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Big Country’s Big Enduring Scottish Rock

The Edge said that the Scottish rock band Big Country “wrote the songs that U2 wished we could write.” An interview with the band's co-founder and guitarist Bruce Watson.

J. Christian Adams


August 29, 2014 - 4:00 pm
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Big Country rocketed up the charts on both sides of the Atlantic in the 1980s with a very big sound. They were nominated for two Grammy Awards in 1984 (Best Rock Group, Best New Group). They joined other monster acts in playing Live Aid in 1985. “In a Big Country” and other songs still receive regular rotation on multiple SiriusXM channels and the band is considered one of Scotland’s best live acts. The sound of Big Country matches the name – soaring, enduring, expansive.

PJ Lifestyle had the opportunity to interview Bruce Watson, the group’s guitarist and one of the founding members.

PJ: You are starting a tour this fall that commemorates the 30th anniversary of Steeltown. You have dates all over the UK — Manchester October 31, London November 28, along with Squeeze at Weyfest this coming weekend. What can people expect on this tour?

Watson:  It’s the 30th anniversary of the release of Steeltown back in 1984. So we are doing gigs all over this coming fall. We will play most of the songs off Steeltown, then take an intermission and then come back out and do a lot of the older catalog. We are mostly doing weekend festivals. We just travel up and down the country.

PJ: In preparing for this interview, I talked to my friend Jim Dispirito who did the drumming for Rusted Root.  I learned about a quote regarding touring — “the road is a very hard place for an active mind.” Did the band, or particularly Stuart Adamson, experience that?

Watson: We’re the kind of band that never really writes on the road. There’s a lot of down time and we do tend to read a lot. It’s not like you can sit in the bus and write songs. Every day, your day is mapped out. You have to be at the venue for sound check. Then the show, back to the hotel, get as much sleep as you can and then do the same thing the next day. It’s Groundhog Day. It’s very hard to write songs.

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