On October the 20th 2001 Nazareth played to a sold out crowd at the Garage in Glasgow, and the show was recorded for a live album and DVD titled Homecoming.
2002 was a busy year for the band, with extensive tours of the States and Europe and ending up with a triumphant show in Dunfermline at Christmas when they topped the bill at their annual charity concert. Sadly, this was the last time keyboardist Ronnie Leahy appeared with the band, as he had decided to hang up his road shoes and retire from touring after the next Russian tour in 2003.
Back to being a four piece again, and taking hold of the challenge that change brings. They filled 2003 with an extensive live schedule, which would leave many new bands gasping. 2004 saw the band head out to the U.S., Russia, Israel and Europe, as well as a welcome return to the UK for shows at the end of the year.
2005 saw the band on the road for most of the year again, but during the summer they did found time to record a new DVD at Shepperton Studios, titled Live from Classic T Stage which included footage of the band on the road.
In October 2007 the band returned to the studio to record their first album since 1998’s Boogaloo. Recorded in Switzerland, the resulting record was titled The Newz and proved to be the first in a run of new recordings that have been universally acclaimed as a renaissance period in the band’s career
Released in 2008, The Newz coincided with the bands 40th anniversary (Again, that 1968 thing.) Nazareth embarked on a lengthy world tour in celebration of this event, playing many fan favorites and showcasing material from the new record.
Encouraged by the positive reaction to the new material, Nazareth set about working on a new album in 2010. Jimmy co-produced this one with Yann Rouiller who produced ‘The Newz’. Recorded in the Czech Republic, the album, titled Big Dogz was released in 2011 and as with The Newz, was very well received. Soon the band was back on the road again, promoting Big Dogz throughout 2011/2012.
Additionally, the band was followed throughout the sessions and some live tour dates from the Big Dogz project by a Czech film crew, who made a documentary about the band. Called Until We Drop, the band attended the official theatrical release for the documentary in Prague in the spring of 2013.
2012 saw the band record a high-energy rocker called ‘God of The Mountain’. The track was used as the official song of the Austrian Ski-Team for the 2012/2013-ski season. Nazareth performed the song live in 2013 during a special gig at the skiing World Championships in Austria. This was an outdoor gig, in the winter, with temperatures around minus 8 degrees; it’s amazing where the music can take you sometimes!
However, 2013 was to be a bittersweet year for the band. Kicking the year off with a Greatest Hits Tour, it started to become apparent that Dan was suffering health problems. He had been diagnosed with COPD, which was making it increasingly difficult for him onstage.
This, however, didn’t deter him in the making of the new album (Rock’n’Roll Telephone) which was recorded in Scotland that year. As Pete has said, “This album is one of Dan’s greatest career performances and anyone listening to it would never guess the guy was having difficulty breathing.” Ever the ‘road warrior’, Dan soldiered on for as long as he could, but by the autumn of 2013 Dan was forced to bow out from live work with the band. He graciously gave the rest of the band his blessing to carry on touring without him.
He fronted Nazareth for 43 years and giving it his all every night and his legacy as one of the all time great rock vocalists is assured.
Pete says about the feelings of the remaining guys at the time, “We had Dan’s blessing but had no idea where to go next or even sure we had the inclination to go anywhere!” After a few weeks went by and they got used to the fact that Dan was really gone from the band they started looking for a replacement. They had a few auditions and decided to try out with a local guy named Linton Osborne. Linton was fine singer but as the year went on it became obvious that it wasn’t working out as everyone had hoped so both parties decided to finish it and go their separate ways.”
The hunt for a new singer was back on and when the word got out this time, the band started getting CDs, emails, video clips and recordings of guys (and four different females) from all over the world. Pete said, “It was amazing the response we got but the downside was we had to listen to everything that was sent, in case we missed something good.Unfortunately, because of all these ‘reality’ shows and karaoke competitions like the X Factor everyone wants to be a star and we got to find out how many different ways you can murder ‘Love Hurts.” A call from their agent suggested they look at a guy who had been brought to his attention and was currently on a nationwide tour with the ‘Classic Rock Show’
He’s no newcomer to the scene and among other things has played in his own band (Persian Risk) for years as well as touring with Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath and Don Airey of Deep Purple in their bands.
After seeing him on a couple of video clips and being mightily impressed, the band invited Carl to audition. “One verse was all that was necessary for us to know we had our man” says Pete. “The search was over and and now we are very happy and feeling lucky to have a guy with Carl’s talent as our new singer.”
The band have played a number of shows at the time of this being written and going by the reviews of those shows it would seem that the media and Nazareth fans alike agree wholeheartedly with Nazareth’s choice of new front man.
A new album is now being planned for 2016 and a new era seems to be beginning for this very hard working and very determined band.
Watch this space…….