Steven Lindsay, a student at Glasgow School of Art, forms The Big Dish. Core members of the band are: Lindsay (guitar/vocals), Mark Ryce (guitar, backing vocals), and John Harper (keyboards). Other people playing with the band in this era include: David Brownlie (drums), Paul Albertis (bass), John Hendry (drums), and Stuart Hall (saxophone).
The band play one-off gigs around the Glasgow area for the next year or so and come to the attention of Ronnie Gurr, an A&R man for Virgin Records.
Virgin Records fund the recording of a demo, which includes the tracks ‘Prospect Street, ‘Big New Beginning’, ‘Swimmer’, and ‘Everlasting Faith’.
In November, the band signs a recording contract with Virgin. Band members at this time are: Lindsay, Ryce, Harper, Albertis, and Hendry.
Paul Albertis and John Hendry leave the band. Recording of the band’s first album commences with producer Paul Hardiman. The core of Lindsay, Ryce and Harper are
augmented by session players including drummer Andy Duncan. From this first session with Hardiman come several tracks including ‘Big New Beginning and ‘Prospect Street’
‘Big New Beginning’ is released as a single. It fails to chart. The band embark on a UK tour as support to China Crisis. Lindsay, Ryce and Harper are joined by Keith Burns (drums) and Raymond Docherty (bass) for the tour Recording resumes with Paul Hardiman again producing. Ryce and Harper are not involved in this session, which sees Lindsay joined in the studio by Raymond Docherty and Andy Duncan. The song ‘Reverend Killer’, later to be used as a B-side, is recorded during this session.
‘Prospect Street’ is released as a single. It reaches number 166 on the UK charts Paul Hardiman is replaced as producer by Glyn Johns. Lindsay is the sole band member to play in the first recording session with Johns, which yields the track ‘Another People’s Palace’ Session players featuring in this session include: Paul Wickens (keyboards), Andy Fairweather-Low (bass), Tim Renwick (guitar), and Jodi Linscott (percussion).
Lindsay returns to the studio for two further recording sessions with Glyn Johns Docherty and, later, Burns join him. Neither Ryce nor Harper are included in these sessions. Wickens and Linscott are also involved during the earlier session.
Recording IS postponed for a time whilst the band – Lindsay, Ryce and Harper with Burns and Docherty g0 on tour as support to Lloyd Cole and the Commotions.
Ryce and Harper leave the band. Guitarist Brian McFie is recruited as a session player. Steven Lindsay is now the sole permanent member of the band.
Recording of the band’s first album resumes, with Docherty and McFie now contracted as fully-fledged band members. Iain Ritchie replaces Glyn Johns as producer. Ritchie also plays saxophone and keyboards. Graham Broad (drums) and Siobhan Maher (backing vocals) are hired to contribute to the album as session players.
In June, The Big Dish appear on FSD, a BBC Scotland TV programme featuring bands playing live. The band’s line-up is Lindsay, Docherty, and McFie, augmented by Allan Dumbreck (keyboards) and Steven Irvine (drums).
The band undertake a UK college tour, joined by Dumbreck, Dave Cantwell (drums and Kirk Richardson (percussion). They also play a double-header on the first weekend of August, appearing at the Artists Against Apartheid concert at the Barrowlands in Glasgow and the Hoochie Coochie Club in Edinburgh on the same day, with Dougie Vipond (on loan from Deacon Blue) replacing the unavailable Kirk Richardson on percussion for these two shows.
‘Slide’ is released as the band’s first single from the forthcoming ‘Swimmer album. It reaches a peak position of 147 on the UK singles chart.
‘Swimmer’ is released on the 1″ of October. Nine of the thirteen tracks feature Ritchie as producer, with Johns (two tracks), Hardiman and The Big Dish (one track each) also credited as producers. The album reaches number 85 on the top 100 of the UK albums chart the following week.
The re-recorded version of ‘Prospect Street’ which appears on ‘Swimmer’ is released as a single. It fails to chart in the UK.
In December, the band go on tour as support to Big Country. Dumbreck and Cantwell once again join the core trio of Lindsay, Docherty, and McFie for this tour.
The band fly to the USA to meet with Warner Bros. executives in New York. Whilst still in the USA, they shoot a video for ‘Slide’, in which Dumbreck and Cantwell also
Back in the UK, the band play two songs live on the TV show ‘Number 73’.
