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The Bay City Rollers (Ian Mitchell), (Duncan Faure)
The Bay City Rollers
The Bay City Rollers have the dubious distinction of being one of the most loved and loathed bands in pop music. Though their rise to the top was slow, the perception is that they appeared overnight because of their swift and calculated conquest of the US market.
The Rollers began as a band called the Saxons, formed by Alan and Derek Longmuir in 1965. Many personnel changes (and the inclusion of an ambituous manager) took place over the next few years as the troup of intrepid Scottsmen slowly built a following in Europe.
Rollermania began to grip the British Isles and Japan as the Rollers started to get airplay for their early singles. Their shows became riotous, emotionally charged events, as teenage girls went nuts for the plaid-clad Bay City Rollers. They soon were a European sensation with hit recodrs, a loyal following and their own weekly TV seies, "Shang-A-Lang."
A high-profile debut on Howard Cossell's "Saturday Night Live" variety series in the US brought the pandemonium across the pond in Fall of 1975. For the next several years, The Bay City Rollers were the darlings of the teen set ,with sold-out concert tours, hit records and endles coverage in "Tiger Beat" and "16."
Their squeaky-clean image and revolving-door policy with band members made them the brunt of criticism from the rock community, though their music was unfairly underrated. Nevertheless, their primarily female folowing knew better, and for the rest of the decade,The Rollers sold millions of records world-wide regardless of personnel.
Bay City Rollers
with Ian Mitchell
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Bay City Rollers
with Duncan Faure
I Only Want To Be With You
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|WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
The pressures of touring and being idols took their toll on the group, and The Bay City Rollers disbanded in 1981. Stories of excess, emotional distress and financial dissaray surrounded the group, and, sadly, contributed to their demise. In years to come, various combinations of the group would tour ocasionally, and in 1999, the most-famous line-up of Alan, Derek, Woody, Les and Eric briefly reunited for a new LP and tour. Roller alums Ian Mitchell, Duncan Faure and Pat McGlynn all have active careers in music as well, and occasionally join in the various tours and conventions supporting the group.
DID YOU KNOW:
- The Bay City Rollers had their own Saturday morining TV series in the US which featured the Kroff puppets (HR Pufnstuf and friends)
- There are still annual Rollerfests held world-wide
- The book, "Bye Bye Baby," written by a Roller fan has been optioned for a feature film by Courtney Love
Ian Kevin Mitchell was born on August 22, 1958 in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland. Parents Alan & Mary. One brother, Tony. Three sisters, Rita, Kathleen, & Geraldine. Formed Albatross in 1972 with Damian McKee in Downpatrick at a youth club.
Changed the band name to "Bang". Fired the drummer who wanted to be a plumber (rhymes, huh!). Terry McKee and Colin McKee came on board as drums and bass, respectively.
Changed the name again to "Young City Stars" as, according to our manager, we had to have a "city" in it. "It's the big thing these days." I was assured. Little did I know.
Marie Fitzsimmons joined on keys and vocals. "Dang good kisser, that woman." Late 1974, fired Marie as she was too distracting in the dressing room.
Imported Alfie "Elvis" Kelly on 2nd guitar. Opened for "Bay City Rollers" at Belfast Odeon for two nights.
Fired Alfie for not bathing and wearing the same underwear three weeks in a row.
The band was invited to go and visit in Scotland with BCR manager. Left Damian and crew and went to Scotland to "audition" for the Bay City Rollers. Got the job. Played and lived with four other guys for seven months.
Left BCR and went to Barbados for vacation. Left Barbados two days later and went home to talk with my mom. "Guys do that...trust me."
Spoke to Damian and we agreed to form a new band. Formed "Rosetta Stone." Got the name from the B-side of a Barry Blue record.
Signed to Private Stock Records and released first album, "Rock Pictures." First single was "Sunshine of Your Love." Did Top of the Pops, and many other TV shows in Europe.
Toured everywhere tourable.
