I Danny Wilson’s ex~frontman and chief songwriter Gary Clark is set to team up with pop legend Burl Bacharach for some mutual tunesmithing. (iary. currently in London working on a debut solo album at his self-built Clarkesville Studios. w as contacted earlier this month by the great man himselfvia post from LA. Ronnie Gurr. (‘larke‘s managercommented: ‘A letter arrived out of the blue from Bacharach’s management saying that Burt is a big fan of(iary's‘ songs and would he extremely interested in co-writing with him. (iary hasn’t slept since. He says he feels a Grammy coming on.'The fruits ofthe proposed collaboration should appear sometime next spring.
l I Edinburgh's premier i ambient-house (or . whatever they're callingit this week) merchants i Botany 5 are in the ! process of securing the 1 services ofex-Orange [ Juice drummer Zeke Manyika. Manyika. who i enjoyed a solo career with ' EM] and then Some } Bizarre records. has | recently completed work with Paul Weller and Matt ) Johnson. and will replace ‘ the band‘s hitherto ubiquitous drum machine. : the addition ofa ’live' stiekman presumably hintingat the 5's projected musical direction. The Botanys have also recently acquired a new- manager in the form of ex-EMI employee Mr Alan ()mokhoje (it's Nigerian. okay‘.’).
IGoodbye MrMackenzie. who received three encores at their excellent recent (‘alton Studios Forth Roadshow gig. are presently working in conjunction with ex-Simple Minds supremo Bruce Findlay. The band are still managed by Clandestine Management (AKA Dckc Primo). but Findlay. thought to be acting in the role of‘career consultant‘ via his Schoolhouse Promotions team has undertaken to boost the band's fortunes in Europe — (i [u The Silencers. Finlay’s other charge. who are ’massive' in France. It has been known for a long time that the Mack lads and lasses aren't too chuffed with their British market prospects. so it's all eyes across the waters for Metcalfe and co as we speak. ‘lt‘s not really a proper business arrangement yet. as such.‘ Primo commented. ‘Brucc's main job at the moment is controlling my temper.‘
I v ROCK
l The hard way
3 She's chucking up all overthe joint and 4 in the middle of tour. I’m grappling with I a chest lull ol phlegm and trying to talk
to her about it. Who said this pop Iile, far less the describing of it, was the life of Reilly? Still, maybe it’s about time Caroline Buckley and Sally Herbert had it hard. From starring in The Communards to landing a duo deal; from having Stephen Hague add his Midas touch to theiriirst album to getting Johnny Marr and Bernard Sumner in to play in their lirst single; all in all, even considering the brevity of their career so far, the phrase ‘jammy buggers’ lairly leaps to mind when considering Banderas.
Such things, though, can be forgiven. Especially as ‘This Is Your Lile’ was so sleek, stylish, sophisticated and other
I well-groomed adjectives. Likewise the I. album ‘Hipe‘. It wasn’t always this way. . .
‘When we first got signed in 1989,’ says Caroline between spews, ‘we probably had about two decent songs. Then we had to wait for Stephen Hague ’cos we knew that we wanted him to produce it because we were a bit all overthe place as far as the music was concerned. We knew we needed a producer who could take what we had - which was a real mixed bag — to try and give it a real overall sound. We thought all the songs were good, but they needed a gel in there, to make the sound consistent, or whatever.’
The result of this ‘gel’ and
borne on laconically simple melodies. Melancholic? Laconic? Perhaps. ‘When me and Sal started, we were really concerned that we came across as serious. No, not so much serious. but we knew that we didn’t want to come across as girlie-girlie. And it’s really dilticult— especially if you look the way we look. People assume that you’re left-field and you're political 'cos you‘ve got no hair, and you’re gonna come out with all these political songs. Butthen the music thatwe like and we make, it’s all pure pop.’ Banderas are the Pet Shop Girls? Banderas are the Smiths-with-synths? Banderas are. . . hell, you decide.
