Anthony Thistlethwaite (The Waterboys, The Saw Doctors)

Best known as a founding member (with Mike Scott) of the folk rockgroup, The Waterboys and later as a long-standing member of Irish rock band The Saw Doctors. British multi instrumentalist Anthony “Anto” Thistlethwaite was (born 31 August 1955, Lutterworth, Englan. He started out busking in Paris, playing tenor saxophone around the streets of the Latin Quarter, in 1980 Thistlethwaite moved to London and in 1981 he played saxophone onRobyn Hitchcock’s Groovy Decay album as well as Nikki Sudden’s Waiting on Egypt. Mike Scott heard the saxophone solo on Nikki’s “Johnny Smiled Slowly” and invited Thistlethwaite to come and play with his fledgling band “The Red and The Black”. Their first record together “A Girl Called Johnny” was to be released as The Waterboys’ first single in March 1983 and featured Thistlethwaite’s tenor sax howl.

Although Thistlethwaite is mainly known as a saxophonist he has also featured on mandolin, harmonica, Hammond organ, guitar andbass with The Waterboys and other acts. During the 1980s and 90s he also featured on recordings by: World Party, Fairground Attraction, Psychedelic Furs, Sharon Shannon, Bob Dylan, China Crisis, Johnny Thunders, Donovan, The Vibrators, Chris De Burgh,Bruce Foxton, The Mission, and others as a session musician.During the 1990s which included contributions from the likes of: Kirsty MacColl, Eddi Reader and Ralph McTell as well as many musicians including (‘Rolling Stones’ guitarist) Mick Taylor and Sonny Landreth. His third album Crawfish and Caviar consisted of songs recorded in St. Petersburg, Russia and Louisiana. For the past twelve years Thistlethwaite has been a full-time member of The Saw Doctors from County Galway, Republic of Ireland. Sharon Shannon, also a member of The Waterboys, recorded a song that she named “Anto’s Cajun Cousins”, after his Louisiana Thistlethwaite relatives, on her eponymous debut album.

The Waterboys were formed in 1983 by Mike Scott. The band’s membership, past and present, has been composed mainly of musicians from Scotland, Ireland and England. Edinburgh, London, Dublin, Spiddal, New York, and Findhorn have all served as homes for the group. The band has played in a number of different styles, but their music is a mix of Celtic folk music with rock and roll. After ten years of recording and touring, they dissolved in 1993 and Scott pursued a solo career. They reformed in 2000, and continue to release albums and tour worldwide. Scott emphasises a continuity between The Waterboys and his solo work, saying that “To me there’s no difference between Mike Scott and the Waterboys; they both mean the same thing. They mean myself and whoever are my current travelling musical companions.”The early Waterboys sound was dubbed “The Big Music” after a song on their second album, A Pagan Place. This musical style was described by Scott as “a metaphor for seeing God’s signature in the world.”

It either influenced or was used to describe a number of other bands, including Simple Minds, The Alarm, In Tua Nua, Big Country, the Hothouse Flowers and World Party, which was made up of former Waterboys members. In the late 1980s the band became significantly more folk influenced. The Waterboys eventually returned to rock and roll, and have released both rock and folk albums since reforming. Their songs, largely written by Scott, often contain literary references and are frequently concerned with spirituality. Both the group and its members’ solo careers have received much praise from both rock and folk music critics, but The Waterboys as a band has never received the commercial success that some of its members have had independently. Aside from World Party, The Waterboys have also influenced musicians such as Eddie Vedder, Johnny Goudie, Colin Meloy ofThe Decemberists, Grant Nicholas of Feeder, James Marshall Owen,and Miles Hunt of The Wonder Stuff; both Bono and The Edge from U2 are fans of the band.

Irish rock band The Saw Doctors were. Formed in 1986 in Tuam, County Galway, they have achieved eighteen Top 30 singles in The Republic of Ireland including three number ones. Their first number one, “I Useta Lover,” topped the Irish charts for nine consecutive weeks in 1990, and still holds the record for the country’s all-time biggest-selling single. Renowned for their live performances, the band has a cult following, especially in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. On 15 February 2008, they received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Meteor Ireland Music Awards. The Saw Doctors finished touring in 2013, with three of the band (Moran, Thistlethwaite and O’Neill) forming a band with fellow Galway Musicians called The Cabin Collective. It is currently unknown whether the band will be returning from their break.

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