Too many internal conflicts in Rosetta Stone. Left and formed the "Ian Mitchell Band. Signed to WEA Records and released "Lonely Nites" and the single with the same name.
Discovered SKA. Fell in love with Bob Marley. The underground music scene in London was too cool to describe.
Toured everywhere tourable.
Went totally glam and changed the name to "LaRox." Signed to FM Records and released "Can I Bring You Love." Played with "The Enid" at the Marquee. Got banned from playing Fulham in London for being too graphic on stage. "Moi?!" Sold out the Embassy Club in London, and still hold the attendance record to this day. Recorded "On the Boulevard."
Got a new deal with EMI. EMI dropped me. "Boo Hoo."
Met Max Splodge...that year is a blur. Do remember Leeds, tho. Love ya Max! Met Max Splodge...that year is a blur. Do remember Leeds, tho. Love ya Max! Various Roller reunions here, there, and everywhere.
Went to South Africa with Woody to be a part of the "Passengers." Formed "Identity Crisis" with Keith Anderson..."cool dude." Released the new version of "Girls in Jeans." The video was really cool..trust me. Moved to LA on a rainy day. Met up with my London bud, Jimbo, from the "Babysitters" in LA. We did some shows and some recording.
Bumped into Duncan Faure in North Hollywood while shopping at Ralph's Supermarket. Formed "Joy Buzzers" with Duncan Faure, Joe Stefanelli, & Eric Lannon. Recorded "Welcome to the 90's" and toured the west coast.
Got sued by Eric Falconer for using the BCR name. Judge threw it out of court as it was the promoter who was at fault. Spoke to Eric about it....we laughed.
Sued myself again. Went to London to play with the singer from the BCR. Got married to my American baby, Wendy-Ann Antanaitis. Played in Germany a lot and recorded a greatest hits album.
It rained again...went back to California.
Discovered computers. Got together with Cheri Currie from "The Runaways," Mara Fox from "Precious Metal," and Burton & Bruce from "The Knack" to form "The Mix." Cheri, Mara, and Burton were wonderful to play with.
Met up with the "00 Spies", probably the best R&R band in LA. Thanks, guys.
Opened an entertainment company with my wife, Wendy, in beautiful Southern, CA. The O.C. to be exact. Always sunny, always warm.
Started doing Roller nostalgia again. Found a rockin' group of musicians to back me in this venture. This is indeed the way I see fit to play BCR music, POWER POP, pure Power Pop!!
Had a brainstorm one afternoon to record a Christmas CD for our church's building fund. It's not good to be homeless Catholics. We did it between July and Sept. 2001. We all know what happened on Sept. 11th. So I dedicated the CD - "The Gift" to all those whose lives were effected by that day and of course Jesus. He is, after all - The ultimate gift!!
Got involved with The Linda McCartney Foundation/Garland Appeal and Music for Middlesex. One of the best things I've ever done!!
Became an American citizen on March 25, 2005. Now singing God Bless America!! Got my Passport and Voters Registration Card in April, 2005. Can it get any better than this?
Duncan Faure....Man of a Thousand Dreams
© Mary Fortney 2004
Sounds for all ears, tastes, and interests best describe the music of Duncan Faure. Recordings by the South African born songwriter/musician have been a staple in the collection of many a rock music enthusiast since the mid-seventies.
From the fun loving "Dingley's Bookshop" to the grind of "Feels like Magic"...ballads to rockers, there is something for everyone.
Faure's career spans over 2 decades. From a youngster in his first band, to the present, he has consistently maintained a quality of musicianship few performers - past or present- have achieved.
The best public documentation of his career to date, begins in 1972 with his band, ORANGE CASH BOAT. A group dubbed as, "South Africa's Youngest Pop Sensation", they recorded "Girl on Her Own" b/w "Chi Chi Boo Boo". These two rarities are gems, and although sounding simplistic to some, a young teenaged Duncan and his evolving style are heard loud and clear.
