Little orphan mannie
The Orphans? Who they? You might have known them as The Kevin McDermott Orchestra, but times have changed, as Fiona Shepherd discovered.
‘l‘m sounding all bitter and twisted here. I‘m not bitter and twisted at all! I‘m quite enjoying being in this band and doing what we‘re doing. You‘re tapping veins here that I didn‘t actually. . .‘
The frustrated voice tails off and ho-hums in the hazy middle distance. The person sitting just across the table. from whom emanates this mild misanthropy. has been swilling Becks and waxing saturnine for the best part ofan hour. He feels hemmed in by my salvo ofquestions. coerced into dredging murky fathoms for attitudes he‘d rather brush aside. when all he wants to do is surrender his cynicism and drink the cup ot‘deliverance proffered by the hand of Fate. He is Kevin McDermott and he‘s born again.
Once he had an Orchestra — who knows, he may have one again — but that was before he and his rhythm buddies put to death the parent rapacity and fraudulence that pervades and instructs the industry they call ‘music‘. and became The Orphans. An act of necessity as ‘we don‘t want to
be encumbered with the mental baggage we‘ve been carrying around for such a long while. We just want to play our songs and float off in a little pink cloud into our little idealistic fairyland.‘
The Kevin McDermott Orchestra‘s debilitating
sense ofdisillusion. festering for a time. came to a head at the Fleadh earlier this year. To all appearances. dory had never been more hunky.
I Their Bedazzled LP. released independently after the band had been dropped by Island Records.
enjoyed healthy sales and they still commanded
Barrowland-sized crowds. But they were tired of pursuing the ‘next logical step‘. So. ()fcuurse. the next logical step was to announce to the Glasgow
Green assembly at the supposed glorious peak of their achievement that this would be the last KMO
gig- ‘Round about the time of the Fleadh we felt.
“Do we have to become tawdry and undignit‘ied to
try and make a success of this?" It seems like the last few years have been a celebration of
mediocrity. and I felt “I‘m beginning to get tainted
by this“. So we decided, let‘s draw a line under all this. pull the shutters down until the rain goes ol‘l‘.‘
By re-emerging as The Orphans. they‘re trying to look to the future without planning for it.
I playing unannounced when they feel like it.
rekindling their first love. etc. etc. But when
you‘ve spent a couple of years breathing in noxious
fumes. you‘re going to exhale sulphur. ‘There‘s a change of attitude that‘s way above
and beyond anything that‘s gone before as regards
the KMO.‘ warns Kevin. ‘We don‘t hang around waiting for phone calls any more. We do exactly to please ourselves and sometimes that doesn‘t even please some ofour fans. 'I‘hey‘re relying on us to be the good old KMO. turn up. do the business. don‘t you just love ‘em. and that‘s not really what
we‘re about any more.
‘This angst-ridden singer songwriter brush I‘ve been tarred with — I just don‘t want to be mugged up that particular close. 'I‘hat‘s never been me. and ifthere was ever any residue of that then that‘s the kind ofthing that l‘m trying to lose through being The Orphans. We are a whole lot more dangerous than that and it‘s just about time we start letting the horns show.‘
. The Orphans play the Mayfair. Glasgow on Fri 18.
am- Cool yule
The name at Craig McMurdo has leatured with some regularity in these columns at late, evidence at what has been a busy lew months. McMurdo is not everyone’s cup oi tea, and there are always plenty of people ready to put him down, but there is no doubting his popularity. Now, though, the singer, lresh lrom an appearance on ‘Blue Peter’, is set to give his lans a
classy end oi the spectrum, with Louis Armstrong’s ‘Cool Yule’ and Mel Torme’s ‘The Christmas Song’, a seasonal classic which was written in the blistering heat oi a Californian
‘l've always wanted to do a Christmas show, and this is it. We won't be doing anything in the same style as ‘The Phil Spector Christmas Album’, but we will use a lot at the songs that people know from that record, in crooning-style arrangements. Itwill be very Hollywood, very camp, and very Christmassy, and will be a completely
ioundation of a very strong band and excellent arrangements, so thatthe
but the music and the singing is really
and I lelt we gained a lot of musical credibilitylrom them.‘ The band's performance then was
that credibility by singing songs like Nat King Cole's ‘Mrs Santa Claus’ or ‘Frosty the Snowman‘. He hasn’t,
comedy comes lrom the material itself,
on the ball. I was very proud oi the way the band played in the Fringe concerts,
suiliciently arresting to see him signed up by Jools Holland‘s management, so he can probably altord to blow some of
The two concerts which he will play with That Swing Thang at the Queen’s Hall will leature mainly Christmas songs, and will, in his own words, be ‘well overthe top’. They have pillaged
ON FOLLOWING PAGES:
Craig McMurdo: caught in the act
the Christmas repertoire to turn up around eighteen tunes (and a couple of medleys), from ‘The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot’ through to the
dliterent set from the one we did at the Festival, or at the Assembly Rooms this month.
We always loved the whole extravagant Hollywood thing, and I think this is a chance to go well over the top in that manner, but built on a
THE MAGIC FLUTE O CAPERCAILLIE O 808 STATE
however, said whether he intends to wear a Santa suit (designer, natch) lor the occasion. (Kenny Mathieson)
Craig McMurdo and That Swing Thang playthe Queen‘s Hall, Edinburgh on Mon 21 and Tue 22.
- List Iii December “1992 — 14 January 1993 3-9