This week we’re going back to the sixties for a character interview with Scott, the lead guitarist with Narnia’s Children. Scott is Renza and Stella’s love interest in Only One Woman a semi-autobiographical novel by Christina Jones and Jane Risdon.
Let’s find out a bit about the book first
Two women, one love story.
June 1968. Renza falls head over heels for heartthrob guitarist Scott. But after a romantic summer together they are torn apart when Renza’s family moves away.
December 1968. On the night she believes to be her last, Stella meets Scott at a local dance. He’s the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and if this one night is all they have, she’ll take it.
As the final colourful year of the sixties dawns, the question is: can there be only one woman for Scott?
Oooh, I wonder who Scott will choose? Let’s take a look at his interview with a teen magazine journalist, mid-tour end of 1968 to find out a bit more about his band.
Hi Scott, it’s great to meet you having heard so much about you and your band, Narnia’s Children. Thanks for agreeing to this interview, I know you are busy touring and recording so I appreciate you stopping in for chat.’
Scott: ‘Hi, no sweat, it’s my pleasure.’
So, let’s start with you telling our readers something about yourself and Narnia’s children. When did you meet and form as a band and where did you get the name Narnia’s Children? What brought you to England?’
Scott: I’ve known the guys since we were in our early teens, we were in various bands in Jersey (Channel Islands), and over time we gravitated to the same band which was called something else back then, ‘Singapore Sling.’ Scott laughs. ‘Living in Jersey you’re never far from alcohol – it’s an ‘in’ joke. Anyway, we got a manager, Stephan, who’d seen us playing and liked our own material, which we were writing and dropping into our sets when we could. As you know everyone wants to hear cover songs until you’re established and have a hit of your own. Actually, he came up with the name, Narnia’s Children, because we are all fans of C.S. Lewis’ books. We made some demo recordings – which he paid for – and he flew to England, with the tracks, to meet with record company guys trying to get a deal for us. He also met with various booking agents and managed to secure several tours of the UK, Europe, and he got us on some Mediterranean cruises so we had money coming in. So tours were scheduled and we had to spend time song-writing and rehearsing, ready to come to England, because we also had lots of auditions for record companies lined up through our fixer, Psychedelic Smith. We also had some famous song-writers offering us their songs to record as well. Really cool stuff, you know. Stephan has financed everything so far…and here we are.’
‘Wow! That’s pretty awesome. You must be having a blast. What do you enjoy most about touring and recording?’
Scott: Recording is cool. Such an intense experience, especially when you’re recording songs you’ve written. Hearing the ideas all come together – you know, from the lyrics scribbled in a notebook, to the chords, melodies, and everything all melding into this track, this song, and then working with a producer who ‘gets it’ – well, it’s just such a trip.’ Scott sighs happily. ‘And touring, well that is the ultimate. Right there and then, nothing but you and the music and the fans. Such a buzz. I love it. Yeah, it’s a drag having to travel up and down the country, you know, one night you’re in Penzance and the next you’ve got to get to Wick in Scotland and then over to Hamburg and your life is just the van, the road, various B&B’s – if you’re lucky and don’t have to sleep in the van – and then it’s on stage, and then it all starts over again. Knackering, oh! Sorry, but you get my drift.’
Full on I imagine. You obviously love it. Did you ever consider getting a ‘proper’ job, or have you always wanted to be a musician? Did you have lessons on bass and guitar – just two of several instruments you play?’
Scott: I’ve never wanted to do anything else, ever since being a choir boy, I guess.’ Scott giggles. ‘Actually, I learned to play with Bert Weedon’s, ‘Play in a Day,’ book. And playing along to The Stones’ records, Blues artists, and musicians like that. I’ve never had a lesson. My step-father got me my first serious guitar – flew to England with me and we did the rounds of instrument shops in London and we got a second-hand Gibson SG – cherry red – the most beautiful thing. It cost a fortune, and I had to promise to repay him, so I had to make playing work. My Dad wanted me to join the Navy, I nearly freaked – imagine it, me in the Navy. That’s when I left home and moved over to Jersey to my Mum’s. She gets it with me and my music.’
You write with Zak and Mo at times, where do you get your inspiration?
Scott: Yeah, we write together sometimes and other times we all write on our own. If I’m writing on my own anything can inspire a song, usually the music comes first as I mess around on the guitar until I get a tune of some sort, then I’ll hum along and words sometimes come – the melody comes the same time. Sometimes songs come all in one go, almost complete. I wrote a song called, ‘You Never Should’ve Gone Away,’ which came all at once. I shouldn’t tell you this – off the record Okay?’ The interviewer nods. ‘Well, there’s this girl, Renza, we sort of got it together when the band first came over, a really beautiful girl, well, I wrote it for her. It just came all at once. So cool. But don’t tell anyone about me having a girlfriend, because it’s not good for our image and Stephan would freak if it got out.’
