by Margaret Chrystall
TONIGHT (Wednesday) Inverness band The Galipaygos have their final gig at the venue they got their first 12 years ago – the Market Bar, Inverness.
Over the years, they have brought out eight albums - the latest just this summer.
But frontman Andrew Still has decided it’s a good point to bow out – on a high.
"When is a good time to break up a band?" he laughed.
"I can’t go on forever, but I feel I am bowing out at a really good time.
"Obviously there have been different incarnations of the Galipaygos, but this one that we’ve had for the last two or three years has gone full circle.
"It is a gang of four mates and we made a really good CD this year, Cover To Cover, which came out in the summer just before Belladrum.
"It feels as if we have had a really good two or three years with this version of the band. And probably the album is the centrepiece of that.
"We’ve had quite a nice year too, we’ve played Belladrum and Jocktoberfest, so I would rather call it a day at this point, at the end of a good year with a good album.
"And to be perfectly honest, we are probably playing the best we’ve ever played, it’s still really enjoyable and we’re in a good place.
"And, in a daft way, that seems a good time to stop!"
Oaccasionally in the past, with members of the band leaving, The Galipaygos had considered finishing, Andrew revealed
"But I suppose, if I’m being honest, I always felt there was something else to prove.
"Earlier on, if someone left the band, what would happen would be we’d end up going ‘We’ll get someone else’ or ‘We’ll get a sax player or a trumpet-player’ and then we’d do an album that way or we’d say ‘We’ll do an acoustic album!’.
"But now I think it’s a good time to bow out, though I think the others will carry on.
"I have songs left over and I might like to record them at some point, but that is probably all that would happen and I’m in no hurry to do that.
"When I decided that this was what I was going to do, I realised I’m quite looking forward just to doing other things."
The earliest phase of The Galipaygos saw Andrew and guitarist Kevin Mackenzie in the line-up.
Andrew said: "I think it’s about 18 years ago that I met Kev and we worked out that we had been playing live for 15 years. When you consider I’m only 40 ...
"That time also includes Lacova, the band we had before which made one album.
"But there has been 12 years of The Galipaygos, though it’s all a bit hazy as drink was often involved," he laughed.
"The Galipaygos made eight albums. So I’ve said my piece really!"
Though Jack, Stephen and Garth are sad about Andrew’s decision, Jack said: "We are also looking forward to a new adventure creating new music under a new name.
"And we’re all extremely grateful to everyone who has been involved in the production of each album – and also overwhelmed by the amount of support we have received."
Andrew said on the new projects his Galipaygo compadres plan: "To be honest, I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of them do.
"I’ve probably written about 80 per cent, maybe more, of the songs.
"But Steve is a more than capable songwriter and he has grown into that role.
"So I look forward to seeing what he – and Garth and Jack – are going to do.
"And I’ll be more than happy, sitting with my pint, listening and there to support them."
When it came to locations for last gigs, it’s appropriate maybe that they have been Hootanannys – which happened on Sunday – and the Market Bar tonight (Wednesday).
Andrew said: "I looked at the calendar and thought 30th December, the end of the year, that made sense for a final gig.
"The Hootanannys one came about by chance with a cancellation earlier in the year and when I looked at them both, I thought that might be good, a wee lap of honour, round our usual haunts, both within a few days of each other and then I can say ‘Right, that’s me!’.
So from potentially eight albums of songs, what will be on the setlist tonight for that final gig?
Andrew said: "Over the years, the setlists have tended to write themselves. We have always had plenty of potential songs and if there’s a new album on the go, about half of that will rise to the surface. Old songs get pushed to the side when new material comes along.
"But for this one, some of the old ones that have stood the test of time will proably be there – and we still play something from every album!"
As well as being the last place the band will play – and being the subject of their live favourite The Dog Leg Stair – the Market Bar was also the place that gave the band their first gig.
Thanks to Westhill Rustie for the YouTube clip above!
Andrew laughed and revealed another reminder of how long the band has been together: "We got our first gig at the Market by means of a trusty cassette of our music we put in!"
The last gig is tonight (Wednesday, December 30) from 10pm til 12.30am when The Galipaygos play a selection of their favourite songs and "...possibly a cover or two", Jack said.
And added: "We hope to see some familiar faces there!"
Band website: www.thegalipaygos.com/
Here's a link to some moments from the band's past, put together by former guitarist Kevin Mackenzie's dad George. https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=kevin%20mckenzie%20memories%20of%20the%20galipaygos
And here is one of the many articles I've written over the years in the Highland Newsabout the band - this one from 2010 about one of the many line-up changes. Below that, my review of their album Trucker Chic:
THERE are not many ways
Inverness band The Galipaygos
are like your favourite soap – but
there is one.
