FEATURE T IN THE PARK
The Butler did it
McAlmont: playing on Butler‘s day all
Even those of us who loved David McAtmont’s eponymous debut doubted whether the record-buying public would latch on to him, and reioiced when his partnership with Bernard Butler brought him much- deserved attention. An album, tentatively entitled The Music 0! McAlmont And Butler, is due in October, and will no doubt be warmly received by Suedeheads and McAlmont's own tans, but it also postpones lurther the day we hear what the singer can do on his own. The ‘debut’ album was the lruit of his work with Saul Freeman under the name The Thieves - changed to ‘McAlmont' betore release on Virgin’s advice to save the headache oi launching two acts. ‘So,’ laughs McAlmont, We not even made my first album yet. And - oh dear -l haven’t said this to anybody yet, but i actually believe that when I get around to making one it’ll be one oi the best soui albums in this country for a few years.’
While McAlmont mulls over which oi the ‘60 or 70’ songs he’s written since the Thieves split to record, he and Butler have been working at a cracking pace. ‘With Bernard, It's completeiy dilterent to me and Saul, because Bernard likes to keep the spontaneity alive, he doesn’t like pertectionism. lie likes a bit of dirt, a bit of grit, which l must say is a lot more me. But l think that what i would go tor Is something that’s between what i was doing with Saul and Bernard. i like a bit at dirt, but I like sheen as well. I'm deﬁnitely a Paddy Ashdown type when it comes to that sort oi thing.’
So once that’s done with, it’ll be time lor work to start on the McAlmont debut proper. surely?
‘I don’t actually know, because it does seem to be a bit of a trend, really, that somebody comes along and I get excited and everybody else gets excited. Something could turn up. But it nothing does, l’m ready to go.’ (Alastair Mabbott)
It was a night rare and special. Not just because there were video cameras zooming and swooping. Not only
because the gig was long since sold out.
It was the first Tuesday in April and The Boo Radleys were playing
Glasgow‘s Garage. The day before their
fourth album had gone straight into the album charts at Number One. Wake up! The Boo Radleys were. at last. proper pop stars.
The Garage was wild that night. a bouncing mass captured on the video for ‘Find The Answer Within‘. The video was black and white btrt the show wasn‘t — it was a psychedelic triumph. a chromatic feast. a vivid spectacle handed out by a band who know the colour ofa good pop ttrne. ()h yes. The Do Badly's: used to make a lank-haired racket. The Boo Radleys: now traverse rainbows and make pots of gold.
And cash. Don't they? Number One album. three smasherama singles? Course they do.
Course they don‘t. Sice snorts at the mention of looming royalties for pop‘s new royalty. And your starter for ten (quid) is this: the best by-produet of becoming top ofthe pops is . . . ?
‘l have absolutely no idea. Not the cash yet. The cash will probabl y follow. It just gives us more leeway to make more records. Ultimately that's all you ever want — the security to make the next album. I‘d hate to be in the position where nobody will even allow you to make another album.‘
There speaks a man who fronts a band who, as soon as they found a ‘window‘ in their ‘schedule‘ (their first break since the start of the year). nipped straight back into the studio. Their chosen locus being Rockfield in Wales, womb-with-a-view for such dedicated studio-hounds as The Stone Roses and Oasis. Their chosen goal being to record an all-new. four-track EP ~just like they used to do on a regular basis when they were dour and unheralded and on Rough Trade and Liverpool‘s Dinosaur Jr. It‘s called ‘From The Bench At Belvedere‘ and it will come out in the autumn when the the 'Pool’s new Fab Four undertake their biggest UK tour to date. If. that is. Wake Up."s September release in America doesn't require the sort of timetable-upsetting,
hysteria-dampening promotional work that spread like a rash in Britain. Europe and Japan.
‘Belvedere is a bit of Wallasey. it‘s the name of a road. and it‘s the bench where me and Martin used to spend most of our childhood and daydream. That‘s basically the premise of it.‘
What. orange streetlight casting pale light over you and all that?
‘Exactly. mate. exactly.‘
Elegy I believe is the word.
So ‘lt’s Lulu‘ is to be the third and last single from an album on which every track‘s a potential Number 13 hit?
‘Yeah. you know what we're like. a bit high and mighty with our principles.‘
Which principles are they. then?
‘The ones we left behind when we became a chart band.‘
We laugh drily. We know he's half- joking. Half. because Sice has just endured an appearance on Germany‘s Disney Club where a woman in a silver suit asked them to make up a story
The Boo Badleys: waking up the charts
about a boy called Boo and the band huffed and ptrffed a bit then did it anyway. only Martin did his hit all about drugs. Half. because if they were real corporate whores The Boo Radleys would have made their exercise-in- three—minute—pop-songs (Wake I/p.’) before they made their exercise—in- rnind-alteririg-magnificence (Giant Steps) and would now be playing top European festivals with Bon Jovi and headlining the top British festival of the summer.
Except. er. they are. Tricky bugger. pop genius.
‘I can honestly say headlining at T In The Park is the pinnacle of our career so far. eclipsing appearing in Lollapolooza last summer. being adored in Japan last month. getting an Nil/I15 Brat award for our third album and reaching Number One with our fourth album.‘ Sice doesn‘t say before sauntering off to make more world- jolting pop music. Hail! Hail! Rock 'n‘ roll! (Craig McLean)
Calling all young bands! You too can create small miracles with a modest record pressing and some hand-painted sleeves. That was all it took for Dundee‘s lo-li popsters Spare Snare to go jetting off on a Stateside tour. So Jan. give us the lowdown on this glamorous international touring life.
‘We flew to New York. had a 28-hour journey on the Greyhound bus to Minneapolis. felt like shit and played that night in Minneapolis. and then every day we played our way back -- eight-hour drives every day back to
New York. It went Minneapolis. Chicago. Detroit. Boston and New York.‘
Generally. what happens in the weird and wacky world of pop is that you form a band and if you're good lots of scintillating offers come your way. For Jan Burnett it was the other way round. lle pressed up l()() singles himself. was asked to do a tour of the US East Coast. then formed a band to capitalise on the offer.
Why does he think America were the first to bite at Spare Snare‘s dissonant guitars and bass rumblings?
‘Because it's so big. someone‘s going to like you!‘ offers Jan. "There‘s so many different outlets over there - college radio and maybe 20-30
fanzines in every major city. As soon as you get some attention. you get more. but it‘s hard making that first step. Luckily, we‘re maybe three rungs up the ladder with ten more to go.‘
Slowly but surely. offers are filtering through for the quartet and Jan is particularly pleased that Britain is tentatively picking up on the group. In Scotland. Spare Snare have soulrnates in fellow Duridonian noiseniks Broccoli and in the Pavementesque sounds of young Glasgow bands like Urusei Yatsura and Spacehopper. They team up with the latter for a special live Beat Patrol broadcast from The 13th Note on 30 July, before tackling the al fresco rigours of the Caledonia Stage at T In The Park on Sat 5. (Fiona Shepherd)
12 The List 28 Jul-IO Aug l995