Denny Oliver -
Band Line ups
Sound Engineer - Peter Pirrie
Above Denny Oliver, The brains behind Scheme a prolific song writer and the musical director of the band along with John, if you where at your first Scheme gig you would think that Denny was Just the rhythm guitarist who sings some of the songs every once in a while, by the end of a gig you know better, with the odd look or nod to the rest of the band you realise he is the man in charge, a perfectionist who knows how to write and did not care if his words offended the people he was writing about, his voice was very different to Rab McEwan more Rasping and laid back but easy to the ear in songs such as “Growing Stronger” and "All grown up"
Above some of the band singing the song Bow out Maggie on The Peoples March for Jobs in 1983
Left . John Smith, lead guitarist with Scheme he was known mostly for his guitar solos and catchy guitar riffs, every once in a while he would blow you away with a last chord of the song guitar lick that would have you looking around the room for Clapton or Gilmour, the striking thing was that he always played his solos with his eyes shut,... He got the chance to let loose on songs like “Jail For The Weed”, the original version of “Bow Out Maggie” and the bands version of the Carlos Santana/ Buddy Holly song “Well Alright” full of guitar riffs and solos which where always impeccably handled. He also had a major role in the production of most of the bands studio work and helped Denny Oliver with the writing with songs such as “Only a cowboy” and “Sixteen Today
These old “Dial Inn” adverts are a good indication of how often bands played ... as you can see SCHEME are playing three times in the space of two days as did a lot of the better bands in Glasgow at that time.
Above Scheme’s E.P. single & cover from 1982
Rab McEwan, Lead singer and bass player although he did not always play bass with the band he only took over on bass in 1983 when the band settled down to the five members most people know about now, He had a very sharp voice very similar to Colin Hay from “Men At Work” a band which Scheme were always compared to in 1982/83.
Above, The Band recording "The Black & Whites" album in 1986
A word has to be put in for Scheme's Live Sound Engineer Mr Peter Pirrie, he broke down boundries in the live music circuit with Scheme, using (to excellent effect) Echo, Chorus or Flange effects to vocals, guitar solos and harmonies in songs such as "Young Warrior" " Inner City Kids" " The Black and Whites" or "Jail for the Weed". Peter contributed big time to the live Scheme sound, he is the guy who made it sound as if ten people were singing when the band only had three singers singing in harmony, he produced a live sound that would take weeks to reproduce in a studio, Peter has got to be mentioned in the same breath as Denny, Rab and John from the band.
"All grown up"
EP single from 1982
Scheme write up and profiles written by Tommy Devlin...April 2006.
"Freezing cold December afternoon 1981, me and my brother sneaked into The Dial Inn, in Glasgow to see what all the fuss was about,, this Easterhouse band Called Scheme.
The band came out of the dressing room /cupboard, blowing their hands to heat them up as it was so cold, picked up their instruments......"Hello, Hello, Hello....Were called Scheme...this song is about a Cafe in Bristol called The Black and Whites"......mid way through taking a draw on his cigarette John Smith starts playing that ever so catchy guitar riff and the band join in. I was blown away!!
At that gig, Scheme had six band members, Rab on vocals, Denny on rhythm guitar and vocals, John on lead guitar and vocals, Alan Sinclair on bass, Tam Doyle on drums and George on sax and percussion.....I had never before seen a band playing such well written well worked out stuff with loud distinctive guitar work, acapella vocals (on songs such as BIGGS and a full verse on CND etc..) touching on subjects with an edge and politcal slant that blasted "this is what we think and what we are and we don't care" add to this the fact that the music was catchy as hell then it is no wonder that they packed the Apollo a few years later!
Scheme blew the roof off of the Glasgow band scene in Glasgow along with other great Bands like The Dolphins and Henry Gorman and it will always amaze me that these bands never made it BIG! but I will always be glad that I sneaked into that pub in Glasgow that cold afternoon in Glasgow in 1981."
Scheme memories by Dan B from Easterhouse
A rare photo of Scheme playing the first Auchinlea concert (Easterhouse) from 1982
Left...Denny Oliver and Tommy Devlin June 2013
I finally got to meet one of my hero's Denny Oliver by chance in the summer of 2013 in Drumpelier Park while out walking with my kids. Denny was great,we took a couple of photos.
Above some of the "original" Scheme line up. Left to Right, Alan Sinclair, George Wright, John Smith and Tam Doyle.