Passionate Friends, a Glasgow-based five-piece band was originally formed in 1982 and became one of the most exciting acts of that era, supporting Rod Stewart, the Police, Big Country and Nik Kershaw. Following a long period of inactivity the band reformed in 2008. Their music is a fusion of rock and pop, both foot-tapping and thought-provoking. Later that year the band performed at various venues around Scotland, and an opening slot on the bill at the 2008 Retrofest festival at Strathclyde Park. 2009 saw the band providing support to the Blow Monkeys and Hue and Cry . A new CD “Stealing Seconds”,, was released to coincide with the band’s re-launch.
Back in 1982, the line-up then consisted of McNeill brothers John (guitar / vocals), Malky (keyboard / vocals) and Allan (bass /vocals), with the drum stool being occupied by Davey Halley. This was augmented later in the year, by lead guitarist Tam Watson, and his cousin Michael Quinn on saxophone.
In November 1982 they ventured into Glasgow’s Park Lane studios, and recorded three songs, two of which formed their double “A” side debut single – Time Bandits and What’s the Odds, on their own Tenement Toons label. Following its release, on 11 March 1983, it received overwhelming support from Radio Clyde, having featured on almost every program, but especially Richard Park (now with Magic 105.4 in London and the infamous headmaster of BBC’s prime time show ‘ Fame Academy’), Mark Goodier , and Billy Sloan. Following this, the single was picked up nationally, and was played on Radio One’s (the late), John Peel, David Jensen, Peter Powell and Adrian John shows. The single was also reviewed favourably by Elvis Costello on Radio Clyde.
Following the success of Time Bandits, NiteMoves in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street became the band’s home base, performing a regular Sunday night sell-out, with DJ, Richard Park.
In the summer of 1983, following a series of gigs around the country, the band were brought to the attention of Harvey Goldsmith (who featured in his very own TV series called ‘Get Your Act Together’ on the UK’s Channel 4 ). Harvey was promoting the Rod Stewart gig at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow, and invited the boys to play support to Rod, Gary Glitter, and Jo Boxers. Billy Connolly, also managed by Harvey Goldsmith, became a fan and was a regular source of advice and encouragement to the band.
Fueled by the success of this gig, the band signed to MCA Records and MCA Music Publishing as well as Harvey Goldsmith. In October 1983, another single, Passionate Friends, was recorded at Battery Studios in London, produced by Charlie Eyre. The single achieved the scary heights of number 28 in the Radio Clyde charts.
Extensive touring to promote the single followed, notably on the Police Synchronicity tour, at Cornwall and the NEC, Birmingham. A Hogmanay extravaganza with Big Country and RunRig at Glasgow Barrowlands, broadcast live across Europe for MTV. 2 support gigs with Nik Kershaw at Derby and Edinburgh. Television appearances saw the band feature in a schools program, “Time to Think”, and performing live on the BBC’s “Untied Shoelaces Show”, with legendary Radio Clyde DJ, Tiger Tim. Radio broadcasts included a live concert on Radio Clyde from Glasgow’s NiteMoves.
In the spring of 1984, the band commissioned New York producer Jimmy Douglass (mega producer, recently working with Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado). The outcome of these Jam studio sessions in London, was 3 songs White Boys making White Noise, End in Tears and Hostage.
Not long after this the band ended their association with MCA Records and their management. They eventually split in 1984. After a long spell of inactivity as the band, although the various members continued doing their own projects, the Friends reunited for a series of gigs in the summer of 2008.
Then in December 2017, drummer Davie Halley sadly passed away. The band reformed again, this time with drummer Desi Osborne taking over from Davie. Following a successful gig at the Hard Rock Cafe in Glasgow in April 2018, the band are currently set to return to regular gigging in the near future.