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PIOT notes by Tony / Bruce | Liner Notes by David Millar
Liner Notes by David Sinclair | NPLH notes by Stuart / Tony

Much more than miles between Moscow and Los Angeles, Snapshot L.A. Space. Space to play, space for big ideas. Room for big cars, big homes, big people. California dreaming. I recognise this from movies. Anything you want on a stick coming right up sir. Thank you. I’ll have a motorbike, a surfboard, lots of sun and the weekend free. The lure of the West is very strong. Slow pan and fade to… Moscow. 1988. Gorbachev, Peristroika. A new freedom. The same security force. Endless concrete apartment blocks. Suspicion. Shortages. Money changers. Hard currency hypocrisy. All the cliches come alive. Nothing has prepared me for this. No connections. A brand new thrill. The air thick with the fear of change and the need for it. Living black and white.

You know the words but not what I’m saying. My gestures are alien, unrecognisable. I hope they’re videoing this. What a glorious futility. The last war of attrition. Levis and Coca Cola Vs. Smokin’ Joe Stalin, winner to be decided by a copout.

Brought to you by those friendly folks in lumpy suits. Well, at least it made the papers for a week.

-Stuart Adamson


PIOT notes by Stuart / Bruce | Liner Notes by David Millar
Liner Notes by David Sinclair | NPLH notes by Stuart / Tony

This album bears many similarities to the piece of paper that Neville Chamberlain waved around for all to see, declaring his successful appeasement of Herr Hitler, spawning this well known phrase. This album was 'waved' around like it was going to be the big world breaking success, echoing the same sentiments. Mr Chamberlain was later to be found wanting, and so were we.

I'm pleased that this albums' core was anti war. I loved the songs but found the mixes to be as limp as Chamberlains wrist.

The title track is as anthemic as we ever were, but the sentiment is still a distant concept.




PIOT notes by Stuart / Bruce | Liner Notes by David Millar
Liner Notes by David Sinclair | NPLH notes by Stuart / Tony


Nineteen eighty-eight was a year of ups and downs. Ian got us a new record deal with Reprise Records as relations with Polygram had broken down. We moved to Los Angeles to record our fourth album 'Peace In Our Time'. I got married to Sandra on a rooftop on Larrabee Street. She almost got married to Mark as the Minister (a Vincent Price look-a-like moonlighting as a man of the cloth) was partially blind and both Sandra and Mark were both partially drunk. Ian hired a Mexican Mariachi band not knowing that the record company had hired a piper to perform at the ceremony. They were both supposed to perform the Eric Clapton song 'You Look Wonderful Tonight' but the racket was unbelievable and in the end we just let them 'jam' it out. A two-tier cake was then uncovered before us and I could not believe what I was looking at. The Top Tier had a very large erect penis pointing south while the bottom half had what could only be decribed as a very dubious looking twat that had melted in the heat. Both Sandra and myself wore white while our son Bruce wore a fetching little sailor suit.

The recording of the album was a new experience for us. It was the first time we had worked with a producer who had never seen us life before (with the exception of Robin Millar, only because he was blind). Peter Wolf came to the rehearsal room with his keyboards and started ripping into the songs. We had never used keyboards in the band before, as none of us could play them. He introduced us to the synclavier, which was the latest in computer technology at the time. Also Peter would only work Monday to Friday which we found a bit of a cheek. We can usually have an album wrapped up in six weeks. This took four months and what with the renting of the synclavier, outboard gear, studio time, backing musicians, apartments and cars it proved to be one of our costlier adventures. Looking back I guess we were just being good boys and doing anything that was asked of us because of the new deal. We had signed with Mo Ostin Lenny Waronker.

At that time in Los Angeles, Heavy Metal was making a comeback and we used to hang out on the strip with our pals from 'Balaam and the Angel', 'The Cult' and 'The Stranglers'. We were all recording at different studios in town and used to meet up later on at the 'Roxy' or the 'Rainbow' or if we wanted a serious laugh, 'Gazzari's'. Most weekends were spent at the Comedy store next door to the Hyatt. We would watch Sam Kinnison go through his routine to a full house as well as catch up on young comics trying out some new material; some of them were brilliant. One guy whose name escapes me went on and on about the dangers of eating muesli. He would describe in full detail how he felt like he was passing a wicker work chair or a straw hat out of his back passage.

