Over the worst
Back after a very rock ’n’ roll five— year estrz ngement, it’s lan McCulloch and Will Sergeant with a new band, Electrafixion. Damien Love does it clean.
Back in July. a buzzing. expectant and strangely anxious crowd packed out King Tut‘s to see a new four-piece who. lraving not released a single record. were playing only their third gig. That there should have been so much interest in an unknown quantity would be surprising enough — that the hand came close to destroying the fabric of the building with the huge. heavenly-garage racket they summoned tip was frankly miraculous. Were it not for one consideration: that Electrafixion represented the reuniting of Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant. the shimmer twins of Echo And The Bunnytnen. after a five-year estrangement. That night. while Sergeant bent torturing his guitar. McCulloch screamed and whispered like a man released. in a way that he never did during his solo years. It looked as though the two of them were fated to be together.
‘Yeab. I think so.‘ McCulloch agrees. ‘l can‘t think of another guitarist/writer that would be so right. I kinda always knew it. it was just with us being The Btmnytnen — I wanted that to end. In fact. I‘d said to Will. about six months before I knew I‘d leave. that we should halt the group. that we should still write together at sotne point. but. y‘know. have a little break. l didn‘t expect it to be five years. though. And then what transpired with Will carrying on the group. that‘s what led to the — it wasn‘t a feud. it was just we didn‘t speak. because I felt let-down. really. And then. as time went on. l thought. well. fair‘s fair. it was me that made the decision. but . . . it had been ten years. and i thought everyone was integral to the group. But it‘s great now. and tne and him being
‘fatcd' to write and rock out together is no problettt with inc. It‘s funny. because on paper maybe it shouldn't work again -- it‘s a hit like a manager going back to his old club. and it sometimes doesn‘t work ottt. but this isn't football.’
It‘s not. bill as The Bunnynten. Mac and Will spent plenty of time in the stadia of the world. and are now playing venues little bigger than a dressing room when they're surely able to start at a bigger level.
‘l’ossibly. but I think we might have been disappointed with the buzz. because going in at a different level means avoiding that confrontation
with whoever‘s in the front row — or the back row at
these places. particularly King Tut‘s. where you could pretty much pass a ciggy to the bloke in the back row. And it‘s been good having that vibe again. connecting with people. ’cause I think The Bunnymen always did that. tip until maybe the last
year or so. when we were estranged frotn the
audience slightly. Except in Glasgow ~ the Bat't'owland gig at the end of The Bunnymen was
mega. but I've said all over the world that Glasgow Barrowland is the best gig in the world. because . . .
it is.’ McCulloch makes no secret of the fact that he's
aiming for Iilectraiixion to compete on that world stage as ‘a real proper rock band from Britain able to
go over to America and not come out with all the
usual British negative crap of “We don't like
,' i l ' ‘ .lttl .l’ml
America“.‘ reckoning that the last band to do so were . . . Echo And The Bunnymen. So can he see any echoes of his past in music around today?
‘Soother people tell me — but it's usually your mates saying. “God. that doesn't half sound like you." i can never really see it. Maybe sometimes in drumming or basslines — whenever anyone goes into a big heavy tomstom thing. ljust immediately think of Pete — but I think we were hard to copy. 'cause we were special. And l think other groups were easier to copy. beginning with it‘s easier for some fey. kinda wispy no-mark to get tip and just tnoan about things from a real minuscule point of view and make it seem like it matters to some student with a problem.‘
Does he ever miss streets full of McCulloch clones?
‘Nah. I mean. it was nice at the time. but . . . . There was one feller. i almost got a bit jealous of his hairdo. 'cause it looked great. bttt I saw it in a photo and apparently it wasn't that good in reality. But there's other people fulfilling that role now. Or are there? Maybe that‘s what's missing in British music. I
mean. I don't think there‘ll be many people who
want to look like that feller from Gene.‘ Electra/ink»: play The Venue. Edinburgh on Tue 2 9. (1C. Browns (ireenmrk on Wed 30 and King Tut's. Glasgow on Thurs I . The [51’ Zephyr is out on
HIE- Slip-sliding away
It’s hard to resist a band called Snake Davis And The Charmers. It’s the kind of name you might expect to find buried in the more obscure depths of an early-60s holiday camp variety bill, perhaps, or ripping up the local town hall dance in that distant era.
In fact, it belongs to a sophisticated contemporary soul-jazz outfit, led by ; the redoubtable Snake Davis himself, i a saxophone player of considerable l quality who picked up his rather dodgy i
sound from his tenor.
nickname as a consequence of his liking for slithering around while coaxing a fat, muscular, warm-toned
Davis is one of those players with ~ two distinct but intertwined careers, the more lucrative of which is as a much sought-after session musician. He has been a regular on television for . years — credits as house musician include ‘The Paradise Club’, ‘The 1 Tube’, and ‘Pebble Mill’, as well as ’ ‘Jameson Tonight’ and ‘The Jonathan . Ross Show’ (but we shouldn’t hold that 5 against him), so chances are you have seen him, even if you think you
llis album and touring roster is Slippery Snake Davis 3 impressive and wide-ranging, taking in
the likes of Use Stansfield, Swing Dut Sister, Soul II Soul, Paul McCartney, Pet Shop Boys, Freddie McDregor, Take That and M-People, so you have probably heard him as well, even if you didn’t know it.
His own band remains a less high- profile, labour-ofulove affair, but it i gives him an opportunity to really , stretch out and exercise his muscular, E David Sanborn-Iike sound and too often underused improvisational abilities, as well as perfecting that slither. Well worth checking out. (Kenny Mathieson)
Snake Davis And The Charmers play The 13th hole, Glasgow on Fri 18 and The Tron Jazz Cellar, Edinburgh on Sun
The List 18 November—l December [994 31