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Nazareth: Electrifying New Tattoos On A Glorious Legacy

Photo Credit: Calvin Fehr

Nazareth: Electrifying New Tattoos On A Glorious Legacy

The legendary rock band Nazareth has turned 50, celebrating their vast and epic career by unveiling Tattooed On My Brain – their 24th studio magnum opus released via Frontiers Music Srl.  The first album to feature new vocalist Carl Sentance, Tattooed On My Brain presents 13 powerhouse songs that compare exceedingly well with the Nazareth classics!  In this interview, Highwire Daze Online chats with bassist and founding member Pete Agnew to discuss the making of Tattooed On My Brain, the departure of long time front man Dan McCafferty and arrival of Carl Sentance, legacy songs such as Love Hurts and This Flight Tonight, and a whole lot more!  Read on…

What goes through your mind when you realize that Nazareth is celebrating their 50th Anniversary as a band?
Well, it’s tiring sometimes just thinking about it.  (Laughs) I feel very fortunate – and very lucky to have an entire life doing the thing that I loved.

On this album you have a new vocalist Carl Sentance.  How did Carl come along and were you nervous about replacing your longtime vocalist?
When Dan had to leave – his was my best friend – we had known each other since we were five years old.  That was a disaster for us, but we decided that we were going to continue.  It was a case where we needed to find somebody that wasn’t a Dan McCafferty sound-alike.   To keep it going – to be credible – we had to find someone who was a great singer and who had their own style.  And I know we found that with Carl.  He’s been a shot in the arm actually for the band since he’s joined.  He brought a whole thing to the band.   It’s great – it’s given us a whole new lease on life.

And Dan’s cool with having a new vocalist in the band?
Dan – he knew – he said at the time “You’ve got to find somebody.”  And I was telling him about the people I was hearing – I had a lot of audition music sent to me.   And a lot of them were trying to sound like Dan, and I would discuss that with him.  He only lives three minutes from my house, so we’re in touch all of the time.  We still see each other.  And so he was cool.  And when we got Carl, he thought it was a great choice.  When Dan heard him, he thought he was great!

Is there any overall story or concept behind the album title Tattooed On My Brain?
When I wrote that song, it came from a line from the late great George Carlin – I remember him describing tattoos as a “permanent reminder of a temporary feeling” – which I thought was a great description.  And I thought, “I’m going to get that into a song one day!”  So I was working along those lines and was thinking, “Yeah, you can remove them from the skin but can’t remove them from your brain.”  The whole thing was done very much tongue in cheek for the song – it’s a quite cheeky song really.  You can hear it in the lyrics and in the sort of punk way that we play it.   It was meant to be kind of jolly, but with a serious kind of feeling to it.  Anybody who’s been through that kind of experience will know what we’re singing about.

The first song released from the album was called Pole To Pole. What was the lyrical inspiration for that song?
Pole To Pole was a fabulous track! Jimmy (Murrison) wrote that one – and, well it’s basically about somebody being bipolar.  The way that people are – they get these mood swings and you go “from pole to pole” as they say.  He was pretty much describing what it was like – and that’s pretty much what the whole song is about.  That’s a great rock song.  When he came in with that one, we really all knocked out!

It was a great album to do, because everyone was coming in – we didn’t have all of the material when we went to start the album.  We had all of the songs that Carl had written, but the other ones we were still working on.  It was one of those albums where everyday somebody was coming in with a different song – and it was great!  It was like “Let me hear that!”  Because we do that – we work much better under pressure.  If somebody tells us we’ve got a year to write an album, I can guarantee that when we get into the studio, they’ll go “has anybody got a song” and we’ll go “Well, I’ve got one that almost there…”  And then everybody starts to disappear from the room and then later comes back and says “Okay, I think I’ve got one now.”  So that’s the way Jimmy and Lee (Agnew) and myself work.  With when Carl came in, he obviously had songs that he had written for the album – so he was ready to start on day one.  He has five songs on the album, so we recorded his songs first.  It was great to sing songs that he had written – to get into the way that Nazareth records – because it was his first album – so for him to get used to the way that we record – there’s no better way than doing it with a song that you’ve written yourself – rather than coming in with a band you’ve never recorded with before and then recording somebody else’s songs.  So we did it that way.

So it’s good that Carl was definitely a team player with the new album.
Oh yeah!  He’s been looking forward to doing an album since he joined.  You can imagine – he wan