Originally calling themselves “Oliver’s Army” the band played in pubs and clubs in the east end of Glasgow like “The Dalriada” and “The El Paso” in Barlana
Scheme must go down in Scottish history as the most successful band never to get any proper recognition from a record company, in no way was this a reflection on their ability as song writers , musicians or performers, but there was a lack of balls from any major record label to take the band on because of the lyrical content of some of their material , by today’s standards Scheme’s lyrics are quite tame in comparison. There is also the common view that Scheme refused to be changed or be moulded into anything else other than what they where, “In your face, straight to the point with attitude”, This appealed to the average guy in the street and the band had the musical know how and ability to back it up, this is also why they were known as “The peoples band”.
Originally calling themselves “Oliver’s Army” the band played in pubs and clubs in the east end of Glasgow like “The Dalriada” and “The El Paso” in Barlanark and the “Centaur bar” in Easterhouse . They built up a following playing cover versions and gradually incorporating their own material, mainly written by Denny and a couple from John.
The band changed their name to Scheme and it wasn’t long before their set was mostly self written. They started to play gigs in the centre of Glasgow in places like “The Muscular Arms” ”Toffs” and ”Maxwell Plumbs” very rapidly building a massive fan base Inspiring their song “Growing Stronger.”
In the summer of 1982 Scheme brought out an E.P. single under their own label “Schemesongs” with four tracks including ”Growing Stronger” ”All Grown Up” ”C.N.D” and “Your Eyes.” later on that year on the 29th of December 1982, BBC Radio Scotland broadcast a full gig live from a venue in Largs, apart from the band's flawless performance, other highlights from that gig were the introduction of the THEN new song "Goat Fell" about a mountain on the Isle of Arran and also the use of a guitar synth with which John Smith used to great effect in songs such as CND where he ended the song by playing the open A string of his guitar to produce a loud, deep, atmospheric drone that resonated around the room giving the song a dramatic ending which sounded amazing and accentuated the seriousness of the songs lyrics and subject matter.
After a slight line up change with a new drummer in Des Osbourne and Rab taking over on bass guitar, Scheme’s popularity started to outgrow the venues they were playing and they were headlining most of the outdoor concerts in Glasgow at that time. The pinnacle of their playing career was when they sold out Glasgow’s legendary Apollo on the 8th of September 1984 the only unsigned band ever to achieve this, They carried on to play a few concerts in the Pavillion theatre, this was never heard of before and will probably never be repeated again by a local band.
T.V. appearances include, news reports on “The Peoples march for Jobs 1983” with the band singing an acoustic version of “Bow out Maggie”
The band appeared on a Scottish topical discussion programme called “Talk Back” playing two songs on each show (not sure how many shows, around six I think!)
Channel four made a documentary called ”Innocent As Hell” in 1986 dedicated to Scheme, looking at the band’s local success , with clips from a concert they played in George square in Glasgow and one of the Pavillion concerts , The documentary also had interviews with the band ,local celebrities and fans .
Scheme brought out their long awaited first L.P. called “Black and Whites” in 1986 with an equal mix of rock and reggae tracks recorded at The Cava studios in Glasgow, a few years later they recorded two home made albums called “Late Again” and “Non Returnable”, with some re-recordings of old standards like 'Innocent as Hell' and 'Keep your Head Up' as well as a more blues orientated selection of songs they also included a brilliant version of 'Seagull' on 'Non Returnable' very rarely ever played live.
Their live set had some hard hitting and “controversial” songs like “Jail for the weed” “Another Five years” “Bow out Maggie”etc...tackling subjects from legalising marijuana to getting rid of Margaret Thatcher then there were the anti war numbers like “Young Warrior” “Self destruct” and C.N.D ….these songs all had a message but what was almost never written about was that these songs were well constructed and had ample musical content with tight three part harmonies, brilliantly executed guitar solos and their trade mark (Can’t get it out of your head ) choruses.
It was always a misconception that Scheme were just a protest band…. they had a lot of positive non political numbers in their set, like... “Keep your head up “ “Give me an up song” “Growing stronger” “ Turn on tune in” “ All Grown Up” “Time” and “Twotone” etc.. these were all good clean pop/rock songs that if ever given the chance would have stood up to anything being played on the radio at that time, In speaking to musicians for this web site Glasband80 has yet to find a musician who has done anything other than tip their hat in respect to Scheme “ The Peoples Band ".