Influences: Steve Harris. Geezer Butler. John McVie and Glenn Hughes. Band wise it’s old Fleetwood Mac, Bluesbreakers and Purple/Whitesnake.
Has played many times with different bands on The Ferry
K: Hi Zander, tell me a wee bit about your background
Z: I come from more of a Rock background and up until a couple of years ago was flying down South a lot to play with the official UK Iron Maiden tribute band.
K: Have you toured a lot?
Z: I’ve done Europe a fair bit, mainly Holland and Belgium and I’ve been on the road a lot with bands like The Blackwater Blues Band with the Nimmos and other bands. That was a while back but that was fun…we still talk about those days (laughs)
K: Memories for life?
Z: (Laughs) Aye…scars for life, really. Great times. Just ask Alan Nimmo about Chocolate Orange liqueur :-)…and he’ll go green. I think there was bottle of Baileys in there as well.
I’ve spent a lot of years in transit vans and done a lot of miles with the Hideaways and the Blackwaters. Don’t get me wrong it was never that far. We did Wales and we did Ireland. We never did the South of England but I’ve played down there a lot with the tribute bands. Stevie used to show us the diary and we were doing 230+ gigs a year at that time.
K: That’s incredible!
Z: Yeah when you think back now, it feels like that but it was my job at the time. Yeah, on some Saturdays we would do 3 gigs in the one day. Afternoon, evening and then a Biker’s festival at 2 and 3 in the morning. So, yeah, there were a lot of gigs.
K: How did you find that at the time. How did it affect you physically?
Z: Well (Laughs), it would probably kill me now but back then you never thought about it. We would sleep in the back of the van, on couches, on chairs. At that age you were bullet proof….and there was a fair bit of drinking as well But Stevie never touched a drop and he would drive everywhere and he would look after us. It did take it’s toll eventually.
K: Did you get de-sensitised to the music at times?
Z: Oh aye. I got de-sensitised to a lot of things, I became bullet-proof to criticism as well. But I always remained dedicated to the band.
K: You must’ve been really tight with that amount of playing. How did that work in the studio, did you ever do any recording?
Z: Yes and from memory I think we recorded the album in one take. There might have been a couple of tracks laid down for some of the tunes but not really because we needed to just because…we could. Which is quite incredible when you think about it. Everyone in the band were really good players though which helped.
K: What’s it like playing with the Iron Maiden tribute band?
Z: Aye brilliant. A couple of times I’ve met the guys in the band. You know, the real Iron Maiden which was quite surreal. The main writer is Steve Harris and he plays Bass as well and I met him at the end of tour party when we did the Fan Club tour at the O2 in London. It was kind of weird and there a few celebrities there as well. It was great fun.
I’ve also done a couple of tours with the lead singer of Iron Maiden, Paul Di’Anno and that was great fun as well.
K: You must’ve learnt quite a bit from all these guys?
Z: Aye I guess…good and bad but I had some really great times with him even though I had suspicions that he was making things up every now and then but aye, it was really good anyway. But again on the subject of talking to these guys I’ve played with Paul Rose as well and I’ve played with Ted McKenna on some of the Gallagher stuff. It doesn’t get any better than that for me! I think it was the Montrose Blues Festival and Paul had an acoustic set to play in the afternoon and it was an absolute stunner of a day and me and Ted went down the beach and just had a good old chin-wag and it was fantastic hearing all of the Michael Schenker Group stories, you know, the personal memories, stuff you would never read in books. Stories about some of the things that went on with Graham Bonnet and such like. Reading Festival stories. I think he played the Reading Festival twice with the Harvey Band and other times with Rory and another bands. I’m not sure who he actually played with at all of them but I’m sure he was in the headline band 5 times. He also told me stories about playing the Budokan and the Dodger Stadium, supporting The Who with the Alex Harvey Band. They supported The Who again in Parkhead as well!
K: I think most of the guys a grew up with were into the heavier stuff to begin with and I was a huge Deep Purple fan. Jon Lord was the guy that got me hooked on Hammond.
Z: Go and listen to the new King King album, the Hammond on that is very Deep Purple/Whitesnake/Free. On that point, me Alan and Stevie (Nimmo) did the Free (the band) convention twice and that was interesting. I’ve also played with Gallus Cooper, the Alice Cooper tribute band and The Forgotten Sons.
K: It’s quite a diverse spectrum that you covered and different from the stuff you are doing with Snakeskin Boogie at the moment. How did you learn all of that range of material. Do you read music?
Z: No, I play by ear on all of the stuff. A lot of the stuff is just Blues played in a Rock style and they are all influenced by the Blues. There are a lot of similar scales.
K: So you have a couple of things on the go at the moment?
Z: Yes, there’s “Snakeskin Boogie” and “Blues Power” and I’m pretty much sticking to the Glasgow scene with those at the moment. I’m happy doing what I’m doing just now and I’ve got the offer of work with Stevie and other bands when the opportunity arises. To be honest the pub circuit hasn’t really moved on at all and there are too many people out there willing to play for nothing but that’s just the way it is. I’ve also got some gigs with The Midnight Blues band with Gus Munro and Davie Boyle and that’s great fun too. It’s great playing with Gus, he does his own thing. I’ve known him since we were in our teens. I played with him in a band called Silvertrain years ago. It was me, him and Alan Nimmo.
K: So you’re still very much on the scene?
Z: Yes, definitely but I’m just not travelling far and wide any more. It’s not about the money any more. It’s just great playing with these guys, Colin Robertston and Alan Wheeler are 2 of the finest guitar players in Glasgow and Davie Boyle is a stalwart of the Glasgow Blues scene. We do it for the crack.
K: Well talking of that, you’ve got a gig to go to with Snakeskin Boogie right now in Rockus. You’re on in 40 minutes!
Z: Aye, I’d better go. I’ve got this brand new amp that I’ve never used before as well, I’d better get moving.
K: Good luck with the amp and the gig Zander. It was a pleasure meeting you at last
Z: Aye you too. I really enjoyed that. Catch you later.
Camera: Nikon D750
Lens: Nikon 24-120 f/4
Focal length: 44mm
Exposure: 1/250 sec at f/6.3
Time of day: 15:23
Lighting: Keylight at 45 degrees at about 2 feet elevation with 24″ softbox, rim light and tri-grip reflector