An Interview With Stuart Adamson Smash Hits (?), 1986

So what has Stuart Adamson of Big Country been up to recently? Well, er, quite a lot actually. He’s been out on the “road”, he’s been nearly eaten alive, he’s been “interviewed” by William Shaw, he’s…Been nipping about a lot

“We finished the LP, ‘The Seer’, in February of this year and we’ve been on the road since March. We did three British tours, we’ve been to Canada, America, Sweden, Holland, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland… We’ve been to lots of places.”

He hasn’t been giving two hoots about people who say that all Big Country’s songs sound the same
“I don’t give two hoots about it. It really doesn’t trouble me at all. I don’t make records so that people can say to me ‘God! Isn’t that startlingly like Big Country!’ Who else is going to make records that sound like Big Country? We are Big Country! (Laughs) Our songs are all different. What’s the same is the commitment. Take the song ‘The Seer’. It’s nothing like ‘Hold The Heart’ or ‘Look Away’. If people say they sound the same, that’s their opinion. Opinions are like aresholes. Everybody’s got one.”

“He’s been talking a lot about commitment”
“I think that’s part of the reason we’ve been succesful. There’s a commitment in the group. If there’s one thing that runs through all of Big Country’s work it’s that it’s all done with the same amount of commitment and excitement and genuine feeling. People identify with that. Too many people go far too low as a common denominator and think of ‘the kids’ as some mass of mindless morons. There’s a responsibility to create music that’s worthwhile and lasting and invokes a sense of involvement in the real world rather than some fictitious desert island… (pause) But then again, it’s only bloody pop music…”

He hasn’t been worrying whether he’s trendy or not
“The first band I ever went to see was Led Zeppelin. It was at the Caird Hall in Dundee in 1972. They’re a bit trendier now but it wasn’t easy to explain that 10 years ago in the heady days of punk. Things always go in cycles, don’t they?  Maybe in 10 years Big Country will be trendy. Do I want to be trendy? I’m not really fussed. We’re trendy in my house and that’s what matters!”

He’s had another baby
“My daughter was born last year, just before I began work on ‘The Seer’. There’s a lot of work in the house when there are two children to be brought up. Am I domesticated? I don’t know – you’d better ask Sandra (i.e. Mrs. Adamson) about that.”

He’s been fishing
“Yeah, I’m heavily into fly fishing…”

…And he’s been riding around on motorbikes
“Yes. And I’ve been sponsoring the Big Country Motorcycle Racing Team which did very well this year. One guy finished fourth in the National 1300 Production Championship and another guy won the MCA Production Championship which was splendid. I try to ride when I can. Do I ever fall off? Falling off is part of it. I’ve been in a couple of accidents but they’ve never been anything major. i was coming down to do Pop Quiz one day and it was wet and I was late for my plane. i came off going round this corner – I was leaning too far. i had a few stitches in my arm. I’ve never been seriously maimed though.”

He’s turned down a position on the board of Dunfermline Athletic
Football Club

“They offered me it which was really nice but if I was going to do it I’d have to do it properly or not at all. So I had to pass on it, but at least it’s made me friendly with a few people in the club. It was nice to be asked to help but I’m not into half-doing things. It’s good to see that they’re doing so well though: they’re at the top off Division One in Scotland and if they carry on the way they’re doing they’ll be in the Premier League next year. I always try to go if I’m at home; I’ve seen five matches so far this season. I’m not really interested in football though because of the ‘Eeeh ver lads!’ – that terrace thug’s idea of football. I actually enjoy watching the game. I think it’s a splendid sport.”

He’s been recording a film soundtrack
“It took me up to the end of March last year to finish the score for this new film Restless Natives. We had a few arguments with the director and stuff because I’d written almost two hours of completely original music but they wanted to put on all this older Big Country stuff. I was going ‘Look, I’ve written this stuff and it goes much better with what you’re trying to do,’ but it caused at bit of hassle at the time. the film suffered from it as well, but I like the finished product. The script is excellent.”

He’s grumpy in the mornings
“I’m a terrible man in the morning. I’m appalling. If I get up early enough it’s OK – about 7 o’clock. Otherwise I’m the most crabby so-and-so you’ve ever met in your life. Everyone who knows me will verify that. i’m absolutely hopeless.”

He’s been reading poems by a bloke called Hugh
MacDiarmid

“He’s a Scottish poet, or he was a Scottish poet: he died a few years ago – and he was also a founder member of the Scottish National Party. Reading his poems gave me the idea for ‘The Seer’. He had this idea for a Scotland that was modern and vital and outward-looking and not one
that was just a sentimental picture of clans, whisky and bagpipes – a country that was part of the world. I don’t think I can ever put things as well as he did…”

He hasn’t been eaten by a shark
“No. The closest I’ve ever been was in Miami and that wasn’t very close at all. The story got blown up a bit. It was quite amusing. We were on the beach at Fort Lauderdale and suddenly the coastguards began hollering for everyone to get out of the water quick. I was miles out at sea. You know that feeling you get when you’re swimming in the sea and you think ‘My God! Is there something underneath?’ I was crapping myself.”

He’s been listening to records
“I’m currently into The Smiths. I think that ‘The Queen Is Dead’ album is a masterpiece. I think Morissey’s lyrics are amazing. The way he gets his ideas across is splendid. I always liked Johnny Marr’s playing but I could never get to grips with Morissey – but that album’s really hot…”

He’s been watching the news on telly
“Yes, I’m an inveterate news watcher.”

He’s been having trouble with his ticklish eyelashes
“I’ve got these devilishly ticklish eyelashes. It’s hell when I’m being made up for photo sessions.” (Make up artist who’s making him up for Smash Hits photo session: “Really? I’ve never met anyone with ticklish eyelashes before.”)

He’s released a new single, “Hold The Heart”
“It must have been almost a year and a half ago that I wrote it. It was the third song that I wrote for the LP. I remember thinking I wanted to write a very ballady song, something that people would never think of as a Big Country song, a very direct boy/girl lost and found song.”

And now he’s off on tour again!
“I never get tired of the actual physical act of going on stage. I don’t think we’ve ever played so well as a group as we have this year. But the travelling is a bit of a bind after a while and I do get very homesick. I’m too old for all that travelling around. What do you mean I’m not supposed to say that? I thought I was allowed to say what I liked. I thought I was in a position of infinite power, I thought I was blessed with God-like powers… That’s what it says in the guidebook to being a pop star…”

Stuart Adamson Interview with “Smash Hits”

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