Big Country Info Big Country Info



(jump to: Credits)

This selection of material is a very small part of the work I did with Tony Butler between the years 1968 and 1980, Mark Brzezicki became involved for some three of those latter years. Known as ‘On The Air’ we were a tight upbeay outfit and as life long friends decided it would be fun to rekindle the flame, go out and do a few gigs to support the archive release, Ready For Action... . Again.

From a technical standpoint this was no easy feat as some of the master tapes had shed so much oxide during playback that they could only be run the once through copied, digitally enhanced and re-mastered to end up in this fresh form. ‘Typically English’ though by way of example, still kicks as hard as you like, as though it were only recorded yesterday. Whatever one makes of it I’m sure you will agree that we were a bloody great band back in the late seventies.

Finally, Ready Or Action Again sees the addition of two new recordings to bring the project fully up to data. On the Air are once again on the air. I hope you enjoy.

Simon, Townshend - August 2001


The name of the now legendary ON THE AIR was often quoted but its music rarely heard and, as so often in interviews, I was proud to say that Big Country’s rhythm section was formed from this unit. The band was fronted by the brilliantly talented SIMON TOWNSHEND; songwriter / vocalist / guitarists, on bass the great TONY BUTLER and myself on drums.

This was, a band I so much wanted to happen. We felt right, the chemistry, the musicianship the fact we were all great mates. My God, we were so young then, all of us teenagers. Rehearsals were fun, something to look for to. We lived and breathed this band. I suppose for me it was the first original band I had been in after spending years playing covers, and as a 3 was very exciting and demanding, as there are more holes to fill from a percussive standpoint. This gave ‘On The Air’ a raw edge and attitude that in my mind, for its time was up there with the great bands of the day - THE JAM, CLASH and POLICE.

On The Air did not just happen but grew musically from the SIMON, TOWNSHEND BAND (STB), a keyboard led (Genesis style) five piece band with Simon playing keyboards and a separate lead vocalist. Although musically advanced and for its time quite technical (maybe this music will be released soon), seemed to be getting, nowhere fast other than packing out the Golden Lion and Greyhound, pubs in Fulham, London attracting the Genesis road crew who used to hang out there (FISH would have been proud).

Things soon changed and with Simon now writing on a guitar, a tougher sound was born. We cut down to a four piece with Simon fronting the band on guitar, Tony on bass and Dave Bowles on Lead guitar. We obtained a singles deal with WEA Records and recorded two singles. During this exciting period we did our first UK tour opening up for The Skids. A few months later however, with no support or encouragement from the label and no chart action we put the band on ice. At a similar period in time, Stuart Adamson left The Skids. Tony Butler kept in contact with Stuart via Ian Grant, his manager, and the rest is history.

So, listen up and enjoy one of my favourite bands -


Cheers, Mark Brzezicki - August 2001


The memories of ones first group are like memories of ones first love affair, distant but heart

On The Air with Dave, Simon, Mark and myself was the lineup that I had in mind, was attacking the business of being successful, full on. But it was when we were a three piece I felt we were really potent.

Above all that we were friends. we grew up together. I perhaps spent more time at Simon"s house
than any own. Whether recording, jamming, rehearsing or generally getting on Betty's (Simon’s mum) nerves, it all happened at Woodgrange Avenue.

These recordings show a group searching for an identity and a bunch of young musicians
refining their individual crafts, which have developed in ways that some of you will know.

A brilliant, proud time. Oh, we were young then

Tony Butler - August 2001


It would be customary at this stage to give thanks to all our friends and family who offered their undying love and support throughout our careers in this business we call musi.. Also, to our fans (platonic groupies included) present project aside, they are always there for us in whatever our venture.

Simon would like to personally thank Janie and Ben (luvver n' bruvver), Bob Kowalski and Joe Saunders at Stir Music U.S, Dave Bowles and Jack James for their help in the retrieval and compilation of these early recordings, Ian Grant for inspiration to move on this thing, Steve Brzezicki for the use of his home studio, Tony Lowe for his amazing work on the 2 new tracks. and Martin Denis for the loan of the tape machine ;-)

Who have I forgotten? Email me:



(jump to: Liner Notes)

Another Planet
Typically English
First Time
Going For Your Guns
Jimmy Dub
Good Boys
Happy In My Horse
Funny People
Bored By You
Moving Target
Typically English (live)
Jimmy Dub (live)

Publishing - Copyright Control
Track Records clo Po Box 107
Redhill, Surrey, RH9 8YS

Distributed by Pestic Head Distribution
Unit 15 Bushell Business Estate Hithercroft
Wallingford, Oxon OX10 9DD, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1491 825029 Fax: +44 (0) 1491 826320

© On The Air (1980)
Ⓟ Fastune Ltd trading as Track Records Ltd (2001)

Additional musicians -
Dave Bowles played the head guitar on Jimmy Dub, Typically English, Going For Your Guns, Good Boys and Moving Target.

Tony Lowe played the Lead guitar on First Time and Comeback.

Live tracks recorded at
The Music Machine, London in 1980.

Another Planet, Happy In My House and Funny People recorded at Broadwick Street Studios and Olympic by Mike Pela and Phil Chapman.

Another Planet produced by Jon Astley.

Jimmy Dub recorded at Matrix, London by Nick 'Codpiece' Bradford and Johnny Burns.

Piano played by Adrian York.

Simon Townshend - Guitar/Vocals/Keyboards
Tony Butler - Bass/Backing Vocals
Mark Brzezicki - Drums and Percussion

All songs written by Simon Townshend