In the Spotlight
Found in 1314AD in a discarded sporran at Bannockburn. So even at that early age Mr Lowson showed a keen initiative to be close to money and alcohol, albeit secondhand. His first recorded job was that of a fermentation vat for Scottish and Newcastle Breweries, unfortunately this position soon went to his head and he was soon discharged admist scandalous rumours involving a brewers drey.
His main hobby at that time was impersonation, and his personal favourites in his repertoire were "The Trade Winds" and "Victoria Falls". These were only once performed in public and resulted in a long spell of incarceration with an agave worm at Jose Cuervos request.
This is only one of many such myths surrounding this man (?) of mystery. The ones pertaining to his virgin birth etc shall not even be entered into here. Of these tales the most likely, or the least depending on your own tastes, is that he was born in Elderslie.
He was then deported to Dumbarton, across the "water" where he became a fanatic Dumbarton F.C. supporter("Dumbarton Dumbarton we are the champions, champions of Scotland 1892, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na,Na, Na,Na, Na,Na, Na,Na, Na").
After several suspensions and expulsions he became the head-boy of Dumbarton Academy, the pinnacle of his school career being a cameo role in BBC TV's "Top of the Form", where it is rumoured he gave a wonderful demonstration of the art of being scruffy. (Videos of this TV debut are available from the usual address at £166.66.').
Unfortunately a serious leg injury sustained by him in the West of Scotland Rugby 7's put paid to a potential international Rugby career, unfortunately being the operative word as he turned his attention to "the more artistic things of life". After starring in one school play he wrote (?) the next one, about two time travellers (Dr What & his Companion Clever) who eventually arrived alive in Atlantis (shurely shome mistake - ED).
After leaving school, he left home, but still couldn't lose himself (pity) and moved to Aberdeen, and started work as a protein Biochemist. In the meantime flirted with several musical (?) projects, the most memorable being the obscurist seminal punk-band Balrog (originally "Jew-Wrecks", - Euan). He then went to university, when no-one was looking and met some members of Pallas. In fact they met twice and didn't like each other at all. Euan then joined the band when all the other were on holiday, and here he has remained. One day the stage gun will be swapped for a real one (it says here - Ed).
On the Road Again
The recent tour was a new experience for both the band and their personal crew being their first concert hall tour. Although having planned the production for many months, it wasn't until the short production rehearsals at the Glasgow Apollo two days before the first gig that the band and production first met. Unfortunately it became immediately apparent that the risers on either side of the tunnel were not built to the correct dimensions, the drum kit barely'fitted on. Hasty arrangements were made to rush side extensions to Aberdeen for the first gig, but the height couldn't be altered until the show got to Birmingham.
The costumes were just as had been designed, but the new "Sentinel" helmet caused Euan a few difficulties as he couldn't properly see where he was going I The production took much longer to put together than had been thought and the show only had one complete run-through before the gear was dismantled and trucked to a windswept and wet Aberdeen. The band's faithful tour coach "VIC" was now too small and ill-equipped to sleep the 15 band and crew. So accommodation and transport was a Trathens Starider hired for the tour, which drove through the gales with the two artics of gear.
Playing your first theatre gig at home in front of all your relations, friends and enemies is certainly a nerve wracking experience; but the home crowds enthusiastic response certainly helped overcome the first night nerves. After Aberdeen it was on to the band's "second home" Glasgow, this time to the Pavilion theatre, a much more civilized venue than the decaying Apollo. Of all the gigs on the tour the atmosphere here was the most electric, re-creating- the feeling of the old days at the Dial Inn around the corner. The intensity reached an unbearable climax during the final sequence of "Crown of Thorns" when a number of people in the front row fainted. The first-aiders quickly dragged the victims away, but some returned only to pass out again. Hard on the heals of this climax came the opening sequence of "Atlantis" with the awe-inspiring sight of Euan, in the guise of the Sentinel, emerging red-eyes glowing, from the smoke-filled strobe-lit "infinity tunnel". A magic piece of rock-theatre which had the crowd in ecstacy. The encores took on a great party atmosphere with old favourite "A bit of Culture" having them dancing in their seats.
The next night was the Birmingham Odeon where the staging was sent off to have 1 ft chopped off its height. It was returned very late, and this led to an idle afternoon, the boredom was relieved by chatting to the many friends who were waiting by the stage door. The evenings gig went almost according to plan and the few technical hitches probably went un-noticed by the audience. The radio-mike certainly came into its own during "Eyes in the Night", with the follow-spot being unable to keep up with Euan's walkabout.
Next up was the Biggie! The Hammersmith Odeon. The band will be first to admit that this wasn't quite the blockbuster that they'd hoped for.
Nerves had got the better of them, with the flow and communication so apparent at Glasgow strangely lacking. That said, audience reaction was phenonenal with two encores and a curtain call. Critical reaction varied from highly complementary in "Music" and "Soundcheck" to downright poisonous:- Phil Bells review in "Sounds". However good or bad the gig may have been it was a valuable experience and changes made as a result certainly made a difference. The next two gigs at Hanley and Manchester were the last on the first leg ofthe tour with the full production. With the minor running order and presentation changes enacted, and the production firing on six cylinders, the Manchester Apollo was particularly memorable, if only for the Ronnie Reagan death hoax!
