A Sweet and sour 55 year career for Andy Scott

The Sweet today
The Sweet today

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a sprinkle of glam rock fairy dust.

And while The Sweet didn’t record a yuletide classic like Slade or Wizzard, no festive party over Christmas and new Year would be complete without Ballroom Blitz or Teenager Rampage.

Can it really be half a century since the pre-glam incarnation of The Sweet threw their first chord shapes, and 45 years since ’Blockbuster’ saw the band in their pomp top the UK charts?

What’s more, it’s been 55 years since guitarist Andy Scott’s first gig, in hometown Wrexham’s St Peter’s Hall with The Rasjaks, November 1963.

But he has stronger memories of New Year’s Eve that year.

“Little did they know we were so inexperienced we hardly had enough material, just half a dozen instrumentals, half a dozen vocal songs. Barely enough for 45 minutes, let alone four hours.

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“When we got there, the mic wouldn’t work and we ended up playing the instrumentals twice.

“During a break this guy came up as we were about to launch into the same songs a third time, saying, ‘How much you getting paid?’ We told him £1.50 or £2. He said, ‘If I give you a quid, will you not play anymore?’”

He was ‘barely 15’ then, but within three years was supporting The Jimi Hendrix Experience in Manchester in January ‘67.

“We’d do this gig at the CIS building, above a Burton’s, New Century Hall. A soul night every Thursday. Hendrix was just having a hit with ‘Hey Joe’. The week before they had The Drifters and before that The Four Tops.

“Then Hendrix comes on, almost kills half the audience stone-dead.

“I’m in absolute raptures, thinking, ‘This is fantastic!’ But the hall half-emptied.

“The singer and I decided there and then our band, the Silver Stones, were no more, long live whatever band we’re going to form.”

Andy’s Sweet debut, after formative spells in The Elastic Band and The Scaffold – also including Paul McCartney’s brother Mike McCartney (stage name Mike McGear) and Roger McGough – was in Redcar in September 1970.

“With The Elastic Band in the late ‘60s, we bumped into Sweet on the road. We were doing a BBC session live in some coastal resort and they came along with one of their early singles.

“They had a couple that got played a lot on the radio. Then my band’s lead singer left to join The Love Affair, so my brother and I joined a band down in London, and within six months I was in Sweet.”

All these years on, Andy’s out with his latest Sweet line-up, as bass player Steve Priest is with his own, celebrating an outfit synonymous with glam-rock that managed 10 memorable top-10s from 1971/78.

It’s been 40 years since troubled vocalist Brian Connolly quit the band, and 21 years since he died, way too young, the same going for Mick Tucker, in 2002 from leukemia.

The Sweet’s December 2018 dates include visits to Blackburn King George’s Hall Windsor Suite (Saturday, December 8) and Warrington Parr Hall (Friday, December 21).