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Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie

(l-r) John Duncan, Fin Wilson, Rona Scobie, Martin Metcalfe, Shirley Manson, Derek Kelly
Background information
Origin Bathgate, Scotland
Genres Alternative rock
Years active 19811996
Labels Capitol (1987-1990)
Parlophone (1990)
Radioactive (1991-1992)
Blokshok (1993-1996)
Associated acts Angelfish,
Isa & the filthy tongues
Martin Metcalfe
“Big” John Duncan
Fin Wilson
Rona Scobie
Derek Kelly
Shirley Manson

Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie (known informally as The Mackenzies) were a Scottish 1980s and 1990s rock group formed in Bathgate, near Edinburgh, Scotland. At the band's commercial peak, the line-up consisted of Martin Metcalfe on vocals, John Duncan on guitar, Fin Wilson on bass guitar, Shirley Manson and Rona Scobie on keyboards and backing vocals, and Derek Kelly on drums.

The Mackenzies were a popular local rock group, but were unable to gain significant critical acclaim, record sales or chart positions outside of Scotland. Internationally, they are best known as the group of which Shirley Manson – the lead singer of US alternative rock group Garbage – was once a background member.

The band came to prominence in the late 1980s after releasing two independent label singles, and were eventually signed to Capitol Records. After charting in the UK with their debut album, Good Deeds and Dirty Rags, and single release "The Rattler" the band failed to breakthrough, and were shifted to a number of different labels. The band splintered in 1993, leaving Manson, Metcalfe, Wilson and Kelly to form Angelfish to continue recording music. After Manson left for Garbage in 1994, the Mackenzies continued again until their final live show at the end of 1995.[1]



The Mackenzies began when Martin Metcalfe moved on from his first band Teenage Dog Orgy in 1981. The band were named after author Jean Rhys 1931 novel After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie.[1]

The Mackenzies first single was released through a pilot music industry course run by Bathgate College under the United Kingdom's then Conservative Government employment Youth Training Scheme, a split-single 7" format of "Death of a Salesman" in 1984. Limited to 1,000 copies, and with a track by Lindy Bergman on the flipside, it quickly sold out.[1] Shortly after, The Mackenzies signed a management deal with Precious Organisation, who had just launched another Scottish group, Wet Wet Wet. Precious managed to include both groups on a 1986 Honey at the Core, a compilation of up and coming Scottish acts compiled by Glasgow Herald journalist John Williamson, and released the band's first commercial single "The Rattler". The single suffered from a lack of distribution however it received airplay on Radio One, Radio Clyde and a home-made music video for the single was broadcast on The Chart Show. The band were also performed "The Rattler" on The Tube.[1] Precious organised an A+R showcase in Glasgow but as the band did not receive any interest from the labels invited, they chose to leave Precious.[1]

After leaving their management, The Mackenzies released an independent 12" single "Face to Face" in 1987, and signed a major label record deal with Capitol Records. Capitol issued three multi-formatted singles, of which a re-release of "The Rattler" was the most successful, charting at #37 in 1989. The label followed up the band's chart debut with Good Deeds and Dirty Rags, which reached a modest #23 on the UK Albums Chart.[1] A further single from the album, "Goodwill City", reversed the band's upward trend, stalling at #49. Capitol ended the year by releasing Fish Heads and Tails, a mid-price live and B-side compilation[1], while the band relocated to studios in Berlin to record their second album. While at the studios, the band witnessed the Fall of The Berlin Wall.

The following year, the band were transferred sideways across EMI, from Capitol to Parlophone, who released two new recordings "Love Child" and "Blacker Than Black" (the latter being released across Europe and in North America) as taster singles. Both tracks failed to gain on the chart position set by "The Rattler" a year prior, and in response Parlophone cancelled the planned album release for the group's second set, titled Hammer and Tongs.[2] However, the Mackenzies continued to tour supported by Scottish bands such as The Beltanes, and despite not gaining many fans south of the border, became radio mainstays on Scottish radio, and performed at the televised concert "The Big Day" on Glasgow Green.