Like actors, musicians move on. It’s
been almost a year since bassist and
vocalist Steve Sinclair, guitarist Kevin
Mackenzie and sax and Hammond
organ player Alan Harfield left the
band. For a lot of groups, that might
be the end. But once more, it has just
been the start of another episode for
the long-running band.
And like Doctor Who, regeneration
is now complete and the new-look
Galipaygos are with us.
Now, joining frontman Andrew
Still, drummer Dickie Bills and trumpet-
player Jamie MacGregor are three
“When Steve left, I thought that was
possibly the end of it,” said Andrew.
‘We had played without Kevin before
when he went travelling in Australia,
but we’d decided we wouldn’t do
that again but luckily within a week
of hearing Kev was leaving, we knew
Tabs would replace him. We weren’t
so sure how we were going to replace
Steve, but then it all just happened.”
Tabs MacAskill is best-known for
his guitar, vocals and harmonies from
The Lush Rollers and the stunning alt.
country/country rock set he performs
with brother Willie.
New bassist Simon Wort has been
a familiar presence on the Highland
music scene for a long while, appearing
with drummer Bills over the years
in Major Smokey and Hot Rats.
Fiddler Alistair Chisholm adds a
new flavour to the band’s instrumental
sandwich and it looks as if there
may also be a side-order of mandolin,
as well as the sterling work he did
with the artwork for the band’s latest
Andrew said: “My memory of how
we found Alistair was that he found
us. He came up to us after a gig and
asked if he could join the band and
I said ‘Yes!’ He joined the band the
night the original line-up played our
Tabs said: “I joined when Steve was
still in the band but I never got to meet
him because at the start Jamie and
Andrew came to my house to teach
me the songs.”
With the prospect of losing Kev,
Andrew discovered Tabs might be
the man to replace him, with Lowtide
Revelry frontman Steve Obern acting
Tabs recalled: “Steve phoned and
said ‘I have a friend who likes a lot of
the same music you do and he is looking
for a guitar player’. He said the
name was Andrew Stills – good name
I thought (a reference to Stephen
Stills of Crosby Stills & Nash) – so I
gave Andrew a ring and it was a done
Simon heard about the band
“It wasn’t a style of music I had ever
played, but I’ve embraced it and I’m
really enjoying it,” said Simon.
And the changing instruments will
inevitably tweak the band’s sound.
Andrew said: “When Jamie joined
the band, Alan – who played the sax
– started to use that more at rehearsals
and the new album, Look Out for
the King, is a reflection of that. We realised
we had a brass section at our disposal
and that led to the change.
“Now we have Tabs, I feel we might
be heading back towards country. We
could be Lynyrd Skynyrd by the end of
The band’s latest album was
recorded before the new members
joined and includes two songs written
and sung by Steve Sinclair.
But there are already thoughts about
how the next album might sound.
Simon said: “It will be interesting
when we record new stuff together.”
Andrew added: “The next album is
on the agenda and the aim is to write
something with a harder edge to it this
Tabs said: “I think we are louder
than the band used to be – and Simon
likes to play quite aggressively.”
But the very word “country” can
still be a turn-off to some people, the
Tabs said: “I struggle when people
ask what kind of music I play because
if you say the word country you have
to launch into a definition of the country
rock that we are influenced by –
not the cheesy stuff.
But while plans for the album go
on behind the scenes, The Galipaygos
are continuing to gig locally. They
would love to play at the area’s festivals
again, but feel that becomes a bit
harder when you stop being a new,
young or up-and-coming band.
Andrew feels it is good that new and
young bands have the chance to play
on festival stages.
“But if you are an established local
band, how do you get on the bill?”
And he added: “Things do continue
to happen for the band. I didn’t expect
the last album to be played on Radio
2, or for us to be able to get our latest
album on iTunes, but now we’ve have
“And I’m optimistic that other small
victories will happen for us.”
But evolving and just taking things
naturally is how Galipaygos started
in the first place – as you find out if
you check out the band’s story in their
song The Band That Had No Songs.
Music fans who like a well-played
instrument and a wittily-turned lyric
should add The Galipaygos to the
Bands You Shouldn’t Miss list.
And wait for their next exciting project.
Trucker Chic album review:
SOUNDING like something
out of America, by way of the
Highlands, TRUCKER CHIC is
the latest album from city
band The Galipaygos.
Twelve tracks of prime,
juicy New Country come at
you with lyrics so sweetly
done that the whole thing
should come in a honey jar.
Live favourites such as Dog
Leg Stair (a wry hymn to the
city’s Market Bar) and newer
Song For The Road, which
bemoans the routes
Highlanders travel by, truckstop
firmly on local soil.
But classically crafted
numbers like Strangeress,
The Day That You Were Born
and Lovers Loan, could be
from – and for – anywhere
from Nairn to Nashville.
Arrangements reflect the
time this expanded line-up
have gigged these numbers.
Restrained, inspired and
always, always laid-back,
these songs are the last word
in tongue-in-cheek chic. MC