Star’s long bat­tle with stage fright

The Sunday Post (Dundee) - - Opinion - By Con­nor Boyd CBOYD@SUNDAYPOST.COM

A new bi­og­ra­phy of one of Scot­land’s most cel­e­brated singer­song­writ­ers will re­veal the star’s bat­tle with stage fright through­out his il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer span­ning four decades.

The life tale of Michael Marra – the Bard of Dundee – explores his bat­tles with shy­ness, neu­ro­sis and a fear of per­form­ing live, before his death in 2012.

The book is writ­ten by Marra’s long-time friend and au­thor James Robertson.

Robertson has cre­ated “imag­ined” con­ver­sa­tions with Marra for the book, which fea­tures trib­utes from fel­low per­form­ers like Ricky Ross, Rab Noakes, Karine Pol­wart and Liz Lochhead.

In one pas­sage, Marra is quoted say­ing: “Per­for­mance is an act. You’re like an ac­tor and that’s what an ac­tor has to do: be­come some­one else.

“I ad­mired any­one who could do that, but it wasn’t a straight­for­ward process for me. When I had a gig, this whole neu­rotic process would be­gin at 8am and go through un­til long af­ter the gig was over.

“It was to do with shy­ness, but also it was about want­ing to per­form well for the peo­ple who had paid to hear you.”

Born in Lochee in 1952, Marra rose to fame in the 1970s in bands Hen’s Teeth and Skeets Bo­liver before forg­ing a solo ca­reer.

The singer – who died of lung can­cer – toured with the likes of Van Mor­ri­son, Patti Smith and The Pro­claimers.

Michael Marra

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