I seem to remember the amount of hair we were all growing, with the exception of Stuart (who woul go on to dabble in the hairdressing business in later life). Tony, Mark and myself grew our hair to extraordinary lengths. I attempted to get mine cut first. I ventured into a barbershop on Santa Monica Boulevard and came across a young 'stylist' called Troy (dead give away) who was going to charge me $200 more than the usual £5 that I normally pay so he was given the 'bums rush' immediately. When I want some one to cut my hair I want their eyes transfixed to my head, not my arse.

Bruce Watson


PIOT notes by Stuart / Tony / Bruce | Liner Notes by David Sinclair
NPLH notes by Stuart / Tony | Credits

Piece by David Millar for TLN
Photographs by Kane Rutherford


The KGB men had never seen anything quite like it. Half a dozen TV crews and 250 music journalists were rushing around Red Square with little regard for the sanctity of the Soviet Union's political heartland.

As Mikhail Gorbachov's motorcade sped into the Kremlin for a historic meeting of the Politburo, Moscow was about to discover for the first time what Western rock music is all about.

The journalists and TV crews had flown into Moscow the night before to witness Big Country as they made history by playing in Moscow without the support of the Kremlin. Never before had a Western band performed in the Soviet Union without full government approval. And unlike Elton John and Billy Joel before them, Big Country hoped to achieve more than mere record sales by playing in Moscow.

The band's Peace In Our Time tour of Moscow showed that glasnost is having a dramatic effect on Soviet Society. Only a few months ago Big Country could never have hoped to play in Moscow without the direct approval of government chiefs. Early in 1988, the band approached the Soviet Embassy in London to request official per mission for the tour. The request was flatly refused. For a time it seemed unlikely that Big Country would ever be able to perform within the Soviet Union. But frontman Stuart Adamson approached Russian rock impresario Stasnamin and asked him to organise the tour without the support of the government. Statsnamin, a hugely successful rock star in the Soviet Union, was able to use his influence within the Russian music industry to organise the tour independently of the authorities.

And so the KGB men found themselves keeping a watchful eye on hordes of British journalists as they left their hotel on Red Square for the Palace of Sport stadium where Big Country were to play the first in five concerts in Moscow.

The Palace of Sport is a vast ice rink more accustomed to housing ice hockey matches than rock concerts. The Stadium's power supply was unable to cope with the demands made on it by Big Country's equipment.

Only five minutes into the band's set a power cut silenced Stuart Adamson's electric guitar and microphone. It took almost an hour for the power supply to be restored, by which time many of the audience had left leaving behind them only a few hundred die-hard fans.

"We have paid a lot of money to come here and see Big Country play" said Pyeter Krylov, a soldier in the audience. "It's bad that we have to wait a long time for music."

After the concert I caught up with Stuart Adamson and asked him why the band had decided to play in Moscow in the first place.

"We first became interested in East-West relations at the time of the Rekjavic summit" said Stuart.

"We hope to have broken down political barriers by playing here. But even if we have achieved nothing, just looking into those kids' eyes and knowing that we've made contact is enough."

So Just what did the audience thing of the gig?

Tanya Saitova, an English student, was unimpressed by the concert itself but shared Big Country's concern for world peace.

"The concerts the band are giving in Moscow can only help in the course of peace. Now more and more bands from the West will come to the Soviet Union. I greet it and find it good," said Tanya.

The 'Peace In Our Time' Tour was sponsored by Tennents Live!, and by sponsoring the tour they hope to have encouraged young bands from the UK to tour in the Soviet Union.

Tennents Live! Project Manager Jim O'Toole explained:"Tennents Live! is delighted to be involved in a unique event exporting an essentially Scottish music to a unique audience.

"We would be very happy if in a few years time some of the merging bands which are a key element of Tennents Live! will be able to undertake a similar tour of the Soviet Union."

My lasting memory of Moscow won't be of the dazzling spires of St Basil's cathedral or even the media circus, which surrounded Big Country everywhere, they went. What I will remember will be the people - the Muscovites. For me one small incident changed my whole attitude to the Soviet Union.

My guide gave me a postcard on which she had written: "I wish Moscow will stay in your heart forever. It will always be open for you if you try a little to like it."


PIOT notes by Stuart / Tony / Bruce | Liner Notes by David Millar
NPLH notes by Stuart / Tony | Credits

What do you do when you are a group that has created one of the truly distinctive sounds in rock and been at the top of your profession for eight years? For Big Country the answer is to take the romantic character and unshakeable integrity that lies at the core of your work, and move on.

