Interview with Dan McCafferty of Nazareth by Jim Kennedy, prior to a gig at Inverness Ironworks on the 11th of March, 2012.
Over the last 40 years Nazareth have sold 60 million albums and toured all over the world playing their own brand of classic rock. Hailing from sunny little Dunfermline, they’ve just released album number 22, ‘Big Dogz’, to quite rave reviews. To have the resolve to make one of their finest ever CDs is testament to their determination and willingness to move with the times.
Before Brian Johnson, there was vocalist and legendary front man Dan McCafferty. Dan took some time out of his schedule for a chat with Invernessgigs.
IG – So, 4 decades later and still going strong… do you have any tips for up and coming bands?
DM – When we were first signed we were young and naive. We got lots of advice to do this or do that, but we never completely happy. So we just decided to do what we did best and if that was successful, great and if not, we had given it a shot. So that would be my advice. Stick to your guns and play what makes you happy.
IG – You’re touring just as much now as ever. been anywhere nice recently?
DM – Yeah, we’re just back from playing in Brazil, ready for the frozen Highlands (laughs). We carry on touring for the rest of the year. First in Britain, then Poland, some European festivals, Canada and then Russia.
IG – You played a benefit for the Mary Leishman fund in Dunfermline recently. Is Dunfermline still home?
DM – Aye, the people are great. It’s where I’m from. We all need to have somewhere we call home. The people appreciate how well the band has done without going overboard.
IG – You’re certainly doing well at the minute. You’ve just released the ‘Naz Box’ (a four CD compilation) and a critically acclaimed CD ‘Big Dogz’.
DM – I’m really pleased with ‘Big Dogz’. It was mostly recorded live in the studio and sounds like a rock record. I’m proud of how it sounds… it’s purposely raw rather than sophisticated. We are not an MTV kind of band who are modelled and perfect. I feel as if every band should evolve and look forwards. We all get along and are good writers and it’s still exciting. Touring is great but we spend a lot of time waiting around in airports, so planning new CDs and writing new songs helps keep us motivated and fresh.
IG – With so much music in you back catalogue, what is your proudest recorded moment?
DM – Right now, ‘Big Dogz’ is my favourite because it is so new but I’m proud of all our records. I look back and think that maybe I could have done things differently but we have always been true to ourselves and I think that’s important. When I hear some bands now, they use studio tricks to make everything sound perfect. Bands shouldn’t be like that. When Nazareth, Jethro Tull, Genesis, Deep Purple and all those bands started, we just wanted to be musicians. They were all different. Now bands have a fascination with being famous. Back then, the only time we’d be on the telly would be the (Old Grey) Whistle Test and Top of the Pops if you were in the charts.
IG – What was the last CD you bought?
DM – The last one by Kings of Leon “Come on Sundown”. They have their own sound and what a singer! I love the guy’s voice, he is unique.
IG – Would our readers find any surprises in your CD collection?
DM – Not really, though there’s some gentler stuff like Joni Mitchell and Frankie Miller. But loads of Little Feat and obviously Zeppelin. I hear new metal bands like “Lamb of God” who are fantastic musicians but who don’t get publicity and are made popular by word of mouth.
and with that, Dan continued on his way. A really good down to earth bloke. Dan, it was a pleasure!
Nazareth play The Ironworks, Inverness of the 11th of March, 2012. Tickets are available via www.IronworksVenue.com