Geordie rock legends Lindisfarne – where are they now?
PUBLISHED: 00:16 18 January 2011 | UPDATED: 18:22 20 February 2013
It's 40 years since North East cult band Lindisfarne topped the charts with their Geordie anthem album, Fog on the Tyne. Michael Hamilton catches up with the surviving members of the original line-up and finds out what they are up to now
Ray Jackson has revealed that he sadly never made it up with his old pal and fellow band member Alan Hull before he died suddenly of a heart attack in 1995.
It was some five years earlier that Alan had asked Jacka to leave Lindisfarne - around the time the band did Fog on
the Tyne Revisited with Geordie soccer star Paul Gascoigne.
Ray had been forced to take a day job with a sports marketing agency to ensure a steady income for his family, as band gigs were few and far between in those days.
Disillusioned by the commercial tie-up with Gazza, he refused to perform on the promotional video and things came to a head at the launch of the Theakstons-sponsored Christmas tour of 1990.
Ray says: I could see it coming when Alan asked me to leave the band. I was becoming more and more disillusioned with the fact that we were making albums nobody was buying and I didnt like the direction the band was heading. I just wasnt fulfilling myself any more.
I was subsidising the band which was mad. I couldnt justify playing with them any more. If we had stuck to the big Christmas reunion shows I might have stayed with it.
But I decided to call it a day and I never got back up and played with them again until 2005 when we did the Alan Hull Story tribute.
I was shocked when Alan died - it was very untimely.
I went to his funeral but sadly we werent reconciled. We hadnt spoken for years. It was all very sad.
There were lots of things that could have been said but werent. Ive been talking to his wife Pat over the last couple of years and she said he was always very sorry for his attitude towards me at the end of my time with the band.
He certainly wanted to make it up, but we never had the chance to.
Ray, now 62, makes a living as an artist and illustrator and paints terrific pictures of vintage buses - although he has also been playing music festivals this year in England and Europe with his band The Gathering.
He has had a passion for painting buses since he was a teenager on Tyneside - at around the same time he was immersing himself in blues and
I was an only child with a sad life,
he jokes. Seriously, I was always interested in buses as the working mans form of transport. There was hardly anyone who had a car when I was growing up in Wallsend.
We lived in a terraced house overlooking the shipyards and Ive got a photograph somewhere that my dad took with just one car in the street. Its amazing how things have moved on.
Ray, who lives in Oxfordshire, says: My favourite North East view has to be Lindisfarne Priory overlooking the castle. We did the photoshoot for Fog on the Tyne on Holy Island and had our pictures taken outside the Britannia guest house.
Ray - like the rest of the surviving original members - still has fond memories of when they hit the big
time in the Seventies with chart hits
like Meet Me on the Corner and Run for Home.
I think the music still sounds fresh because of the combination of the instruments with harmonica, violin, guitar and drums. We had some good songs and we were completely different to anybody else at the time.
We were in the States when Fog on the Tyne hit number one in 1971. When we got back we had become stars overnight. People were running down the street after us. It was terrifying.
The tension got to us and the end result was that the band split in 1973. By 1976 we were back together, though. Wed got everything out of our systems. When we got back together it was like we had never been away.
We were offered a recording contract with Phonogram and we recorded our fourth album, Back and Fourth, which had the hit single Run for Home. It has become an anthem.
Keep the faith
Virtuoso guitarist Rod Clements is the only existing original member still working and touring as a full-time professional musician.
Originally the bands bass player - he also penned their first hit single, Meet Me on the Corner, which made the top five in 1972. He has since become a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter.
Following Alan Hulls death in 1995 Rod became the bands main songwriter. Lindisfarne finally broke up following a concert at Newcastle Opera House in November, 2003.
Rod, now 63, has just finished a 50-date tour with acclaimed American country musician Rachel Harrington, which kicked off at the Sage in Gateshead in the summer.
Ive got very fond memories of the early days touring and recording with Lindisfarne. It was a dream come true for five simple Geordie lads, he says.
Rod, originally from North Shields like Si Cowe and Ray Laidlaw, has lived in Rothbury for the last 34 years.
Im working on a new album now which will be out in the autumn and Ill be touring with Rachel again in the UK
in the spring.
*For tour and record information for Rod go to www.rodclements.com
Labour of love
Drummer Ray Laidlaw now works behind the scenes as a film producer with his pal, award-winning director Geoff Wonfor.
He produces the biennial Sunday for Sammy charity gigs - set up by Tim Healy and Jimmy Nail ten years ago - in memory of the Auf Wiedersehen Pet actor Sammy Johnson. He also wrote and co-produced the Sir Bobby Robson tribute DVD - A Knight to Remember.
'I started working with Geoff about 1976 when he was at the BBC, before he moved to Tyne Tees and became a director for the Channel 4 music show, The Tube.
'I still love playing though. It was great to play on Sunday for Sammy this year because I got the chance to play with Mark Knopfler. That was brilliant.'
Ray, now 62, and wife Lesley live in Tynemouth - he met her in the town's Turk's Head in 1973 and that's where they married.