This would have been Chris’s 77th birthday this week. This month’s post looks back on our time together after the Millenium. We did a lot, laughed a lot & drank a lot. Hers’s to Chris Adams and the 21st Century
The arrival of the 21st century was a very busy time for us both with the release of “The Damage 2″ and “Moments of Truth”.
Together, Chris and I organised photo shoots, interviews and various gigs.
“Songs From Another Country” came along a bit later on and we used my flat in the Westend of Glasgow to be the location for the cover and Chris’s back garden for the shot of the band & producer, Danny Mitchell. For contractual reasons that we won’t go into, this album required to be released under the name String Driven with the “Thing” being left in the cupboard for a while. Thankfully, we were able to eventually gain access to the cupboard and reinstate the “Thing” to it’s rightful place.
Although I continued my role as band photographer during this time, towards the end of the noughties, even though I had semi- retired from work, I became busier than ever before, travelling all round Scotland including Shetland, Orkneys & Western Isles surveying church buildings and then heading out to New Zealand, Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Islands to deal with insurance catastrophes. Despite this, I started becoming a bit more involved with the band. Chris and I also started work on a major project.
This was a musical play about Bonnie Prince Charlie. It has survived many re-titling exercises, starting off as “The Young Pretender”, then becoming “Pride” & “Dangerous Dreamer” before ending up as “Bloody Prince Charlie”. I am sure there must be a few other long forgotten titles floating about. The story combines factual and fictional characters and takes the audience from the point that Charlie landed in Scotland, through the gathering of the clans, their march into England and, after the return from Derby, the horrific day at Culloden.
“Bloody Prince Charlie” featured a lot of fabulous new songs by Chris along with a few old ones that fitted the story which has been re-written and re-worked several times. We have had a few bites but, as it is a fairly major production with quite a big cast, budgetary constraints put people off. The current Covid situation has not helped either. This, I think, is a lottery win project for me together with the movie script that was a project of my own. That one is called “The Last Stone” and is a film about life, death, love, hate, laughter, tears and… curling.
Around the same time, Chris and I also worked on a couple of one act plays, one of which ,”Hammy” ,was based on Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” but with Glasgow gangster type characters. Another, “The Fab Five” about a Beatles tribute band , managed to be shortlisted in a Channel Four Comedy Play Competition but, despite our best efforts, they remain un-performed.
One of the crazy things we did in 2009 was shoot a video for “Place To Lie” in Glasgow’s Necropolis. With a budget of zero, this became quite a convoluted exercise. With Chris miming to the track and listening through ear-pods, I followed him through the steep graveyard puffing and panting on the cold day of the shoot. The ear-pods kept slipping out of his ears but we persevered and got something down on tape. I then re-filmed the thing off my tv screen syncing to the sound from the cd on my stereo system. We are resourceful at String Driven Thing. The end result is a technical disaster but has great atmosphere. This is available to view using the link below for “Place To Lie” :-
I also got involved in shooting quite a lot of live video of the band and also shot some footage of Sleepmode, a fabulous band formed by Chris’s younger sons, Mervyn and Robin. I also did a lot of photo videos which are a really nice way of showcasing a song. Robin’s Be Gone features pictures taken in Bavaria including the album cover. This has had nearly 18,000 plays. As you probably know, Robin has gone on to have a successful career of his own and I keep an ongoing interest in his progress, both musically and artistically. His most recent album, “One Day” isa masterpiece.
All of these videos can be found on You Tube, under my name, Chester Studzinski.
The band played quite a lot live in the early 2010’s and, for my sins, I seemed to become honorary tour manager. We travelled the length and breadth of the country from Achmore in the North to London & Cambridge in the South and from Carradale in the West to Fife in the East. As well as several points in between, we ventured a couple of times to Bavaria where the band went down a storm. We also took trips across the Atlantic for a couple of gigs. To be more precise, we drove across the Atlantic Bridge to Easdale, near Oban on the West coast of Scotland then took a little boat over to Seil Island. I will do a separate little piece on our overseas trips.
2010 was the 40th anniversary of the band and we thought the occasions should not go unrecognized. At the time, I lived in a fabulous flat in the West End of Glasgow which had an enormous lounge (the one featured on the cover of “Songs From Another Country”. As the boys regularly met up at mine for rehearsals and plates of soup, we decided that we should host a celebratory gig in my flat and invite a few selected people to an evening of entertainment. For the invitation, we decided that the picture from the original eponymous album should be recreated and, one sunny afternoon, I met with Chris, John and Pauline at Rouken Glen Park where we tried to recreate the iconic picture.
On the night of the gig, which had a self-enforced curfew of 11pm, we didn’t disturb the neighbours too much. As well as a set from the current line-up at the time, Chris, John & Pauline turned the clocks back and performed the stuff they did back in the 1970’s. We had about 50 people there on the night from as far away as Barcelona and Amsterdam with a few venturing up from down south. It was an evening never to forget.
One of the attendees was Colin Beattie, the owner of Oranmor, who was a big fan of the band back in the day. At the end of the night, he made a magnificent gesture in offering his venue to give a re-run of the Anniversary Gig to the paying public. This was another great night.
Chris managed to write three novels but only one of them was self -published. I got involved in the sleeve design for “Beautiful Game..?” which is still available on Amazon to buy or download to Kindle and is a fabulous read. I highly recommend it. The release of the novel coincided with Chris’s 70th birthday.
Set during 2014 in Glasgow, a high profile Scottish sports journalist is found dead in his car. Apparent suicide becomes suspected murder when the pathologist finds strange marks on the victim’s thigh and, after the cop in charge, DI George Bruce, finds that the journalist has just been to Zurich on a story about FIFA and that his contact there has been found hanged, he is ordered to fly out.
What he finds involves MI6, two mysterious Irish sisters and a blackmailed FIFA delegate and takes him on a journey through Austria into Slovenia. As the clock ticks down to the up and coming Independence Referendum in Scotland, the nature of the FIFA story becomes the central ring in a mechanism seemingly designed to break up the UK by delivering a guaranteed Yes vote.
The last thing that Chris & I worked together on was “The Grail Guitar” book where I got involved in taking several pictures including the front cover and I also got involved in promotional work, including the book’s launch where, at CC Music in Glasgow, Chris performed with the band for the last time. There are, at this moment in time, only two signed copies left for purchase on the website. When they are gone, there are no more.
I knew that Chris wanted his memoirs to be completed so, before I left for New Zealand in September 2016 to celebrate my 70th, we agreed at his bedside that, when I returned the next month, we would sit down, fill in the gaps and I would finish writing the story. Sadly, Chris passed whilst I was away and our wishes were never fulfilled.
I hope, however, through his own words and a few of mine, that I have been able to let as many of you know as much as possible about the life and times of Christopher Stuart Adams.
He will always be remembered and, at any time, we have the comfort that any of us can put a cd on and let him sing one for you.