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Guest blog: Welcome to Michael Rooney of The Primevals

Michael Rooney of The Primevals

As far as Glasgow Music City Tours is concerned, The Primevals are right up there in the pantheon of all-time great Glasgow bands. We still remember the frisson of first seeing them in the mid-1980s at this recording of the brilliant Scottish music show, FSD:
Singer Michael Rooney exuded that potent combination of mean attitude and aloof presence that you want in your rock’n’roll frontmen, while the band were a tight-but-loose garage rocking machine, fired up with the punky, bluesy spirit of Captain Beefheart and The Gun Club.

This was around the time of their classic Sound Hole album – remastered and re-issued by Boutique Germany, so what are you waiting for? Thirty years on, the band are still in business. Check out their most recent albums, Disinhibitor and Heavy War on Twenty Stone Blatt and Tales Of Endless Bliss on Closer Records.

We now have the pleasure of Michael’s acquaintance and can confirm he’s a lovely man with a clearly encyclopedic memory for classic gigs he has attended over the years as you will see from his blog. Like many of our guest writers, he mentions the Apollo but we are also chuffed to read namechecks for the Maryland and Electric Gardens – two former venues which we talk about on our Glasgow’s Music Mile tour. The buildings are still there and still in use as a bar and a club respectively – but which ones? You’ll need to come on tour to find out… Over to Michael…

Growing up in Glasgow, going to see gigs and buying records was so important for me. It got me away from gangs and delinquency. This was late ’69 early ’70.

I went to my first real gig in Blackpool back in 1966 with my late father, mother and granny—a matinee show with The Spencer Davis Group and support from Dave Berry and the Cruisers. I remember the spotlight on Dave Berry’s hand with just the mic sticking out from the side curtain at the start of the show.

The first gig I went to using my own money was Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac in 1969 at the old Green’s Playhouse.

The Electric Garden was one of the first places I went to for gigs around 1970; I remember Pink Floyd, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Taste, Family and Free.

Next I discovered The Maryland in Scott Street around ’70/’72 which was such an amazing place, someone should write a book about it. So many, many shows— Muddy Waters, Lifetime, Kevin Ayers and the Whole World, Graham Bond, Pete Brown and Mott The Hoople were special, but there were endless nights there, so many characters and escapades.


Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band at the Kelvin Hall in 1972 was phenomenal for me, in the front row, and then backstage later. My friend presented CB with a cigar with nail in it, a red rose and a quarter bottle of brandy. A ballerina starts the show, then a belly dancer, before Rockette Mortion walked on for a bass solo intro. Ed Marimba with green moustache! Then CB came on saying he was gonna take a little drink of brandy for my friend. The band were incredible. Lets say for me it was a stellar, monumental moment.

Later my favourite shows at the Apollo were Television, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, and Suicide. Strathclyde Uni would always be the Ramones in ’77. Gun Club with Primevals supporting ’84, Link Wray/Robert Gordon ’79 was immense too. Sun Ra and the Arkestra at the Mitchell Theatre in ’83. Cramps at Glasgow Tech ’80.

Moving forward to eventually having the courage to put a band together. The Primevals played some unique shows, a favourite was a Xmas show in August (yes I know kids , crazy eh!) at the Dowanhill Church, it was a shell at the time. There was loads of polystyrene on the floor to give it that nice snow effect, we hired a sound system and people got a little mashed. I remember the caretaker coming in for a look (in his pyjamas )and his face freezing in shock. Also we played at a Synagogue in Nithsdale Road around then too.

I go to gigs- recently I saw Les Grys Grys from Montpellier at Mcchuils and they were great. The singer’s dad has our records!!!

Tav Falco’s Panther Burns at The Poetry Club

Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds at Nice n Sleazy’s, Pere Ubu in Mono, The Sonics at the sadly lost Arches (again opening Primevals slot with them). Pretty Things at ABC 2, George Clinton and Television at the ABC. Also locally at the 13th Note/Old Hairdressers /Tuts to see and perform with Los Tentakills/Reverse Cowgirls/Brutes/Pharisees/Creeping Ivies and others over the past few years.

Right now we have recorded a new lp for release soon, there are still gigs, it. We welcome our future, we don’t look back too often.

Witnessing some of these live musical experiences made a deep impression, and in fact shaped a lot of my life, I tried to synchronise some this into the music of The Primevals along with other ideas and concepts all the way.

Primevals Gigs:

Oct 2: Westgarth Social Club Middlesborough

Oct 3 : The Central Gateshead


Dec 10-13

Hi-alerts (side project featuring some Primevals old and new and the mighty Al Hotchkiss from Filth Spector/Los Tentakills)

Oct 16: Mcchuils Glasgow

Oct 17: Parlour Edinburgh