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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS
by Andy 22.12.2008
Firstly, I would like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. The sentiment is there even if the practice is harder to come by. I am not sure what has happened to Christmas and am also sure that I am not alone in this. Put the religious aspect to one side and all that is left is iconic commercialism and a fair amount of over-indulgence. This is not meant to be criticism but I do feel that with age I have joined the “You won’t fool me again” society. I look at the world today and I just don’t buy it anymore, so the unstoppable force that is Christmas happens around me.

There are reasons for my lack of enthusiasm - I have lost so many of my lovely family at this time of the year. We get older and winter heralds bad tidings so my view is now naturally clouded. I am also aware that I am not alone in this either.

When I was young I loved Christmas, the house full of family, everyone singing their party-piece, all ages all together. There was a respect for our elders that is missing today. My family has a strong bond and a religious upbringing but not overly so. We sang in the church choirs and because of the high voices were called in for many Christmas services in many places across North Wales. I eventually grew out of religion and found a new one in music and from there I guess many normal aspects of life, including Christmas, slowly diminished.

With progress comes change and as we know not all change is good. Christmas is now a time for contemplation and keeping in touch, if nothing else. When I get together with what family I have left, the conversation usually ends up in the past because life was good then. We still have the future but Christmas was better in the past.

The Sweet’s spirit of Christmas was liberal amounts of port and brandy, in the same glass! How times change. I am still here and will be toasting all memories and your good health, sensibly of course.
Andy Scott Sweet Blog photo
PERFECT IMPERFECTION
by Andy 18.11.2008
I have been accused of being a perfectionist (I prefer idealist) and therefore if the definition of perfectionist is making sure that you always do your best then so be it. We tend to forget that not everyone is on the same page and so we cut a bit of slack here and there, inevitably creating “Perfect Imperfection”.

The band have noticed a big change in me during the last couple of years - no more barking at monitor men, throwing the guitar around the stage too many times (even Pete Townsend doesn’t do that anymore) etc etc - so what has happened?

When Pete joined after the year of uncertainty (2005) we found ourselves late one night in a hotel somewhere in Europe discussing life, the universe and everything, eventually saying that nothing can ever be perfect, really perfect, we can get very close to perfection but if we achieved it then what is left? We had been drinking, however it got me thinking that life is too short to have any shortcomings so I said to myself that in order to fully appreciate and enjoy what is left of my life then I had better do something.

Bearing all of that in mind, there has been a marked improvement not only with my persona but with band’s performance too. The “
Sweet Fanny Adams” tours in Europe and the “Glitz, Blitz and 70s Hitz” tours in the UK are evidence enough. Now this is not meant to be a back-slapping exercise but I do see things a lot clearer and we as a band are committed to being the best on the touring circuit. The playing is tight and the harmonies even tighter (and higher!) - whatever the event, from the nostalgia shows where we play the hits to the SFA tour or festivals where we bring out the heavier stuff, as you may have gathered I am proud of what we do and represent.

To my mind, the point of touring, especially as a band with history, is that you give the audience what it wants - a band performing the hits, sounding the way they should and looking like they are enjoying the experience - simple really.

Perfect Imperfection.

Andy (PS: thanks for your support - see you at the next gigs).
HELLO EVERYBODY, AND FOR THE HARD OF HEARING, HELLO EVERYBODY!
by Steve 06.11.2008
Hello everybody, and for the hard of herring, a Danish thing,  HELLO EVERYBODY! My name is Steve grant, I play things with “The Sweet,” not always in the right order, but that’s rock n roll for ya. Stewart Roney said if I don’t do a blog he won’t sleep with me again, so here goes. (Stew: Thanks for letting that out Steve). October 22nd, 2008, Weds. I am catching a flight from Manchester to Prague approx 1400, Czech airlines terminal 2. Have to go one day early to exchange dog for a cat in Marks and Spencers in Prague old town. Plus logistical reasons. Usual rush to airport, trying to do too many things. Check in at business counter, just hand luggage, flash my Virgin inactive card, Brittania rescue card, and KLM card and blag fast track. Andy’s’ good at that too by the way. 27 coffees in lounge then I hear my name called for final boarding. Good, I like to be last on the plane, scan for a good seat. Sad? Maybe, but why not. Arrive Prague airport and will be met by somebody. Who?

