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Beggars Opera (A short interview)

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Category: Progressive Music Lounges
Forum Name: Interviews
Forum Description: Original interviews with Prog artists (which are exclusive to Prog Archives)
Printed Date: May 24 2018 at 19:53
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Topic: Beggars Opera (A short interview)
Posted By: toroddfuglesteg
Subject: Beggars Opera (A short interview)
Date Posted: February 06 2010 at 05:16
A short interview with Beggars Opera. Ricky Gardiner answered the questions.

Please note there is an excellent interview with Beggars Opera and Virginia Scott 
at - which may be of great interest to this
community too.

All answers from Ricky Gardiner in
Red Italic.

Where in was Beggars Opera formed and by whom ? Why did you
choose that name ?

Beggars Opera were formed in Glasgow 1969 by Ricky Gardiner. The Beggars Opera name was chosen by randomly sticking a pin on a page from a

What was your musical visions/ideas ?

Playing music we liked.

Please tell me more about the early years. Did you tour or play any
gigs at that time ?
Was there a Scottish scene at that time ?
We very quickly became popular after the residency at the Burns Howff, Glasgow
thanks to the support of John Waterson then proprietor. We played extensively in Scotland England and Germany as well as Festivals in
Europe. See the incomplete time line at the end of the interview for a list of
some of the gigs. Yes there was Scottish scene at the time, but we were the only Prog classical
Rock band.

How did you get your first record deal ? How is and was the income and
business side of Beggars Opera back in those days ? We were offered a deal with Vertigo Records by Ken Mailphant of Vertigo Records. Enigma. Your good reputation among us progheads was cemented with your first, and let me add, excellent three albums Act One, Waters Of Change and Pathfinder. Please tell us more about these albums. These albums were produced at a time of great musical creativity. A gelling of musical talent.

You also released some singles during your career. Please tell us more
about these singles.
I like Sarabande the best. Your first three albums has often been compared with ELP (Emerson, Lake The Nice. What do you think about this “label” ? That would be because of the keyboard influence in the music of the day. Beggars Opera had two qualified keyboardists in Alan Park and Virginia Scott. Therefore the comparison inevitable. Beggars Opera changed style from Get Your Dog Off Me and on the following albums. Why did you change style ?
Change in personel.
Please tell us more about the five albums from Get Your Dog Off Me to Final Chapter (I meant The Final

Get your Dog off me is often not rated as it should. It is a beautifully produced
album and the sound engineer Roger Wake did a fantastic job. Tracks such as Classical Gas and Requiem are memorable. Final Chapter does not exist ... I think you mean Lifeline ?
(Sorry, I meant The
Final Curtain, an album Ricky Gardiner did not participate on.
A note to myself: Don't do both interviews and sorting out a server for the local
council at the same time. Overlaps of the two tasks is the end result. Sorry !!!)

Sagittary and Beggars Can't Be Chooser were low budget albums for Jupiter records
Germany. Pete Scott ( ex Savoy Brown) who sang with us had also toured in 1973. He is an amazing singer and there were 5 encores every night . (To hear him Beggars Opera with Pete Scott you need to get hold of the Cardano

Eleven years after Final Chapter, Beggars Opera made a return in 2007
with Close to My Heart and the 2009 album Touching the Edge. Please tell us what happened, why you returned and give us a presentation of these two albums and the concept of the Touching the Edge album and the Auschwitz single.
The Virginia Scott interview - gives you a bit
of background. Ricky Gardiner/ Virginia Scott had material and wanted to release
it. Auschwitz is a very special track to us.
Musicwise; how would you describe these two albums ? They are Art Rock with a touch of Prog. The new one we are currently working on called Electro Sensitive is pure Prog. You released your first album almost forty years ago and are still alive to this day. Please tell us more about what you did during these forty years.
See Virginia Scott interview at -

You have had some line up changes during these forty years. Please
tell us more about

People move on and contracts expire :-)

Have you had a stable fanbase during all these years ? There is a renaissance of progressive rock these days. There is even a new British magazine sold in WH Smith and the supermarkets in Scotland dedicated to progressive rock. Have you noticed a new interest in Beggars Opera ?
Our fans love our early music . So do we. Luckily some of them like our new music also :-) Prog is indeed alive and well. I understand most of your business, if not all of it, is being taken care of through your own webpage - . Are you planning to re-release the rest of your albums, in particular the first three classic albums, through your own business or how is the situation regarding the accessibility/distribution of your back-catalogue ? How do you take care of the business side of the band ? Do you have any live recordings locked away in your vaults ?
Repertoire Records Germany now release all of the early albums. No live recordings other than the bootlegs are available as far as I know. Beggars Opera website curates the Beggars Opera story and whenever new material
is released it may well emerge there and on I tunes. Who can say :-)
Is Beggars Opera now a project or a band able to do gigs, bar mitzvah's, funerals, weddings etc etc ?
What is the plans for Beggars Opera this year and in the future ? Working on the music we like.
16. Anything you want to add to this interview ? Thanks to all the fans :-)