Also in January, ‘Christina’s World is released as the third single from ‘Swimmer. It peaks at number 84 on the UK singles chart.
‘Slide’ is released as the fourth and final single from ‘Swimmer in April. It reaches a high of number 86 on the UK singles chart at the start of May.
The band, with Allan Dumbreck and Dave Cantwell, commence recording their second album at Castle Sounds Studio, with Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens producing Dumbreck and Cantwell depart during the sessions and Charlie Morgan is brought in on drums. The tracks ‘Wishing Time’ and ‘Where do you Live’ are recorded.
Paul Lampcov comes in as producer for the main recording session for the band’s second album, ‘Creeping up on Jesus’. The trio of Lindsay, McFie and Docherty are augmented by session players Blair Cunningham (drums) and Michael Montez (keyboards). Craig Armstrong (keyboards) later takes part in the sessions as does
Gary Barnacle (sax), John Thirkell (flugel horn) and Peter Thoms (trombone).
‘European Rain’, written by Lindsay for the album after Virgin called for a hit single, is released at the start of August 1988. It makes number 78 on the UK singles chart, It is followed on the 22″ of August by the album Creeping on Jesus’, on Lampcov (8 tracks), Wickens (two) and The Big Dish (one) are all named as producers. It fails to
make the top 100 of the UK album charts.
The band (with Craig Armstrong and Skip Reid (drums) joining Lindsay, McFie, and Docherty) appear on the BBC ‘Garden Party’ TV programme, where they mime to ‘European Rain’. It is this line-up which embarks on a tour in support of the album “Faith Healer’ is released as the second and final single from ‘Creeping up on Jesus’. It
fails to reach the UK top 100.
Virgin drops The Big Dish.
The band, with Skip Reid but minus Craig Armstrong (who’d just become a father for the first time), play a gig at the Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow, in November.
The Big Dish, including Skip Reid and Craig Armstrong, sign to East West Records. The band record and produce the track ’25 Years’. Raymond Docherty, Skip Reid and Steve Cheyne, the band’s manager, leave the band before the main recording sessions for the band’s third album take place.
The ‘Satellites’ album is recorded, with Lindsay, McFie and Armstrong being backed by Session musicians including Pino Palladino (bass), Danny Cummings (percussion), and Jody Linscott (percussion). John Giblin, late of Simple Minds, plays bass on five of the album’s ten tracks. Warne Livesey produces nine of the ten tracks on the
album, ’25 Years’ being the exception.
The Big Dish support The Pixies at Glasgow Barrowland in October.
Craig Armstrong leaves the band, which is now down to a duo of Lindsay and McFie. ‘Miss America’ is released in January as the first single from ‘Satellites’. It becomes the band’s sole UK top 40 hit, reaching a high of number 37 in the chart.
‘Satellites’ is released in February, reaching number 43 but spending only two weeks in the top 100 of the UK album chart.
A lightly remixed version of ‘Big Town’ becomes the second single released from ‘Satellites’, It reaches a high of number 94 on the UK singles chart, The band go on tour in support of ‘Satellites’, Lindsay and McFie being joined by Colin Berwick (keyboards) and Tracy Gilbert (bass). Skip Reid returns on drums.
They play the Midsummer at Loch Lomond Music Festival on 22″” June as part of a line-up that includes Runrig and Hothouse Flowers
A remixed version of ’25 Years’ becomes the band’s final single release. It fails to reach the UK top 100.
The band play Crystal Palace Bowl in London on 4″ August 1991 as part of a multi-band line-up that also includes Level 42 and Squeeze. The Big Dish disband shortly afterwards.
Virgin band’s release time on “Rich the Man’s Wardrobe’, a retrospective collection of fifteen tracks from the band’s time on the label. It does not reach the top 100 of the UK album charts. album tracks charts.
The band reforms for the Celtic Connections festival in January and the Darvel Music Festival in May. The line up for both gigs is: Steven Lindsay (vocals, guitar), Brian
McFie (guitar), Raymond Docherty (bass), Allan Dumbreck (keyboards), and Ross McFarlane (drums).
The Big Dish play their most recent show to date, supporting Del Amitri at the Hydro in Glasgow. The lineup is for the 2012 gigs, with Jim MeDermott replacing Ross McFarlane on drums, The set includes a new song, ‘Cherry Blossom Falls’