with. the person who can best bring out what‘s unique in the hand. It‘s a quest the Wets had a rough time with — ‘the majority. we find. are rip-off bastards.’
Eventually they succeeded in talking Phonogram into paying for them to go over to the States to work with the legendary soul producer Willie Mitchell. whose work with Al
Green among others had so impressed the Wets. Mitchell still uses the same studio he built in 1958 (‘steam-powered.’ says Tom) and insisted the boys perform live in the studio. ‘Drum machines
are too technical
for him.‘ explains Tom. "l'oo much like hard work. He‘s very much afeel guy. We‘d spend an hour rehearsing in the control room. doing a song over and over again until it felt right. and then he‘d go. "You got it! Down you go!"
'There was one song which was really difficult to do. from my point ofview. It was really slow. a love song. This is a disgusting story. but it‘s true. I was trying to do the drums. and after about take 75 he took me aside and said. “Tom. the way to think about this is imagine you've got the most beautiful woman you can imagine. and you‘re making love to
her. So I want you to go down there.get a hard-on
and play." So I actually done it. just to see what happened. I
went down and took off my clothes and that. and I got really really turned on. and played it. And Willie went “That's it!" and I’m “Oh wow. man. it works!" And that's our idea ofsoul. People say we're a pop" soul band. as if it's some kind of rubber stamp. but soul is from the heart. gettin‘ a bit of yourself on to the record.‘
I decide to forget about accusing them of pompous sleevenotcs. and ask instead why they think it is that so many Scottish bands are starting I to become successful. 'I‘om rejects } the idea that talent scouts pick a particular city or region to focus on and fight over. but neither does he think the current attention is coincidence.
‘I think it comes down to . . . hunger. It‘s not something I want to get into. but it’s the politics of!
this country: the way we‘ve ended tip over the lastl
ten years. cspeciallyl
the young people. |
- Since leaving school the closest I got to a jobl
a, was Job Creation. and that i was a joke. You work for a year and get this form at ' the end of it saying: “'I‘his guy has n
worked for a year". It's just trying to j get out ofyour surroundings. It‘s like l escapism. A lot of our friends are I now looking after number one in the sense that they'll break into houses for money. they'll bet their giros away. they‘ll sell dope. Because we had a band. we could play instruments. we could go into a room and sit doin’ that for three hours instead of three hours sittin' about gettin‘ right out of it.‘
Their London-based record company people are a bit bewildered
by the Wets. Why don't you buy
some fancy new clothes like other pop stars do‘.’ they keep asking. Why not go to some parties. and get your
photos in the papers‘.’ But the band have no interest in jet-setting.
"I‘hat‘s the silly side. that's puttin’ on a face. 'I'hat‘s bein‘ false. y'know'.’ For us to cut about (ilasgow with pink suits on. that's no real. 'l’hat's no our upbringing. It isn‘t us.‘
I‘d been told that Wet Wet Wet. who plan to continue living in (ilasgow. intend also to plough money back into the city. probably in the form of recording and rehearsal studios. Despite the Wets releasing the demo of ‘Wishing‘ in favour of the final version. there really is virtually nowhere to record a finished single; for that you have to go South. When I bring up the girls at
llMV'. proud of the band‘s Scottish origins. it brings us back to the Wets‘ old mates in (‘lydebank
We‘re their escapism as well.
Because we were starting to get.
places. getting signed and things like
interest. as if it was happening to
‘I’eoplc keep asking us. “What‘s it like to have made it?” Made it'.’ Is that “made it” these days‘.’ It‘s gettin’ a bit like Andy Warhol — fifteen minutes offame and that‘s you. My idea of “made it“ is third mega-album that sells all over the world. But even then you can fade. Some business to be in.‘ Tom half-whispers. ‘I think. though. that quality always counts.‘
So he is in no doubt as to what he would attribute their current success to. and what might take them to their ‘third mega-album'. ‘It comes down to believing in ourselves. a lot of hard work and knowing what a real song is. a real melody is. and not trying to get into a fad or a groove thing. And having the youngest and best singer in the world. The things Marti can do with his voice and the way he looks are just incredible.‘
With Popped In Sou/Uri ()u! certain to be enormous everywhere. the one I'm looking forward to is the release of the Memphis sessions with Willie Mitchell. turned down by the record company for being ‘too black'. but hopefully to be released next year. Perhaps then the little girls really will understand.
The List 2— 15 October 5
that. 'I'hey sort of took an
them. It's like Scotland's doing it. 1 It‘s one of thae proud countries. If a Scots athlete wins at the
Olympics everyone knows:
' I .V about it. ()n the news it‘s just ' another British athlete . .. 2