Big Country Info Big Country Info


6 May 2016

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Special guest: former Country Club editor Martin Warner (formerly Sumers).

Part 1: Tom and Svein discuss Country Club magazine

  • Tom & Svein share their individual Country Club experiences & first impressions.
  • Svein’s Country Club experience.
  • How the emergence of internet affected the old-school fan clubs, newsletters and fanzines.
  • Tom’s column in CC: “The Yankee Speaks”.
  • Svein talks about the fan club he was a member of (Manowar) and the pitiful package he received from them, as well as the one he was nearly drafted into co-running (the Norwegian KISS fan club). No fond memories of either experience.
  • Country Club’s continued usefulness as a point of reference.

Part 2: Martin is welcomed to the show to share his memories of the Country Club years

  • Martin’s background and how he first started out as a fan of Skids.
  • Early Big Country gig memories.
  • Early encounters with Stuart in the Skids days, and into the Big Country era.
  • Perceptions on Stuart’s departure from Skids, and general reactions.
  • Meeting Jackie who made the first couple of issues, and how Martin ended up taking over the reins.
  • How Martin introduced himself to the fans, and stories of subsequently meeting them at gigs etc.
  • What directions on how to run the club did Martin get from Ian Grant, etc?
  • Martin’s memories of joining the band in the studio, meeting with Steve Lillywhite, and how he ended up being the first person in the world to hear the finished 12’’ version of Fields of Fire – before the band!
  • Big Country appearing on Top of the Pops for the first time.
  • Big Country being invited to play on the last three dates of U2’s “War” tour of UK.
  • Where was the club located? How was the day-to-day running organized? How was incoming mail managed?
  • Stories involving particularly memorable fan mail.
  • Seeing the band taking off in a big way – the incredible wave that was 1983.
  • International fans, and receiving waves of letters from new markets as the band broke through there. How did those letters differ from UK letters, if at all?
  • Memories/anecdotes about each band member from those times.
  • How did Martin end up waking up in his bed located in a hotel lift, with his face full of make-up? (Tip: ask Bruce.)
  • Interviewing other bands for Country Club, and in particular Motörhead. How did it happen, and why did these other bands end up in a Big Country fan club magazine?
  • Memories from TV tapings – including how the band smuggled Martin into the “Top of the Pops” TV studio.
  • Martin explains the band’s (in)ability to mime well in the beginning.
  • The Student Union gig with the generous guest list.
  • The story of Martin’s first exposure to “Tracks of my Tears.”
  • The end of Martin’s tenure with Country Club.
  • Martin’s overall feelings about his time with the band, and his views on the band after he left all the way up to today.
  • Final quote: Steve Lillywhite’s comments about Big Country as a band, and Bruce in particular as a guitar player.
  • Before leaving, Martin makes the podcast hosts reveal their top three Big Country songs.