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Eighties chart band Big Country to give acoustic twist to hits at Fairkytes Live

PUBLISHED: 15:00 12 August 2017

Big Country in Moscow in the 1980s. Left to right; Mark Brzezicki, Tony Butler, Stuart Adamson and Bruce Watson. Picture: PA/PA Archive/PA Images

Big Country in Moscow in the 1980s. Left to right; Mark Brzezicki, Tony Butler, Stuart Adamson and Bruce Watson. Picture: PA/PA Archive/PA Images

PA/PA Archive/PA Images

Scottish rock band Big Country, who created hits that climbed the eighties charts both in the UK and America, is set to wow audiences in Havering once again.

Rock band Big Country will play an acoustic set at Fairkytes Live. Picture: Dave HillRock band Big Country will play an acoustic set at Fairkytes Live. Picture: Dave Hill

The band will grace the stage at Fairkytes Live, Billet Lane, Hornchurch, on Friday, August 18.

The Recorder caught up with founding member, drummer Mark Brzezicki, who shared how An Audience with Big Country Up Close and Personal will add a new twist to classic hits.

“It’s an acoustic set,” he said.

“We like to vary [the sound]. It isn’t about the size of the venue. Lots of bands have done it and we have done it a few times.

“You can hear the songs in an intimate way. It’s more vulnerable. It’s all very exposed.

“It’s great because that’s what the punters want to see, the human side of the band and a different take. We love doing it.

Drummer Mark Brzezicki. Picture: Dave HillDrummer Mark Brzezicki. Picture: Dave Hill

“It’s very good for the audience, they will get a very special show.”

Big Country formed in 1981, and were comprised of vocalist and keyboardist Stuart Adamson, guitarist Bruce Watson, Tony Butler who played bass guitar and sang, and drummer Mark.

“People think we were a Scottish band but only Stuart and Bruce grew up in Scotland from an early age. Tony and I were from London,” continued Mark.

“Stuart was looking for a young drummer and bass player that were great to form the rhythm section [of a new band].”

The rest, as they say, is history.

One of Big Country’s most successful albums was 1983’s The Crossing which contained hits Harvest Home, Fields of Fire (400 Miles), and In A Big Country.

Big Country will play Fairkytes Live. Picture: Dave HillBig Country will play Fairkytes Live. Picture: Dave Hill

“We did really well with that [album],” continued Mark.

“It led the way to Steeltown, a number one album.”

There have been many highs in the band’s career which have seen them achieve cult status.

During the eighties and with a massive hit on their hands, Big Country performed at the Grammy Awards and Saturday Night Live (SNL) – a late-night sketch comedy and variety show.

“Being in America was very special,” added Mark.

“We were Grammy nominated.

“We flew out to the Michael Jackson Theatre on Concorde. It was amazing. We were nominated for best new band and best new single.”

But they lost out to Culture Club. “The fact that we were nominated still makes me proud,” he continued.

Big Country also featured on the b-side of 1984’s Band Aid single Do They Know It’s Christmas.

“We have unfinished business in America. We were known as a one-hit wonder.”

The band tried to emulate their initial success achieved across the pond, but found it hard to do so, and subsequent albums and singles failed to do as well.

“We didn’t tour enough. U2, Tears For Fears, they stayed – we didn’t for personal reasons. Everyone was married in the band. For Stuart Adamson, it was a really hard thing for him, being away from his wife and children.”

Sadly, following years of mental and emotional health issues, Stuart was found dead in a hotel room in Honolulu, Hawaii in 2001.

“The impact was massive,” added Mark.

“It was like losing your brother. We are a family. We have never got over that. He was a unique singer.”

But the band continue with Mark, Bruce Watson and his son Jamie on guitar, Simon Hough on vocals and Scott Whitley on bass.

“We released our album The Journey five years ago and have a cult following now.”

Mark looks forward to playing songs old and new to Fairkytes Live audience.

“If you like good music, you will love the band. We have greatly written songs you can sing along to and the musicianship is great,” he added.

For tickets visit seetickets.com/event/big-country-up-close-and-personal/fairkytes-arts-centre/1122850

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