‘consistence’ was a wistlul melancholy
um- Urge for going
It is tempting to draw parallels between singers Mary Black and Enya. Both are lrish, both sang in highly successiul folk outfits (De Dannan and Clannad respectively), and both have gone on to even more successful solo careers. Stylistically, though, they are poles apart. Mary Black began to sing as a young girl in the Dublin iolk revival oi the late 60s and early 70s, but has expanded her range to include equally powerlul influences from rock, pop, soul and country, and more distant ones irom jazz.
‘I sang around the talk clubs in Dublin loryears,’ Mary recalls, ‘and whilel always wanted to make room for music, Ididn't see it as a full-time career. The turning point came when t was asked to play with Christy Moore, and had my first solo album released around that time.’
That exposure led to an invitation to join De Dannan in 1983, an experience which brought herto the notice of listeners outside Ireland for the first time. When she joined, the band also agreed to her continuing to work with long-time partner Declan Sinott. Eventually, though, to quote the Joni Mitchell song on her new CD, she got the urge lor going.
‘I was with De Dannan iorthree years, until about 1986, and that gave me great experience of touring with a band. Alter my second solo album,
though, I decided I was taking on too
i, ‘ (h 4' “ w”; ~73", 0,. Mary Black
much, and something had to go. I tell I had to commit myself to one thing or the other, and I went for a solo career.’ That has proved to be a wise decision. Only U2 sell more records in her native lreland, but Mary Black is now making a major impression in the US and Japan. Surprisingly, the current UK dates with her six-piece band (led by Sinott) to mark the release at her iilth solo album, the beautilully cralted ‘Babes in The Wood’ (Grape), is her first stint at sustained touring in this country. I'll lay odds it won’t be her last. (Kenny Mathieson) Mary Black plays the Queen's Hall, Edinburgh on Tue 15 and the Music Hall, Aberdeen on Wednesday 16.
Lock up your daughters! Your sons! Lock up everyone you can find! The Cramps are coming to town and, as James Haliburton discovers, they really are still sick after all all these years.
With song titles like ‘Goo Goo Muck’. ‘Can‘t find My Mind'. ‘I Ain't Nuthin But A Gorehound' and "Two l leaded Sex Change‘. singer lfux Interior‘s predilection for stilettos and on-stage vomiting. and their general aura ofdebauchery. the impression most people have ofThe Cramps is that they are mad. bad and extremely dangerous to know. In short. they are what rock and roll should be all about. Formed fifteen years ago on America‘s West Coast around the nucleus of Interior and guitarist Poison Ivy they have built a reputation with albums like Songs The Lord Taught Us. Psychedelic Jungle and Off The Bone for trashy. amphetamine-charged. B-movie-inspired rock music. The archetypal cult band they finally tasted mainstream sucess last year when ‘Bikini Girls With Machine Guns‘ (the first single from the Stay Sick! album) made the Top 40. Since then. though. they have seen the collapse of their record company. EMl offshoot, Enigma. and the departure ofbassist Candy Del Mar and long-term drummer. Nick Knox. Not ones to take such things lying down. they have re-signed to the independent label. Big Beat, recruited the necessary musical personnel and released Look Mom No Heartf, a typically wondrous and excessive album.
To observers. the appearance of The Cramps in the charts was as peculiar as it was deserved. Ivy. however. does not understand why it should seem such an anomaly and certainly wasn’t surprised by such a turn ofevents.
‘No. I wasn‘t. That‘s the thing, everyone else talks about how weird it was. I don‘t think we‘re weird any more than rock and roll has always been weird. I guess it was odd because it was in with all the dance pop but there‘s nothing obscure about our music.‘
And she‘s right. There is nothing intrinsically obscure about The Cramps‘ music. Drawing on early rock and roll and blues, it is steeped in the very history of popular music. The problem it seems stems almost entirely from their attitude and image.
32 The List 11- 24 October 1991