— that was all he played at that time. We became friends. and through him l got to know Bill Payne and Richie Hayward as well. so I was hanging out with these guys even before they were Little Feat.‘
Tackett contributed some writing. and played on Dixie Chit-ken. but. like everyone else. assumed that Little Feat was over. The band without George seemed unthinkable even before his death. but that all changed when a rehearsal complex in Los Angeles dedicated a room to the band's memory. and asked the various members to get together one last time.
‘There was an eight-year gap after the band broke up in l979. At that time. we
‘With Little Feat, we never have open auditions or anything, it's more like a kind oi extended iamily in which people just move a little closer to the centre.’
were in complete disarray. with the emotional situation ofthe band breaking up and then Lowell dying. and nobody really had the heart to carry on with it then.
‘What actually happened was that we got together to play a dedication party in l987. We only half-remembered most of the songs. but we enjoyed it so much. and felt so strongly that there was a deﬁnite Little Feat sound there. even without Lowell. that we wanted to take it on from there again. That was the catalyst. and we all realised that it was more fun playing our own stuff than being hired hands with other pe0ple.‘
The revived band recruited ex-Pure Prairie League singer Craig Fuller for their return to action. and he sang on
little Feat: still willing
the iirst three albums of their second incarnation. On the latest. and arguably best yet from the post-George band. Ain 'r Had Enough Fun. (on a new label. Zoo. but still boasting a cover painting by the late Neon Parks. whose work has adorned every Little Feat album). the regular crew of Bill Payne Oti keyboards. Paul Barrere and Tackett on guitars. Kenny Gradney on bass. and percussionists Richie Hayward and Sam Clayton are joined by the band’s first female lead singer. Shaun Murphy.
‘Shaun had been singing backing vocals with us fora while. Bill Payne and I met her when we all toured with Bob Seger. and when Craig decided he wanted to stay home with his kids. we started to think about who we might get. With Little Feat. we never have open auditions or anything. it's more like a kind of extended family in which pcoplejust move a little closer to the centre. and that's what happened with Shaun. lt‘s worked out real well. and she's given the band more of a rhythm and blues kick.
‘I believe the Little Feat sound is a real American amalgamation. It draws on everything. from country. folk and blues through to Cajun and jazz and maybe even an Aaron Copland kind of inﬂuence. and that‘s what gives us our particular sound. ()n the new record. we ﬁgured that since people tend to like us as a live band ﬁrst. then we ought to try to capture that spontaneous feel by cutting the record as live as possible in the studio. When we get back from Europe. we are going to record some gigs for a possible live album. which will maybe involve Craig Fuller as well. so we'll see how that works out.‘
[.iIIle Feul play a! ﬁre Edinburgh Play/muse ()Il Sun [2.
_ Spouting off
There’s a musical riot going on and it goes under the name ‘Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe’. It’s quite simple it you break it down and realise that ‘slobo’ is the result oi a slight linguistic translation problem on the part oi Whale, the three mad Swedes who wrote it. As you might expect irom a heavy pop song with undisputed danceability potential, it’s about a rich girl getting carnal with tramps. Pretty much standard ior Sweden ii Henrik Schyiiert’s claim that ‘we just write about stuii that we deal with’ is to be believed.
But then he’s happy to leave the cultural dissection up to the listener. The only racial observation he’ll make is that ‘Swedes seem to have a grasp oi making pop music’. He’s reierring to the Hoxette and Hednex oi this world, the makers oi disposable singles. For his part, he’s more interested in ‘pop songs with a twist.’
There are many twisted elements to Whale. The way they let genres collide. The way they write constantly about sex, but never with any gravity. The way they can pass oii an explicit lyric when it’s part oi a colouriul cartoon-like presentation that extends to their videos. There’s a potential thesis to be written on the subversive elements oi Whale’s album We Care but all Henrik will say about their
Whale: this year’s Abba. Perhaps.
approach is ‘instead oi saying it has to be a grunge hip hop meets Sinead O’Connor thing we just said “let’s lust do stuii”.
‘We’re on a crusade to make Sweden hip, which is extremely tough work,’ he continues. Especially tough ii, by his own admission, Henrik has claimed in the past that Sweden is world champion when it comes to good porn and bad music. Can Whale singlehandedly turn around that reputation?
‘By making bad porn and good music? That’s what we’re doing, isn’t it?’ (Fiona Shepherd)
Whale play King Tut’s, Glasgow on Fri 10.
A solo career has been a long time coming ior singer, songwriter and ace guitarist Stephen Druton. His iirst two albums, What It Is (1993) and night On Time (1995), both released on the Texas independent Dos Records (a stablemate oi the great Antone Records label), coniirm that the wait has been worthwhile.
Druton is now in his mid-40s, but had already built a solid reputation as a guitarist with a variety oi big-name artists, irom Bob Dylan and Kris Kristoiierson to Bonnie Haiti and Delbert McDIinton. That diversity is equally evident in his own music, which, in typical Texas iashion, ranges ireer over country, blues, talk and rock, without pinning him down to any one genre.
‘That was just part oi growing up in Texas,’ he says. ‘My iather was a jazz drummer who ran a record store, and I heard everything. Later on, when I was playing the Texas clubs, you had to play a real wide range oi stuii - hardcore country, hardcore blues, some pop. Having an open mind about music allows you to play a lot oi styles with authority ii you have the skills to do it.’
Although he is a serious guitar player, Druton’s own albums are not loaded down with virtuoso passages. Instead, he has chosen to emphasise the songs themselves. He came late to songwriting as well, but announced
Stephen Bruton: moving upiront
his arrival as a major iorce in that arena when Willie Nelson and Bonnie Haiti had a major US hit with his ballad ‘Getting Over You’ back in 1993, and his songs are increasingly being picked up by other artists.
‘l’ve always regarded myseli as a musician, and I didn’t write songs ior years, but the more I heard other people doing it, the more i wanted to see what it was all about. I think it’s all part oi the learning process, and as your experience oi liie grows, so does your ability to convey those lessons.’ (Kenny Mathleson)
Stephen Bruton plays at The
Beyond/sh, Edinburgh on Thurs 9.
l'ltc l tst i lo Nm ["05 35