How are you coping with fame and the adoration of some many fans, mainly girls of course? You’ve even got a fan-club and you’re meeting lots of famous people, it must be a million miles away from Jersey. Tell us a little about it?
Scott: Yeah it’s full on, wild, such a blast. I’m loving it, we all are. It’s hard to keep your head in the right place, but Stephan and our roadie, Rich, keep our feet on the ground and are really strict with us. That’s all good. Yeah we’ve got a fan-club and a fan-club secretary, Stella, a real cool chick. She’s a music journalist and came to one of our gigs and Stephan asked her to work for the band, so she handles all that stuff.’ Scott looks into space for a moment. ‘We’ve met some really far out cool cats, just amazing song-writers and record producers, some famous actors and actresses and singers. We’ve played with some awesome bands, really famous guys. We’ve learned loads from them, from playing all the time, you know. It makes you really tight on stage.’ He smiled. ‘And it’s cool walking down the street and people recognise us and ask for autographs and stuff. We get loads of fan mail, gifts and all sorts you wouldn’t believe…’ He laughed and winked.
Scott, thanks so much for chatting with me about Narnia’s Children and your life as a musician. I hear you are off to do Radio One with Stuart Henry soon, so good luck with that. We must do this again.’
‘Scott: ‘Yeah, let’s. Been fab, thanks.’
He sounds quite a character, doesn’t he? Here’s an extract from the book. The extract is from Renza’s Diary: Renza has managed to get a lift back to England to spend a weekend with Scott and the band. Things didn’t quite go to plan, Scott wasn’t there when she arrived and was missing for 36 hours and when he returned he didn’t have an explanation. Later the band were playing with a famous Reggae band in Dunstable….
Renza’s Diary: January 20th 1969
We all went to the California Ballroom later in the afternoon to set the gear up and run through the songs before the audience came in about 7pm. Rich managed to shut my fingers in the van door and I nearly passed out with the pain, not that Scott seemed overly bothered. He seemed pre-occupied all the time, we’d hardly spoken since he arrived back from Harbury Green or wherever.
I felt miserable, so lonely and unwanted.
We spent most of the time in the dressing room with the other band on the bill that night, Doc Holliday and The Cards. It should have been so excited meeting such a famous singer whose song, ‘The Egyptians,’ I loved. But all I could think about was that Scott didn’t love me anymore, didn’t want me around… It was like a nightmare.
Apparently Doc Holliday and the Cards were on the same record label as Narnia’s Children and also shared the same management now. Stephan has become the band’s ‘Personal Manager’ whatever that is. I thought he was anyway.
Doc was a funny sort of bloke really, his band didn’t seem to like him much and they argued the whole time. I discovered Doc had several wives and loads of kids and his band kept mentioning them when they had a shouting match about anything – from the songs not being sung right in rehearsal, to the way the microphones were situated. It was mayhem.
Still, I would love to tell Yvette and Selina all about this – their faces would be a sight worth seeing! The venue was heaving; people were still trying to get in when the show started.
Doc’s band were terrible to him on stage, in front of everyone, not just in rehearsals. They deliberately turned his mic off so that when they started their song, no one could hear him. It took him a while to realise that he was not being heard by the audience. Doc’s band fell about laughing but I thought it was cruel.
Backstage, afterwards, they had a massive fight, and I mean a real brawling fight. We thought the police might have to be called as they looked as if they meant him real harm.
Narnia’s Children were amazing as usual and I loved watching them. Zak was so sexy, a bit like Mick Jagger in the way he moved, and he had the girls eating out of his hand from the get-go. Scott had his usual moody stance on stage which really turns me on, and it also seemed to turn all the other girls on too. Some screamed his name out and a couple tried to get on the stage.
Everyone sang along to the songs too, which was groovy. Sadly, though, there was nearly a fight at one point – and this one was nothing to do with Doc Holliday and the Cards. Some weird skin-head blokes dressed in big boots, braces and with really cropped hair got up on the stage and tried to thump Scott and Zak, and accused them of looking at their girlfriends, but seriously, I thought it was the girls who were doing the looking.
And I couldn’t see how the band could help looking at someone at some point since they were facing the audience. But it was nasty, and in the end Zak smacked one of them on the back with the mic stand and twirled it round and round until the skin-heads got off the stage, and some big black guys came and shoved them out of the Ballroom….
If you want to read more of this fascinating book you can buy it here:
Only One Woman Accent Press
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Meet The Authors
Christina Jones has written for teenage and women’s magazines, had her own humour column in The Oxford Times and published her funny, feel-good Bucolic Frolic novels to great acclaim. She lives in Oxfordshire.
Jane Risdon worked with management of musicians, singersongwriters, and record producers, rubbing shoulders with the great and glamourous all over the world. She and Christina have been friends since the Swingin’ Sixties.
Karen King – our generous host:
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