Bassist Tony Butler — who joined Big Country prior to the recording of its 1982 debut single “Harvest Home” — announced this past weekend that he’s leaving the recently reunited band, writing in a message to fans that “after 32 years of incredible highs and a very tragic low, I feel that now is the time to look to new horizons.”
The band, with The Alarm’s Mike Peters filling in for the late Stuart Adamson, already has revealed Butler’s replacement — original Simple Minds bassist Derek Forbes — and announced it will embark on “a new adventure,” beginning with the close of its ongoing 30th anniversary celebration with a concert Dec. 30, 2012, at the Glen Pavilion in Dunfermline, Scotland.
That venue was the site of the band’s first concert, on Feb. 2, 1982, and it was also the site of the first show after founding members Adamson and Bruce Watson were joined by Butler and drummer Mark Brzezicki, the lineup that recorded the classic debut The Crossing.
Butler’s retirement also coincides with the departure of manager Ian Grant after 30 years; Butler, who initially took over on lead vocals when Big Country first reunited in 2007, has said he’ll retain Grant as his personal manager.
On Facebook, Forbes — who left Simple Minds after the recording of “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” — wrote of his long friendship with Adamson, saying, ” I feel in my heart, that he would be happy that I have agreed to fill the incredible Tony Butler’s shoes. I love this band, and I love the guys who I will be playing with onstage on this incredible adventure”
You can read Butler’s full statement below as well as Forbes’ message to fans:
Tony Butler statement
There comes a time when a big decision has to be made, and I’ve made one. I feel that after 32 years of dedicated service to Big Country, I need to dedicate some time to myself, so I am announcing my retirement from the band as of now. I have no wish to declare any reasons other than my time with the group has come to an end. After 32 years of incredible highs and a very tragic low, I feel that now is the time to look to new horizons.
My deepest love and thanks go to: Ian, Stuart, Bruce, Mark, and the many associated families and friends (and not forgetting my own family that have been an inspiration and massive support) that have so enriched my life. Many thanks to Mike and Jamie for the past two years. Also, a big thank you to you, the fans, that have supported us throughout this incredible life experience; without you, this group would not have achieved anything.
Time to move on. Good luck one and all.
I first met Stuart Adamson in 1977, when I played gigs in Glasgow and Edinburgh with my band the Subhumans,(Subs). We became friends then, along with Richard Jobson, Will Simpson and Tam Kellichan. I joined Simple Minds in 1978, and we would bump into the Skids on many an evening in London. I was at loads of the Skids performances in the early days, and loved every minute of the shows. Richard asked me to join the band on one occasion, but I stuck with Simple Minds. One day in the Townhouse Studios , after the Skids split up, Stuart and I were talking over a cup of tea, as we were both working there, me with Simple Minds, and Stuart with Big Country, his new band! He told me later that he wanted me to record some bass tracks on the recordings, but was too shy to ask…This was pre Tony and Mark…..Stuart , now it has happened , old friend.
I met Stuart , on and off, many a time, including a gig at the Barrowland with Simple Minds, where we shared a taxi to the Hilton Hotel after a U2 gig…The last time I spoke to Stuart was at the ‘Kosovo gig’ at the SECC in Glasgow. He was one of Scotlands greatest guitar heroes, a marvellous talent , and a wonderful man… I feel in my heart, that he would be happy that I have agreed to fill the incredible Tony Butler’s shoes.
I love this band, and I love the guys who I will be playing with onstage on this incredible adventure…You all know Bruce…but I can honestly say that I have never laughed so much in my life, as when I shared a room with him across America and Canada in 2006 with fourgoodmen, and also Touring with Mike Peters with the Alarm and Los Mondo Bongo. He is an inspiration to anyone who knows him, and is a fitting friend and frontman for Big Country…Jamie is an incredible talent in the mold of his father Bruce…I am looking forward , so much, to playing with one of the Worlds greatest drummers….even my old compatriot Mel Gaynor is in awe of this man’s talent..and rightly so… I can’t wait Mark!
I hope I do not disappoint any of the Big Country family, and I will endeavour to do my best in this amazing new adventure….thanks for all your flattering comments, and please put your doubts to the side, and continue to support the band
PREVIOUSLY ON SLICING UP EYEBALLS
- Vintage Video: Big Country on ‘Rockpalast’ in 1986 — watch full 100-minute concert
- Big Country’s ‘The Crossing: Deluxe Edition’ reissue to include 10 unreleased tracks
- Video: Big Country with Mike Peters, ‘In a Big Country’ — from ‘Dreams Stay With You’ DVD
- Big Country to reissue ‘The Crossing,’ play 1983 album live in U.K., Germany
- Big Country releasing ‘Another Country’ — first single in 12 years — with Mike Peters
- Big Country enlists The Alarm’s Mike Peters as lead singer for 30th anniversary tour
- Big Country to release ‘Peace In Our Time: Live In Moscow 1988′ CD/DVD package