A big thank you to Ricky Gardiner & Virginia Scott. A much more comprehensive
Beggars Opera interview can be found at -

Beggars Opera band page at PA -

Finally, the incomplete list of Beggars Opera's gigs:

Beggars Opera gig list so far 
8/01/081969 December 03 Glasgow, Burns Howff ( First Gig )UK 1969 December 18 Glasgow, Clarkston Halls UK 1970 June 06 ? Glasgow, Hampden Park UK 1970 ? Glasgow, Electric Garden UK 1970 August ? Glasgow, Clydebank Town Hall UK 1971 January 20 Glasgow, Apollo (Green's Playhouse) UK 1971 March 14 London, Lyceum UK 1971 March 16 Edinburgh, Empire UK 1971 March 17 Dundee, Caird Hall UK 1971 March 18 Newcastle, City Hall UK 1971 March 19 Glasgow, Apollo (Green's Playhouse) UK 1971 ? Falkirk, Banknock Community Centre UK 1971 May 07 London, Temple Club UK 1971 May 25 Fraserburgh UK 1971 May 27 Dumfries, Oughtens UK 1971 May 28 Kirkcaldy UK 1971 May 29 Hartlepool, Football Ground UK 1971 June 02 Bellshill, YMCA UK 1971 June 03 Paisley, Watermill UK 1971 June 04 Edinburgh, Herriot Watt UK 1971 June 05 Glasgow, Flamingo UK 1971 June 06 down to London (gig ?) UK 1971 June 09 Record Command Studios London UK 1971 June 10 Record Command Studios London UK 1971 June 11 Ayr, Bobby Jones Ballroom UK 1971 June 12 Glasgow, Picasso UK 1971 June 13 Dunfermline, Kinema UK 1971 June 17 The Tartan Ball Glasgow, Albert Ballroom UK 1971 June 18 North Tour (gig ?) UK 1971 June 19 North Tour (gig ?) UK 1971 June 23 Troon, Concert Hall UK 1971 June 24 Glasgow, MVH UK 1971 June 25 Sanquar, Town Hall UK 1971 June 26 Aberdeen UK 1971 June 28 Redhurst UK 1971 July 02 York, Museum Rooms UK 1971 July 03 Hull, Brickhouse UK 1971 July 04 travel London UK 1971 July 05 Ian's Birthday ! London UK 1971 July 07 London, Speakeasy UK 1971 July 08 York, Hypnotique UK 1971 July 09 London, Temple Club UK 1971 July 10 Liverpool, Cavern UK 1971 July 11 Fulham, Greyhound UK 1971 July 12 Leicester, El Rondo UK 1971 August 07 Rimini, L'Altro Mondo Italy 1971 August 09 Live performance in German TV Beat Club (Beat Club no. 70) Bremen Germany 1971 August 13 Rimini, YeYe Club Italy 1971 August 15 Rimini, YeYe Club Italy 1971 August 17 Rimini, YeYe Club Italy 1971 September 04 1st British Rock Meeting Speyer, Rheinhalbinsel Germany 1971 September 05 so called "The Sensational British Superstar Festival" Vienna, Stadthalle NOT PLAYING Austria 1971 September 19 London, Marquee Club UK 1971 November ? Linz Austria 1971 Dec. 02 - 04 BO Supporting Leon Russell London, Rainbow UK 1971 December 09 London, Marquee Club UK 1971 December 17 London, Temple Club UK 1971 December 20 Hayes, Grapes Hotel UK 1972 January 31 Hamburg, Musikhalle grosser Saal CANCELLED Germany 1972 February 01 Ayr, Bobby Jones Ballroom UK 1972 February 02 Glasgow, Terminal Kew, Boathouse (2 gigs ???) UK 1972 February 03 London, Marquee Club UK 1972 February 04 Leicester, El Rondo UK 1972 February 08 Cleethorpes, Winter Gardens UK 1972 February 09 Liverpool, Mardi Gras UK 1972 February 12 Watford, Tech College UK 1972 February 15 Leytonstone, Chez Club UK 1972 February 17 London, Marquee Club UK 1972 February 18 Middlesex, College UK 1972 February 19 Sunderland, Top Rank UK 1972 February 20 Aberdeen, University UK 1972 February 21 Nairn, Ballerina UK 1972 February 22 Inverness, Rink UK 1972 February 27 Middlesbrough, Excel Bowl UK 1972 February 28 Chester, Quaintways UK 1972 March 05 Fulham, Greyhound UK 1972 March 11 Plymouth, Van Dykes UK 1972 ? Southampton UK 1972 