‘I was like Evil Knievel when I was a kid.’
At some point, everyone needs to bluff it to make it. To prove our point, we ask celebrities about their biggest bluffs. Approach the bench…
Lee from Nazareth
- Religion: Great excuse for putting on all manner of funny outfits and telling people what to do.
- Christian Rock: It’s rock music, Jim, but not as we know it.
- Hair of the Dog: Now that’s rock music.
- Edinburgh: East coast. Salt and sauce. Hibs and Hearts. Edinburgh Castle. The River Forth. Tartan tat. Irvine Welsh. Teenagers that talk through their nose.
- Glasgow: West coast. Salt and vinegar. Rangers and Celtic. The Royal Concert Hall. The River Clyde. Deep-fried Mars bars. Billy Connolly. Teenagers that talk through their nose.
In his own words…
My name is Lee and I’m a 40-something drummer who lives in Scotland. You could say I come from a musical family. My dad’s a musician and so are three of my four younger brothers. We don’t talk to the one that isn’t. I’ve played in various different bands over the years. For the last 15 years I’ve had the pleasure of playing in the rock band Nazareth, of whom my Dad is a founding member.
Have you ever got something for nothing?
To whom, or what, do you owe your big break?
It was the wall in Mum and Dad’s back garden. I instinctively put my arms out when I fell and my left wrist ended up broken. I can still hear the snap. Growing up I went on to break just about every bone in my body. I was like Evil Knievel when I was a kid.
Where and when was the last time you felt entirely out of place?
It was in the mid-1990s. A band I was playing for was asked to participate in a project for ‘Folk Band and Orchestra’ with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO), as part of the ‘Celtic Connections’ music festival in Glasgow.
My music reading has never been all that great and this piece turned out to be pretty complicated. But, you know, I figured I could busk it!
The humiliating moment was showing up to the first rehearsal. The whole orchestra and the conductor are there with all eyes on this band they’ve been asked to work with. I’m playing it cool, right up until I tried to put up a music stand. These people could do this with one hand and their eyes shut. I couldn’t do it if my life depended on it.
Eventually, after what seemed an age, someone comes over and does it for me. I then get my music out and try to act as if this is just another day in the life of a pro drummer like myself. You could see people checking to see that I had the music the right way up.
I’ve never been so nervous in my life – although on the day of the actual show there were more people on the stage than there were in the audience. To this day I don’t know how I got away with that one.
When was the last time you bluffed your way into an event you weren’t officially invited to?
I didn’t bluff my way into an event… I created an event in order to bluff my brother into the pub.
We staged his 18th birthday party. We had cards and balloons and cake and presents. He had on his ‘18 Today’ badge. Everyone was wearing party hats, singing ‘Happy Birthday’ and all that…. He had to give back the presents later as it was just some of my stuff wrapped up. But it worked a treat. He even got a free pint. Happy days!
When would you advocate bluffing it?
Sometimes it’s the only course of action available. I suppose as long as nobody gets hurt as a result of ‘the bluff’ then that’s okay. And when you’re playing poker… obviously.
Have you ever bluffed your way into getting a date?
A friend and I once told two girls that we were in the Red Arrows. That’s more of a lie than a bluff, I suppose. This was in a nightclub in Kirkcaldy, a nice town, but not noted for its airshows. They were very impressed. The fact that we both had long hair and were drinking rum and coke like it was going out of fashion didn’t seem to bother them.‘Yeah, we’ve got this big display in the morning…’
What’s the best lie you ever told?
I was at a comedy club and the compère was doing that thing where he asks you what you do for a living and then rips into you. So when he asked me what I did I told him I was a martial arts instructor. He then asked how long I’d been doing that and I said that it had been a while since I had done much ’cause I’d just got out of jail. He then moved on to the next guy.
And what is the best lie you never told?
That if you elect me to government you’ll all have lots of money, taxes will go down, public services will improve and we’ll all live happily ever after. Although I suspect this one has been done already.
Have you ever committed or witnessed a major bluffing fail?
When I was young and stupid and broke I was in a supermarket parking lot when I noticed that one of the tyre valve caps on my car was missing. I’m not proud of it, but I decided to help myself to a valve cap from one of the hundred or so cars that were there.
No sooner had I done so than this big guy comes storming across the parking lot to ask me what I thought I was doing. I started to talk some rubbish about how this was my Mum’s car and she’d said it was okay to take one of her valve caps. He then informed me that, no, it wasn’t my Mum’s car, it was his. At which point I ran away.
Later, when I worked up the courage to go back for my car, I had no valve caps at all and 4 flat tyres. A lesson learned in life you could say.
Nazareth’s album Rock n Roll Telephone is out now – head to Amazon to buy a copy (but then come back to us).
And like Nazareth on Facebook – 284,000 people can’t be wrong.