Big Country – Romance, Drama, and High Principles….
A Special Interview with Stuart Adamson by Richard Newson/S.I.N.

When one is walking the leisuregrounds in Galway, Ireland it feels like the end of the world is tomorrow and there are lots of people having the time of their lives while there is still time.  This is a rock-movie directors view on pop-concerts:  Big eyed 12-30 year olds jumping about with coke and 7-up in their mugs, imitating guitar solo’s, yelling and running forth and back in a middle  of smartened up people – one big ant hill of disturbed human beings.  I don’t wanna sound melodramtic but this all takes place on the break before the Simple Minds record.  The actual fever doesn’t start  until Big Country enters the stage.  Then there’s such a wild outburst of passionate raving I’m truley afraid to have my eardrums busted out.

This feels quite odd, and no one can’t but say that Big Country is mighty popular in this part of the word. The atmosphere is mightly popular in this part of the world.  The atmosphere is so loaded that not even a suspicious observer, who might consider the songs overhall to be a bit onetracked and full of repititions (but who however enjoys them in small portions), can avoid to be pulled into the shockwave and start clapping hands without being aware of it himself.

Never before has admiration been shown in such a feverish desperate way towards a band.  People crying – of joy or sorrow, who knows? Big Country sences the passion of today and so do I.  After the gig Stuart Adamson chats gayly with the herd of sharp fans which had followed him to the hotel.  He sighs, its amazing, God knows how they do it. the determination and investigative skills of his fans have clearly impressed him.  Looking at all this still somewhat overwhelmed after tonight’s gig and the audience tremendous support I begin to understand a thing or two.  Now I understand why Big Country try is so ridiculously popular worldwide.

Firstly it constantly gallops forward creating hard bagpipe sound like melodies with guitars.  And that more or less guarantees the crowd a good time not to mention the attack of swing-the-head thing.  Simply opens up aq fun way of letting out all those updamd dangerous feelings that lingers in each and everyone of us.

Secondly the band sings about uplifting things, like rivers, sunshine and more exciting things like thunderstorms and sailors lost at sea.  Big Country is never affraid to admit they love people.  The listener feels happy and sad and – always – keeps a place in his heart for the band cause just like anybody else Big Country believes in flowers and candlelit dinners.

If Big Countrys success-story was to be told as one similiar to a movie, it would be rock’n'rolls own Gone with the wind  – A grand slice of romance and drama that  lights up the countless numbers of working class peoples lives, and provides a reason to go on regardless the struggle.  And there’s nothing wrong with that. Big Country’s fills a need and does that with sincere dedication and exellence in skill.  Undoubtably a very fine and enlightening pop group.

On the other hand there’s the empty headed minority who likes Big Country songs for their naive almost militaristic appeal, songs that sounds like battle- anthems and tells us about the many limless brave soliders returning home after the war, and then there is that special thing about a Big Country concert that an average lad can put his arm around his mate without being labeled a sexually disturbed person.  For that average lad Stuart Adamsons – who doesn’t like the army – ironys and fine points go completely lost  very interesting indeed.

underneath is faith in the good spirit of man and the sheer joy that can be found within life itself says stuart explaning the essential in big countrys daring and joyfull music

R- do you have an ideal picture of what a perfect big country-fan should be like?

S -No, We never set any standards for ouselves, we’ve alwasy let things come along as naturally as possible our music is open for everyone… perhaps someone emotional and caring is more likely to become interested in us, I don’t know really.

R- Is there a fire in fans hearts?

S- I don’t know, I believe that Big Country is to us bandmembers more than the usual cliches that are said about us, much more. There’s a lot of passion at stake and as much as we give , we also get back, so both for us and the audience its a question of giving and taking.  There’s a clear connection between us.  I can feel it happen every night, a feeling of no-limitations and no emotional up damings.  One shouldn’t anylise feelings rather one should enjoy the consequences than look for faults everywhere.

R- The fire in males fans hearts burns and apppears as feverish acts of violence. Not a Big Country concerts but on the streets after having had a few beers with the lads they’ll all go looking for trouble.  What do you think of this Stuart?

S- Somewhat akwardly admitts that perhaps there’s some truth in it.  It goes along with us, in the way that we’re on the same level, part of the same thing and coming from the same enviroment. Honeslty I don’t want to be equilised with a violent mentality.  Our sound is rough and arousing but that’s how we think it should be.  Songs like Just A Shadow, Chances and Seer brings out completly different aspects, but they seem to be over looked.  I think its sad that people have such a naive conception about us.

R- In your opinion is Big Country making history?

