'I‘he haircut ol the Slls has gone. rendering Paul I Iaig yirtually unrecognisahle. and on meeting him one lecls that the man who spent a lull decade hailed as the great white hope ol cerebral pop would be quite happy with studio-bound anonymity. ‘Sometimes I wish I _|t1st had the name of a group instead of
my own name.‘ he says olthe current
‘R()I.‘ moniker. ‘lt‘s nice to hayc something to hide behind.’ Not surprisingly. he won‘t be touring to promote his new single. ‘I Belieye in You. and album. Rig/z! (221 um.
Neyerthclcss. promotional chores haye to be done. and although he‘d probably rather write new songs. read and watch films in his Edinburgh New low it flat. he intends to commit himself more than in the past. 'l'here is a limit to w hat he'll do. but luckily. ‘the same people that signed me to Island now run Circa. so they know what I'm like.’
He wasn‘t shy about approaching .‘VIantronik and Lil l.ouis. who produced three tracks each on Rig/it on [.me- Ilaig had long admired Mantronik's work. especially his material with Joyce Simms. and considered l.il I.ouis‘ album ‘pretty reyolutionary‘.
Perhaps it's connected with his disdain for pop stardom that his records haye had a cool. almost icy detachment. llaig. it appears at first. isn‘t the most conlessional of songwriters. a fact which tends to make his records. howeyer admirably crafted. hard to engage with. Ilaig replies that the lyrics are personal. but far from obyious.
"I‘hey‘re the kind olsongs you haye to listen to more than once. So really it's quite open to the listeners to make up their own minds. I think that‘s more interesting. because it means usually the songs get a longer listening life and can be interesting for a bit longer than something that's rammed dOwn your throat and you know what it‘s about straight away. It‘s good to work a bit when you‘re listening to a song. not just switch till your brain.‘ (Alastair Mabbott) [Believe in You is available on ('irca R (’(‘0 mix.
ROCK & BLUES 37 JAZZ 42 LIGHT 42 FOLK & WORLD 43
All Mod cons
An Comunn Gaidhealach holds the Mod Naisiunta. or National Mod in Govan Town Hall.12-19 Oct.
There are good reasonsforholdingthe Mod ina majorcity. and itmight surprise some peopleto learnthat Glasgow is the centre of the greatest concentration ofGaelic speakers in Scotland, but the festival can never create the atmosphere in such a large conurbation as it does when it takes over a smallertown like Fort William or Stornoway.
Despite criticisms. the Mod persists as a competition-based event. in front of an audience. with the instrumental music including piping. fiddle. accordion etc on the Saturday. and the solo singing and choirs during the week.
The premier award. the Gold Medal,
is awarded for male and female solo singing, but it should be pointed out that ‘Mod‘ style singing is of a style only recently. in the last ninety years or so. imported into Gaelic culture. The more mature, and infinitely more expressive forms oftraditional singing are only lately being admitted. There is now a separate Traditional Singing competition. but it seems not to be awarded the status of the older Gold Medal.
On Wednesday nightthere isthe popularConvenor‘s Ceilidh. Thursday hasthe Rural Choirs concert. while another room hosts the best evening of the weekinthe Traditional Ceilidh. The weekwindsupwiththefinal winners concert onthe Friday night.
Of course, it‘s not all about music. For most if is a holiday, a great chance to meet up with friends from home, the Islands. and abroad. and to loosen tounges in Gaelic, at least some olthe time.
About half a mile up-river there is a Mod Fringe. in the shape olThe Ferry. Moored atClyde Place. the revamped Renfrew Ferry is hosting a week of concerts and ceilidhs with some tremendous talents. Old favourites Na H-Oganaich are there. high-energy Highland lolkrock band Wolfstonetake one evening, and Karen Matheson sings beautifully for two nights with Capercaillie. See Folk Listings.
All young bands have to endure that initial period of press and public uncertainty when. priorto being safely deposited in a convenientpigeonhole, comparisonsflow like Niagara rapids. Ride have beentargetedformore than theirtairshare of‘spotthe influence‘, and with the soon-to-be-released debut album ‘Nowhere‘. the parallels have been drawnthickerand blunterthan ever. Yet the band have never seen fit to issue a disclaimer and they‘re not aboutto start now.
As bass player Stephen Ouerault explains, Ride revel in theirmusical past. ‘As taras influences go, we‘ll never deny anything because absolutely everything we‘ve everheard has been an influence — even had things. We‘ll hearcertainthings and say, “well. we don‘treally likethat,” and make a subconscious effort not to sound like it. So itwould be stupidto say, forexample. The Byrds haven‘t influenced us one way or the other.‘
They maybe sure wherethey‘re coming from. butthe certainty ends there. Steve unwittingly demonstrates theirphobic mistrustwhen he repeatedlytalks about ‘victims‘—ofthe media, olthe charts. olthe public. It‘s a pessimismthat‘s ironically exacted inthe drive oftheirsongs-tey. suspicious, and often injected with precarious morbidity. Are they constantly victimised?
‘lt‘s just a good state to write lyrics in,‘ claims Steve. ‘When you're
recovering from something bad that‘s happenedto you. that‘s when you can write about it.‘ lt‘sthisvulnerabilitythatgives Ride‘s music its compelling quality. the sensethatthey‘re walking athin line betweentotal control and aural insanity, and even they don‘t know whenthey‘ll teeteroverthe brink.
It‘s been said before but somehow it still rings true. Ride will probably never be ‘sussed‘ but their informed naivetyiswhatwill sustainthem when sundry smug contemporariestrip over theirown convictions. I mean. Steve isn‘t even sure about insecurity: 'Being in a band is the most insecure thing in the world-lthink.‘ (Fiona Shepherd)
Ride playthe Queen Margaret Union. Glasgow on Wed 24.
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