Whilst it was damp in Inverness the sun was shining in Alness, the destination for an interview long in the planning ,and heavily anticipated, by the invernessGiGs team. We caught up with The Side aka Hugh ‘WInnie’ Winton, John ‘Muff’ Ross, Ryan Golder and George Campbell  in preparation for the farewell gig at the Ironworks on Friday the 30th of September.

During the interview, they talked about the last 7 years of The Side, the highlights of the band’s career and a good bit more…

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IG- What’s been the secret of keeping together as a band for 7 years?

JR – Not seeing a lot of each other (laughs from the rest of the band)
.HW – When we first started out we weren’t really gigging that much.
JR – it was about a year without gigging.
.HW- We were jamming a lot , doing 2-3 gigs and then that was us for a while, we were finding out feet then slowly got momentum
GC – I think what kept us going was that we had loads coming up but they were all spread out like Russia, then year later there was something else, always looking forward to something.
HW- We’ve been lucky with opportunities, but also worked hard to get the opportunities.

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IG – So what have been the lessons that you have learnt as a band , what advice would you give to other bands?

GC- Don’t keep things the same, Winnie’s good at that he’s always changing the songs.
HW (after consideration) don’t get caught in the trap of playing Inverness all the time
GC- Think out side the box, I think it’s the big fish in the small pond.The difference with The SIde is that we have been the small fish, rather than try to be the dominant band in Inverness, we have pushed ourselves. Just go further afield test yourselves against the bigger boys, you don’t get a true perception of what people think of you until you go elsewhere.
HW – I think that bands should sit down an get a plan together, we wasted a few years, we weren’t proactive. I think it’s also important to keep your feet on the ground (general agreement from the band).
GC- We created a 1-2 year plan and treated it like a business. The goal posts could change like the Ross County anthem ,for example.

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IG – You have mentioned some of the highlights of The Side’s career, which ones stand out for you individually?


GC – Mine was Luxembourg , by then we had had a few experiences and we had the maturity and confidence in our ability to be able to be able to manage the crowd.. that was unreal.
HW I was caught between Belladrum 2009 and Luxembourg for a live gig. But for an actual event it was O2. It was shared experience with family and friends and the whole day was just surreal.
JR Luxembourg …. we had to win over the crowd.
RC I think the three: O2, Belladrum 2010 and Luxembourg.

IG- I was just wondering if its just the gigs or how else you measured success, for the band?

HW – I think its a bit of everything, we’ve done some amazing gigs, but as the old saying goes “your only good as your last gig”. I think we’ve managed to keep our feet on the ground and keep a good reputation.
JC – I think it’s lasting as long as we have.
HW – I think we’ve done as much as we can ourselves, we’ve just run out of steam
GC – That’s also a good thing we should be really proud of the amount of things that we have done considering that we didn’t have professional management, which i guess has allowed us to do the things that we want.

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IG- What are your plans now individually?… how do you replace The Side?

RG – I’ve started writing a few acoustic numbers, it’s so hard not having another three member to help you along. I have got three or four songs and keep away at the acoustic side and enjoy it.
JR – I am going to rest and play golf, I’ve done it for fifteen years, I am going to rest.
HW – I am retiring from the live/band stuff, like Ryan i have some acoustic stuff, but purely for fun., But I suppose You can never say never to a return to the live scene.
GC – There’s some friends of mine who used to be The Cinematics, they have done it before too, it’s a cover band. Nothing serious, it’s quite nostalgic and no pressure, you know people are going to get into it

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IG – Do you think everything has been said about the end of The SIde?

HW – People still ask why we’re splitting, nothing bad happened, we’ve jus all got our own reasons
JR – It’s funny the girl from STV said she was surprised to see us all laughing and joking together, we still all like each other.
HW – We are sad it is finishing, It wont really kick in until the last gig
JR – It will be an emotional night
GC – I’ll speak for myself, I don’t think enough has been said about The SIde locally.
HW- It’s a small music scene up in the highlands, we should all be behind each other, its hard enough for bands in Inverness to succeed, but gets even harder the further north you are.
GC – Some people don’t really realise what we have done
HW – We have been lucky with the support we have got

IG- On thinking about the support you guys have had, who would be the people you would thank?

HW – (with support from the others) I think it’s hard to single out, there have been loads of people
GC For me, I think Rob Hicks has been one of the real instigators of supporting local bands, he makes an opportunity for bands when he doesn’t need to.

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IG – Looking towards Friday Is there any songs that will be particularly powerful?

RG – Another time another place its a powerful emotional song
GC – Going nowhere, turned to the county song, its got a powerful chorus.
HW – I think probably some of the old tunes we’re going to play.

And with that the interview drew to an end, not before letting slip that there will be a few surprises on Friday nights gig, but absolutely no pyrotechnics!

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Tickets for The Side’s Farewell Show, on the 30th of September at The Ironworks, are priced at £3 and can be bought online from www.ironworksvenue.com.

By Chris Lemon

Photos by Lori Williams, further photos on our Facebook page.

Very special thanks to Winnie, Ryan, John and George.

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A lifelong passion for music matched with a geeky fascination for social media and websites resulted in the creation of Inverness Gigs back in 2010. The aim of the site is to help promote, support and generally raise awareness of the local music scene.In fairness fifteen years of being a psychiatric nurse never prepared me for the experiences that we have had over the last few years and the evolution of Inverness Gigs has certainly been a steep learning curve.I currently write (less and less), edit and co-ordinate most of the Inverness Gigs activities.Occasionally seen on Twitter, and  LinkedIn, if you want get in touch you can contact me direct at chris@igi.gs