ofthe intro to ‘Rattlesnakes'. but. then. not even ‘Rattlesnakes' did that. Still. ‘No Blue Skies‘ is a remarkably pleasant single to come back with. and it‘s a relief to note that the man‘s verses are less
cluttered with contrived couplets and pop culture references than before.
“I feel that the way I write is in a naturally convoluted style and therefore I think something for me to strive at is simplicity.‘ he says. ‘So I‘ve been doing that for about three years. finally maybe succeeding on a
few songs on this record.‘
This ‘naturally convoluted style'. he explains. is his natural tendency to use more words than is necessary. a habit that has had him hauled across critical (‘oles many a time.
‘l‘ve always been very interested in the colouring ofstories through language. and I think consequently when I sit down to write I tend to use more colour than is necessary. so to speak. And the idea ofsimplicity and repetition is something that I didn‘t actually use to do. and . . . uh. I think they‘re good things.‘
New York’s a hell of a town — and for Lloyd Cole. who went there ‘on a whim” after the Commotions breakup, it has become his adopted home. Alastair Mabbott grilled him on NYC, his new songs and why you‘re unlikely to see him drinking Amaretto.
Is that. by any chance. what the ‘Bob Dylan Band‘ name was sending up? ‘No. no. The Bob Dylan Band happened to be called that because we play a lot of Bob Dylan songs. The next time we play we're going to be called The Beatles Band.‘
While on the subject. it‘s tempting to ask if his literary ambitions have led him to attempt other forms. but there‘s no joy to be had from that quarter.
‘1 never really write prose. [don‘t really have ambitions about next month. I‘m not a long-sighted person. I mean. I like playing with language. so one of these days I might sit down and try to do something. Right now I'd certainly never own up to it.’
One alternative occupation that he doesn‘t mind owning up to is endorsing the liqueur Amaretto in the States for ‘a vast sum of money‘ — five months rent for five hours work, by his reckoning— by playing some piano on the CBGB‘s stage and blowing the harmonica in ten-below weather on Times Square for a camera lens. Rock stars are endorsing products like you wouldn‘t believe. usually restricting it to foreign territories. so that their standing isn’t diminished here. Cole isn‘t especially fussed about that.
‘I think in this country l‘d require a lot more money to do it. frankly.‘ he laughs. and I‘ve no qualms with advertising Amaretto. Mind you. I‘d rather advertise whisky.‘
Not so long ago. Lloyd met Elizabeth. from Kalamazoo. Michigan. in Washington DC. and they married on 23 December last year. She‘s over with him now. ‘and discovering the life ofa promotional campaign for a record. Which is quite good from the point ofview that when I‘m going on tour she‘ll realise it‘s no bed of roses. When she's back in New York moaning that I‘m not there. at least she‘ll know I'm not having fun.‘
Lloyd ( 'olc has no fun a! all at the Usher Hall. Edinburgh on Sat I 7am! (he Barrowland. Glasgow on Mon
1 9. H is eponymous L P is on Polyrlor.
The List 9 — 22 February 1990 5