The OCB lineup included childhood friends, Raimond Miller and Franco Del Mei - whose names most surely ring a bell to those familiar with Faure's work in the mid-90's with his First World Band. But let's not jump too far ahead...
Duncan achieved international fame upon joining South Africa's, RABBITT in 1975. His progressive keyboard style assisted in completing the sound that many have come to associate with "the biggest band to have come out of South Africa". Rabbitt blew audiences away. And no other South African band, either before or since, has received as much press as they. Rabbitt consisted of Faure, Trevor Rabin, Neil Cloud, and Ronnie Robot. They racked up 3 gold albums, and received a 1977 SARIE award for best group.
In the summer of '77, Rabin left the band, leaving Faure to carry on as primary songwriter and lead vocalist. Duncan did the job proud - turning out an extraordinary third and final album in "Rock Rabbitt", which was described by those in the music industry as "an overwhelming experience".
But by January '78, forces both within the band and out, forced them to break up. Each member going his separate way. The greatest band South Africa had ever known - was no more.
Later, that same year, history repeated itself with Faure stepping into a vacant lead role with the Scottish, BAY CITY ROLLERS.
The band had recently suffered a set back with the loss of it's popular lead singer, Les McKeown. Duncan had been working on a solo deal in the States, but felt that things were moving a bit too slow for his liking. And so, into his third band, he stepped.
The band professed to its young followers that despite the dramatic shift in line up, the music would remain largely unchanged. Yet, what was discovered on its first Faure-featured album , Elevator, was a fearless purging of musical talent never before heard from the band.
It appeared that Duncan's arrival had given the other members the freedom to express themselves shamelessly - uncovering a previously hidden musical drive and determination to be taken seriously.
Sadly, the change in style came too late for some fans. Others resented the seemingly endless change in band members. And, as is often the case with pop sensations, the band's popularity began to slide, in spite of the amazing musical growth during this period. Faure's contribution to the Rollers has, at times, been underestimated by those unfamiliar with his work. It is time to set the record straight. There is simply no doubt that although the Bay City Rollers were a fun and entertaining pop group prior to Faure's arrival, they emerged serious and determined musicians during his time with them. Duncan Faure had left his mark.
Lack of support from the band's record company, and members wanting to move on with their lives, forced the groups demise in 1982.
Never looking back for a moment, Duncan moved into yet another musical venture with KARU - a 3 piece band with fellow former Roller, Stuart Wood. The band played primarily Southern California and South African venues, bringing in a #2 chart hit in South Africa with "Where is the Music". The album, which produced this single, was called "Karu Cuts", and continues to be one of the most difficult "Faure Finds" for the avid collector. The band was powerful, and produced solid tunes and crowds alike. But in 1983, Wood was called back for a Bay City Roller reunion, as Duncan stayed behind in California to play a series of solo gigs featuring his own material as well as some hauntingly good Beatles tunes.
Not to be one to let the moss grow, this time was also spent lending his talent to other musicians. Duncan can be heard on any number of mid-late eighties releases by Bonham, Tyrants in Therapy, Trevor Rabin and more.
In 1988, he contributed to Madonna's "Who's That Girl?" soundtrack with his single "24 Hours". Although this song departed somewhat from his usual style, Duncan showed his versatility, and it paid off big time. The album sold 5 million copies.
In the early 90's Faure found himself working with yet another former Bay City Roller. This time, Ian Mitchell had jumped on board, and the two formed the JOYBUZZERS - a band which , once again, played mainly for the California crowd. During this time, Duncan composed a song, which was to be later dubbed by many as, "A Peace Anthem". The song was, "Let It Be Right".
More solo work soon followed after Mitchell moved on to join other former Rollers in other pursuits. A forceful CD with the American title "Come & Get It" was released in 1993, and "Let it Be Right" was included on it. Another South African chart topping single was on this CD as well, entitled "There's a New Today" which reached #2 in the South African Charts. But "Let it Be Right" was viewed as such a timely and profound piece of work in South Africa, that it was performed by George Benson at the 1993 Miss World Pageant. In addition, it was sung as a final "Mass Song" in the 1994 RAG Song For Peace Choir Festival by a mass choir of 500 primary school aged children. If not long before this, it was surely at this point, that Duncan Faure had proven himself to be a mainstay in South African music history. He had made a difference.
