FEATURE T IN THE PARK
m Salad days
He’s had the initial hits, so now it’s time for DzReam’s Pete Cunnah to get all serious on us. Or is it? asks Philip Dorward.
Dark top. white body. with a smooth Irish quality desired by a thousand tongues. It can only be genius. Nah. it’s DzRearn's Pete Ctinnah and nothing‘s wiping that dirnpled smile off his face at the moment. It’s been a good six months: Number Ones across Europe. keys to his home town Derry and awards for services to charity and tartan suit—wearing . . . talk ofthe luck ofthe Irish.
‘l've lost my life and loved it.‘ whoops Cunnah. ‘Now. though. I‘ve got to get off the bandwagon. place rnyselfand have a real look at what l‘rn 3 doing.‘ _
This is an important day for Pete Cunnah. As he sits in the offices of his record company. East West. he calmly l plots the closing of one volume and the opening of another: Tonight. he‘s starting work on a new album. and a new track called ‘Shoot Me'.
‘lt‘s based on the last six months. the exposure and rape of the soul. while trying to find out good points about yourselfand the world. I‘m really pleased with the chorus which is "Shoot me. shoot me in the head. you can shoot me with your love. hung. I'm dead. '
As contagious as herpes. Pete has emerged as the master of the not so infamous D:Ream D:Ouble Leric. On the one hand. they’re about love. Take. for instance. ‘U R The Best Thing‘: ‘My simple heart will live and learn. I took a chance or the price that my soul
; would burn. ' Examine it more closely
and you discover references to a night
at chic early-90s club The Love Ranch where Pete took one funny aspn'n too
many. When he fell back down to earth. he wrote the song as an explanation of
, mortality — life itself was the best thing.
This may explain the infectiousjoi (1e t-ivre at the heart ofa I):Ream tune. It is ‘The Only Way Is Up' Part 2. Go on any Mediterranean holiday this
“ summer. visit any bar/disco at any time
and the two songs they‘ll be playing
' most are ‘U R The Best Thing‘ and the
delirious ‘Things Can Only Get Better‘. If a fever of unrestrained coupling breaks out across the continent this summer. then blame Cunnah. What‘s more. he shows no remorse.
‘Nopc that‘s good. because that's what l‘rn in the business of doing. speaking
to people. I want people to hear and understand and get heads around it. to observe good and bad. love and life. That's not too major is it‘?‘
Yet the last six months have not been all sweetness and light. The candy floss success has been tempered by the problems frorn whence Pete came. Compounding the fact that his former musical partner DJ Al MacKenzie sued him for royalties after the record reached Number One are the hurtful accusations from those within clubland that he had abandoned his roots. Ctrnnah claims hejust went to ‘work‘. but it certainly does seem a far cry from the happy spirits that gave birth to those hits in I992. and he‘s now reluctant to dip his toes back in the club scene.
‘The magic seems to have gone.‘ he
laments. ‘I can‘t handle Dls who are playing to Dls instead of people. I've been to some fantastic recent events which have basically just been parties: around 50 people dancing all night long to classic tracks from the last ten
years . . . Police. Visage. 808 State. Zoe. Now. though. clubs are like going into the womb of some indie kid‘s brain. they‘re too busy wanking over their own ego to bother making music that people really enjoy. I write songs that hopefully inspire people to feel good and motivate themselves. I could wafﬂe on forever. btrt suffice to say that the word is Ul’l‘
Which is. of course. the only way to go‘? Alas. no. Look at Yazz: had two monstrous hits. got all musical. tried to get a band together and. errn. failed. Now look at l):Ream: had two monstrous hits. trying to go all musical and form a band . . . erm. don‘t mean to sound too pessimistic here. Pete. btrt ever get that sinking feeling”?
