A Roadie Reveals All
By its author, James McCarraher, F.Inst.L.Ex.

16 December 2004

A Glass Of Champagne – The Official SAILOR Story, by James McCarraher. Sarum Publishing. £25 and can be bought on line from
ISBN: 0 9526690 3 X

In the December 2003 issue of The Legal Executive I wrote about my experiences of touring with the ‘Seventies pop band, SAILOR. This year, I was fortunate enough to be invited to join them again in Linz, Austria. On this occasion, SAILOR was headlining the annual Kronefest, and in front of 20,000 people, they played a blistering set; not bad for a band with a combined age of over 200 years!
The other purpose of the trip from my perspective was to promote my new book about these four illustrious musicians, ‘A Glass Of Champagne – The Official SAILOR Story’. A signing was organised in a shopping mall of all places and the band posed with the book for the national press. It was a successful and enjoyable trip.
Writing the story of a group with such a long history had been a whirlwind experience, taking me into another world, occupied by some of the most talented, avant garde and renowned musicians, managers and record producers in the business.
For eighteen months, I spent over a hundred hours interviewing the musicians who had been my heroes for nearly thirty years. It was initially surreal, but as time passed, friendships were formed and I began to see them for who they really were: decent
people blessed with extraordinary talents. From time to time, I found myself acting as a mediator, dealing with areas where stories conflicted, not through any wilful deceit, but through the passages of time and differing perspectives. Areas requiring arbitrationranged from the design of an album cover to the sequence of events, and in each case, I am pleased to say they were amicably resolved. Most of the time however, memories dovetailed beautifully, and where one band member recalled part of an important event, another musician would recall other details. Fortunately, I was not faced with a Mick Jagger-type situation, where everything had been forgotten in the mists of time, perhaps because SAILOR had always been a family-orientated band which refrained from indulging in hallucinogenic substances!
Pulling the book together into a coherent story proved to be much easier than I had anticipated. My drafting skills obtained from years of preparing legal documentation proved to be a major asset. I found that I could weave the four main stories and the dozens of subplots effortlessly together and I would recommend any lawyer with similar drafting skills ‘to have a go!’
Researching such an enormous project was a new experience for me. I had written books in the past, never longer than 12,000 words. This adventure was eventually to run to 120,000 words, complemented by over one hundred unpublished photographs.
In completing this book, I had breached all previous personal boundaries, working day and night to meet my goal, and in so doing, increasing my own personal levels of expectation. Never in my life had I ever believed I could complete such a mammoth task. The feeling was euphoric and I have to give thanks and credit to my long-suffering family for putting up with me!
On a commercial note, the book has been well received by the music press and fans alike, with most copies being sold in Germany, where SAILOR are one of the most successful bands of all time.
The question is, what shall I write next? Suggestions on a postcard...

Special thanks to James McCarraher (UK)!


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