Big Country Info Big Country Info



(jump to: Credits)

You could not make this stuff up. The journey over the last twenty-five years has been like the flight of a bumblebee, not just up and down, but that, in theory it should never have flown, but it did. Who would have thought that two guys from the south of England would meet up with two Scotsman from the north, an unlikely partnership? It was the common denominator in all that we did, from an entirely unique sound that only in hind sight would we be called ground breaking. 

As a guitar band in the early eighties, we were always against the odds, as most bands then were heavily keyboard orientated. We all knew that we had something very special, a certain chemistry, producing a sound and a style of song writing that was so very different as to what was around at that time, and 25 years on, I am still able to say the same. Although we never reached the dizzy heights of the likes of U2 and other bands of that period, we can still hold our heads high and proud, as we never ever sold out to the industry that was so demanding of us. We could only survive by being our selves creatively and musically. We always meant 100 % in every thing we did, from the writing, and the recordings, down to every live show we would play. With us, each show felt like the first, with passion and honesty, giving every thing we've had at every level. In a way we were our worst enemies, if a song took too long to develop, we moved on, only allowing the gut feeling and instinct guide this band. We could only work at the speed the chemistry would allow to happen. For good or for bad, this was the unwritten guiding light that we followed. I never thought that 25 years on, we would still have the passionate and loyal following now spanning different generations that I see not only on the internet, but at the shows. For us, it is the reaction to the music and the connection with the audience that makes us one. Without that, there is no future. As with every unpredictable and fragile step in this band, we never thought there would be any more Big Country after the tragic loss of Stuart. For six of more years we all drifted into different areas of work that life dictated. I was fortunate enough to be able to keep my drumming active with Procol Harum and session work. It is only when some thing is taken away that you realise what is missing. 

I had been asked to work on an album with Fish. Bruce had co written the songs with him and I was very pleased to be working with Bruce again. Bruce had developed into an amazing player. I had never really heard him in this capacity outside Big Country. His song writing was so strong and so very Bruce Watson. 

I wondered, what if those songs had been directed into Big Country. Bruce had come of age through pure survival and if you like, singing for his supper. Stuart would be so proud of him. As I drove up to Scotland with drums, the beautiful Scottish landscape bought back so many memories for me. It was a turning point for me, as I new that, if only we could carry on the journey as Big Country with the same passion and spirit Stuart would have of expected of us. Although the idea was obvious, life had thrown us on different career paths. 

Tony was now a music teacher and was on a very different journey. So I just put those thoughts of a get together down to dreaming. Although I tried a few projects with Bruce, nothing would come close to the thought of it becoming Big Country again. Tony had invited me to his party in Cornwall. He performed with his family and his music students and he totally blew me away. His family was not only extremely talented, but I was watching one of the finest bass players in the country. Tony invited me up play "In a Big Country", and for me, that is when both Tony and myself knew we needed to work with Bruce together as a three piece again. As chance would have it, there were some encouraging threads on the BC message board and a slow ground swell of hopes built on the twenty fifth anniversary, this was certainly helping fan the flmaes of a reunion or at least the first goal post in stepping stones of reforming Big Country. 

We met up in Scotland for a bit of a play; just to get into the zone again. At that point, we all new that it felt instinctively right to work together again. 

New song ideas were flowing, Bruce had worked hard on his guitar parts, brilliantly to cover the old BC songs, and Tony had come of age as the lead singer. For me, you could never replace Stuart, so it was best to let the band evolve and find its feet from within rather than look outside BC for any replacement. With a few live shows now under our belt and half of a new BC album written and the new live album. 

We can all start dreaming again. 

I'll count you in,
Mark Brzezicki. September 2007

I never once thought about playing with Tony and Mark under the Big Country banner until I started seeing threads on websites and emails from fans. It's Big Country's 25th Anniversary this year and the web is full of will they/won't they scenario's. At first I tended to ignore them. Then they got more frequent. Mark and I had collaborated on a couple of projects since BC folded and Tony was teaching and releasing his work via the web. The 3 of us have always been close and we did discuss the idea a couple of times. Earlier this year, I was actually in the middle of working on the Skids 30th Anniversary concerts and had added 3 extra musicians to the band to get the sounds I had in my head which was basically to capture the sound of their first 3 beautiful albums. With BC it was always "love to see the guys up there, but who will sing, who will play guitar, who will write new songs, if indeed they do write new songs". No one had any confidence in the 3 of us doing anything by ourselves. People made comparisons to Inxs and Queen. Tony called me and said he had circumstance changes in his life and would love to take on vocal duties. Mark was well up for it and was positive on all aspects of the project. Mark is a great motivator when he is on board and gives you confidence to shine. He would make a great captain of a ship, so, Mark, buy a boat. With the Skids I had the luxury of my son playing guitar with me. For weeks we analysed Stuart's guitar parts on those 3 albums. I basically learned Stuart's main parts and told Jamie to look at the overdub parts, which I came to call "the Mick Ronson bits". Eventually we had the parts sorted out so they sounded just like the record. With BC songs, both Mark and Tony said why don't you play both parts, that way the band is still the original line up. Well all I can say is, I've spent the past 4 months learning Stuart's guitar on both Skids and Big Country. I have also had to re-learn my own parts and incorporate both guitars. What a beautiful jigsaw puzzle it has been! Now the plot has thickened as we have started writing again at rehearsals, 5 tracks in the bag with more to follow, that's nearly an album. Don't know what the future holds for Big Country but in 2007 we are having a ball celebrating our 25th Anniversary as a band. 

