The Sweet prepare to roll back the years in Southsea
Four decades on from the hits, the high heels and the silver leather, The Sweet are finally calling time on their UK touring.
As Andy Scott says, he might not want – or indeed be able – to step back into the fashions, but the music certainly lives on: “A man of my shape and disposition should not be wearing shiny leather any more, but really for me the music was always the main thing. That was always my role within the band,” says Andy who hits the road for the last time with Sweet for the Glitz Blitz and Hitz autumn UK tour (also featuring Mud 2 and The Rubettes) for dates including Southsea’s Kings Theatre on November 19.
“I was the main songwriter and producer after the initial run of hits, the first three years. Before that, the fighting between the songwriters and the producers was unbelievable, and The Sweet were a bit of a football in the middle.”
The band eventually took it all into their own hands and came up with Fox on the Run, their biggest hit.
Andy accepts, though, that the image was a key part of that early success: “I have had many a conversation with people like Noddy Holder (I knew Slade and the guys before I joined The Sweet), and I think he hit the nail on the head when he said we just took what we wanted from the 60s and dressed it up a bit. When you listen to some of the music– I don’t mean the major hits, I mean the B-sides – we could have been one of those late-60s rock bands that were coming through, like Free and The Who. But instead of that we just got on stage with our denims and looked around for something different. I can’t remember who came up with the metallic leathers. Doctor Who was dressing people up, but there were also the wrestlers. We got some of our ideas from what the wrestlers were wearing.”
And so, as Andy says, Sweet became the band the media loved to hate, to which their response was always to up the ante: “I remember one of the reviewers in, I think, NME said Ballroom Blitz was unadulterated rubbish. We delivered an answer to that one!”
Central to it all was the late Brian Connolly who died in February 1997, aged 51: “Brian was a fantastic bloke. When I first joined, he was the guy running around, the mouthpiece between the agents and everyone, getting us the gigs.
“And back then he was the best liar I had ever met. He was the lead singer, and we were the biggest band in the world in his eyes whenever he spoke to anyone. You need someone like that in an outfit, and his stage persona was pretty good too, but when the alocohol took over, some of his diatribes to the audience left little to the imagination!”
In the end, Connolly left the band: “It was at a point where one way or another something had to happen. We had had a terrible time on tour towards the end of 78. We had a couple of nights when Brian was on stage and really didn’t know where he was. The band had got to the point of trying to cover and thinking ‘Who is going to sing this one?’ with Brian’s mic turned off. It got to the point where something had to give. Really towards the end, because of his illnesses, it must have been pretty difficult. You have to list him as maybe not quite as radical as Keith Moon or Oliver Reed, but he would have sat fairly comfortably in company like that.”
For the tour, The Sweet will take to the road alongside Mud 2 keeping the legend of Les Gray and Mud alive, as well as special guests The Rubettes.
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