Tear Gas

Tear Gas was a Scottish hard-rock band that released the album Piggy Go Getter on Famous/Paramount in 1970, followed by an eponymous album on Regal Zonophone in 1971. They then teamed with singer Alex Harvey in the long-running Sensational Alex Harvey Band.

Members: Zal Cleminson (guitar, vocals), Chris Glen (bass, vocals), Gilson Lavis (drums, 1969-70), Richard “Wullie” Monro (drums, tambourine, maracas, finger cymbals, vocals, 1969-70), Andy Mulvey (lead vocals, 1969-70), Eddie Campbell (organ, piano, vocals, 1970-71), David Batchelor (lead vocals, keyboards, 1970-71), Ted McKenna (drums, 1970-72), Hugh McKenna (keyboards, 1971-72)


Origin

Tear Gas formed in 1969 as Mustard, a Glasgow rock quartet with guitarist Zal Cleminson, bassist Chris Glen, and 18-year-old drummer Gilson Lavis, a native of Bedford. Their original vocalist, Andy Mulvey, hailed from Scottish beat legends The Poets.

By 1970, Mulvey cleared out singer David Batchelor. After Lavis cleared for drummer Richard “Wullie” Monro, Tear Gas signed with Famous Music, a division of Paramount Pictures.


1970: Piggy Go Getter

Tear Gas released their first album, Piggy Go Getter, in October 1970 on Famous. It features 10 songs written by Batchelor and Cleminson, including the lengthy numbers “Night Girl” and “Look What Else Is Happening.” This and the followup were produced by Tony Chapman.

Soon after Piggy Go Getter, keyboardist Eddie Campbell and drummer Wullie Munro left after this release, replaced (respectively) by Hugh McKenna and cousin Ted McKenna.

Hugh was briefly in psych-rockers the Stoics with Frankie Miller and James Dewar (Stone the Crows, Robin Trower). Their one single, “Earth, Fire, Air and Water” (b/w “Search for the Sea”), appeared on RCA Victor in 1968. Ted was briefly in the Decca singles act Dream Police with singer Hamish Stuart, later of the Average White Band.


1971: Tear Gas

The band’s second album, simply titled Tear Gas, appeared in August 1971 on Regal Zonophone. Batchelor and Cleminson co-wrote six of the nine songs, including “That’s What’s Real,” “I’m Glad,” “Lay It On Me,” and “The First Time.” Tear Gas also includes covers of Jethro Tull (“Love Story”) and Elvis Presley (“Jailhouse Rock” and “All Shook Up,” both recorded live).

Their two Presley covers appear on the Mexican Capitol comp Convivencia Sagrada with cuts by The Move, Edgar Broughton Band, Masters Apprentices, Heads Hands and Feet, Quatermass, Triangle, and Northwind.


Alex Harvey Calls

The instrumental core of the Tear Gas lineup — Cleminson, the McKenna’s, and Glen — teamed with vocalist Alex Harvey in the Sensational Alex Harvey Band. SAHB released eight studio albums between 1972 and 1978, including one without Harvey. Batchelor worked as their producer.


Later Activity

Cleminson joined the 1979/80 lineup of Nazareth and later served as a backing player for Elkie Brooks, Midge Ure, Bonnie Tyler, and Fish.

Glen and Ted McKenna later teamed in The Michael Schenker Group. Ted also played on albums by Rory Gallagher, Greg Lake, Ali Thomson, and Phenomena.

Original drummer Gilson Lavis did touring stints with Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Dolly Parton. In 1977, he surfaced in new wave pop-rockers Squeeze.


Discography:

  • Piggy Go Getter (1970)
  • Tear Gas (1971)

Sources:

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