“How ‘bout a beer mates?”, yelled Dave Taylor, our UK piano man. We were on the way back to London from a TV appearance in Birmingham in February of 1985. The show was Pebble Mill at One, the second stop on the tour (after Whistle Test). True to its name, the live afternoon variety program — similar to the old Mike Douglas or Merv Griffin Show(s) here in the states — aired live at 1 pm.
That morning, we picked Dave up on our way to the Pebble Mill show. He was wearing an extra large trench coat over his jacket, which seemed quite peculiar. The coat didn’t make sense until much later that day.
Our two-song set went well: “I Write the Songs,” & “Bette Davis Eyes” and then we were off to the green room lounge to relax before the long ride back to London. This is when Dave and his trench coat went into action. Quietly walking up to a well-stocked refrigerator, he started removing beers and stashing them in his coat.
Heading home in the touring van, Dave started to remove the beers and offer them around. However, most of us, dog tired from the days’ performance, politely declined; a few made their way around. Dave then started talking about his “hobby”…drinking! “Lots ‘o guys like sports or chasing women or gambling….I like to drink, that’s my hobby…drinking” he said. With one beer after another dispensed from his trench coat’s various pockets, Dave proved his point. By the time we got back to London that evening, he must have consumed a dozen or so beers, seemingly without much trouble. Ahh…life on the road!
As the tour progressed, “Dancing In The Dark” was released as a single…well, actually it was a four-song, 7” vinyl EP, but “Dancing…” was the cut getting almost all of the airplay, eventually climbing up the British national charts and onto the top twenty in March of 1985. Busy every day, we became experts at riding the Underground, or “The Tube” as the locals called it, a subway system, which seemed to go anywhere and everywhere in London. Guest appearances on additional TV shows also included The Kenny Everett Show and Sky Channel-UK, which were both filmed in London, and Razzmatazz in Newcastle….where that great beer comes from!
We also performed live at a number of clubs in and around London and had a very successful live remote recording from Dingwalls aired by Capital-FM, one of London’s most popular radio stations. The rest of the time, we were busy riding “The Tube” to and from radio and print interviews with some of the largest media companies in the UK, such as BBC Radio and Melody Maker magazine. In the near future, we will post some of these articles on bigdaddy59.com and also upload audio from portions of the radio programs that we were interviewed on.
During our limited free time, we sampled the local culture and pubs (lots of great Indian food, which is about the only decent thing to eat in England except for maybe fish & chips and, of course, chocolate), and did some sightseeing – Gary Hoffman and I crossed the English Channel in a hovercraft to visit Paris for a few days. One evening, Marty and I spent time with Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, who was represented by an attorney that we knew at the time. Graham had an amazing home directly across the street from London’s premiere park, The Hamstead Heath, where we were invited over for…yes, you guessed it…Tea! To say that Graham was quiet was a major understatement. We tried to make conversation but he just sat there quietly resulting in two hours of awkwardness. Amazing, he told the attorney (Gary Stambler) that he had a great time with us!
The UK saw Big Daddy twice in 1985. The group returned in March for a shorter visit, in hopes of a performance opportunity on the granddaddy of all UK-TV music shows …Top of The Pops. More on that and the making of the “Dancing In The Dark” music video in the next (and last) installment of our UK tour adventures.