FEATURE PAM HOGG
Scots fashion queen PAM HOGG has peeled off her designer bodysuit in the quest for a career in music. Grasping the mic for the Glasgow Fair Festival. she assures Kathleen Morgan this is serious stuff.
am llogg has stopped apologising for
being famous. The acclaimed
Glaswegian clothes designer who
kicked the btitt of the fashion world
with her body-hugging Lycra
creations is finally ready to exploit
her status to get what she wants. Forget the
clothes horses — she finished with them when
she quietly hailed out of the fashion business
more than two years ago. At 36 years old. this
woman is designing her future in the music
world and she fully believes she has what it
takes to make it big at the helm of her latest
outfit. Doll. All she has to do is prove the band’s
worth to the rest of the world. starting with her home town of Glasgow.
When llogg the singer steps onstage at
Glasgow Green during the city’s Fair Festival.
she will inevitably be scrutinised by a critical
audience. Not only is she a Glasgow lass. returning from success-induced exile. bill the world will have difficulty divorcing the name Pam llogg from her psychaedelic fashion creations. ‘l'm not that stupid that I would give tip something I did very well unless there was something there.‘ she says with conviction. ‘I don‘t feel I‘m coming tip to Glasgow to convince people. If they like it. good. If they don‘t . . .‘
‘l’ve never seen myself as a fashion designer. I made clothes I enjoyed and I did shows, but music was always around.’
llogg is the brain and the voice behind Doll. engineering the whole creative process. from song-writing to publicity. ‘l‘m prepared to take the shit.‘ she says. ‘I did when l was doing fasliion.‘ But ask her to describe the band‘s sound and she is flummoxed.
‘lt‘s not dance. although you can dance to it and it‘s not rock.‘ she muses. ‘Most people say it‘s like Patti Smith. others have said it‘s Nick (‘ave-ish. I‘ve never been put in a box and I don't want to be. It‘s a magical mystery trip. When I did fashion it was all in my head and it‘s the same with my songs. There isn’t a formula.‘
She speaks proudly of her meteoric rise to fame after leaving Glasgow School of Art with a degree in fine art and print textiles. With her ‘~ first collection in I984. Pain llogg lifted the skirt of an elitist fashion world and never looked back. ‘I hated fashion — those wankers telling you what to do.‘ she says. "l‘hat‘s been my attitude all the way.‘ She insists she never wanted to be a clothes designer. cradling an ambition to crack the music business instead: ‘l‘ve never seen myself as a fashion designer. I made clothes l enjoyed and I did shows. but music was always around.‘
Few are aware that Pain Hogg has been exercising her vocal chords publicly since 1987 when she fronted Garden of Eden. one of the first acid house bands to top the dance charts. Refusing to sing the lyrics she was given. she took to rewriting them. discovering a new talent. Between highly successful fashion shows. she sang with Boy's Wonder before being dragged onstage to ad lib
with industrial art noise band Pig Face at Nashville ")l. She was booked and a decade after launching her fashion career. she closed her
London fashion studio.
‘Iiveryone was saying: “You can’t do that Pain. you‘re at the peak of your career.”‘ she remembers with a hint of glee. ‘l left the fashion business as quietly as I had entered it. Nobody knew. apart from the people waiting for my shows to happen.‘ She admits it was not simply a case of packing up overnight -— it took five years to wind down the llogg empire and even now. her shop in Newburgh Street. London still sells the classics. ‘lt was like cutting off my arm.‘ she says. ‘1 would love to go back to it in say live years when the music more established. bill I don’t want to see another sewing machine in my life.‘
For now. fashion‘s enfant terrihle is brimming with girlish excitement about her new band. formed abruptly when Debbie Harry asked her to support her at a Birmingham gig last December. llogg declined. pointing Harry in the direction of Glasgow band lltigli Reed and the Velvet Underpants — and then kicked herself. ‘It was the opportunity of a lifetime.‘ she says. less than a week before the last two nights I rang some friends tip and we battled it out. We spent three days just getting the guitar right. with me doing visual descriptions. Then it just
Pam llogg: ‘l've never been put in a box and I don’t want to be.’
Longtime friend and guitarist with One Million l’un. 'l‘onc Guitars. Rob Courtney has been there from the beginning. as has drummer Sean .\lcl.usky. Bass player Karl Leiker was on loan from llypei'head and has since been returned. sparking a frantic search for a new bassist before the Glasgow Fair. llogg knows shaking off her fashion designer image will be tough and has accepted it might be easier simply to eXploit it. If it gets her noticed. what the hell? All she has to do then is prove she‘s good. ‘When people switch professions others are dubious about it. btit it‘s natural to have more than one talent.‘ she says. ‘Not everyone has the guts to do it. I slag Neighbours stars off as well. btit not if they’re good. People like that have to work hard to prove themselves.‘
Somewhere deep down. she knows she and her Doll must do the same. ;J
l)o// play the Sound City Tent at the Glasgow Fair l‘estii'al on Wednesday 2() Jul and Pam llogg is appearing at the same venue for the Fair's Soul Sisters Night on Thursday 2/ Jul. See Roek listings for details.
15 The List 15—28 July I994