Style: Solid as a rock, Blues engine room
Influences: Buddy Rich
This image was taken at The Joint Food & Drink Ltd (Formerly “The Big Joint”) 1084 South St, Glasgow G14 0AP
K: What’s been the best Glasgow gig Davie?
D: In the Big Joint, every gig has been brilliant. In the early days we used to play Glasgow all the time, we had residencies everywhere. We learnt all the craft in Glasgow before we went anywhere else.
K: Where were the residence in those days?
D: MacSorleys, Lauders, Studio One….we’ve opened and shut loads of places!!
K: How long have you been doing this now Davie?
D: With Rev Doc and The Congregation, we’ve been playing the Blues circuit now for 25 years.
K: So has Glasgow, as a Blues city, changed in that time?
D: Yeah well, when we started there weren’t a lot of people doing it. When we started there wasn’t a lot of Blues. There were mostly cover bands but then suddenly everyone wanted a Blues band and all the covers bands discovered that was how to get a gig so everyone started playing the Blues. That made it harder to get a gig. Over the years all of the venues have changed. You get a lot of Sports Bars and Karaoke Bars now.
K: What was your first gig with Doc then?
D: The Annie Millars Bar, down behind the Scotia. That was our first gig.
K: That wasn’t yesterday Davie Does it feel like yesterday?
D: Aye…it does It was brilliant. The Blues gave us the opportunity to go to all these places and meet all these people you would never have met otherwise and you made friends for life. Travelling the country, learning your craft. Then we went up North. We played every toilet up North (laughs). Then down South and then over to Ireland. It was great. We did Ireland 10 years in a row at Warren Point Festival. Ireland is incredible, we did loads of festivals over in Ireland. Back then I was managing the band and that was a different vibe altogether. I was trying to get us 365 gigs a year…(laughs)…not realising that everybody else might be busy!!
I’m still playing every week in Glasgow now though. It’s still brilliant and there are loads of great players out there. It’s just different. Easier, quieter, more interesting, less kit, you need to try and be a bit more clever with that setup…just playing with a snare drum…you have to figure out different things to do and that’s when it becomes loads of fun!
K: It’s a good scene in Glasgow but do you find trends affecting the Blues?
D: Aye, it comes and goes. People get into it when they’re younger an then sometimes chuck it because it’s hard to make money out of it. It takes a long time to get to a level where you can make it a profession, unless you’re lucky.
K: So how do you keep a band on the road for so long?
D: Well it’s always been me, Al and Doc no problem but there have always been issues getting bass players. Guys have come up to me a gigs and said “Great band mate but I’ve seen you 3 times now and every time you’ve had a different bass player but they’ve all been amazing! How do do that?” I’ve always said, move out this town and get yourself set up in Glasgow. In the smaller towns you might only have a couple of players…in Glasgow you can’t help bumping intothem in the street. The good thing about Glasgow is you had to be good to survive. If you weren’t good, you got flung out.
K: Do you think that’s the case in most cities?
D: I don’t know, I think it’s a kind of Scotland/Ireland thing. There is a high expectation to be good. It’s like, all the pubs over in Ireland that turned into Sports Bars still have a stage in the corner and they’re up playing all the time. There’s music everywhere over there and everyone can play it. You might have this gorgeous lassie standing in front of you in a short skirt and high heels, done up for a night oot, drunk and she says “Gies a loan of yer guitar darlin”…You better watch out cos she’ll ****** take you apart !!! (Laughs)
I think there’s been an Irish influence in Glasgow and that’s where a lot of the music culture has sprung up from, same as Liverpool.
The good thing about Glasgow is… if you’re shite they won’t think to themsleves “Oh that was rubbish” and go away hame, they’ll be like “YOU’RE SHITE!!!”
The good thing is that we played some of the roughest pubs in Glasgow and I preferred some of them. If they liked you, you’re money was no good. They would buy you drink, they would be on the tables dancin. You play some places a bit more upmarket and although you can see the feet tapping and they like you just as much, they won’t give you as good a response. The rougher the better for me. Lots of bands have said to me “You wouldn’t go back and play there would ye!!?” And I say “Of course!! They love us there!!”
K: Thanks Davie, it’s been a pleasure.
D: No… Thank you! Brilliant!!
D: Don’t mind if I do.
the big joint