OM Only Music (New Faces)
The following piece about Brian appeared in the third edition of OM Only Music magazine. OM was an American music publication, with a cover date of March 1987.
The story begins in his hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland, where Brian Spence's group, Bilbo Baggins, was managed by Tam Paton. The svengali behind The Bay City Rollers, Paton had hoped to duplicate that previous success with Spence's group, but they weren't willing to be the next prepubescent sensation.
"We were a rock band," defends Spence. "We weren't interested in dressing up in short trousers and tartan. We wanted to appeal to an older audience, and just be ourselves." To add emphasis to the point he was trying to make to Paton, Spence shaved his head!.. .This was years before punks and skinheads became the order of the day.
After enduring much frustration with Paton, he and bandmate Colin Chisholm split from the group to form Chisholm and Spence. But their efforts failed, and Spence returned to Scotland and a seemingly neverending club circuit. He admits it was rough, but says that making music and playing guitar was all he wanted to do. "It was my life, and really, if I had to continue playing the clubs, I think I'd still do it. It's the only work that I want to do," admits Spence. "Before I started in music, I used to work in a coalmine. It was a horrible, disgusting job, but I knew that I wouldn't end up staying in the mines, I did make a few quid, though, and that helped."
The coalmines were but a stepping stone to music, and a few years later, the Edinburgh club circuit proved to be Spence's bridge to London. "I had to move down there. It makes it so much easier for record companies to get to know you." But still there were problems. As any beginning musician will attest to, record companies hate dealing on a one-to-one basis with artists, and the only answer is to hire a manager. That's an expensive move many musicians can't afford. But Spence spent his money wisely and found Kip Krones, manager for the Outfield, to manage him.
The expense paid off and once the management deal was signed, events moved quickly as a Polydor A&R man swooped in with a recording contract and had Spence in the studio by February of 1986.
Like the Outfield before him, Brian Spence hopes he can attract the record buying public without all the flash and glitter that other groups employ. "I'm not interested in the image side of it, and my record company isn't really pushing me into be something I'm not. They just want me to do my music."
With some reluctance, Spence does admit that, in the beginning,
there was talk of him taking on a more youthful image, one that would
attract the teenage girls by the dozen.
why I don't tell people my age. It's not that I'm embarrassed by my age,
or that I think I'm too old to be in the business, but my record company
wanted me to be a certain age and I didn't want to go along with it. So
really, neither of us have won the argument. I just don't say anything
about how old I am. In all honesty though, I don't think anyone would
believe I'm 19." [At the time of the interview Brian would have
been 33 years old. - Mark]
If you missed the video for his single "Heard It From
the Heart," you still have a chance to catch Brian Spence on his
upcoming tour with Nik Kershaw. And with any luck, he's gotten over the
shyness that ruined his first performing experiences.
"I remember the first time I went onstage. I
spent the entire performance with my back to the audience facing a wall!"
Spence laughs. "I was so scared to face the crowd, even as small
as it was. I don't think it mattered anyway. No one was listening!"
Of course, that was then...
Page Last Updated: 4th March 2010
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