Stuart “Scooby” Cochrane was one of the driving forces of Scotland’s rave scene in the early 90s but he can barely remember it.
Scooby was the man behind a string of famous club nights and raves and came up with the idea for Ibiza’s famed pre-party venue Cafe Mambo.
He was the also mastermind of a worldwide smash hit record, but missed out on cashing in because he was too caught up in the drugs and hedonism of his rave lifestyle – and suffering with his mental health.
“During the 80s and the 90s I partied so hard, it was a bit of blank for me to be honest,” Scooby tells a BBC Scotland documentary.
Now 56, he has pieced together the jigsaw of his life in the early 1990s by interviewing the people who were with him in the glory days of the Scottish rave scene.
In the documentary Scoobs and the Rave Years, he recalls how he was a DJ for years before 1988 when everything changed.
Scooby was one of a number of young DJs and promoters who took to running raves and all-nighters in Glasgow as well as places such as Stirling and Ayr where there was a massive demand for the new music culture.
His friend DJ Frazer tells the programme the scene was a complete change from what had gone before.
“People went from different areas and there was no fighting because they were all on ecstasy,” he says.
Scooby made a name for himself as a bit of maverick, putting on raves in places like Blair Drummond Safari Park and he was also the first to bring the godfather of Balearic beat, Alfredo, to Scotland from Ibiza.
Organising raves was lucrative but Scooby was looking for a regular venue.
And at the end of 1991 had found one in The Plaza on the southside of Glasgow.
It was a traditional ballroom venue but after midnight Scooby brought in a completely different audience.
“For 12 glorious months, Love at the Plaza gave me one of the most hedonistic thrills of my life,” he says.
The opening night was headlined by Jon Campbell’s TTF and other top acts from the scene followed, including Moby, who was famously introduced as Boaby by the club’s MC Jim Ford.
As well as the Scottish scene, Scoobs had been partying and DJing in Ibiza since the early 1980s.
In January 1994, he went to visit his friend Javier Anadon and it was Scooby’s idea to launch Cafe Mambo, a pre-party venue.
Javier’s wife Caroline, who is from Stirling, said she remembers the day they got the building which would become Cafe Mambo – but Scooby doesn’t.
He says: “I was diagnosed with bipolar in 1993. My mental health was beginning to slide.”
According to Caroline Anadon: “He was as high as kite. I had to do a few phone calls back home saying I was worried about him. It was sad to see what was happening.”
She was worried that Scooby would end up in jail if he stayed in Ibiza and eventually he was flown home, straight to the mental health unit at Stirling Royal.
He missed the opening of the venue he had spent six months building and which would become one of the top hotspots on the island.
Scooby says: “Through my poor mental health I lost out on becoming a partner in one of the world’s top bars.”
He was released from Stirling’s Ward 30 after four weeks and threw himself back into Scotland’s rave scene.
By now bands and DJs who had been regulars at his Love nights were having mainstream success.
TTF had already been on the UK’s biggest music show Top of the Pops when DJ Michael Kilkie, who collaborated on a couple of tracks with Scooby, found fame with Stuart Crichton as Umboza.
Top of the Pops
Another band from the scene, QFX, were on the show for Every Time You Touch Me in 1996.
For 20 years Scooby thought he had been “robbed” of his Top of the Pops moment but when he talked to people from the time a different story emerged.
It all started in 1995 when he made a track in Glasgow’s Apollo recording studio with producer Andy Haldane.
They sampled Dream Academy’s Life in A Northern Town and made a pressing of 500 copies.
DJ Colin Tevendale used it in his set at clubs such as the Boulevard in Clydebank and the Tunnel in Glasgow, and it was soon picked up for radio play.
Barry Fraser of Uberdisko records says there was a huge momentum behind the track and it soon attracted interest from the major record labels.
But Scooby was in Ibiza and had no idea what was happening.
Warner Bros records in London were trying to get hold of him, but nobody could get Scooby to come home.
“The hard truth is, an addiction to cannabis and regular use of coke, I believe, helped trigger my illness,” he says.
Calls ‘just stopped’
According to Barry Fraser, Scooby’s response was always “Tranquilo mañana” or “everything’s cool”.
He says: “The calls were getting relentless from London and then they just stopped.”
Warner Bros, the publishers of the original Dream Academy song, asked Liverpool’s Dario G to rework Scooby’s idea.
Scooby’s track had been based on a sample of the Dream Academy tune so he had no copyright claim.
DJ Colin Tevendale says: “Unfortunately somebody spotted the great idea it was and polished it up a wee bit.”
Dario G’s Sunchyme was an international hit, only kept off number one in the UK by Elton John’s Candle in the Wind tribute to Princess Diana.
According to Scooby: “For 20 years I thought I’d been robbed of my limelight moment on Top of the Pops, until I met Barry in a Dunfermline restaurant and he told me the truth.
“That finally gave me closure.
“Two lads from Liverpool enjoyed worldwide success rather than me and Andy.
“Poor mental health coupled with that party lifestyle cost me dear.”