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A Glasgow, Scotland progressive rock band formed in the late 60s, Tear Gas initially comprised Eddie Campbell (keyboards), Zal Cleminson (guitar), Chris Glen (bass, vocals), Gilson Lavis (drums) and Andi Mulvey (vocals). Mulvey had previously sung with local beat group the Poets.
After changing from their original name, Mustard, they chose Tear Gas as a variation on the same theme. However, Mulvey was soon replaced by keyboard player and vocalist David Batchelor, and Lavis (who later played with Squeeze) by Richard Monro from Ritchie Blackmore’s Mandrake Root.
It was this line-up who made their recorded debut with 1970’s Piggy Go Getter, an album typical of the time with its extended guitar and keyboard passages. However, they were more playful than some - ‘We were a really loud band. In fact we used to open with Jethro Tull’s ‘Love Story’, which started very softly and the crowd would drift towards the front.
Then we’d turn the volume up and blow everyone out of the hall.’ Later in 1970 Hugh McKenna replaced Batchelor while his cousin Ted McKenna (ex-Dream Police) took over from Monro on drums. Itinerant musician Ronnie Leahy also contributed keyboards in Batchelor’s absence, though the group were by now living in penury six to a room in Shepherd’s Bush, London. A second album was recorded for release on Regal Zonophone Records but again met with a lacklustre response from the critics. Despite regular touring in an effort to establish themselves, it was not until they teamed up with Alex Harvey in August 1972 to become the Sensational Alex Harvey Band that they saw any real success.
Originally known as Mustard. Their first vocalist Andy Mulvey had previously been with The Poets. However, he was soon replaced by David Batchelor and around the same time Gilson Lavis (their original drummer, who later played with Squeeze) was replaced by Richard Monro from Ritchie Blackmore's Mandrake Root. This line-up recorded Piggy Go Getter, which made little impact. In 1970 Hugh McKenna took over Batchelor's vocal role and Ted McKenna (ex-Dream Police) relieved Monro on drums.
They recorded a second album and tried to establish themselves on the underground scene but were going nowhere with their brand of tired boogie heavy rock, until they teamed up with Alex Harvey in August 1972 to become The Sensational Alex Harvey Band.
Formed in Glasgow at the close of the 1960s, the band featured Eddie Campbell (keyboards), Zal Cleminson (guitar), Chris Glen (bass, vocals), Gilson Lavis (drums) and Andi Mulvey (vocals).
Mulvey and Lavis were soon replaced respectively by keyboard player and vocalist David Batchelor, and Richard Monro. This line- up recorded the album “Piggy Go Getter”, in 1970. Some months later Hugh McKenna replaced Batchelor while his cousin Ted McKenna (ex-Dream Police) took over from Monro on drums.
This line-up of Tear Gas soon earned a reputation as a fine live act and the band’s self-titled second album was much stronger work than its predecessor, released in the UK on the Regal Zonophone label in 1971. Despite its excellence, the album failed to sell in significant quantities.
In August 1972 Zal Cleminson, Ted McKenna, Hugh McKenna and Chris Glen joined forces with vocalist Alex Harvey to form The Sensational Alex Harvey Band who would meet with success and record a series of inventive albums throughout the 1970s.
The Glasgow-based prog/heavy/rockers Tear Gas (originally known as Mustard) released their second album in 1971 establishing themselves on the underground scene.
Wullie Monro and Eddie Campbell left the band. Wullie joined Berserk Crocodiles (see Dream Police) and Ted McKenna from the freshly collapsed Dream Police replaced him. Eddie Campbell quit for whatever reason – perhaps just tired of touring – and was not instantly replaced. ‘Tear Gas’ released on the Regal Zonaphone label by this revised line up though Campbell appears on the ‘live in the studio’ medley of ‘All Shook Up & Jailhouse Rock’.
An un-credited Ronnie Leahy provides the keyboards elsewhere on the album. Leahy played with Glen, McKenna and Cleminson again in the early ’90s under the name of the ‘Sensational Party Boys’ – promoters mistook the name for a group of male strippers! ‘ Saw them in London in the Charing Cross Road Marquee (now a Weatherspoons) – a right good night..
Tear Gas’ has an odd front cover pic. Is it meant to signify anything? If so it was lost on us. All tracks are ‘hard ‘n heavy rock’ . Again not terribly memorable apart from ‘Love Story’, a highlight of the stage act, whose arrangement was visited again by SAHB on the ‘Penthouse Tapes’. One is left with the feeling that the band was a couple of years behind the times in their material and the union with Alex Harvey was the shot in the arm of originality they needed. ‘Tear Gas’ was reissued on CD by Renaissance, a US label, in the mid ’90s as RCD1005.
After the comercial failure of the ‘Tear Gas’ LP, Ted McKenna’s cousin, Hugh McKenna, was drafted in on keyboards and backing vocals but Davie Batchelor soon left to go into production – he produced the SAHB stuff – they all sound pretty good – but was famously dropped by Noel Gallagher during the making of Oasis’ first album.
A rumour persisted for a while that he had to quit Tear Gas because he was going deaf! Hugh took over the lead vocals and this is the line-up that returned to Glasgow to join up with Alex Harvey after an unsuccessful stint in London . The rest of that story is well-documented history.
★ Davey Batchelor - Vocals, Guitar
★ Zal Cleminson - Lead Guitar
★ Chris Glen - Bass, Vocals
★ Ted McKenna - Drums
★ Hugh McKenna - Keyboards
★ Alex Harvey - Vocals
01. That's What's Real 06:02
02. Love Story 07:01
03. Lay It on Me 03:44
04. Woman for Sale 04:24
05. I'm Glad 05:49
06. Where Is My Answer 05:59
07. Jailhouse Rock & All Shook Up 05:49
08. The First Time 04:53
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