THE BIG VERN STORY (so far)
Big Vern n the Shootahs played their first gig on Saturday 28th October 1989. This is the story of how the band was put together and their history..........
On 3rd January 1989, 21-year-old Iain Crawford Gourlay died suddenly within Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital after contracting Meningitis.
In the months following his death, his friends got together and wondered how they could raise funds for the Institute of Neurology at the Southern General Hospital who had cared for Iain in his final days. Everybody who knew Iain was aware that he loved the Blues Brothers, the music, the film and having a great time. His friend Pete Smith decided to put together a charity fund raising night at the Glasgow School of Art and a Blues Brothers band would play at the event.
Calling on friends and colleagues, a bunch of musicians were put together in a rehearsal studio in Glasgow. A horn section was drafted in from a big band, led by the fabulous trombone playing Dr John Gourlay, who was Iain Gourlay’s father.
8 songs from the Blues Brothers film were rehearsed and the first gig was out of this world. The band had so many encores, they played those 8 songs twice. As the band came offstage, it was clear that something special had taken place and whilst in the dressing room, they were offered their second gig. Big Vern n the Shootahs were born……
With their Blues Brothers roots, the band were amazed to be asked to support the original Blues Brothers band from the film when they toured Scotland. The original musicians including Steve Cropper, Donald Dunn, Lou Marini et al loved what Big Vern did and gave their seal of approval on their performance. The band have also been asked to support major artists on their gigs, including; The Commitments, Eddie Floyd and even the great Chuck Berry.
Over the years the band have supported many causes and have been used at some amazing events such as the Commonwealth Games (live on BBC), the Champions League final, the European Football Championships and World Cup parties. They have travelled extensively across the UK and Internationally – and are regarded as the house band of the expat community in Malaysia!This band are a group of friends, who for almost 35 years have been having fun, playing in one of Scotland’s finest live bands. To date they have played over 2500 live shows, recorded two live albums, various EP’s and have helped raised a staggering £24 million for charities.
© BVATS 2022