Big Country Bassist: Fan Pressure Led To Reunion
Big Country bassist Tony Butler has told Classic Rock that it was fan pressure which has led to the band reuniting for two tours, the first time they’ve played since a short tour in 2007.
“It’s happened because so many people have asked us to do it,” he admits. “So, we decided to do a run of shows in December/January. But they sold out so fast that our management suggested we do more. Now, these days I’m a teacher, so I can only do things around academic holidays, which is why we’re going out at Easter time.”
Butler is very aware of Big Country’s legacy and is anxious not to cheapen it.
“We don’t want to do what Queen have done with Paul Rodgers. That’s a good example of doing something the wrong way. That’s why we’ve got Mike Peters (The Alarm) in to front the band, because we know he can do it in the proper manner. The last thing we want to do is be seen to fleece our legacy.
“About six years ago, I reluctantly agreed to go to a Big Country fan convention in Holland. But I remember that Mike got up and played with us, and it worked well. So, when this reunion was being out together, I spoke to Bruce (Watson, guitar) and we both felt Mike was the man for the job (of replacing late frontman Stuart Adamson). There were certain people who didn’t feel he could do the job on the big stages, but we’re not doing big places, so that doesn’t come into it.”
With Mark Brzezicki back on drums and Watson’s son Jamie augmenting the line-up on guitar, Butler feels that they can do anything from their catalogue.
“I know there are songs others might feel are close to Stuart, but as far as Mark, Bruce and I are concerned, we lived with those song as much as Stuart did, and there’s nothing that’s off limits. However, what we will stuck with are the hits and tracks we know our fans want to hear.”
What happens further down the line is still undecided, as far as Butler is concerned.
“It’s a case of sucking it and see, doing these gigs and then seeing where we stand. Right now, I can’t see a new album being something we’d go for. That’s certainly not on my horizon anyway. If we do decide to do more shows, then they’d have to fit in with my teaching commitments. My mum died around the same time as Stuart (2001) and I took the opportunity then to change my life. I went to college, got teaching qualifications, and that’s been my career now for eight years.”
But even though he has nothing to do with the music industry these days, Butler can’t escape the Big Country influence.
“Everywhere I go people want to talk about the band, and it’s always so positive. Even my students know about us. I can’t keep a low profile to save my life!”
Here are the full dates for the two Big Country tours:
Fri. 31: Glasgow ABC
Sun. 2: Dunfermline Alhambra
Mon. 3: Aberdeen Lemon Tree
Wed. 5: Newcastle O2 Academy
Thu. 6: London Islington O2 Academy
Fri. 7: Birmingham O2 Academy
Sat. 7: Liverpool O2 Academy
Fri. 8: Portsmouth Pyramids
Sat. 9: Manchester Academy 2
Sun. 10: Oxford O2 Academy
Mon.11: Cambridge Junction
Tue. 12: Norwich Waterfront
Thu. 14: Bristol O2 Academy
Fri.15: London Shepherds Bush Empire
Sat.16: Leeds O2 Academy
Sun.17: Sheffield O2 Academy
Tue. 19: Dublin Academy
Wed. 20: Belfast Spring & Airbrake
Sat. 21: Edinburgh Playhouse
Find out more at http://www.bigcountry.co.uk/