For too long the emotionally charged essence of Big Country's music has been obscured by lazy and cliched talk of bagpipe guitars and checked-shirt rock. the application of an American mainstream production gloss to their last album, "Peace In Our Time", was a move which singer and guitarist Stuart Adamson now accepts as being "at a tangent to the plot". The accompanying pilgrimage to Moscow, in the peace-making spirit of glasnost and the unforgiving glare of the Western Media, was both exhilarating and exhausting.

In the wake of that momentous adventure a new Big Country has emerged. In July 1989 drummer Mark Brzezicki departed for the shadowy pastures of the session world. The remaining three members of Big Country - Stuart Adamson, Tony Butler (bass, backing vocals) and Bruce Watson (guitar) - closed ranks and, inevitably revised working practices.

With Brezezicki now in the role of session drummer on "No Place Like Home" the intricate mosaic of syncopations and galloping tom tom tattoos that was such a recognisable feature of the old Big Country sound has gone. In its place a more conventional set of rhythmic patters is sketched with new vigour from a palette of bold primary colours.

The howling slide guitar which graces the opening bars of "Republican Party Reptile" - more dustbowl blues than highland fling - sets the tone for a collection that quarries deep into the rock face and taps into the traditions of country, folk and southern blues with an authority that transcends the dictates of either formula or fashion.

"I grew up playing R' n 'B music", Adamson says, recalling the days before the Skids when he was a 15 year old apprentice in Dunfermline based covers group Tattoo. "So it's still completely natural for me to play it now".

Big Country has used mandolins and acoustic guitars before, but the banjo and honky tonk piano which contributes to the mellow celtic-country swing of "Beautiful People" is undoubtably a first.

With its crisp, open-ended production, "No Place Like Home" is an album of bountiful extremes, encompassing the simple voice-and-piano ballad of "Ships", the belting instrumental coda of "Into The Fire" and the mounting paranoia of the Middle Eastern scnario of "The Hostage Speaks", with its grainy, dessert-baked rift and neurotic wah wah embellishments.

"We're trying to do traditional things in a contemporary style", is how Adamson sums the album up. "It's a new chapter, but for me it's always been about writing songs that make a difference in people's lives, songs that connect with people. There's no master plan. this is what we do now".

-David Sinclair July 1991


PIOT notes by Stuart / Tony / Bruce | Liner Notes by David Millar
Liner Notes by David Sinclair | NPLH notes by Tony

It was all too much for Dorothy. Too much for anyone really. She was in a world of hurt. Toto was rabid, the Tin Man was all out of trees and the lion was making big bucks at Disney. Meanwhile the Witch of the West had gone off with the Scarecrow to law school and Aunt Em was waiting tables at Buffy’s Burlesque (“Best Breasts West of the River.”). Kansas just wasn’t Kansas any longer.

A lot of people tried to help her. Some of them were smart and some of them were strong and some were really only trying to help themselves. She was just about all helped out. She had gone through three pairs of ruby slippers, clicking those heels like a barroom door in the dustbowl. What she really needed was that tornado to come along and just blow the heck out of everything. Smack that old house somewhere brand new and take it from there.

Deep down inside though, in the small of the night, she knew it wasn’t Kansas or all that other stuff, it was just Dorothy and that no matter where she went or what she did, that’s how it would always be and, most times, that would be just about fine.

-Stuart Adamson


PIOT notes by Stuart / Tony / Bruce | Liner Notes by David Millar
Liner Notes by David Sinclair | NPLH notes by Stuart

"Boom goes the world of the Dynamite Lady " (Stuart Adamson)
We have all felt like this over the past 18 months or so.
I remember liking that song from the day we began recording it. It filled me with gloom then, even more now. The whole recording experience of that album was frought with difficulties and uncertainties, courtesy of a few people from the record company, who thought they knew better. We even lost keyboard player richie close, rip.
I do like this album, I just didn't enjoy the time.



PIOT notes by Stuart / Tony / Bruce | Liner Notes by David Millar
Liner Notes by David Sinclair | NPLH notes by Stuart / Tony

Photos: Terry O'Neill, Denis O'Regan, Peter Anderson

Original Artwork: Paul Harrison (PIOT), Zarkowski Design (NPLH)

Graphic Design: Ra (This release)

Management: Ian Grant Management