March , 1982
By Greg Garrett
Nazareth Rocks for the Ages
Nazareth are a Scottish hard rock band, founded in 1968, that had several hits in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s before they rose to international acclaim in 1975 with the release of the album, Hair of the Dog, that contained the worldwide hit, "Love Hurts".
With the release of their first live album, Snaz, the core of Nazareth remains intact. That includes vocalist Dan McCafferty, guitarist Manny Charlton and the rhythm section of Pete Agnew on bass and Darrell Sweet on drums. Joining the band on second guitar is Billy Rankin. The live recording was put together over a ten day stretch with a majority of the material coming from a Vancouver performance.
“It generally happens with a live album,” said Pete Agnew, “that you can take 90 percent of the material from one show and have a superior album. It happened here. The Vancouver date was a special show, and it provided the continuity we needed to make this record happen. The other ten percent we were able to easily place within the recording to make it pop.”
The band’s next studio album will be slightly different as well. Nazareth has added touring keyboard player John Locke to the group.
“We’ve been writing since the last album,” offered Agnew, “and this will be the first time for us to record as a six-piece band. I’m really looking forward to adding John Locke to the mix. He played keys on our last album, but this time he’s starting out with us in the studio instead of the road. It’s going to be an exciting experience, to say the least.”
It’s not easy being a hard rocking Scottish band. English bands fade like the tides that steadily wash on shore around the island nation. New Wave music and good solid rock music are the two trends that seem to have some legs. Did the ‘new wave’ trend have any effect on these Scottish rock icons?
“No!” said Agnew emphatically. “We completed ignored it. The new wave has gone back into the sea now, and I’m glad of it. It was just total nonsense from the very beginning. Fortunately, we were out touring for most of the two years it took over the industry. I saw some of the bands on television, that’s about it. It was just a bunch of crappy noise as far as I was concerned.”
Nazareth’s next recording will be their 13th in a 14-year span. It’s impressive to say the least. Though the band headlines arenas in Europe, the U.S. has been somewhat hesitant to embrace this hard rocking Scottish band.
“First off,” insists Agnew, “Nazareth was never a heavy metal band. This band played real music, not loud distorted sound. We play loud, but not to the point it bores anyone. Bands like AC /DC are a big deal today. I look at them as band’s that used to open for us. They are just big names playing old stuff.”