70s rockers Sweet play Brighton, Bexhill and Southampton
Arguably there’s a little irony about Sweet being sensible, but they are certainly being sensible on their Hellraiser UK tour.
They play Chalk, Brighton on Thursday, November 25; 1865, Brunswick Square, Southampton on Friday, November 26; and Bexhill’s De La Warr Pavilion on Saturday, December 4.
Original guitarist – and last one standing of the original line-up – Andy Scott says: “If I was in my 20s, maybe I will be a little bit interested in getting out there and finding out what is going on but I've come into my 70s and I've got to be more sensible. I'm trying to evaluate what the long-term effects are.”
They are certainly not touring with misgivings; but they are touring with protocols: “We are going to treat the tour as if we were in a lockdown isolation bubble again.
“Our promoters have had a couple of tours that have had to be cancelled and we want to be careful. It means that we don't mix with the audience other than when we are on the stage and that we won't be doing meet and greets.
“The support band are really into this as well. We would have had a barrel of laughs with Limehouse Lizzy but we just seriously can't integrate. There are 16 shows. We have knocked the tour down the road a couple of times already and we're now at a certain point where we can do it but we have to do it in a certain way.
“I think I've been sensible now for about 20 years or more now! And I do like being sensible. I'm still here. Out of the four of us from the original line-up it is only me left. I think I had a big red button in my head that said ‘Stop’ from time to time. I put that down to being Welsh and also to not having the usual teenage years.
“I was in a band from about 14 or 15 and I was always thinking about doing gigs and trying to fix my O levels and A levels. I think my parents and my grandparents, that I spent a lot of time with, were sensible people and I think it kind of rubbed off on me.
“I don't want to sound like I am a saint, though. Having been in a band in the 70s it would be rather difficult to swing that! Certainly travelling around the world back then we were arrogant and full of it really and there are moments when I sit thinking what would it be like if the four of us could get together now. I still think there would have been a couple of guys that would have needed nailing down!
“I wouldn't have missed it for the world but when I read stories about other bands I sometimes think that maybe we missed out on something. We were not as bad as them. Several guitar player friends of mine were using substances to the nth degree but that was never really us. There were times when my tour manager and I used to stop doing everything, just stop drinking and so on or else we just couldn't properly play. I look back on some of the shows that we did which were just like flights of fantasy and there was the one of us who was the anchor and the other three who were flying.
“I became the songwriter and the producer. Somebody had to be in control of that kind of stuff otherwise you are forever looking for somebody else. If you are doing the music you have to be in the centre of it and stand up and be counted.”
Original Sweet lead singer Brian Connolly (1945-1997) was a rock star before his time, Andy says: “Brian was so organised at first. He would talk to the promoters and the agents. He would be organising things and sorting things out. In the beginning he did everything.
“But I can remember going out with him and I ended up flat out on somebody’s bathroom floor in a flat in Bayswater and Brian was nowhere to be seen and a girl was wandering around in just a T shirt. She said ‘What you doing today?’ And I was just thinking ‘Where am I? What kind of state am I in? And where is Brian?’
“And that's when I realised I just couldn't keep up with this guy. There only so many G&Ts that you can drink.
“But he was the real rock star before his time and as time went on it became more and more noticeable and worst of all it became more noticeable just as we were trying to break through in America. We tried to get him straightened out so many times but in the end there's only you that can really help yourself. He was only 52 and that was far too young.”