Led by the literate singer/songwriter Mike Scott, the group's sole constant
member, the mercurial Waterboys formed in London in 1981. Born December 14, 1958
in Edinburgh, Scotland, Scott first became involved in music as the creator of
the fanzine Jungleland, and later played in a series of local punk outfits.
After college, where he studied English and philosophy, Scott and his band,
Another Pretty Face, moved to London; following the group's breakup, he formed
the Waterboys, so named after a line in the Lou Reed song "The Kids" but wholly
appropriate given Scott's recurring lyrical fascination with sea imagery.
A newspaper advertisement calling for musicians led to a response from
multi-instrumentalist Anthony Thistlethwaite; along with drummer Kevin
Wilkinson, the Waterboys issued their self-titled debut in 1983. Keyboardist
Karl Wallinger and trumpeter Roddy Lorimer joined for the 1984 follow-up A Pagan
Place, which expanded the group's rich, dramatic sound while further exploring
Scott's interest in spirituality. With 1985's This Is the Sea, the Waterboys
reached an early peak; a majestic, ambitious record, it earned the group a
significant hit with the single "The Whole of the Moon."
However, after the album's release, Wallinger departed to form World Party,
which prompted Scott and Thistlethwaite to relocate to Ireland and begin with a
clean slate. When the Waterboys returned in 1988 with the acclaimed Fisherman's
Blues, they were joined by traditional Irish players like fiddler Steve Wickham,
drummer Dave Ruffy, keyboardist Guy Chambers and bassist Marco Weissman,
resulting in a stripped-down, folky sound that was continued on 1990s Room to
In 1991, Scott moved to New York without Thistlethwaite or any other
bandmembers; the release of 1993's Dream Harder, cut with session musicians,
marked a return to an electric, more rock-oriented sound. Soon Scott moved back
to Scotland, where he began a lengthy stay at a spiritual commune; there he
recorded the folk-tinged Bring 'Em All In under his own name, apparently putting
the Waterboys to rest for good.
On July 17, 1999, drummer Kevin Wilkinson committed suicide in his countryside
home in Swindon, Wiltshire, England just prior to jetting off on an American
tour with Howard Jones. Wilkinson, who had also worked with Squeeze, China
Crisis, Bonnie Raitt and the Proclaimers, was a member of the Waterboys since
their 1983 self-titled effort.
Good fortune was in the wings, for Mike Scott resurrected the Waterboys name in
2000. Rock in the Weary Land marked the band's first release in seven years.
Thistlethwaite and Wickham would return to the group and tours across the world
would prove successful. Fisherman's Blues, Pt. 2, an album featuring previously
unavailable material from the Fisherman's Blues' sessions, appeared in summer