SAHB Story: The Tale of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
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When Alex Harvey died in 1982 he left behind a legacy and a passion which survives to this day - truly cult status. The Sensational Alex Harvey Band (SAHB) were the biggest-grossing mid-70s live act in the UK; they released eight critically-acclaimed albums in their five years together; and they inspired many of the top names in pop entertainment over the last 30 years, from Robert Smith to Nick Cave; from Billy Connolly to Richard O'Brien. In 1972 a former teenage idol, Alex Harvey, joined Scotland's loudest rock group to form The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. As early pioneers of punk and glitter, they caused a sensation at live gigs and became one of the strongest artistic forces in popular music at the time. SAHB Story (based on the title of the band's fifth album) is the definitive biography of Scotland's most influential artists. It follows Alex's first outing as a 50s pop star then a 60s soul star, and at the end of the decade picks up the rest of the band as legendary too-loud prog-rockers Tear Gas. The mainstay of the book is a blow-by-blow account of the SAHB years 1972-77, illustrated with personal anecdotes and never-before-seen photographs. The career of each artist is followed into the 80s, after Alex died on tour at the age of 47. SAHB Story completes the band's history with the comeback of 2002-2004. This is the first authorised biography of the band written by journalist Martin Kielty with the approval and cooperation of Zal Cleminson, Chris Glen, and Hugh and Ted McKenna.
them brilliantly. It was really great fun and I enjoyed every minute. I can honestly tell you I don’t hear the album when I play it – I remember the way we used to play those songs live, and it was amazing. A very good album. We never got any money for it, of course, as was the way of all things… TED: Where is My Answer is a good one, a slow one. It sounded like Dave had drunk a bottle of Benylin before he sang it, it’s so soft and easy. It was so quiet we got the benefit of the studio’s sound
memory… Mountain gave us a big break. There were posters and pleasure domes, pages of fame – and pressed silver and gold plated platters. They gave you that initial feeling of success – anyone who saw them immediately assumed you were rich and famous. The discs cost about five krim each. What they spelled out though, what was written on them, gives the game away: in terms of record sales their value was in excess of a million krim. The Big Mountain… So there you have it, in the final chase, as
started getting these ideas together. CHRIS: He nailed it down by saying, it’s not going to work of you make people wear clothes that take away from their personality. I didn’t ever like the top of my outfit, but the codpiece was brilliant – I’d always had problems hitting the Fender precision off my bollocks, and the way I used to stand with my legs apart it really hurt. Bambi, our designer, said, why don’t you wear a codpiece outside your trousers? I said, what, like Alas Poor Yorick? She said
new shades?’ he says, posing a bit. The lobby light catches the navy glass, making it seem for a moment that Hugh really does have stars in his eyes. The Gas guys, zippo guitarist Zal Cleminson and Scorpio bassist Chris Glen, are next, carrying stage gear in cases, wearing long silky white scarves and oh-so-tight blue jeans, with Alex himself, looking somewhat sleepy and definitely dishevelled, in the rear. ‘Wot time is it?’ Alex yawns. ‘Time to go – into the limos.’ It’s tour manager Dick
what we’d done and start thrashing around with one chord. We’d said that, done that, and it wasn’t going to be new – and it wasn’t going to be good. The energy was fantastic, and punk had nothing to do with what had happened before, and that was brilliant. It was needed. But we couldn’t associate with that. The pressures of time were coming to bear again. Dave was busy producing other bands for Mountain, so SAHB were producing Rock Drill themselves, and were told they had five days to do it.