‘The honest answer is I don‘t know. I don‘t think I‘m going to disappear“. because I've got songs and l cart write. Yazz had technical problems within her background. btrt our set-up is pretty solid. I‘ve got friends who I work with and it feels like we‘re growing within the company and gaining respect. I will be around in music in one form or another for the rest of my life thanks to this record. I‘ve got some great sttrff I‘ve been doing with a friend of mine in the underground scene. and that should find its way onto a few white labels. so you haven‘t heard the last of me yet. Anyway. the nation‘s tastebuds are changing and we are. I hope. a tasty side dish.‘
‘Ooh. your average (‘aesar salad. vegetable lasagne. Yep. it‘s definitely a vegetable type of thing.‘
No meat. then 1’
‘Absolutely nothing.‘ he declares. ‘that has a face.‘
IN BRIEF CONT.
I Del Amitri The Dels may not have succeeded in making mutton-chops fashionable again — who on God‘s green earth could in this day and age? — i but they didn‘t need Primal Scream to tell them it was okay to detach themselves from their vaguely esoteric post-punk roots and look towards the more virtuous aspects of 70s hard rock for inspiration. Showing no signs of i flagging. the Dels are currently I working in LA with producer Al Clay 1 on an album which is said to be ‘a harder record with big pop songs'. It should see the light of day in September or October.
I Rage Against The Machine Honest. there can be few more potent battle- cries in the modem musical lexicon than Rage Against The Machine's ‘Fuck you. I won‘t do what you tell me.’ For once this isn‘t the petulant foot-stamping of over-privileged. l under-brained. would-be miot rockers. This lot mean it. You don‘t believe them? You're not convinced by Zak De La Rocha‘s vitn'ol and vitality. Tom ; Morello's head-mangling guitar t gymnastics. the band‘s i uncompromising rock/rap agit-prop. g
and a sweat-drenched crowd going grade-A mosh-mental? You are either
deaf. dead or a purchaser of ‘Love ls All Around‘.
‘ .u. I Thrurn How did local quartet Thrurn
pull off the jammy coup of getting to
record their debut LP Ri/ferunut in San Francisco. the world‘s laid-back hippy guitar capital? They just asked and the man with his grip on the purse strings. he say yes. So they went. they plugged in. they riffed like crazy and came back clutching tapes full of capital laid-back hippy guitar tunes about lying contented in the sun or standing broken-hearted in the rain and other emotional/elemental symbioses. Now they're jamming in a rather less exotic environment. under a big acrylic canopy in Strathclyde Park. but no matter — with Thrurn on board. every day is like a sunny day.
' Picked tip by the l..ondon-based indie
1 a double-A-sided single. ‘Sweatlodge‘/
I A.C. Acoustics An early incarnation of this four-piece sprang up in Glasgow in I988 with a propensity for appearing in multi-media events. That line-up. which included sax. violin and drum machine bears scant resemblance to the riff machine of today. where the songs pick their way through a minefield of guitars and emerge resembling some kind of hard-edged 90s psycltedelia.
label Elemental. they‘re responsible for
‘M\". and now a full-length album. Able 'I‘rt'usury. Variousl y described as ‘The Fall on a steroids/peyote cocktail‘ or ‘Pink Floyd in a water-filled aircraft hanger circa ‘69‘ or ‘an explosion in God‘s own riff factory".
I Teenage Fanclub It‘s a funny old time for Teenage Fanclth — always a still water in the giddy. shifting whirlpool we call showbiz. now approaching obsolescence with their protracted public silence. Not that they'll be bothered; the times are more likely to perplex their fans who've watched the next wave of melodic strurnrners make some headway in their absence. Yet none oftheir soulrnates have even approached the breadth of
popularity of the Fanclub. So Will they
be treated as homecoming heroes or with a wall of indifference at T In The l’ar'k'.’ ()lt. sod the chin—stroking specttlation; the Fannies are for celebrating. not analysing. Party on dudes!
I Primal Scream Next to the space cowboy dub manic pop thrill of .S‘trreanuulelit'u. a record as unequivocally traditional as Give ()ut But Don 't Give Up was always going to pale considerably. Now that the dust has settled and we‘ve all had a chance to live with the Primals' latest offering for a few months. it‘s time tojudge it on its 0th merits. and quite frankly it‘s no great shakes. The rocky bits shake. rattle and roll like empty vessels. the
12 The List l5—28 July I994