Be at

runs wild

The Fall did it with Michael Clark; l‘est Dept just did it in a titanic shed in Springburn. It‘s the marriage of music with the enigmatic ()ther. be it dance. theatre or unclassifiable spectacle. adumbrating the more widespread debate on generic distinctions. Hardly will 'l'est Dept have rolled their stock off the tracks at St Rollox before Meat Beat Manifesto bring their hybrid extravaganza to the purpose-built stage of'l'he Videodrome.

A team of three dancers led by former Ballet Rambert student Marcus Adams. will act as a concurrent visual interpretation of the group‘s hardcore industrial dance sound. performing in latex rubber costumes replete with protruding spikes and using complementary props -- similarly spiked spheres. metal crutches all capped by an effulgent barrage of strobes and floodlights and an obligatory smoke machine.

Den Winchester has helped coordinate the event. and explains the thinking behind it. "I‘he whole concept is to bring all the different parts ofthe media together. The dance is to emphasise the music and you have to listen to each track to work out what it means.‘

From their inception. Meat Beat Manifesto have been as interested in the visual medium as the aural. Having made some highly acclaimed videos in the past. they sought other boundaries to push. and found them indirectly through the mundanity of many conventional live shows.

According to the group. this is something which British audiences find hard to grasp. hence their tendency to favour America and Europe as tour-worthy territory while being seen to neglect their home turf. Says Winchester. "l'hat‘s because there has been a reluctance in the past for audiences to accept them. but there isn't in Europe. The audiences there are a lot more willing to take on board the idea of a multi-media concept.‘ (Fiona Shepherd)

Meat Beat Mani festo play at The Videodmme, ( i/as‘go w on Sat 22 and have just confirmed an additional date a! The Venue, Edinburgh on Fri 2].



; v FOLK

Overture for a launch

Remembering the mesmerisingly inapt

music for Bryden‘s patronising St Kilda film Ill Fares the Land, I asked John Tams about his latest project on a Scottish theme, Glasgow’s much vaunted The Ship.

‘l've been on the project for two years. and I’m not unconnected with Scottish culture. Obviously I'm not a Scot, but that's not my fault. I’m very fond of the Clyde and very fond of Glasgow. I'm obviously aware of my background, which is the mining communities of Nottingham. But I‘m a professional theatre music composer and director. This is a professional theatrical enterprise. It was obvious to me from the outset that I wasn't going to be involved as much as the indigenous musicians of the area were. The original brief was to put together a team of three— Bill Dryden, Bill Dudley and myself who‘d made an epic play, on several occasions at the National Theatre, with Lark Rise and those sort of things. Bill Dryden being a Greenock-born writer was a connection, and the other two elements, Bill Dudley and myself would come in and make this work. Really we are the conduit by which, hopefully, Scottish actors and the musicians, led by Phil Cunningham, can have their say. Had we not been brought in, it probably would not have gotdone.

‘l've written the music and the lyrics of the songs. As forthe rest of the music it’s been a push and pull process. I‘ve written a song and Phil‘s maybe turned an arrangement out of it that I would not have predicted and it's gone into another area. He’s kept an eye on, if you like the cultural root of it. I'll say again that I am not unaware of that difference, but it matters that I‘m fond of people, I have an affection for people, that's what drives me into popular music.‘

Was fondness enough, Iwondered. Could he for instance, write music for American Indians thatthey would accept? His confident assertion was ‘Yes, why not?‘

Phil Cunningham adds, ‘If you do the research, and it's obvious from the songs that John has written, that’s been done, and provided you do it with the right spirit, and you are a good songwriter, you‘re going to come up with the goods, it doesn't matter where you're from.‘

And John points out, ‘the music played on the bandstand is inspired by tradition, but it’s got all the current mores and attitudes that musicians have got in 1990. We didn‘t want to make a museum piece out of it. We wanted it to breathe into the future rather than be totally reflective of the past. So the music is, so to speak, a collision. It's mainly songs, but there are a few instrumental bits and pieces. Then there‘s the Overture, and the Launch, which can last anything up to fifteen minutes. We have to clearthe ship of the audience before we can launch it, that‘s what takes the time. It will be a stylised launch, the cues taken from the safety officer to the

bandstand, so the band will effectively " run the launch. That‘s not quite the

end. Then there's a little epilogue. ‘So the band are featured, they get

; the songs and the big tunes. The actors f are very often involved at these times. Sometimes singing along. There's

probably something massive happening like the laying of the keel, which is obviously a big tune, one of Phil’s. As the keel is lowered in, all the actors, if you like, service the tune, and the music services and honours the show.‘

I asked keyboard and accordion player Phil to describe the sound of the music. ‘Great. . . butseriously, it’s a sound all of its own. Each song is different. If you look at the members of the hand it's got drummer Mike Travis, who‘s working a lot with sort of Afro things. guitarist Taj, who plays jazz funk and rock and roll; Neil Hay's got the same sort of background as Taj, lain MacDonald playing pipes, flute and whistles. And Wendy Weatherby on cello, singing too. And Bod Paterson’s singing. It’s a nice. interesting mix of styles.‘

John's songs are all in English, and Phil explains that, ‘Personally speaking I don't like songs that are written heavily in Scots. You kind of narrow them down into your own little area of Scotland. English with a Scots accent is grand because it appeals to a hell of a lot more than the small country which is Scotland. The Americans understand it and the Germans, and at the end of the day that's an important factor, because you can’t isolate it to Scotland. You want the whole world to know about it.‘ (Norman Chalmers)



. .sm‘ “W

‘I hope I haven't goneon too much about my integrity. I‘ve got tohave some excuse for not being signed!‘ Davie Scott concludesour conversation with these words. a vague hint of desperation lurking behind self-mockery. Not that his band should linger for much longer in that limbo land between being touted as the band-most-likely-to and making it a reality. ()nce known as l {carts and Minds until an identically-named American band popped up -'l‘he Pearlfishers are currently motoring forward in a decidedly rosy manner.

‘Ifyou asked most people who've followed us, we've been the next bigthing for so long. It's not really happened for us in terms ofa record deal.‘ says Scott. dismissing Hearts and Minds' abortive sojourn the: (‘BS in 19th) 7which resulted in one single. a broken band and a renewed commitment. ‘I've got a lot of confidence in this new material. We've got about fifteen tracks now. a mish-mash of new and not-so-ncw ones.‘

Of these. ‘i lurt‘ and ‘I.imelight'. as released demo tracks. are fine examples: Scotpop in the classic mould. pristine and heart-swelling. unfashionably rocking. A bit late. perhaps. for recent years' wholesale A& R poaching of Scottish talent‘.’ Not that .»\& R interest is ofoptimum importance.

‘l‘ve realised that I want to be a songwriter artist. and that doesn't necessarily entail getting a record deal. You can get too wrapped up in that.‘ l'h-oh. it's that dodgy integrity again. l‘he cad. ‘I don't want to sound too pompous. but my priority ismusic Other things can comc in their ow n good time' t('raig .‘vlclcanl

I t [he Pear/fishers play atthe i

.llavfutr. (i/ttsguu (m Sat IS.

The List 14 27 September 190035