Gary Kurfirst, who managed Talking Heads and Deborah Harry, bought the Mackenzies contract from Parlophone and signed The Mackenzies to his own label, Radioactive, a subsidiary of MCA. Radioactive were keen to release the band's stalled second set, but required a chart friendly track to launch the album. The Mackenzies completed recording a Spector-esque track, "Now We Are Married", in Edinburgh, and Radioactive issued it as a single upfront of Hammer and Tongs. Both releases again failed to chart,and the group were persuaded to leave the label by their management.[2] Radioactive meanwhile released a compilation of the band's two albums self-titled as Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie in North America, Europe, australia and Japan.

The Mackenzies continued to write material; Manson was also given the opportunity to record lead vocals on a number of tracks planned for the band's third album, titled Five.[3] In the end, Manson only featured on a duet, "Normal Boy". The Mackenzies issued the album on their own Blokshok label, but like their previous effort, it did not widen the band's fanbase, and the three singles lifted from it did not chart.

Side Project: Angelfish

With relations between MCA and the band's management hitting a low point the band left MCA. However Gary Kurfirst wanted to keep working with the band and suggested they record a whole album with Shirley Manson on lead vocals, and after hearing several demos, Kurfirst signed Manson to Radioactive as a solo artist, with Metcalfe, Kelly and Wilson signing the publishing deal. [2] Recording under the name Angelfish, and using some of the newly written material and a previously released Mackenzie b-side, Manson and the group recorded the tracks that would make up the Angelfish album in Connecticut with Talking Heads' Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth.[2] A lead in track "Suffocate Me" sent to college radio where it was well received. Angelfish and second single "Heartbreak To Hate" followed in 1994.[1] Angelfish toured the United States, Canada, France, Belgium, and co-supported Live on a tour of North America, along with Vic Chestnutt. The music video for "Suffocate Me" was aired on MTV's 120 Minutes. Producer and musician Steve Marker caught the broadcast and thought Manson would be a great singer for his band, Garbage, which also featured producers Duke Erikson and Butch Vig.[4] Manson left Angelfish, and The Mackenzies, to join the group.[1]

Post Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie

Derek Kelly, Fin Wilson and Martin Metcalfe formed a new band, Isa & the Filthy Tongues with American singer Stacey Chavis. They were named as the best unsigned band by Rob da Bank on BBC Radio 1 in April 2005, by and won best new band on BBC Radio Scotland three weeks in a row. Their debut album Addiction was released on 1 May 2006 on Circular Records.



Year Album Territory Label Notes
1989 Good Deeds and Dirty Rags UK Capitol Records Debut album, reached #26 on UK Albums Chart[5 ]
Fish Heads and Tails UK Mid-price live and rarities compilation
1991 Hammer and Tongs UK Radioactive Records/MCA Second studio album; reached #61 on the UK Albums Chart[5 ]
Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie International Compilation of tracks from both albums, remixed
1993 Live on The Day of Storms UK Blokshok Records Live album
1994 Five UK Third studio album
1995 Jezebel UK Rarities compilation
1996 The Glory Hole UK Fourth and final studio album: Manson, Scobie or Duncan do not feature
2005 The River Sessions UK River Records Double live album


Year Song Peak chart positions Record Label Album
UK[5 ] EU U.S.
1984 "Death of a Salesman" - - - YTS Split-single w/ Lindy Bergman
1986 "The Rattler" - - - Precious Organisation -
1987 "Face to Face" - - - Clandestine -
1988 "Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie" #62 - - Capitol Records Good Deeds and Dirty Rags
"Open Your Arms" #92 - -
1989 "The Rattler" (Re-release) #37 - -
"Goodwill City"/"I'm Sick of You" #49 - -
1990 "Love Child" #52 - - Parlophone Records Hammer and Tongs
"Blacker Than Black" #61 - -
1991 "Now We Are Married" #80 - - Radioactive Records
1993 "Goodwill City (Live)" E.P. - - - Blokshok Records Live on The Day of Storms
"Hard" E.P. - - - Five
1994 "The Way I Walk" E.P. - - -

An early track - "Skimming Stones" - appeared on the 1986 compilation cassette, Honey at the Core.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Goodbye Angelfish", Record Collector, 1997-02-01  
  2. ^ a b c d "Goodbye Mr Mackenzie - Biog". Blokshok Productions. Retrieved 2009-03-08.  
  3. ^ "LUCKLAW HILL (The birth of Angelfish & Goodbye Mr MacKenzie MK2)". Blokshok Productions. Retrieved 2009-03-08.  
  4. ^ "Garbage: Behind The Music". Behind The Music. 2002-03-31.
  5. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 231. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.  

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