an acoustic guitar together with an electric guitar.

The way that it has been whipped up by modern technology it sounds as though there is a sequencer running through it, but it hasn’t, but it sounds that way. So, fifty years on, when my partner in the studio, Tom (TC Cory) who is in the band now, did a map and he said, “what do you think to this” and he had found a drum track that worked with Changes and we both went, ‘wow, that is absolutely superb’ (laughter). So, we took it into Real World Studio, Peter Gabriel’s place, and got Bruce (Bisland) to lay some drums onto the track and then, all of a sudden, that was just the one take with Bruce. I have to say, that is probably the best drum track he has done in a very long time, and we were only in there for one afternoon. There was a little bit of free space and we dived in there and did it.

And I have to say that, if my ears don’t fail me, the vocals on the track by a certain Andy Scott are right on the money.

(Laughter) thank you, it’s always nice to hear when someone appreciates what it is that you are doing. Because the track has got a personal feel to it, everybody said, “you have got to sing this track” so I did. However, having said that, there is a lot of Paul (Manzi) and Lee (Small) within the chorus, but for the verses and the bits in the bridge they are all me and I have to say that I really did enjoy recording the track.

Does this mean that we will be seeing a new Sweet studio album sometime soon?

Yes, it does, and I have to say that we are right down the road with that as we speak. However, as you know, I haven’t been too well recently and at the end of this week, before the tour starts, I have got to go into the hospital for a minor operation, in order to sort something out before the start of the tour. So, the first few gigs on the tour might mean me being a little bit more gingerly with my movements rather than me stomping around a bit. I don’t want to talk about it too much because it men’s stuff you know.

You have briefly mentioned the tour, putting your health issues, if we may, to one side for a minute, are you looking forward to being back out on the road?

Yes, I am very much so. We are coming to the point where we are not going to be playing tours anymore. We are going to go out, play a couple of gigs over a weekend, have a weekend off, do another couple of gigs, have a weekend off, play a few festivals in the summer, and see just how it goes. However, because the British tour is different, we are in England where I can get in a car, drive from door to door, and possibly even go home a lot of the nights, which really is not the same so the British tour scheduled for next year could very well be safe. It’s what I have got to go through in order to fulfil what’s needed. And I will certainly find out a little bit of that on the forthcoming tour that we are about to do. But, when we are touring in England, I know that I am amongst friends.

The forthcoming tour is called The Full Circle Tour. Where did the name come from?

Well, somebody pointed out to me that I have now got a band that is every bit as good as the original band, and it is almost as if we have come full circle because the new album is not what you would call a heavy rock album, it’s more of a pop rock album. It would most probably fit into the genre of Bon Jovi, and Journey, rather than heading off down the road of something with lot heavier riffs. That isn’t to say that there aren’t any rock elements, it’s just that every song that we have recorded I’ve had people who have come and listened say to me, “I can’t get that song out of my head” and that makes it a pop album for me because it has got a lot of popular tunes in there. I personally think that Changes is a bit of an ear worm because once you have heard it, you can’t get it out of your head.

Do you have any thoughts as to when the new album will be released?

It will be next year now, as I said earlier, I have had to take a little time for myself In order to sort a few things out, plus also the Full Circle thing. Somebody recently pointed out to me that I started my musical career in Wrexham way back in 1963 around November and December; I was fourteen at the time. I did my first ever gig in a church hall at a youth club which is literally a stones throw from the football ground, where the university is, and the first date on the forthcoming tour, some sixty years later, is in Wrexham at the university hall where I used to be in the boy scouts gang shows back in the fifties (laughter). So, as you can see, for me the whole thing has come full circle, hence the name of the tour.

How many of the new songs, if any, will be on the set list for the forthcoming tour?

Now, that is the most difficult question for me to answer out of all of the questions that you have asked me so far (laughter). The more you play, the more you have to think about something else maybe not being played. However, I think that we will most probably throw a new song in early as a little bit of a surprise. Then most probably in the middle we will most probably do two or three, most certainly two from the album, and we will most probably pair them together, talk about them and the fact that these are from the new album. Then it has to be from a certain point in the set, the last forty-five minutes has to be this blockade of hits.

I see that, once again, you have got Sari (Schorr) supporting you. Whose idea was that?

