Fiona Shepherd drinks Eugenius
under the table — not!
‘I was just reading through things recently, and every interview we‘ve done is like “We met in the pub and got incredibly drunk". I was thinking we should really try and change our approach to the press because we‘re becoming a bit of a lads’ drinking band just now. We’ve got to get a different image, a new approach - cappuccinos in
Nico’s or something.’
Eugene Kelly frowns and studies his rapidly i
diminishing pint — no, sorry, his frothy
cappuccino. And he‘s not in a pub, no indeed. And i he and guitar henchman Gordon Keen are not discussing the bacchanalian Eugenius lifestyle. l
eighteen-month existence that the group feels in a comfortable position. The threat oflegal action from C&A (over their logo) and Marvel Comics (over their original name Captain America) has long since dissipated, although the imp of the perverse in Gordon causes him to admit that he’s acquired a taste for litigation.
moment is the currency of their debut album Oomalama — a record they are happy with but which is representative of a time when the group sustained a floating membership and wrote songs when they had to, not when they wanted to.
‘The album’s made by so many different people,’ says Eugene. ‘There must be eleven or twelve different people playing things and singing on it.
I The next one’s got to be just the four of us. It’s got l to have our character stamped on it totally.’
One of the really refreshing things about
I Eugenius, and all their super-talented mates in
l certain other sound-and-chartbound combos, is
i that they’re so upfront and honest about the incestuous nature of these bands’ musical relationships. It’s just not an issue.
‘It’s like a total pool of musical talent,’ says Eugene. ‘If you need somebody to arrange strings and backing vocals and you can’t do it, you just ' phone up Joe [MacAlinden] and he comes down.
Or if you’re stuck for a really good drummer, you T phone up Francis McDonald.’
‘Maybe we should start a Glasgow Musical Temp Agency,’ suggests Gordon. “All our musicians 3 have been vetted. They have all sold X amount of
And finally, to muffle the critics who might ' accuse Eugene of riding on the rediscovered joys
And that’s not a dual hangover they’re nursing. As
we sup sedately, talk turns to Greenaway’s and Jarman’s use ofcelluloid as sumptuous cinematic canvas and suchlike, though eventually the chaps are prevailed upon to turn their finely-tuned thoughts to matters of a more, shall we say, rock’n’roll persuasion. Right, that’s the press image dealt with, now on with the interview.
There are some people who would mutter that Eugenius have had an easy time of it - proven track record of the band members, friends in high places. Eugenius would like to point out that growing up in public, having a volatile membership and being threatened with megabucks writs twice is not having an easy time of It.
It’s only now for the first time in their
Eugenius are finally being judged on their own merits. With the arrival ofa new, improved (and
permanent) line-up, Lady Fortune started smiling.
though not before the Reading Festival appearance that would have further consolidated their standing had to be pulled when the tent they were due to play in was deemed unsafe and was evacuated. Instead Eugene found himself hijacking another band’s set on the main stage for the second year running — this time it was Teenage Fanclub who magnanimously allowed Eugenius three minutes ofscene-stealing to perform ‘Flame On’.
Eugene and Gordon have relinquished their duties in The BMX Bandits in a ﬂourish of commitment to Eugenius. The only thing hindering their full-steam-ahead progress at the
of The Vaselines’ back catalogue, be aware that The Vaselines were very much a cottage industry. ' Contracts with Stateside majors and tours of _' foreign parts are a totally new experience, and something which still gives the group a naive thrill. ‘See when you start a band, you don’t think you’re going to have to do all these things like promote a record,’ says Eugene. ‘I keep thinking, “Did The Beatles do this? Did The Beatles have to play in Virgin Megastores?” You don’t see it, all these naff things that you’ve got to do.’ And with calculating grins, Eugene and Gordon ; plan their next legal scam. Pure Eugenius. A pint glass with the band members’ faces in it. That’s their idea, not mine, Mr Multinational Brewery Person. Just thought you should know. Oomalama is on Paperhouse Records.
Keyboard player, virtuoso accordionist and Scottish musician Phil Cunningham surrounds himself with sound. “When I’m not in the recording studio or on tour i’m pottering around in the little studio at home. I don't know ii I could do anything else!’
Home for Phil now is up near Beauly, but he commutes south to Glasgow as Musical Director oi BBC’s Gaelic television show ‘Taiia A' Bhaile’. ‘I’m much happier with a more regular life. l’d been touring, on the road allover Europe and the States with Silly Wizard since I was sixteen, and eventually you
get totally led up with that. Though I’ve been really busy this last year or so
with album production, “Talia”, the Hogmanay show and other projects, I am really enjoying myself.
‘I get a top-up every so often, playing live; like the German tour earlier in the year, and then there‘s the tour with Aiy, next month. No-this month! Hey, that's the week alter next . . . i suppose we'd better get organised! When we do get together, we play through all the things we’ve learned and discovered since last we saw each other, and put together a new set. It’s very relaxing.’
The partnership of Phil and iiddler Aly Bain fills halls across Scotland, having been very visible on Aly's traditional music TV series and the subsequent albums. These recordings have been so successful that the recording industry is to present the pair with silver discs at their Rentrew Ferry show
‘I'm still working on a big piece titled The Highlands And Islands Suite, for the SCO, a traditional fiddle section and a 40-plece choir; we're planning to take the “Talia” band, looser titled Na Seoid, on the road sometime soon and I'm working on a new MIDI Interface to hook up the accordion and a synth. Right at this minute I‘m in the studios with Wolfstone recording the theme and incidental music I've written for the new STV Gaelic Ieaming programme, but luckily I have the time . . . and music’s my hobby as well as my job‘. (Norman Chalmers)
Phil Cunningham and Aiy Bain play Cumbemauld Theatre, Cumbemauld on Tue 22 and Benfrew Ferry, Glasgow on Sat 26.
ON FOLLOWING PAGES : THROWING MUSES O VEGA, WELLER AND WAlTS ALBUMS
The List 11 — 24 September 1992 23