What does he/she/it/ look like. Will they have a board that says “welcome spillage”. That’s my nickname. Next time you put fuel in your auto, look for the sign ” all spillages must be be reported, no matter how small” that’s me. Anyway I do get met, makes a change, and 40 mins cab ride to city. £22, 970 krowns or whatever they eat. Hotel 7 days! Thats it’s name!   Opposite gay sex shop, makes me feel at home. Check in sketch something like this; “I need to take an imprint of your credit card Mr Grant. Why?” Hotel  Policy”, “Why”? I”‘m sorry” etc. “No”! “Hotel policy”, “No”! “Hotel policy”, “No!” Etc .  After I’d looked around the sex shop, oops shouldn’t put that, I walked, yes Bruce, walked! Into centre . Must eat healthy meals, must eat healthy meals, must………………….
Big mac menu please! Full of guilt and rubbish walk back up hill to hotel,  no sleep. Crap breakfast walk into town, buy cheap sunglasses, shampoo, leave them in hotel room.  then get picked up at 11.45 to meet band at airport. Talk bollocks in the car for 2 minutes then headphones on, goodbye world. Classical music of course! We all get in huge coach, all 6 of us, few hours drive to Liberic. Pete Lincoln spreads the word hotel is 16km from gig, toys out of pram, storm off bus, blah blah . Hotel is actually walking distance. Great hotel. Big entertainment complex , I can treat that now I’m qualified.

Shouting contest, sorry, sound check, then awful food, back to hotel for about 1 hour. Down to reception to pick up hotel, free! Internet. Send e mails etc. Always doing something me, I like it like that. Great gig, great audience, all 3 of them. There was about 800. I think. Dressing room, coach, bed, sheep, I mean sleep, or do I?
After kicking dolly out of my room, breakfast. Long drive ahead in big coach,  fine, get lots done.  7 hours later and we are in Moravia!  Hello Kunovice! Boring hotel, deserted town. Packed gig but band not firing up tonight, In my opinion. Pete now has the nickname panicky pete and everything is 16 km away. 7am leave so not too much hanging around tonight, good. Damien buys a horse to take back too Russia. Might be tricky through customs. 4 hour drive to Prague airport, text from Will , my youngest, he is in Germany on an exchange, we get a 17 year old au ……………stop it!  He had lost the camera we bought him . Nice one son. Fly to Frankfurt. On being met, told we have to wait 1 hour for another band, I think you know what’s coming! Bollocks to that, Pete and myself catch a train to hotel. Andy and Bruce get taxi, Damien and Adam take camel. Oldie night tonight . Yahoo!!!! But good fun in the end. Come morning guys take bus to airport, I take train, I prefer it sometimes, it means I can travel naked for free. Back to Manchester, 1 hour 15 mins and home that’s after the barrier in the car park does not work game, a classic family favourite.  Then, wearing another hat until the next time.  Regards. Steve.
Andy Scott Sweet Blog photo
NICKNAMES
by Andy 29.10.2008
For reasons best left unexplained Bruce and I were known as Balloon-face and Square-head last month. Now these are not exactly the most flattering of nicknames but they capture the moment brilliantly. Panic and Greta (Pete and Steve) complete the latest in-band offerings. You do not choose your nickname, you have it thrust upon you and you hope the best one sticks. The original line-up used to conjure up quite wild versions, some fairly obvious some not. On one tour we thought it would be hilarious to be known by our middle names hence, Brian was Frank, Steve was Norman, Mick was Tom, Mick Angus (our TM who was always party to these pranks) was Jim and I was Dave. Not quite as off the wall as Android (Steve’s creation for me), Oracle (Louis Austens name for me, our recording engineer) or Clutch (coined by Mick Angus after a night of clubbing in Berlin when I managed to move from place to place still clutching a glass) - these were my highlights. The oddest nickname, but thinking back quite appropriate, was given to me by Herman’s Hermits long before Sweet. In 1966 The Silverstones won Opportunity Knocks and therefore ended up appearing at Granada TV Studios, Manchester, on a show with the Hermits. Both bands played live and were set up opposite each other. After a short while I noticed that they were pointing and laughing, one of them said “How long has Alfred (me!) been in your band?” We scratched our heads and then were told “Alfred E Neuman” the face of MAD magazine. Well if you had seen me in those days as a fresh faced 16/17 year old you would have completely understood their logic. The late Derek ‘Lek’ Leckenby (Hermits Guitarist) became our Record Producer and it was during those sessions that I first met Mickie Most, John Paul Jones, Brian Auger and Clem Cattini but that’s another story.
Andy Scott Sweet Blog photo
ANDY BLOG 2 - A GLAMOROUS LIFE
by Andy 10.10.2008
When a lady in my local pub called me a liar a couple of weeks ago, it was in response to my statement that I don’t take holidays. She said that I was away so often that I was constantly on holiday and this got me thinking that peoples’ perception of my lifestyle must be one of luxurious glamour. Now I’m not saying that a bit of pampering is out of the question but you would have to go back to the 1970’s to find total hedonism. We were even sponsored by British Airways, flew Concorde so often that I was given a pilot’s flight jacket and bag. Flying was glamorous and in my eyes one of the better perks of being in a successful band but today things are a little different. We had a couple of weeks off in September to recharge the batteries (a spot of fishing, watching a Wrexham match etc) but it didn’t take long before I was missing it (the early starts, the angst as the guitar eventually appears on the carousel, at security - shoes on/off, laptop in bag or out, German security’s humourless search and wandering hands).