What can I say; I think that she was well up for it the last time (laughter). I have to say that she was really good. She did three or four of the first shows but then she couldn’t do anymore as she had something else that she had to go and do. It is always good whenever you have a run of somebody opening the show for you. That way, everything tends to run smoothly, and you don’t have to think too much about it. Sari is really good, and when I heard that she had put herself forward I just said to the promoter, “why would we look elsewhere” for me it was a no brainer. She came into the dressing room after the show, thanked us so much, and said, “I hung around for your set and I couldn’t believe just how good it was”. At that point I thought, ‘well a little bit of flattery will get you everywhere’ (laughter).

I will be speaking to Sari prior to the tour so I will remember you to her.

That’s great, please tell her that we are all looking forward to seeing her again and we are so looking forward to the tour. Sari really is a force of nature.

I will be coming to photograph and review your gig here in Nottingham at Rock City and I understand that you have an unusual story to tell about the venue?

The original band played at Rock City many years ago now, way back in 1981. In Nottingham back then there weren’t that many places that you could play; it didn’t have the De Montford Hall like Leicester, or Newcastle City Hall. Nottingham was always a very odd place. I can remember the very first time that we played Nottingham; it was at the Rescue Rooms a couple of years before we finally got to play the main hall at Rock City. And I have to be totally honest with you and say that was really good. The place was rammed to the rafters.

I hadn’t realised just how small the place was going to be, but it was rammed. Without mentioning names, there was somebody quite famous playing next door in the main hall, let’s just say it was another band of our ilk, and somebody said to us, “that didn’t sell-out, but the Rescue Rooms did” which was always a good thing in my mind. So, I said to the promoter, “do you know that the original band played Rock City” and he said, “no I didn’t.” So I said to him, “that’s where we need to play next time” (laughter). And that is where we played the last time that we were in Nottingham, and it was a sell-out. So, let’s go for it again.

What about your side-project QSP with Suzi (Quatro), Don (Powell) and yourself, is there anything happening on the horizon?

(Laughter) Suzi, as you know, is currently busier than she has been for a very long time. However when she wasn’t busy, I personally had a problem a couple of years ago when I had a trapped nerve in my neck. I could hardly move my right arm and certainly couldn’t move or do anything with my right hand. I simply couldn’t make a fist. So, as you can imagine, my playing was not great, and I had to do a Sweet tour whilst having injections. Out of the blue, Suzi rang me asking if I was prepared to do another QSP tour to which I agreed but I had to tell her, “right at this moment in time you won’t get me playing the way that I would want to play”.

I had to relearn how to hold a mic, plus I have now got arthritis in both of my thumbs. Everything has come back nicely together now but back then it didn’t and Suzi had a window free but Don didn’t because he had had a slight problem. So, unfortunately it all had to be put on hold and put back onto the shelf. Now that she is extremely busy, next year Don and I could probably do this, we could do another QSP but I really don’t think that it is going to happen.

Having said that, you never know, it just might. Don has already said that he doesn’t want to go out on the road anymore, so touring wouldn’t be an easy thing. The last thing that you would want to do would be to force anybody to do something that they really feel that they can’t do. Anyway, Don has been having a lot of success with a couple of things that he has been recording with a couple of mates of his in the studio. Have you heard Don and Jim (Lea) doing My Sharona; it’s absolutely brilliant.

Yes, I have, and I have to say that it certainly has got a feel-good factor to it.

Oh, it has, yes and then he recorded another one Train Kept A-Rollin’ with the singer from Slade II and a couple of his mates from the original N’Betweens, the old Yardbirds track Train Kept A-Rollin’ and I have to say that’s great as well.

I personally found it all a little disappointing and disrespectful the way that Dave (Hill) told Don that he wasn’t wanted in the band anymore.

I know exactly what you are saying especially when there is so much history between them there. And when I hear from Don, “I don’t think that I ever want to be in the same room as him again Andy” it’s not nice. It’s not nice to hear that especially when people go back a long, long way.

And as you know, Jim has now been diagnosed with prostate cancer, hasn’t he?

Yes, he has and to be honest you could see that Jim was having a problem a few years ago. I did try to contact Jim when I first heard but I never heard anything back from him. But you know that people want to be the way that they want to be. All that I would have done was offer him a bit of support and tell him not to look at it as a death sentence; it can be whatever you want it to be.

We have briefly mentioned that you have now been in the music business for sixty years, do you have any regrets?

(Hysterical laughter) anyone who says to you that they have come out of it sixty years later saying ‘I wish that I had done that’ do not believe them because quite honestly you can’t look back on things and wish that things were different. I am possibly at my happiest right now, in my personal life, as I finally found the woman who I should have been with around twenty years ago. It took us a while to really get together but, it is just one of those things. I did say to her, “if you had met me forty years earlier you probably wouldn’t have liked me anyway” (laughter).

