Duglas was never meant 
to live a conventional life

Duglas T Stewart has become a legendary figure in Scottish music.
Duglas T Stewart has become a legendary figure in Scottish music.
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Bellshill musician Duglas T Stewart says he was never cut out for convention as he looks back on 30 years of the BMX Bandits.

1986 saw the release of the band’s debut single E102 as Duglas began to find his voice through the support of fellow Bellshill lads Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub) and Sean Dickson (Soup Dragons).

Duglas said: “I’m not sure I would ever have been cut out for a conventional life, I just wasn’t wired that way.

“I always knew if I was going to do something it was probably going to be artistic, when I found music I knew that was it, and the fact that I grew up in the same town at the same time as Norman and Sean is amazing.

“We all had different strengths, Sean was so good at producing and arranging, Norman is a brilliant tunesmith and I was the most comfortable performing so we gave each other so much support until such times as we could branch out on our own.

“Technically BMX Bandits was formed before 1986, but until such times as you release a record to the public and there is something tangible with your name on it then you don’t quite exist.”

Duglas has been the only constant in the ever changing line-up of the band over the 30 years, but says no one ever really leaves, his extended family just gets bigger.

He said: “What I love is that my songs are very often about the dearest people in my life being played by the dearest people in my life.

“I have been lucky enough to play with some great musicians over the years and they are all now like family and one I’m sure will continue to grow.

“We have a reputation as being something of a revolving door band, but look at Norman, officially he left the band in 1991, but he’s played on every record since so did he ever really leave?

“I remember Kurt Cobain said in an interview if he could be in any other band it would be BMX Bandits and it is a shame we were unable to welcome him into the family, not because he was Kurt Cobain, but rather he seemed like a really nice guy who had so much creativity, but you never know just who the next member of BMX Bandits might be.”

BMX Bandits never reached the heights their music clearly warranted, but Duglas is okay with that.

He said: “When you have major success then that leads to pressure from all quarters and I’ve been happier being able to do more of my own thing.

“We’ve a very loyal fan base, we did a sell-out show in Glasgow just last week, and it isn’t just those who’ve been around for years, I see 18/19-year-olds in the audience who have just discovered us.

“I always remind myself every gig might be the first time someone has heard us, that is certainly true when we do the likes of the Gigantic festival in Manchester on Saturday and Kendal Calling in July, so hopefully we can find some converts to the cause as we look forward to another 30 years.”

The new BMX Bandits album Forever is due for release later in the summer.