With this lockdown in place, many of us have been whiling away the hours by thumbing through our vinyl collections and reliving our misspent youth. So, we thought it would be nice to do a music feature in ALS.
Today’s lockdown tracks are from Chelsea and Scotland legend, Pat Nevin. Actually, let’s just leave it at legend, especially when it comes to music. Pat has an encyclopedic knowledge of music. There may not be an SAFC connection there, but over the years we’ve bumped into him a few times and he's always been a thoroughly nice bloke…
None of his answers were vague, he didn’t just tell me song choices, he told me where on which album I’d find them, and which mix was the best performance by that band. A pleasure speaking to him.
Let’s start at the beginning, what’s the first track you remember liking as a child?
Well, I was weird even as a kid. The answer is 2000 Light Years From Home by the Rolling Stones. I think I liked it because it didn’t sound like anything else. It was used recently in Men In Black 3 for when he meets Andy Warhol. It’s that sort of track. Quite Velvet Underground.
What other music was in the house as you were growing up?
My Dad was a big Sinatra fan and mum liked Petula Clark but then I had older siblings whose music I could sneak in and take from their bedroom and listen to on a broken old record player. That got me into The Faces, Pink Floyd and Genesis. They’ve a double album, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway which is incredible.
It was just before punk really hit and I was listening to all sorts. African music, Led Zep, reggae and then I’d listen to The Pistols. It was a great time because there was always something new. You had Malcolm McLaren saying only listen to punk but then I was listening to John Peel and he kept bringing more and more diversity. It was a great time for music. There was a lot of snobbery and hatred around music, but I just never understood that.
And what were you up to at that time? A lot of football?
I’ve always loved playing football but it’s a distant second to music. I played a lot then and trained obviously but I was also into long distance running, trampolining, high diving, all sorts of sport and, later I got into literature quite heavily too. And it was quite heavy stuff I got into! I’m much more chilled now though.
Were you writing or just reading?
Both, I’ve always enjoyed writing, nothing published back then but I’ve written a lot since, some books under assumed names when I was at Chelsea and, yeah, just finished a book two weeks ago actually. So still writing but it started back then.
If we could let you out of your house for one night at the moment, where would you go? Pub, restaurant…
To a gig. Any gig. I love live music. I go as often as I can and so it’d definitely be that.
And if you could pick one track you associate with a great gig, what would you go for?
That’s so hard. To be honest it would change every day. I saw The Flaming Lips recently and Do You Realise was heartbreakingly brilliant. But I’d have to go for The Cocteau Twins, Musette and Drums. I can honestly say they made the best noise I’ve ever heard.
You can plot your life with your favourite bands. I had Bowie, Joy Division, Cocteau Twins, then moved to My Bloody Valentine and probably my favourite band are Camera Obscura. I saw all of them multiple times but the Cocteau Twins… I saw them once in France. I managed to get out after a Chelsea game on the Tuesday evening, got a cheap flight to Paris, train down to the middle of France, saw the gig on the Wednesday, back on the train to Paris and then managed to get an early flight back into London so I could get to training on the Thursday morning. And no one knew where I’d been. These days players would be spotted and anyway, they wouldn’t be doing it on cheap flights either! But it was worth it. Amazing band.
Taking you back to your professional debut at Clyde. Other than the football what was going on in your life then?
Well I was playing boys’ club football and I was a student at university living off a grant. Clyde asked me if I’d play for them and they’d give me £30 a week. It wasn’t a difficult one for me. They only wanted me to train twice a week and I was fit from my running, so it was just a good part time job to get a wage while I did my degree. And even then, I mainly spent it watching bands!
I was a big fan of a Glasgow band called Jonny and the Self Abusers, they did a lot of gigs and there were always about 50 of us there, loyal fans. Then they changed their name to Simple Minds and it took off for them. I’ll always remember one of those small gigs where they were supported by U2. There’s something about seeing bands who love what they’re doing that is special. Before it’s about money. That breakthrough stage of their careers especially. It’s amazing to watch. Both bands did alright for themselves in the end!
And so did you. You were at Chelsea quite soon after that.
Yes, I said no to Chelsea for nearly a year. I liked playing football too much for it to be my job. And I wanted to finish my degree.
What would you have done instead?
Something useful. I’m the failure in my family because they all became teachers and things like that. Contributing to society. After a year I said OK to Chelsea but just that I’d take two years out and then go back and finish my degree. I messed up and ended up kicking a ball around for nineteen years. Nothing useful.
Did you have any pre-match music you listened to?
There were two, Ceremony by New Order and also This is the Day by The The. Neither were to get me pumped up, I never wanted to feel like that before running out. I wanted to feel cool, calm, confident. It’s about being in the right headspace.
And how about these days?
Colin Murray always plays Sunshine on Leith when I’m on Fighting Talk, which is fine because it’s the best football song there is, better than You’ll Never Walk Alone. I always remember when Hibs won the cup and I was working for the TV. I said that if they sang it, I was going to stop talking. Dougie Donnelly asked me a question and I could hear them starting. I just looked at him and said ‘no’. He looked back for a minute but had nowhere else to go so he said ‘let’s listen to what’s happening outside’. It was amazing. Three incredible minutes. Everyone was up on their feet, beautiful.
What would get you up on your feet? On the dance floor I mean?
I do quite a lot of DJing now so I’m normally trying to get other people up there. I try and find things that people haven’t heard before. Let’s go with Young Adult Friction by The Pains of the Being Pure At Heart. That’s a great dancefloor track, but one that people probably won’t know.
And, last question, what’s the best music to walk out to at football?
I’ve had a couple of great ones with Chelsea and then Z Cars but I’m going to go for one that never was used but would have been the best. I was Chief Exec at Motherwell and I wanted to pick the walk out music. I made a strong case for my choice but the Chairman, who was paying for it, went for some dirgey country and western thing, but if it had been my choice, we’d have had The Magnificent by KLF. That would be the best piece to come out to.
Maybe someone will pick it up on the back of this! Thanks and keep well.