After Manchester an artic load of lighting and P.A. was despatched back south and the second leg was embarked on, taking in an amazing variety of venues. First off was a special "thank-you" to the band's "third home" of Fife. This was held in a community centre in Glenrothes, which usually plays host to keep-fit classes. Fortunately the whole stage set was squeezed in and the Fifers were treated to an extraordinary spectacle. By contrast the next gig was the Playhouse, Edinburgh which was to witness the longest and good humouredly chaotic set of the tour, with Bananaman's snare drum proving to be the star of the show. The resulting chaos including a half speed "Heart Attack" was the comedy highlight of the tour, save for the last night.
The other dates of the tour where a curious mixture of venues, one of the oddest being a small community hall in Wellingborough, where journalists from Afterglow ended up unloading the artic! The gig proved that imaginative promotion can be successful in the smallest of towns, well done Eddy. Another comedy highlight was the truck and bus getting bogged down in a field at Coalville.
Final nights of tours are always noted for the practical jokes, and this tour was no exception. The highlight was the party held by the crew in the "infinity tunnel" at the end of "Atlantis", a very bizarre sight as the smoke cleared. The good people of Blackburn, were subjected to a smoking too as the smoke machine went walkabout in the encores.
Thanks are due to everyone who made the tour possible, and yourselves for coming and making it all worthwhile.
Behind The Scenes
In the first of our "Behind the Scenes" features we could only chose one person, Susan Salloway, our manager's personal assistant and office dynamo, after all, "ladies first"!
Any visit to the band's London office wouldn't be complete without her cheery smile, cups of tea and coffee, mid Atlantic accent and her special cheesecake. Susan looks after the day to day running of the office which deals with Uriah-Heep as well as Pallas, and keeps manager Harry Maloney up to date with the latest developments when he is away on one of his vital business trips. Susan also looks after the band's travel arrangements, which sometimes change by the minute, and still she keeps smiling, well most of the time! As you can see from the photograph, Susan is one of those people who is devoted to their jobs, bringing a whole new meaning to being "chained to her desk".
Occasionally, she's been known to unchain herself, either to frequent the "Glassblower" the local pub, or venture out for a gig or two, but she's usually "tied up" in the office. Just how a "Swamp Girl", her words, from Quincy, Florida, close to the OKEEFNOKEE Swamp, came to be a key behind-the-scenes member of the Pallas family, is as romantic as it is littered with unlikely place names! The young American was studying at Edinburgh University when she met Chris, her husband to be. They soon became engaged and Susan assisted Chris with his PhD research. She returned to the States, to finish her studies at Whitman College, Wallawalla, Washington. Returning to Britain in early 1983, Susan set up the family home, and by August she was looking for an interesting job! It was then she came across our office and became Harry's P. A. or "Girl Friday".
Fortunately for Susan the band were away in Atlanta for two months at that time, and the shock of actually meeting them was delayed until their return. Somehow, she's managed to put up with them since, and despite the fact she's never warm enough, she seems happy enough by the telex, phones & photocopiers. As for the cheesecake well maybe it reminds her of the swamps, after all they are a similar texture.
Five Go To Pallastine
Those of you who attended the Sentinel Tour may have been intrigued by the last dates of the itinerary; The Liquid Club, Tel Aviv. Well, sure enough, after a two day break in London, Israel was Pallas' destination. This was their first gig abroad, and was certainly quite a challenge, especially for Ronnie since the only gear of his that the promoter could afford to freight over was the irreplaceable Novatron. Ron would have to quickly programme different synths, it was also a challenge for the band, playing to a totally fresh audience - but at least the weather would be fine.
With those thoughts in mind we left Luton airport for a five hour flight to Israel. On the flight we learned that it was Passover in Israel and this would mean certain food restrictions. We got the little gear we had through customs easily and were met by the promoter with his van bedecked with Pallas posters in Hebrew. We were told they described us as "advanced rock".
Arye, the promoter, took us to the club, which could have easily been an Israeli branch of the Marquee. It was uncanny having travelled so far to be in such familiar surroundings! Then on to the hotel where the food restrictions became apparent. We'd expected no bacon, but no bread, mushrooms, imported drink or BEER! Fortunately all the above could easily be obtained outside the hotel, but a bar with no beer, what a thought!
The album was released to tie in with our visit, and already "Eyes in the Night" was a radio favourite, if only it had been played as much on Radio One! EMI is licenced to CBS in Israel and the album was hand-pressed before our eyes at their small factory. CBS had arranged plenty press and radio for the band, but this was no hardship as the weather was diabolical with stora force winds and rain!
The first night at the Liquid Club was going to be a totally unknown quantity, but thanks to the proao-work the band could now assume the audience knew sonething about thea. The Club was very busy and the Blade Runner theme heralded the band onto the stage, a quick "Shalom" from Euan and off into the same set as the British dates. The visibly stunned Israclies soon warmed to their guests and the response was just like the Marquee. Some of the lyrics assumed a new poignancy notably "Ark of Infinity", "East-West" and especially "Crown of Thorns".
The irony of playing the Easter-inspired song to a Jewish audience during Passover proved too much for Graeme who inadvisedly dedicated the song to the Christians in the audience! This was not well received by a vociferious few, and the torrent of anglo-saxon abuse ensured that this faux-pas wasn't repeated the following nights. The crucifiction scene was »et with stunned awe and more faintings; despite the controversy the response was earth shattering! The Atlantis Suite was aet with similar awe, the encores brought the tension down to a jovial finale. The following nights were equally well received and the band's first foreign jaunt was a success. The success of the trip may result in a tour later on in the year, when hopefully the weather may be somewhat more middle eastern.