Fiddling about: Alasdair Fraser
Tim Gorman is a keyboard player who has toured and recorded with The Who. the Stones and Paul McCartney. and an unlikely candidate as a member of ﬁddle maestro Alasdair Fraser's new band. But the US- domiciled Scot has brought together a high- powered bunch of distinctively varied stylists. recorded Dawn Dance. a new album of original compositions. and brings them all over for a major Scottish tour.
Although suffused with peat-reek. the music on the album is as varied as the musicians. Eric Rigler (heard on the soundtrack of Brave/wart) plays Highland. Scottish small pipes and uillean pipes. Chris Norman is a virtuoso simple-system and eight-keyed ﬁute player with a background in baroque. early music and the Irish tradition. Peter Maund handles various lndian drums. tablas and percussion.
A constantly touring. teaching and proselytising champion of the Scots traditional ﬁddle. Fraser reveals that ‘I had this music that was tormenting me. but it’s taken me years to ﬁnd what I hear. ﬁnd a way of letting it come out.
'The group is for creating new music. When l came up to these musicians from different musical worlds and ran this Scottish thing past them. something happened. l’m steering it. I've an idea of direction. but they’re all great players and they'll all be writing things for the band. I did have a strong idea of the sound I wanted. I didn‘t. for instance. want to get into big drums or a kit sound. and was looking for smaller percussion.
‘We all want to create music that‘s growing. going somewhere. and I‘m especially enjoying playing in a band. I‘ve never been in a proper group before. Everyone else did it when they were eighteen. I‘m doing it all backwards.‘ (Norman Chalmers)
The Alasdair Fraser Band play Woodside Halls. Glasgow on Wed 1‘);
A .vsernblv R oomx, Edinburgh on Thurs 20.
m:— Fashion Victl
Duffy: shagged or shagged-out?
‘My message to the world has always been “be as decadent as possible but try not to fall over too much in public”,' proclaims Duffy (nee Stephen Duffy/The Lilac Time/Stephen ‘Tin Tin’ Duffy, etc).
The message is that Duffy is back! And he’s happy! But apart from that he hasn’t changed essentially. He’s still the same pseudo-aristocratic eccentric who takes great pleasure in releasing lyrical pop records, albeit of a more extrovert nature than the pastoral whimsy of his last band The Lilac Time.
‘When we were making the last record I’d just had enough really,’ he says. ‘We were halfway through making the record and I just went
bonkers one day and said, “That’s it,” and we split up, left the studio and never finished the record.
‘Also, I didn’t understand what was going on in music at that point. There were songs without any choruses and for somebody like me I was lost. I didn’t understand that it was just fashion and songs were out of fashion. I thought it was some sort of personal attack on tunes and songwriters. You never realise that you are out of fashion; you just think that somebody’s got it in for you.’
The weight at fashion is now stacked in Duffy’s favour. With first Suede, then Blur and Oasis rejuvenating The Pop Song, he found people enquiring after his health, inspiration, and when was he going to start releasing more records? In celebration of the Britpop revival, he has released the affectionate, bouncy ‘London Girls’.
‘There is a new generation of people who got bored with computer games when they were seven,’ he says. ‘They’ve suddenly realised that it’s absolutely fantastic when the tambourine and the harmony comes in and the guitars get louder on the chorus.’
For an old trouper, Duffy sounds and more remarkably looks like an enthused juvenile. So has he discovered the elixir of life or what?
‘I don’t know how it happens. I go along to these photo sessions looking like a shagged-out person and this little lad appears in the pictures. It’s all done with mirrors, I think.’ (Fiona Shepherd)
Duffy plays King Tut’s, Glasgow on Mon 24 and The Venue, Edinburgh on Tue 25.
Getting your music on to CD is no easy matter for aspiring jazz bands, and it is good to see a couple of Scottish groups take things into their own hands and move beyond the old-self produced cassette into that more sophisticated — and increasingly essential - medium.
The llung Drawn Duartet’s A Train In The Distance is easily good enough for commercial release. The Glasgow saxophone quartet, featuring Euan Ashley and Raymond MacDonald (alto and soprano), Graeme Wilson (tenor and soprano) and Allen Beauvoisin (baritone), were all members of the Strathclyde Youth Jazz Orchestra, but the group actually began as a duo, as MacDonald explained.
‘Graeme and I had a saxophone duo for a while, but after we heard the 29th Street Saxophone Quartet in Glasgow, we decided that was the direction we wanted to go in. We knew Euan and Allan from SYJD - we are all good friends, and that is important in music like ours, where we are very dependent on each other to make it work.’
The band draw on an eclectic range of influences, and make highly imaginative use of both improvisation
and Instrumental sonorities within
their sophisticated, witty
arrangements. Some of those come
.33; 7 ‘. _ 5:“ . Three quarters of Ilung Drawn Duartet
from Falkirk guitarist and composer Bill Wells (Beauvoisin is also a member of Bill’s Dctet), who has his own GD available.
The quality of his ideas and the continuing improvement in the standard of his band just about survives a decidedly indifferent recording on live 93-94, but it will need a proper studio set to really let us hear his music as it deserves. Both albums will have a limited record shop distribution in central Scotland, but can be obtained directly from the respective bands, either at gigs or by mail - contact Ilung Drawn c/o 29 Esmond Street, Yorkhill, Glasgow G3 88", and Bill Wells c/o Loathsome Reels, PO Box 14864, Falkirk, Fltl 12A. (Kenny Mathieson)
The ﬂung Drawn Quartet will be playing in the streets of Stirling on Sat 15, as part of the town’s summer entertainment programme.
Im- Are we not zen?
Bush: whack '
e or what?
‘I know we’ve been slagged off a lot for sounding American. but the reason for doing the record in England with Clive Langer was to get away from that. I guess the thing is that. ofthe bands we‘ve liked over the last ten years. most of them apart from My Bloody Valentine have been out of America. l‘d like to think I don‘t sing in an American accent. but sometimes a certain word is just easier to sing with an American slant on it . . . The Beatles did that as well.‘
In need of a break after bringing America to its knees. Gavin Rossdale. frontman of Bush — British leaders of post-Nirvana rock — is enjoying a few days' holiday in the idyllic Dumfries & Galloway village of l’onpatrick. Within the week. Bush will have begun their ﬁrst tour of their home country - where they’re still virtually unknown. even after driving America Bush-crazy with ‘Everything Zen' and album Sixteen Stone earlier in the year. In the US. the band have sold ‘about one and a quarter' to date. Rossdale is too modest to add the ‘million' part.
Sixteen Stone ﬁnally has a British release. but on this side of the Atlantic the band are still on the lower rungs ol' the gigging ladder. Before they took off in the States. Bush couldn‘t afford to play outside London. so the British public has never had the chance to see the whites of their eyes.
‘l‘ve always wanted to play King Tut's. from millions of reviews over the years. but all the other venues. lots of them end in “Arms”,' he chuckles. ‘so you know there's going to be a lot less people there.
‘ln America. every single club we played was a place where all those big American bands like Hole and Nirvana and Jane‘s Addiction had played. in order to build up from the ground ﬂoor, so — not that we could go to bigger places — but it would be a big mistake not to play those places. because you bypass the people who know most about music.‘ (Alastair Mabbott)
Bush play K ing Tut's. Glasgow on Fri 2/.
38 The List l4-77 Int l(l0<