Even if Nazareth has had to get along on stage for about five years without her friction voice Dan McCafferty, the real break is the new studio work "Tattooed On My Brain": for the first time in their 50-year history the Scottish band went into the studio with another singer than McCafferty. Carl Sentance has been the new frontman for a good three years now and has successfully completed his probationary period with the album. Founding member Pete Agnew raised both thumbs during the conversation.
Whether and how a band works is rarely revealed during one of the usual twenty to thirty-minute interviews. Especially when they are artists experienced in public relations. They have already mastered countless of these musician-meets-press situations in their lives, where they celebrate a new product, which they will probably judge quite differently in a few years. In the summer of 2018 we got a deeper insight into the state of affairs of Nazareth at a hotel bar during the "Rock of Ages", when we experienced the Nazareth in celebration mood with Fish. The musicians laughed and smiled at the former Marillion singer. However, it was rarely possible for us to follow the conversation, as Fish's German wife confirmed: "Don't worry about it, I don't understand much about this Scottish gibberish either." But one thing was to be observed: The new singer Carl Sentance felt visibly well. The Welshman, who sings in the band of Don Airey besides Nazareth and played with Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell in the NWOBHM group Persian Risk in the eighties, is not a McCafferty clone. But despite his individual accents Nazareth keep their very own character on "Tatooed On My Brain", but also on stage, where they mainly play their song classics.
eclipsed: Does it still feel like cheating when you perform at Nazareth with another singer instead of Dan or even go into the studio like now?
Pete Agnew: No. When Dan told us in 2013 that he wouldn't be able to hold out any more concerts because of the respiratory disease COPD, it was a shock. And I don't even know if we would have gone on without Dan's persuasion. It was hard that his successor Linton Osborne had to cancel a tour with us after a short time due to a vocal chord disorder. But even if we had waited longer for him, somehow it felt like cheating with Linton, even though I didn't want to admit it four years ago. But it was definitely the right decision to continue the band with another singer.
eclipsed: Carl Sentance sounds even less like McCafferty than Osborne. Nevertheless, his voice fits Nazareth very well. Did you immediately realize that you had found the right man with him?
Agnew: Yes, it is. Somebody brought his name into play and I watched him on YouTube with the Don Airey Band. But these smartphone recordings are rarely really meaningful. But my interest was aroused to see him live myself. From then on, I was a fan of Sentance. His personal taste is more hard rock and blues rock, and his voice is more Robert Plant than McCafferty. But who's got a voice as hard and rough as Dan's?! I had a feeling he suited us.
eclipsed: Hundreds of shows with Sentance later, however, were now the test in the studio.
Agnew: We have grown together live to a unit and could observe that Carl is accepted by the fans despite the differences to Dan. It was unusual not to work with Dan but with Carl on the songs, but it felt good. Carl brings in his voice and ideas as a matter of course, and I think the whole thing sounds like Nazareth.