So here is an abridged version of last weekend’s trip, you decide whether glamorous or not.

Friday, awake at some ungodly hour to drive to Heathrow for a 7am flight to Berlin. I don’t know what I would do without on-line check-in, I fly through security and am found by Bruce and Adam, having my usual kedgeree at Wagamamas in Terminal 5. Not too bad so far. Arrive in Berlin as morning breaks and go straight to bed at hotel, we are not needed until 9pm for a “meet&greet” before the show. This weekend is the celebration of German reunification and there are events everywhere. Our event is well attended but it is freezing cold and the fingers aren’t quite behaving themselves but noone notices and the evening is big success. We have a reasonable 10am leave from Berlin on Saturday, 350km 3-4 hours in a bus and an early show in Suhl, near Erfurt, at 6pm. It is “Schwartzbier” time (dark beer) and our show at the Congress Centre is sold out. Marvellous. The bad news is that on Sunday we have to leave at 7am for Frankfurt Airport. Whilst passing through security with Bruce, my bag was searched, eventually my talc was held up for all to see and because I felt something needed to be said, I uttered that it was used to stop my balls from chafing, this completely sent Bruce into hysterics and the guy put it back in my bag and told me to move on. Humour can still be the best defence. Over the weekend I estimate we travelled more than 2000 miles, were out of the country for more than two days and literally worked for less than 3 hours. However I wouldn’t change much because I still love playing and travelling. A Tardis or Starship Enterprise would greatly improve the travel side of our business but the normal way keeps your feet on the ground.

Thanks for your interest - without it we have no audience.

Andy
Andy Scott Sweet Blog photo
ANDY BLOG 1
by Andy 20.09.2008
Firstly, my apology to Stew for my lateness with this “blog” idea after agreeing to it (it was conceived in a bar with a couple of pints already consumed!) I also guess you, as our friends and fans, understand “blog” as an entity - it is new to us so please be patient. Thanks.

We’ve had an amazing year thus far, played over 60 shows and it’s only September. The “Sweet Fanny Adams Revisited” tour in Germany, Austria, Switzerland (GAS) was great, mainly featuring the “rock” songs and there are plans afoot for a third tour next year. The UK “Glitz, Blitz and 70s Hitz” was well received too, in fact the final show at the London Palladium was one of the best performances of the “hits” set ever. At this point I should say that I think the current Sweet line-up of Pete Lincoln, Steve Grant and Bruce Bisland is arguably the best we’ve had. This is praise indeed especially when you think back to Tony Ohora and his amazing vocals, we have been truly blessed.

I am a virgin blogger and as such will keep it simple at the moment but as time goes by I’m sure the content will become more in depth and probably dangerous (help!)

I look forward to meeting you at upcoming events - stay Sweet.
Bruce bisland Sweet blog photo
HERE GOES THEN
by Bruce 02.09.2008
Good day,I have been asked to do a blog,whatever that is, but assuming that it is another word for talking b*****ks then I suppose I am well qualified.First off thanks to everyone who came to the Robin and you stalwarts who braved the Rebellion festival. I’m sorry I didn’t make it down for a pint after the Robin gig but quite frankly I was totally shattered. I have this bizarre way of approaching a show ( which will no doubt be the death of me ) that unless you push yourself to a near death experience, or at the very least to being almost sick, then you might as well be in a cabaret band.

Consequently I had to have a lie down with a cup of tea. You do get a great feeling of satisfaction though and I have to say I really enjoyed it even if it was like jogging in a sauna. The other reason was that I had to do it all again the next night and drive myself and my wife up to Blackpool , something I was a little bit reticent about in as much as I wondered whether I should have packed my “Maid of the Mist” plastic poncho that we got at Niagara a couple of years ago. I couldn’t get thoughts of flying gob out of my mind but I needn’t have worried as it was another unbelievable night and the crowd were just fantastic. In addition the bands backstage were extremely friendly and there was a great atmosphere after the show which was in stark contrast to how we felt going in , the words lamb and slaughter spring to mind , but we all left agreeing that we would definitely like to do it again. It makes the drive home the next day seem a lot easier when you’ve had such a great weekend.Sorry about Halifax by the way but the blame for that lies with the local council, in fact I only found out in the week running up to the gig.More recently we have just returned from Ostrava in the Czech Republic where another great night was had by all. More importantly however I discovered that the recent bouts of redness on my face are not triggered by Pilsner Urquell .Till the next time

Bruce  

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