The following is an excerpt reprinted without permission
from "Angry - Scarred For Life" by Karen Dewey
The biggest gig the band ever did was the Reading Festival, in front of a huge crowd. Reading
is part of a tradition in Britain, the biggest outdoor rock festival of the year. Rose Tattoo
was about the middle of the lineup, but there was no doubt that, on the day, they made the
biggest impact. It was one of those days where Angry walked on to the stage, but was carried
As he says, "It was a great day. Reading is like the Marquee. I mean there's history attached
to it. I remember walking on the stage. It was amazing. It was huge, the biggest crowd we'd
ever played to. You could just see people going on forever. I mean the band were fantastic that
day. We played really well...really well."
In England, Angry had a thing going with the crowds that he could drink a bottle of vodka
every performance. He couldn't, but he always gave it his best shot. It just became part of
the show, a sort of sight gag. Angry would begin each gig with a full bottle on stage for
himself, plus all the beers for the rest of the band. During the show he'd pour drinks for
the boys, and toast the crowd with his vodka. After a while, the British crowds turned it
into a regular challenge. Toward the end of the band's set, they'd start calling for Angry to
drink up and finish whatever was left in the bottle. "Skol, skol, skol" they'd yell. As the
band was only on stage for just over an hour at most gigs, it was a big call. They'd want
the bottle finished every time.
At the Reading gig, Angry had been drinking even more than usual, and he was way past his limits
before the challenge even began. The combination of the alchohol and the adrenaline was potent.
In the latter half of the band's set on stage, Angry was obviously feeling really extravagant,
and in one passionate moment, head butted Pete's guitar amplifier stack. Although Angry did
a lot of head butting in those days, he hit his head even harder than usual. He dropped to the
floor, virtually unconcious, covered in blood, and had to be carried off stage by roadies.
He was mindless and reckless, too drunk and too high. But even now, you can see as he talks
about it, that although it may not have been one of his proudest moments, it certainly was one
of his most memorable. The image is unforgettable, Angry in the arms of the roadies, bloody,
sweaty, tragic, in front of a sea of screaming fans. It's the kind of image that makes you
realise he's serious when he says, "You feed off the crowd. The commitment is so great that
sometimes you just want to die for them. Not in the true sense, but you know what I mean. You
just want to give that much."
The next day Angry was infuriated when some rock writers reported that he'd been "bottled off
stage". It was the suggestion that there were some fans there unhappy enough to do that which
bothered him most. He tracked down the journos involved, and found out that they'd never even
left the media tent, where they were too busy drinking the free booze to figure out what
But at the end of the day it was Rose Tattoo's Reading. They stole the whole show. Angry can't
help smiling when he thinks of it. "It was huge. I mean we could have walked on their hands. It
was out gig. The crowd were ours. Even kids years later would say 'I was there at Reading, I
saw you.' We walked out on stage and the place went just nuts...I mean really nuts. It was
goose bump territory. No, bigger than that. It was goosebump on goosebump territory."
Copyright © Angry Anderson and Karen Dewey 1994
© 1997-2007 by Peter Gormley
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