Nazareth singer Dan McCafferty has announced his retirement from the band as a result of the health issues which forced them to cancel two sets of live dates recently.
The veteran vocalist collapsed on stage in Switzerland at the weekend, reportedly due to a stroke but Dan has dismissed the stroke story and says that a lung disease has brought an end to his 45-year live career.
Last month he collapsed in Canada. Both incidents caused the band to call off further appearances.
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McCafferty told Classic Rock: "I've not had a stroke. That's completely untrue – thank goodness and touch wood. I'm not in hospital in Switzerland at all. I don't know how these things get started.
"I've got Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and it's been getting worse over the years. You don't know when it's going to come on, but suddenly you can't breathe.
"I was going on stage at Summerfest in Switzerland thinking, 'This is great – our first festival in a few months and it's a lovely day.' We couldn't have asked for better."
Three songs in he suffered an attack of COPD, leaving him out of breath and unable to continue. He decided at that moment to retire with immediate effect.
"When I came off stage I said to the boys: 'I can't keep doing this to the band.' I can't embarrass the boys and the fans. If you can't do the job you shouldn't be there – Nazareth's too big for that."
McCafferty's decision came after he'd taken a break following his collapse in Canada, which was caused by a burst stomach ulcer. "I thought I'd be fine," he says, "But you lose so much blood when that happens."
He admits he and his bandmates are "a wee bit emotional" and haven't come to terms with the news, but he says: "The music we've made over the years is more important than any member of the band. We always felt like that, and I can't see that's changed just because I've left.
"I really hope they get someone else. I'm sure they can."
Nazareth recently completed recording their as yet untitled 24th album. "To go into a studio and sing isn't like doing a gig," says McCafferty. "I could always make another record, but getting up to do an hour and three-quarters, and get people to pay money to come and see me – I can't do that."
He's going to take time out to consider his future, but says a solo album might be a possibility. As to the chances of a farewell show, he jokes: "It could be like, 'I'll sing for ten minutes, everyone go for a pint, than I'll sing for another ten minutes.' I don't know how well that would work!
"Let everyone know I appreciate they've been there for all these years."
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