Adventures of a Waterboy
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(Book). "I was six or seven when I noticed the music in my head. It was there in the classroom, on the football pitch, at the dinner table, when I went to sleep and when I woke up. And it's continued ever since." As a teenager in Scotland, Mike Scott played in punk and garage bands, hitchhiked to see Bob Dylan play, and scammed his way into Patti Smith's inner circle during an eye-opening weekend in London. In 1983 he formed The Waterboys with an ever-rotating cast of collaborators including The Fellow Who Fiddles (Steve Wickham) and The Human Saxophone (Anthony Thistlethwaite) and soon found international success with the "big music" sound of songs like "Don't Bang the Drum" and "The Whole of the Moon". In 1986 Scott travelled to Ireland to spend a week with Wickham and ended up staying for six years. During that time he developed a deep interest in roots and folk music, resulting in The Waterboys' best-selling album, Fisherman's Blues . After scaling the heights of success and moving the band to New York, he followed another fascination and went to live in the Findhorn spiritual community in Northern Scotland. Adventures of a Waterboy is an evocative, eye-opening memoir by one of the great British songwriters of the past four decades. It is an honest and revealing work, by turns heartfelt and funny, that tells the story of a cocky Scot with a sound in his head and his lifelong efforts to reproduce that sound a story that runs from teenage fandom to international stardom, from Scotland to New York City and beyond.
and busbies; an almost cartoon-like quality to the scene. Ian Rankin (author): All a big carnival funfair, with the Beatles as ringmasters. Floaty, too. Summery. But summer with an edge. The smiling balloon-seller holds a knife behind his back. His thick black moustache is fake. Hints of Indian mysticism (I didn’t know what a sitar was). Yes: dreamy, floaty, but a bit scary. This at a time when a hall of mirrors could freak me out, and ghost trains were a definite no-no. Comrie Saville-Ferguson
the mixing desk – running at full volume plus a set of headphones, also at full, wrapped round his ears. Bono dropped by from U2’s management offices upstairs to see what the commotion was. To his great credit he gamely withstood the volume levels, sent for a bottle of champagne (these seemed to follow Bono around) toasted us all and shouted, ‘Congratulations!’ But when we started to record things began to get weird. The Waterboys’ method of recording at the time was to set up all together like
intensity of recording with Bob all day – a wild enough experience in itself – then going home with him at night. A doom was gathering over this project and the strain was beginning to show between the two principal actors. I told Bob I needed to stay in a hotel. He wasn’t happy about it but the southern gentleman in him wouldn’t let him refuse, so he reluctantly drove me to a couple of desultory highway-side motels in the middle of nowhere. I can still picture him stepping out of the car
passion of the musicians, and the myriad thoughts and emotions that run like a river through my mind and soul – blend into one exquisite feeling and a thrill of joy runs through me like a white fire. And though I will spend the rest of my life yearning for what I felt in this moment, I don’t care, for I have heard the sweetest music a man can hear, in the most perfect circumstances, and my heart has been cleansed, uplifted and redeemed. It was The Fellow Who Fiddles who met her first. Around
saying goes, tell her your plans, and as soon as we returned to Dublin and began rehearsing, the process of disintegration that had begun in Spiddal recommenced. With alarming inevitability The Waterboys began to crumble from the inside. After two days of running through the set it was clear the band didn’t sound or feel right and Anto and I met privately to discuss the situation. We agreed we needed to replace Noel Bridgeman with a tougher drummer who could hold everything together. Then I made