April 18 Mannheim Germany 1972 May 02 Roma, Piper Club Italy 1972 May 05 Cardano Al Campo; Nautilus Club Italy 1972 May 20 2nd British Rock Meeting Germersheim, Insel Gržn Germany 1972 June ? Porto (Oporto) Portugal 1972 August 04 Midnight Court Session London, Kings Cross Cinema UK 1972 August 13 Fulham, Greyhound UK 1972 August (from 16 ?) Switzerland 1972 September 23 The Great Western Express Grangemouth, Stadium UK 1972 September 29 Grangemouth Rock Festival Grangemouth, Stadium UK 1972 October 12 Beggars Opera and Guests Crailsheim, Jahnhalle Germany 1972 October 19 Cardano Al Campo, Nautilus Club Italy 1972 October 27 Sunderland, Top Rank UK 1972 October 30 Chester, Quaintways UK 1972 October 31 Edinburgh, Clouds UK 1972 November 15 London, Marquee Club UK 1973 January 27 Ipswich, Baths Hall UK 1973 January 29 Lanchester Acts Festival UK 1973 January 31 Sheffield, University UK 1973 February 01 London, City University UK 1973 February 02 Aberystwyth, University UK 1973 February 03 Bristol, Poly UK 1973 February 07 London, Marquee Club UK 1973 February 08 High Wycombe, Chiltern Rooms UK 1973 February 09 North Gloucester, Poly UK 1973 February 10 Shoreditch, College UK 1973 February 12 Chester, Quaintways UK 1973 February 14 Manchester, University UK 1973 February 15 East Kilbride, Olympia UK 1973 February 16 Dundee, University UK 1973 February 17 Durham, University UK 1973 February 18 Dunfermline, Kinema UK 1973 February 19 Inverness, Rose St. Hall UK 1973 February 22 Motherwell, Civic Centre UK 1973 February 23 Stirling, University UK 1973 February 24 Glasgow, Queen Margaret Union UK 1973 February 28 Lancaster, University UK 1973 March 01 Leeds, Poly UK 1973 March 02 Sunderland, Poly UK 1973 March 03 Manchester, Stoneground UK 1973 March 04 Barnsley, Civic Centre UK 1973 April 26 Schweinfurt, Stadtparksaal Germany 1973 May 09 London, Marquee Club UK 1973 May 16 London, Marquee Club UK 1973 ? Zaragozza Spain 1973 September 8 Scheessel (Hurricane-Festival) Germany 1973 September 9 Scheessel (Hurricane-Festival) Germany 1973 September 27 London, Marquee Club UK 1973 November 02 London, Marquee Club UK 1973 November 26 London, Rainbow Restaurant, Biba's New York Christmas Ball UK 1973 November 27 London, Rainbow Restaurant, Biba's New York Christmas Ball UK 1974 ? London, Greyhound UK 1975 ? SWR (Sždwestdeutscher Rundfunk) Germany - -

Posted By: Easy Livin
Date Posted: February 06 2010 at 05:48
Nice one Toro, some good memories there. I well recall the 2nd gig listed at the Clarkston hall, I'm sure they played at Williamwood School nearby too.
Interesting to hear Ricky's take on "Get your dog off me". I still think it was poor though, apart from "Classcial gas". The first three albums and the "Sarabane" single were excellent though.

Posted By: Alberto Muńoz
Date Posted: July 07 2010 at 17:41
Interesting! as far as i know olny only one boot emerges and supposedly have the 20 min+ unreleased track, Octopus.


Posted By: memowakeman
Date Posted: July 07 2010 at 22:20
I hadn't seen this before, but nice work man.


Follow me on twitter @memowakeman

Posted By: DiamondDog
Date Posted: December 05 2013 at 15:50
Interesting, thanks for the interview

Posted By: Alistair Armour
Date Posted: November 09 2014 at 14:39
From the list of gigs there were many performances at the Watermill Hotel, Paisley. I also saw them at the teachers training college in Anniesland Galsgow

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