Big Country biography
In 1991, the band was dropped by Phonogram, the label that had released all of their material for ten years. After that, Big Country became a minor act, popping up in the lower echelons of the charts in the UK and Europe with the release of every subsequent album. Only one of these, 1993's The Buffalo Skinners, received a major label release (via Chrysalis Records), and it seemed a return to form of sorts for the band, reaching the UK Top 25. The album obtained enthusiastic critical response, and although it produced two UK Top 30 singles in "Alone" and "Ships", its sales were meagre.
Throughout the 1990s, Big Country supported bands such as The Rolling Stones and The Who. Big Country had backed Roger Daltrey on his 1985 solo album Under the Raging Moon, and Tony Butler played bass and provided backing vocals on Pete Townshend's 1980 hit single "Let My Love Open the Door". Both Butler and Brzezicki performed on Townshend's 1985 solo album White City: A Novel. Brzezicki played drums for The Cult on their 1985 Love album and featured in the video for the single, "She Sells Sanctuary".
Of growing concern was the mental and emotional health of lead singer Adamson, who reportedly had struggled with alcoholism for several years. Adamson split with his first wife, who later spoke to Scottish and English tabloid newspapers about his heavy drinking. He moved to Nashville in the mid-1990s where he took up residence and married a hairdresser. While in Nashville he met country music singer/songwriter Marcus Hummon, and together they released an alternative country studio album as The Raphaels in 2001 (four months before Adamson's death).
In 1995 Big Country released another album, Why the Long Face.
1999 saw the release of Big Country's eighth and final studio album with Adamson at the helm, Driving to Damascus (titled in its slightly different, augmented U.S. release John Wayne's Dream). Adamson said publicly that he was disappointed that the album did not fare better on the charts, which led to depression. Later that year, he disappeared for a while before resurfacing, stating that he had needed some time off.
Farewell tour, Adamson's deathAdamson returned for the band's 'Final Fling' farewell tour, culminating in a sold-out concert at Glasgow's Barrowland Ballroom on 31 May 2000. Although that marked the end of Big Country as a touring band, they were always adamant that they would appear together again. They played what turned out to be their last gig in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in October that year.
In November 2001, Adamson disappeared again. Numerous appeals were put on the Big Country website asking for Adamson to call home and speak to anyone in the band, the management company, or his ex-wife. The website also requested that any fans who might have been 'harbouring' the singer to contact the management company and alert them to his whereabouts. Mark Brzezicki and Tony Butler had indicated they were concerned but the reason Big Country had lasted so long was they stayed out of one another's personal lives, and both later noted they were unaware of the extent of Adamson's problems. He was found dead in a room at the Best Western Plaza Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii on 16 December 2001. The autopsy revealed that he had hanged himself.
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