HWS welcome Justin and Steve from No Strings Attached with a tribute to Andy Weatherall.
1963 – 2020
A year on since the passing of our dear friend, here’s a few words…
After many years owning many of his productions on vinyl, copies of mixtapes and travelling to hear him at various clubs up and down the country we finally got to meet Andrew in May 2000 as he agreed to play NSA’s 5th Birthday Party in our home town of Galashiels.
No matter the destination there is always an excitement when Andrew is in town so you can imagine the nervous energy between us when we were sitting waiting on the 9:30 flight from Heathrow to touch down at Edinburgh Airport.
Let’s just say thank fuck he was flying that night as train stations charge to use toilets and given how frequent our visits were we could have probably bankrupted a small country between us.
Andrew was last off the plane which only added to our stress levels as we thought he was a no show but he finally arrived, greeting us with a quick “Hello Chaps. Nice to meet you” and we were on the road with the laughs starting from the offset mainly fuelled by his non stop highly amusing anecdotes, which we both really miss.
The hospitality on that first night amounted to a takeaway from our local Chinese, and although we thought we had screwed any chances of a return date nobody does Chicken Peking quite like The Happy House, and so a relationship was formed that allowed us to work together on many occasions over the next two decades.
Unfortunately, during this time we never quite got our act together to record his visits to NSA as we were always racing around putting together the final touches for the party but they were all very memorable in one way or another. That said, we think there is an old recording from The Venue and an unheard ALFOS from The Mash House kicking about somewhere and we do have one other mix we are very grateful for. Back in 2015 we asked him to contribute to our soundcloud guest mix series and once recorded he phoned to say it was ready and he was really pleased with the way it turned out. So raise a glass today to a great man and have a listen as it truly is a special one.
Like Billy Connolly said, you can never remember a comedians jokes when you leave the show despite laughing all night and it was like that with Andrew’s stories so here is a wee tale about us wanting to join him and Sean for their gig at Trouw in Amsterdam.
We had an eye on this upcoming night for a while but had written off our chances of going due to lack of funds following a gig that never worked out for us numbers wise, but with 2 weeks to go we were on the phone to each other and after talking about trying to win the money on a horse we scrambled about £40 between us and decided to go for it.
It was a miserable midweek evening and when making the drive to a betting shop in a neighbouring town we said we have to pick something that relates to Weatherall. Just by chance there was a race meeting at Windsor (the town Andrew grew up in), so the initial signs were already positive. Now let’s try and find a horse relating to music. Scanning the race card, we discovered a horse by the name of ’Starlight Symphony’. The trainer also went by the name of a Mr. Johnson (close enough to Johnston in a situation like this) This was it…
The horse won at 16/1. We were heading to Trouw for the ALFOS party with the added bonus of Ivan Smagghe also playing in the main room.
The next morning, we messaged Andrew to tell him what happened.. as soon as it was sent, the phone rings and he’s like “YES!!! That’s fucking amazing!!.. crying with laughter, he couldn’t believe the coincidence. “Ok call me when you arrive and we’ll meet you at the club”. Unknown to us the owners of Trouw had heard about the story via Andrews agent so when we arrived we were greeted by them at the door to the club and kindly given large handfuls of bar tokens.
What followed was one of the funniest 24 hours in Amsterdam and one of the best club nights either of us had ever experienced.
So from encounters in castles, clubs, bars, hotels and car journeys we can only look back on the last twenty years with really fond memories of all the fun filled times.
Although we are deeply saddened he can no longer be a part of it, as without his encouragement and connection we are under no illusion that NSA would never have lasted as long as it has or given us the opportunity to meet so many amazing people.
So here’s to you Dear Boy and in your own words “It’s more than just a disco”.