S- I think so, yes I’m sure all of us wants to leave his mark behind, thats common for one and all. Thats why we’re trying so hard – we want to look back and remember all this with pride and know we gave it all we had.  That’s all that matters really .

R- In his songs about rolled-up sleeves hard work,m long winterevenings and years gone by Adamson creates a feeling that isn’t far from one you’ll find in a fulln pub where old men stands with their pints of beer remembering simpler and more honorfilled days.  Its almost pity that the band has to use electricty as powersource when a horsepower or good old fashioned steaming dung would so obviously suit them better.

S- Confesses – I do believe in the basic things that are simple and straightforward.  Also I’d like to think that people should move on and stay open to progress – not “progress for the sake of progress” but progress in the positive sence of the word.

R- Feels like Big Country primetime should’ve been the year 1880 something – You could have played from fisherman, coalminers and red cheeked, bearded peatgathers….  Stuart interrupts laughing.

S- If we go along that line we probably would’ve been those fishermen and peatgathers as well musicians. – I see alot more than just that in our image but it is really a part of what we’re all about.  The feeling of history, roots and the clear conception that music is more than 30 years old, old than rock.

R- Does it ever strike you that you’re too romantic?

S- Yes, absolutley, I’m deffenatley too sensitive, I could never claim my life to be stable.  There’s always been dramatice highs and lows.  Thats me and I accept that and infact enjoy it.  If the lows are hard they still make the highs so much more magnificant.

R-One can almost imagine Stuart driving around the house on his big, red lawn mower with a straw in his month chased by his loyal dog.  Imagine him playing with his kids or just relaxing at the fireplace with his wife causes no trouble at all.

R-What’s your favorite time of year?

S- My very favourite time of the year is latesummer, when everything smells fresh and the full rich feeling when a warm golden glow covers everything in sight.  And midwinter when the sun is shining and its icecold – that I really love.  Its brilliant for a smoker ideal weather.

R- Of course,  is smoke your only vice then?

S- Yes, but it don’t matter I get along with it.  Someday I’d however like to stop.

R- You where for a short time a skinhead – did you during this time involve yourself in some sort of vices?

S- No it was purely a fashion kinda thing. I didn’t even intend to do my hair like that however the hairdressers got me all worng so I decided off with the lot of it and then one had to get an old Crombie -jacket and Doc Marten boots……..

R- And go look for trouble, what did you use to do?

S- Well we’d just hang in streetcorners and be plain insolent shouting all sorts of abusive things at people at this time in the early 70-ties I was starting to be in bands as well.

R- Are you ready for Callum juvenile years, that fatal time when your own flesh and blood finds out how cool it is to hang in streetcorners and be insolent towards common lawfearing citizens ?  Are you affraid of the inevitable crash with the stormy mirror image of your own past ?

S- Shivering just thinking about it – A little, yes. Already when Callum begun school he became independant.  Naturally its nice to see him grow but its hard as well.  Kids seem to need less of your time yet more of your love if you see what I mean.

R- Do your intend to be liberal  I.E. broadminded when you get older?

S- You must be kiddin ! I haven’t ever been liberal!

R- Could your son do anything to dissapoint you ?

S- Difficult to say. I don’t set up my own goals for neither  of my kids.  However I’d like Callum to grow up to have compasion and understanding for people. Time will tell how it all turns out.

R- Stuart Adamson husband and father is a happy man.  Big Country is flying high touring as well as on the charts (Their new lp The Seer is the bands third success) and then there’s home.  Stuart Adamson paints us a lovely picture of the Adamson houshold where his wife minds her business and he minds his business and the usual traditional limitations of marriage doesn’t bother neither of them.  At the dinnertable enjoying the last glimpse of the settling sun they all chat about what has happened during the day.  Though Stuart is rather useless as a cook he loves nothing more than when he can scramble together something delicious for the entire family. – I get a lot of satisfaction when I do somthing practical like that he says.  To top that he’s already looking forward to seeing his grandchildren joining up at the table enjoying the granddad  special.  Isn’t that a thought for a rockband leader or what ?

S- I think it’d be brilliant to be somebodys granddad.  I really like the thought that Sandra and I will someday be the heads of our family. It would be nice to feel that sence of continuity and know you have been part of creating that.

R- Is it important to know that people will in a hundred years look at your picture in a photo album and go: that was old man Stuart, he died about thirty years ago….?

S- Yeah – That’s your granddad he did that and that, the old feller.

R- And he was a good man?

S- Yes, It would be nice- that I’d be remembered as a good man *************

 

 

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