Roadside Picnic: starting Scottish tour
Nigel Clark and Graeme Duffin have been working away on their jazz duo in the gaps between pop tours (with Hue and Cry and Wet Wet Wet respectively) for some time now, but Nigel has taken a more recent opportunity to expand their exploration of the jazz guitar heritage, in both duo and trio form, in the company ofguitarist Dominic Ashworth, best known for his work with Glasgow fusion outfit Ah Um.
’I started playing with Dominic because Graeme was away so much,‘ Nigel explained. ’Our duo is maybe a bit more mellow than the bop thing I do with Graeme, although I don‘t really like that word. The Trio happened when Graeme got back, and I had to put something together for a Glasgow Jazz Festival gig. I knew we would get on well as players, but we got a bit of a fright when we sat down and tried to make it work with just three guitars.
‘We rehearsed every day at Graeme’s house for three or four weeks. On the first day, we were messing around with a couple of new guitars, a wonderful Louden which the Wets had given him as a present. and a Gibson Chet Atkins nylon-strung electric-acoustic, which I was playing, with Dominic on electric, and the different sounds worked really well together. We can use the two acoustics in a percussive way, and build big chord arrangements around the electric guitar. so it is almost an orchestrated trio.‘
They have now written an album‘s worth ofmaterial, and are looking for a recording outlet, but in the meantime, Nigel and Dominic can be heard at The Tron (Wed 7), as well as in regular gigs in Glasgow. Ah Um will also provide support to the imaginative London-based fusion outfit Roadside Picnic at the Riverside Club (Thurs 8) on the first night of a short Scottish tour, an attractive showcase for the band's complex arrangements. See listings. (Kenny Mathieson)
ROCK 8: BLUES 31 JAZZ 40 LIGHT 40 FOLK 8: WORLD 42 CLASSICAL 43
He’s wielded a plectrum for Magazine, The Banshees, Visage and The Armoury Show, and of all the post-punk British guitarists only Johnny Man has made a greater impact than Greenock-born, Yorkshire-based John McGeogh. His peripatetic days seem to be behind him now as, after iive years with Public Image Ltd, he shows no signs oi moving on. Lately, as well as writing with ‘somebody I can’t name’ and collaborating with PiL bassist Allan Dias on ‘leit-oi-centre Stock, Aitken and Waterman’ material, he’s been involved with compiling ‘Greatest Hits . . . So Far’, remixing the tracks he felt at liberty to play with on an album that admirers of PiL’s early Can-meets-dub exploits might feel was biased too much towards the more polished later line-ups.
‘lt’s quite simply a record ol all the singles that have been released,’ McGeogh protests. ‘We toyed with the idea of making a retrospective, and as a fan at the early band I probably would have included tracks like "Poptones”.’
After a quiet 1990, the group plan to take to the road again to promote an all-new album next year. McGeogh hasn’t been put oii playing live by the bottle his iace intercepted in Vienna.
‘It was a really horrible thing to happen, but it wasn’t indicative oi any kind of trend, it was just this guy who thought it was the thing to do and
chucked this wine bottle. The thing went to court and the guy was jailed - the audience turned him in—and I gather he’d been really distressed at what had happened. I did, however, have 55 stitches and broke my nose. It wasn’t happy, but at the same time it didn't put me all touring. It I was getting bottled every night then I’d probably give up. I think he just chucked a bottle at the stage because he thought he was being “punkish".’ ‘Greatest Hits’ shows that not only did Public Image Ltd show a way out oi being ‘punkish’ twelve years ago, they’re lorging ahead still. (Alastair Mabbott) ‘Greatest Hits’ and the new single ‘Don’t Ask Me’ are on Virgin Records.
mom:- Too much,
, ,4- 1, - ,‘i,
The Charlatans are well documented — or at least their singer is. The recent glut oi press attention has meant magazine and music-paper covers abound, more oiten than not bearing the appealing visage oi Tim Burgess minus his less photogenic iellows, with countless swooning idolatrous tributes to his lithe irame.
Writing as someone who has voraciously consumed every morsel set down in black and white since that lazy mindtrip ‘Indian Rope’ Ilrst documented the right way to rip oil a 60s organ sound, I can’t help noticing my appetite has been satiated to the point oi over-indulgence. Not long ago I
would have added my homage to those
lips, that epileptic stage scurry; now I keep my mouth shut Ior iear oi adding unnecessary comment to the ‘anatomy oi The Charlatans’ haircuts debate. Surely the band can’twelcome that kind oi attention.
Sol leap in immediately with worries at press overkill and/or superiiciality. In a sense it’s a reliei to discover guitarist Jon Baker keeps that kind of consideration at arm’s length. He’s a lot less interested in the media than they are in him, although he reckons promotional work is ’a big responsibility— people want to know about you. But we don’t really want to lorce ourselves down people’s throats. We want to take it easy and do it when we ieel it’s right.’
That attitude governed their initial reiusal to do ‘Top oi the Pops’, but with three singles and a number one album - Some Friendly went gold in four days - undertheir belts, The Charlatans have swiitly abandoned the tentative approach, allowing for the massive press binge oi the moment.
Too much too soon doesn’t have to be damaging though. The band’s premature coming-oi-age has seen the rapid withdrawal of comparisons with certain other Northern Bands. I quail to mention names to Jon, but he’s quite happy to affirm that, ‘we don’t get It so much now as six months ago. I suppose people are realising we're not copying now, instead oi writing about us before they actually go out and listen to us.’ (Fiona Shepherd)
The Charlatans play Barrowland, Glasgow on Tue 30 and The Network, Edinburgh on Wed 31.
. on a limb, unsure ofwhere I they stood. ‘We were
I offers coming their way.
anuo OLE ouxe
‘I wanted to do something low-key. a bit more offbeat, a bit different. Why play three Mayfairs or one Barrowland? That‘s just like “Look whatldid . .
Glasgow‘s Grand Ole Opry is not your regular gig on your regular rock circuit. But then the Kevin McDermott Orchestra are not your regular band . . . hold on, yes, they are. They got signed, they got an album out, they got a reputation as a great live band, they got loads of fans in Scotland, they got no chart success, they got dropped. Simple. For an increasing number of (particularly Scottish) bands, this is the regular rock experience. Join the club, Kevin. Down . ..
.. . but notout. ’ltwas the best thing for everybody,‘ says McDermott of the split with Island. The recent staff sackings and reorganisations at the company left the band out
kinda unhappy anyway, but a lot of good folk there were fired. That gave us the chance to ask ifwe could go somewhere else. But that means time- wastingjust now while we sort something else out.’ ‘Time-wasting‘, for McDermott, means being halfway through recording a new album with Kenny MacDonald at Park Lane, captivatinga sell-out audience at London's Mean Fiddler earlier this month, and fending offthe (apparently) numerous
The Orchestra‘s manager tells me a deal will be struck within the next couple of months. ‘Yeah, but talk is cheap.‘ cautions McDermott, ’l‘m not holding my breath.‘ Instead, a charity gig at the home ofcountry kitsch, with profits going to the Glasgow Council for Single Homeless. So can we expect an evening of hootin‘ and a-hollerin’ over bacon and beans? ‘No, no. We might throw in a few odds and ends to pay homage to the place, but it's just a normalgig. Nobody will have to dress up.‘ Thank Hank forthat. (Craig McLean) The Kevin McDermotr Orchestra play the Grand Ole Opry, Glasgow, on Thurs I.
3G The List 26 October — 8 November 1990