Record Mirror, March 16, 1974

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Record Mirror


SBQ wait for a 'Dream' lift

Peter Harvey

You are excused for believing Sutherland Brothers And Quiver are some firm of frantic archers and reminded that this strange name has been bobbing in and out of our Breakers' list for weeks now.

No doubt some of you fickle chart spotters have never heard of them, in fact anyone who has can take ten bonus points and skip the next paragraph or so.

To be brief SBQ came together one year ago when Quiver lost their songwriter and gained keysman Peter Wood. It happened to he just when the Sutherlands were getting fed up with life as a duo and as Bruce Thomas the quivering bassman put it: "We each had what the other needed."

He likens his career to that of a professional footballer (comes from Middlesborough y'see): "It all seems to have been leading up to this band. We've all done our apprenticeships. We've suffered most of the pitfalls, bad record companies, bad agents, bad managers, bands that break down on the M1, terribly shitty tours of poxy clubs in Germany. Then Quiver was like going from the Fourth division to somewhere in the Second and now we're hovering at the top of the Second waiting for promotion at the end of this season. SBQ are the Middlesborough of rock bands at the moment. Which is better than being the Norwich or West Ham.

So presumably a hit with "Dream Kids" will he like winning the cup... or should that be the Test Match?

Bruce thinks it has a good chance "It's selling twice as quickly as 'You've Got Me Anyway' did. But we're not going to lose any sleep over hit singles. It would he nice to hit but we're not going to force things. We're going to make it just by going on the way we do. We are a good band, we play good stuff. and make good records, so what else can you do? We are not getting into hyping anything. I don't think Iain (Sutherland) would look very nice in a lurex jump suit anyway."

Peter Wood says "Dream Kid" is really just a three minute trailer for their album of the same name. And anyway if you're looking for singles success just look at that first one ("You've Got Me Anyway"). It sold 7.000 in Britain but 300.000 in America, reaching number 20 — which is very high by Stateside standards. There was also a hurriedly got together album, so far unreleased here, which made midway in the top 100.

Why this big success in the US of A? Well, it is based on their instrumental and songwriting strengths, but Elton John is the X-factor. He took them over on his big tour last year and they played to about 800.000 people.

"American audiences seem a lot more willing to he involved with the band too," says Bruce.

"You get the feeling at a gig that they want a good time, you want a good time, and let's get it on. But in this country a lot of the people sit there cold and you've got to drag them off their arses a lot more. Perhaps it's the climate."

Pete: "The first thing the Americans pick up on is your music. They don't bother much with the image, and they show appreciation."

Everyone over there said they sounded typically English with a mainstream Sixties Mersey type of sound. But over here they get told they're like American electric bands like the Byrds. "And when I think of typical English bands I think of Yes and Procol Harum. In the European tradition of classical music," says Bruce.

Glittery music, they don't like. "It makes me sick," says Pete. "It's very unhealthy for music."

Bruce disagrees: "It is healthy because you've got to have seasons so you can re-generate. I think it's just part of a natural cycle and it's getting near the end. I don't think Gary Glitter's got anything to with contemporary rock. I think its totally based on nostalgia. The kids are being conned by glamour and escapism.

Pete: "I don't think the kids realise that it was the same kind of thing about ten years ago. It's just basic rock 'n' roll."

Having said that, they can't put their finger on what it is that sounds new in "Dream Kids." It's the first song the brothers have collaborated on but Bruce describes it simply as a "three chord shuffle." The rest of the new album though, he promises, is completely varied drawing from the many tastes within the band.

It was more or less complete when they left to do the Elton tour but having tightened up their sound over in America they decided to re-do a lot of it on their return.

Elton, Bruce decides, is a "genuine star. He goes through all the things a star will do but it seems his natural role in life. He's a very nice guy and it was a very pleasant experience working with him. Nine weeks on tour is a long time and the fact that there were good vibes helped a lot of things. When he knew we had some heavy schedules he took us on his private jet. And he bought us all Polaroid cameras as presents at the end of the tour."

At the time of this interview, down in the depths of Prose Publicity's building, their manager was in America fixing up a return tour. "Over there we started from square one and people accepted us as a band straight away. There was none of this 'how did you get together and how do you relate to each other' because we just relate to each other as six individuals." Pete adds: "And the Sutherlands don't dress in white suits and we don't dress in black. The only reason we kept both name was that it would have been hard to get gigs with a new name."

You don't get a simple answer from the likes of Bruce Thomas when you ask whether it's all been totally successful.

"If we'd been totally successful we'd all have retired. But yes it's been successful. We are making good music, we are getting very positive reactions at gigs and I think we've done as much as any band could have wanted to have done. We sat down a year ago and asked what would we like our position to be in a year's time... I don't think we've got any cause for complaints. It's all going uphill. There's always been a positive aura about the band and it's showing no signs of diminishing at all. Even in our present economic crisis and the fact that we've only just begun. Shall I break into song?"

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Record Mirror, March 16, 1974

Peter Harvey's profile of Sutherland Brothers And Quiver includes a few quotes by Bruce Thomas.


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1974-03-16 Record Mirror photo 01 px.jpg

1974-03-16 Record Mirror cover.jpg 1974-03-16 Record Mirror page 06.jpg
Cover and clippings.


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