Duncan remained in South Africa during this time, at one point paying homage to his musical idols, The Beatles, in "Beatlemania Lives On". This live, tribute show earned him rave reviews and crowds refusing to let him leave the stage. The shows were touted as "not an imitation, but a celebration" of the Fab Four.By 1996, more new, original music emerged in the form of "For the Rights of All Man", a CD which reunited him with childhood band mates, Franco Del Mei and Raimond Miller. Keyboardist, Cathy Sherman, who had helped Duncan bring down the house previously during the "Beatlemania" shows, joined them. The addition of fiancée', Laurie McClain made THE FIRST WORLD BAND complete.
The 18-track effort brought to light a side of Duncan, which was new to many of his listeners. Those previously accustomed to the dreamy ballads and bump and grind, lust-filled rockers, were now given a glimpse of what lay within.
The songwriter, who only a few years earlier, had cried out for peace worldwide, now sang of his own personal pain. The recent losses of both his father, William (Bill) Faure, Sr. and brother, William (Bill) Jr., had delivered him to a crossroads where the songwriting seemed a therapeutic approach to his grief. Although many songs included were "classic Faure," others not only mourned losses, but celebrated lives. Duncan reached out through his music again; this time, personally. The CD earned him praise from both those in the industry, and consumers alike. Many have called it his most sincere work to date.
Coincidentally, a relatively fresh resurgence of Bay City Roller fans was currently sweeping the United States in the way of nostalgic fan gatherings as well as considerable Internet attention. Faure was invited to attend the fan fests - and in June 1998, was finally able to make the trek from South Africa to New Orleans with new musical partner, Mark Townsend. Together, the two were called the BLUEBOTTLES -- and the sound was a unique blend of both musicians' vocal and songwriting talents. The BlueBottles continued to play club dates in the US/Canada throughout the summers of '98 and '99 winning over new fans wherever they played.
Building on the success of the recent tour, during a break Duncan recorded the 1999/2000 GetGo release "Pronounced Four-uh". Featuring production by Tommy Dunbar (Rubinoos) and the talents of Kyle Vincent, Mark Townsend among others, the cd is filled with classic 'power-pop' and remains a top shelf favorite among many Faure fans.
In 2001 Duncan was embraced by recording giant EMI South Africa to record a 14-track cd of original music. Collaborating on a few tunes with renowned South African producer and drummer Kevin Kruger and EMI's managing director Irving Schlosberg, "Take The Good" was released in August of 2002. Two notable tracks on the album - rocker "Turn Me Back On The Radio" and the romantic ballad "Not Enough Hours" generated significant airplay on several South African radio stations.
The song 'Let It Be Right' received attention again in 2003 when it was infused with messages of patriotism and support for the troops fighting in the Iraq war and was made available on his website as a free download. Now a heart wrenching song of love and honor it was heard over the airwaves throughout America, heavily requested in some areas with messages of 'thanks' pouring in from all over the United States, Canada, UK and the soldiers themselves stationed abroad.
Recently Duncan moved back to Los Angeles, California with his American wife, Laurie and their two young children, Julia and William, - named after Duncan's late brother William Faure Jr, who was such a force in Duncan's formative years. Working from his home studio Duncan writes and records daily.
Over the years, Duncan Faure has been sure to leave his legacy. It's a legacy of music; and a hope for peace and dignity for all. Through all the changes he's endured, he continues to deliver a solid sound, and refuses to compromise the integrity of his music. Stay tuned: surely, there are more chapters to come in this musician's career!
The History of Contemporary Music of South Africa-Toga Publishing, 1994 by: Garth Chilvers and Tom Jasiukowcz
"Like a Child Again" - by Silke Friedrich (Sunday Times Magazine - January 15, 1995)