reading 81

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 off.

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 happened.

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

"REMEDY - The Rose Tattoo Home Page" and its contents may not be reproduced, uploaded, posted, transmitted or distributed in any form, or by any means, without prior written consent of Peter Gormley.