Big Country Info Big Country Info


23 September 2012

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Special guest: John Gouveia

About the title: we had planned to talk about the inactive years of the band between Stuart’s death & and the eventual reformation at the very end of 2010. We initially referred to this time as “the barren years” as we assumed not a lot was happening, but we found that those years were filled with projects and activities. The episode was thus christened “the non-barren barren years”.

Starting with Stuart's death - how did we deal with that, and how did it affect our listening to BC music? Fans reacted very varied, as did we.


  • Stuart's memorial service. It was recorded. Should it be released?
  • Celebration of Stuart's life. Lots of artists performing, most of them featuring Bruce Watson, with Tony, Mark and the Adamson kids often featured.
  • Bill Nelson's instrumental "For Stuart", performed at the memorial show.
  • Tony Butler - "Acoustica" CD, featuring "Dream Boy," his tribute to Stuart.
  • A Big Country Convention in Zaandam, Netherlands in December, featuring Bruce, Mark, Tony and Mike Peters.

"Normal" - live in Zaandam, the Netherlands – 14th December 2002

  • “Tall Ships Go” – live excerpt from Mark's drum clinic in Zaandam.
  • Mike's role in the set-up, seeds leading to the later line-up, from Mike & Stuart performing with U2 in 1983, to opening for them in 2000, to the Come Up Screaming, Barrowlands when Stuart wore a MP t-shirt, to Zaandam.
  • John's memories of meeting the band for the first time after the Zaandam gig.


  • Dead Man Walking - Mike, Bruce, Glen Matlock & Slim Jim.
  • Mike & Bruce performed acoustically during Alarmstock during the summer, billed as "The Alarm VS BC."

"Never Take Your Place" – Mike Peters and Bruce Watson, live at Alarmstock – 24th August 2003


  • The 2nd BC Convention post-2001, in Dublin, fest. Casbah Club (Bruce & Mark with Josh Phillips, JJ Gilmore, Bruce Foxton) - Simon Townshend replaced JJ and Josh in 2005 as a four-piece.

"Seven Waves" by Casbah Club – live at the Glasgow Garage – 14th April 2004 (show released on CD as “Eastworld”)

  • “Anyway She Moves” (excerpt) by Casbah Club, including the "Fields of Fire"-like solo.
  • Bruce was involved in the "Fields of Crows"-album by Fish. He played on it (as did Mark!), co-wrote most of the material, and played on the following European tour.
  • “The Rookie” (excerpt) – from Fish’s album "Fields of Crows."
  • Big Country Convention in December 2004, still based around Casbah Club as main act. Notable things: Jamie appearing live with Bruce for the first time, and the BBW line-up performing as a three-piece unit for the first time. Just a few songs, notably including "One In A Million"!


  • Tony Butler releases his second solo album “Life Goes On.”
  • “Not Supposed To Love You” (excerpt) – from "Life Goes On," including song background.


  • Four Good Men emerges, including Bruce, Derek Forbes & Mick McNeil.
  • Tom & John first met during the 4GM tour of America. Memories of the show & evening.
  • “Heart of Wonder” (excerpt) – Four Good Men.


  • The 30th Anniversary of The Skids - two shows in summer, with Bruce & Jamie on guitar.
  • John talks about Jamie's growth as a guitar player in just six months.

"The Olympian" – the Skids, live at T in The Park – 7 July 2007

  • The use of "The Saints Are Coming" as a football anthem in New Orleans post-Katrina.
  • “The Saints Are Coming” (excerpt) – cover version by U2 and Green Day.
  • The Skids back-up singing ladies. John & Tom praise them, while Svein is silent.
  • The 25th Anniversary tour of Big Country, with Tony, Mark and Bruce, just two weeks after The Skids shows.
  • Comments from TMB from the live album liner notes.
  • Reworking songs to fit a 3 piece - clearly more an experiment and a celebration than the next Big Country proper live album.

"The Teacher" – live version from "25 Live" album

  • The lead vocal role in BC.


  • BBW release the "In Our Name" EP.
    • The liner notes from Mark, Tony, Bruce – ranging from wildly enthusiastic to more cryptic about the future.
    • Discussing style of material, level of progressiveness, the songs, the vocals, favourite songs.
    • Mark's backing vocals.


  • Bruce & Jamie Watson releases.
    • The Portastudio Diaries.
    • Live shows – and live albums!

"Angle Park" – live version by Bruce & Jamie from their "Live at Lathones" CD.


  • More activity from Bruce & Jamie Watson.

The end of the "barren years" approaching... planets are aligning… a band is reforming... going into next episode.