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The Waterboys Biography

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The Waterboys In-depth Biography

Led by the literate singer/songwriter} Mike Scott}, the group's sole constant member, the mercurial Waterboys} formed in London in 1981. Born December 14, 1958 in Edinburgh, Scotland, Scott} first became involved in music as the creator of the fanzine Jungleland}, and later played in a series of local punk} outfits. After college, where he studied English and philosophy, Scott} and his band, Another Pretty Face}, moved to London; following the group's breakup, he formed the Waterboys}, so named after a line in the Lou Reed} song "The Kids"} but wholly appropriate given Scott}'s recurring lyrical fascination with sea imagery.

A newspaper advertisement calling for musicians led to a response from multi-instrumentalist Anthony Thistlethwaite}; along with drummer Kevin Wilkinson}, the Waterboys} issued their self-titled debut in 1983. Keyboardist Karl Wallinger} and trumpeter Roddy Lorimer} joined for the 1984 follow-up A Pagan Place}, which expanded the group's rich, dramatic sound while further exploring Scott}'s interest in spirituality. With 1985's This Is the Sea}, the Waterboys} reached an early peak; a majestic, ambitious record, it earned the group a significant hit with the single "The Whole of the Moon."}

However, after the album's release, Wallinger} departed to form World Party}, which prompted Scott} and Thistlethwaite} to relocate to Ireland and begin with a clean slate. When the Waterboys} returned in 1988 with the acclaimed Fisherman's Blues}, they were joined by traditional Irish} players like fiddler Steve Wickham}, drummer Dave Ruffy}, keyboardist Guy Chambers} and bassist Marco Weissman}, resulting in a stripped-down, folky sound that was continued on 1990s Room to Roam}.

In 1991, Scott} moved to New York without Thistlethwaite} or any other bandmembers; the release of 1993's Dream Harder}, cut with session musicians, marked a return to an electric, more rock}-oriented sound. Soon Scott} moved back to Scotland, where he began a lengthy stay at a spiritual commune; there he recorded the folk}-tinged Bring 'Em All In} under his own name, apparently putting the Waterboys} to rest for good.

On July 17, 1999, drummer Kevin Wilkinson} committed suicide in his countryside home in Swindon, Wiltshire, England just prior to jetting off on an American tour with Howard Jones}. Wilkinson}, who had also worked with Squeeze}, China Crisis}, Bonnie Raitt} and the Proclaimers}, was a member of the Waterboys} since their 1983 self-titled effort.

Good fortune was in the wings, for Mike Scott} resurrected the Waterboys} name in 2000. Rock in the Weary Land} marked the band's first release in seven years. Thistlethwaite} and Wickham} would return to the group and tours across the world would prove successful. Fisherman's Blues, Pt. 2}, an album featuring previously unavailable material from the Fisherman's Blues}' sessions, appeared in summer 2002. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide

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