Getting Autographs--And On The List

by Ian. (

  • I first heard about Love and Money through my mate Marty, who I think had seen them supporting Hue and Cry at a gig in Liverpool where he went to college. Hue and Cry had a couple of hits back then in England, including "Labour of Love," which was great. They were two brothers who apparently hated each other long before anyone had heard of the Gallaghers or Oasis! Anyway Marty's big memory was James stepping out of the dry ice playing Bowie's "Fame" to do one of his infamous lead guitar licks.

    I saw them play a couple of times in The Warehouse, a nightclub in Leeds where I went to college. I found out they were playing on the night of my final final. I called Marty to see if he wanted to come but he had finals too. I told him to go see them at Liverpool the following night but he couldn't as that was the night of his big graduation party at the Adelphi hotel.

    So I finish my exam and forego the celebration to get down the town to see the sound check. I meet the band and get autographs, then get one for Marty and put it in the mail. That night I see the gig, which is excellent, and meet the band again after. Douglas was really cool and seemed jealous when I told him I was off to America to coach football (soccer). If only he knew I'd have swapped places with him in a minute.

    Anyway the next day I call Marty to see if he got the mail. He was over the moon to get the autograph, but the previous night it turned out that the band were staying at the Adelphi and after the gig in Liverpool, were sitting at the bar, so he had abandoned his party to hang out with James and co. He got our names on the door for their end of tour gig in London. He was gonna be there anyway for some course related exhibition, so I hitched down and met him outside the Shaw Theatre, Euston, London.

    Sure enough our names were on the door and we had great seats down the front and met the band after for autographs and photos. At one point in the gig James had unbuttoned his shirt and a fella shouts out "NICE BODY" to which James says, "I like tae think so!" This was all in June 1989.

    Soon after, I came to New York for the summer, then to Houston for grad school and ten years later I'm still in H-Town. That summer I was on a train on Long Island and these young girls ask if I'm a musician (long hair, English accent) I tell them no. They ask if I know any and I'd just that day got my film developed, so I show them the pictures and I was shocked when they go "We know him, that's the Halleluiah Man!!"

    I loved their earlier more funky/rock style. "Halleluiah Man" and "Shape of Things" was their finest moment for me. When I came over here, it seemed hard to keep up with a lot of the lesser-known British bands I liked. Each time they released an album, the style seemed ever more downbeat and one by one, the members were leaving, no doubt due to their lack of success.

  • Once, they were on a Saturday morning kids TV show. Each week there was a competition and kids would send in their entries on a postcard. The following week, the guests would pick out a winner. When James was on, they brought out a container with the postcards for a Roy Orbison contest and he asked, "Was this his ashes?" [!] I'm sure that's what he's referring to in the interview on your website about not wanting to be a pop star cos he would say the wrong thing and piss people off. Not being a Roy Orbison fan, I thought this was hilarious. That same afternoon, they were on the late Roger Scott's radio show for an interview, and did acoustic versions of "Angeline" and "Walk The Last Mile."

  • I always wanted to know what "Halleluiah Man" was all about. Once, at a gig, he introduced it by saying, "people always ask me what's this song about; well, the answer is 'whatever you want it to be.'" Thanks for enlightening us, James!

  • A couple of other anecdotes: Someone in one of the other stories mentions a manic bongo player. I asked Douglas about him and why he was no longer with them in Summer 1989, and he told me the player was someone who was in poor helath and not able to travel, but they sometimes used him in the studio (don't know his name). First time I saw them on TV was a compilation show of the Montreaux Rock festival where they played "River of People." Also, a gig was televised I think in late 89. When I went home for Christmas that year, I saw a taping of it but never did get it copied.

  • There was a big scene from Glasgow once, almost like the Seattle scene in the early Nineties. Simple Minds were the first to go huge, then the Waterboys were about to before he disbanded them to go and live as a minstrel in Ireland. I saw Simple Minds a few times, saw the Waterboys at Leeds University when they did their comeback tour in '89 and I was shocked as to how packed the place was, as they'd never released anything for years. Around this time Deacon Blue were number one with 'Fergus Sings the Blues', don't know what happened to them. I saw The Big Dish play for free during the first week I went to college--this would be October 1986. They never made it. Their single 'Slide' got some airplay and I loved their album Swimmer. They were cheered on so much they ran out of songs and did encores of songs they had already played--but we still shouted out for more and they ended up doing their whole set twice!

    This was a great period in my life as you can tell, loads of bands playing very intimate gigs in stand-up halls.

    Take care,
    Ian. (

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