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 http://www.beggarsopera.co.uk/node/319 - http://www.beggarsopera.co.uk/node/319 which may be of great interest to this
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
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.
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 Curtain...tf).
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
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
The Virginia Scott interview http://www.beggarsopera.co.uk/ - http://www.beggarsopera.co.uk/node/319 gives you a bit
of background. Ricky Gardiner/ Virginia Scott had material and wanted to release
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
See Virginia Scott interview at http://www.beggarsopera.co.uk/ - http://www.beggarsopera.co.uk/node/319
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 http://www.beggarsopera.co.uk/ - www.beggarsopera.co.uk . 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 http://www.beggarsopera.co.uk/ - http://www.beggarsopera.co.uk/node/319
Beggars Opera band page at PA http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=629 - http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=629
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,
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
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
http://www.beggarsopera.co.uk/ - www.beggarsopera.co.uk
http://www.freesapce.virgin.net/ricky.gardiner - www.freesapce.virgin.net/ricky.gardiner