They say that you should never believe your own publicity but how does it make you feel when you read that Axl Rose (Guns N’ Roses) has said that Sweet were his favourite band when he was a youngster growing up?

I’m so glad that you have told me that because it can now go on the website and Facebook now (laughter). One of the funnier ones that I saw was when I saw the original four from the movie E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Henry Thomas who played Elliott, Peter Coyote who played Keys, Robert MacNaughton who played Michael and Drew Barrymore who played Gertie had a reunion photograph taken and Robert MacNaughton who played Michael was stood there proudly wearing a Sweet t-shirt.

So, obviously anyone who steps up wearing a Sweet t-shirt like Joe Elliott (Def Leppard) is nice to see. I’m in touch with Joe mainly to talk about football, how bad his teams doing and just how well my team are doing (laughter). I’ve got a fantastic video that was sent to me by Gene Simmons (Kiss) of him about to go onstage in South America dressed in full make-up saying, “hey Andy, someone has just told me that it is fifty years since Sweet released Ballroom Blitz, man I can’t believe that” (laughter). I won’t include the expletives (laughter). Then he says, “anyway I’ve got to go I’m just about to go onstage” (laughter).

What would be Andy Scott’s idea Christmas?

(Laughter) that would be the wrong thing for me to say because for the last four years or so we have been having around sixteen people round here, all of the sons, daughters, grandkids, the elderly plus a few waifs and strays (laughter). It really would be so nice for my wife and I plus my dog Ted to maybe just have a Christmas on our own but let me tell you it ain’t going to happen. So, I will embrace it, I will try not to drink too much, and hopefully, by the time that I get the Port out, there will only be one or two left (laughter).

A drink, feet up and The Great Escape (laughter).


What was the best Christmas present that you ever received?

(Laughter) oh God, I think that one of the best presents was one that I gave to myself. It was coming up to Christmas, it must have been November or December, and me and Steve (Priest) had just had a cheque come through in 1974 and the two of us had been driving around in the loveliest Mercedes Benz motor cars. At that time Mick (Tucker) had bought himself a six litre Mercedes and the two of us wanted a Rolls Royce. We used to drive past the Rolls Royce dealership on Western Avenue on our way home from the recording studio. This one particular day we had money in the bank and I said, “pull in here” to the driver.

Me and Steve got out of the car, and at that time they had two Rolls Royce’s in the showroom, and I said, “I’ll have that one” and Steve said, “and I’ll have that one” (laughter). The cars arrived before Christmas and I said to my first wife, “there is no need to get me anything else for Christmas” (laughter). I had finally hit something that was always in my mind, I had always wanted to own a Rolls Royce, and of course Slade had had their photograph taken with their cars, Don and Dave were standing next to their slightly older model Silver Clouds whilst Steve and I had the newer model Silver Shadows.

Obviously, there is a flip side to the question, what is the worst Christmas present that you have ever been given?

I have to be honest with you and say that there are far too many of them (laughter). I do keep saying to people, “you really don’t have to get me anything because I really don’t need anything”. As you get older, there is usually a good bottle of Whisky that is given to you or a decent bottle of wine. I have got a Whisky store and a wine store, but it is just one of those things. I do try to say to people, “look, when you see me just wish me a Merry Christmas and I will truly be very, very, happy”. So, in answer to your question, no, I am not going to drop anyone in it (laughter). Whilst I am not going to say that is most definitely the worst present that I have ever received, what I will say is that anyone who buys a member of a rock band a tie, you will probably understand that is not the best present (laughter).

Not unless it’s like the ones that Noddy (Holder) used to wear (laughter).

(Laughter) yes, probably yes.

What is currently on Andy Scott’s rider?

Our rider has diminished a lot over the years. When Mick Tucker was in the band we used to have a couple of bottles of Jack Daniels and then we would move on from there. But now, especially here in the UK we don’t need the same thing every night. We basically ask one another, “what do we need tomorrow”. We will get something fresh in every day, or we will say to the person who is looking after us, “I think we fancy some pies today” or someone will say, “what about some seafood sandwiches” which I have to say are only there as snacks because we always make sure that we have some kind of meal in the afternoon on our way to the gig.

On that note Andy let me say once again thank you for taking the time to speak to me today, it really has been fantastic as usual. You stay safe and I will see you here in Nottingham at Rock City.

Thanks Kevin, it’s a pleasure as I really do enjoy our chats. I’m looking forward to seeing you up there in Rock City. Bye for now.