The highlight for me so far is playing on my hero's boat. The Thekla used to belong to Viv Stanshall from the Bonzo's and he lived on it for a period of time. I used to love listening to the tales of Sir Henry and Rawlinson End on the John Peel show in the 70's. They broke the mould when they made Viv. 

Anyway, back to the future. Thanks to all BC fans who have travelled from the 4 corners of the globe to see us perfom. 

Wait a minute, globes don't have corners, what a stupid saying. 

Anyway, you know what I mean. 

All the Best 

Bruce Watson

It would have been the stuff of fairy tales if we, Big Country, could have celebrated 25 years of being together, as the line-up that first played together in the basement studios of Phonogram Records. After Stuarts passing, I firmly believed that the band would, and could, never play again. Turning my back on the music business, I consigned former glories, memories and collected paraphernalia to the darkest places I could find. To find Bruce, Mark and myself playing again, writing, recording and having fun doing it, was something I never thought would happen. I know we have all had to find the courage to do this and we are spurred on because we feel that this is a fitting tribute to our lost friend. 

Although the last 6 of those 25 years were barren and silent, it was still a part of the story. Being in this group was (and is) a human experience and it has taken us all this time, to be able to do what is represented in this live recording. 

I have cast light on those boxes filled with paraphernalia and memories, and girded myself to join Bruce and Mark to celebrate those former glories and, I hope, done Stuart proud. 

Tony Butler. September 2007

I had been successful with The Stranglers and other artists prior to being with Big Country and since, but nothing compares to working with these guys. My thoughts and memories are same and different compared to Tony, Bruce and Mark. I thank them and Stuart for asking me to manage them, remaining loyal and for writing some great music I have always been proud of representing. I would have never scripted the beginnings, the journey of the intial end of the band in 2000 let alone Stuart's sad passing. All that has happened has been one big learning curve on a journey laden with life experiences most people never encounter. Its great to be working with the chaps again and I know for sure, Stuart would be only too pleased to see his mates getting it on one more time. A BIG personal thanks to all the bands fans who have enabled the journey to take place. 

Ian Grant. October 2007



(jump to: Liner Notes)

Big Country are -
Mark Brzezicki - Drums & Vocals
Tony Butler - Bass Guitar & Vocals
Bruce Watson - Guitar & Vocals.

Driving To Damascus (Adamson. Brzezicki. Watson) **
Look Away (Adamson) *
The Teacher (Adamson) *
Fragile Thing (Adamson, Watson) **
Wonderland (Adamson, Butler, Brzezicki, Watson) *
Alone (Adamson) *
Restless Natives (Adamson) *
Fields Of Fire (Adamson, Butler, Brzezicki, Watson) *
You Lift Me Up (Butler. Brzezicki. Watson) ***
Chance (Adamson, Butler, Brzezicki, Watson) *
In A Big Country (Adamson, Butler, Brzezicki, Watson) *

*EMI Music Ltd | ** Track Music Ltd | *** Copyright Control
All Rights of the producer and copyright owner reserved. Unauthorized copying, re-recording broadcasting, public performance or rental of this recording in whatever manner is strictly prohibited. In the UK apply for public performance and broadcast licenses to:     
Phonographic Performance Limited, 1 Upper James Street, London W1F 9DE       
Ⓟ2007 Mark Brzezicki, Tony Butler, Bruce Watson, Ian Grant      
©2007 Mark Brzezicki, Tony Butler, Bruce Watson, Ian Grant      

Recorded live at The Thekla in Bristol on August 18th 2007
Mixed and mastered by Pete Brown Management - Ian Grant
Tour Crew:
Tour Manager - Willie Tocher
Stage Crew - Alan Morrison & Jamie Watson Front of house sound - John Ramsay Merchandiser - Debbie Grant
Photos - Kirsty Grant Art and design - Ra
Thanks to - Derek Haggar, Mike Wheeler, Chris McCarron, Tina at Zildjian and Mark Decloedt at Pearl Drums, George, Anton & all staff at The Thekla.