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mm:- Mann for all seasons

Disillusioned artists leave the music business all the l time; but few are as

l talented as Aimee Mann.

3 On a tour of British radio 5 stations, she tells Alastair

Mabbott how she nearly called it quits.

. ‘l basicallyjust decided.‘ she says.

looking thin and a little wan, ‘that I couldn't think of any reason to stay in the record business.‘

Those who watched the BBC2 documentary series The Music Biz will

' contractual woe as cautionary tales

, about the record industry. She related the saga of her old band. 'Til Tuesday.

f who emerged from Boston in the mid—

80s with critical acclairu but signed to a

record company who seemed to have no idea what to do with the band. and didn’t even appear to like them very much. Eventually. she reached a ‘diplomatic agrecment'. escaped frqu Epic to lrnago Records and relaunched

herselfas a solo artist. Horrible. , depressing story. Little was she to

i know that history was about to repeat

mm mm PANTHERS '

itself. ‘lt just got worse after that. if you can

i believe it. but in a different way. lruago

folded, and yet I wasn‘t free to seek another record deal. because I was signed. contractually bound. owned. you might say. by the president of the record company. Although the record company. which had consisted of 45

employees. now consisted of four. including the president. I wasn't

allowed to leave and look for my own deal.‘ It was the last straw. and Mann began

recall that Aimee Mann was among the artists picked to tell their stories of

to look at drastic ways out of the

_ situation.

‘If you're doing something and there's no possibility of making a living, what

you have is a hobby. So I called him up

and said. “I'm going to look for ajob and I‘m quitting the business. 'cause you've made it impossible for me to some up with any reason to stay. So he finally agreed to do a separate deal with an actual record company that could actually maybe put my record out.‘

So the second solo album. I'm With Stupid. is the Aimee Mann record we might never have heard and it would have been a pity if we hadn't. With guests on board including Difford and Trlbrook. Bernard Butler and Juliana Hatfield. she and producer John Brion have created a work that‘s playful. spontaneous and filled with books, while still lyrically betraying the scars of her experiences. It's not chock-full of songs about record companies and music-biz sharks, of course. but she admits there is some correlation.

‘Yeah. I think it definitely goes in there. Because the most frustrating thing is when you can’t really talk


, 4s”

Aimee Mann: stupld’s with her about it. or you can't tell people about it because they won‘t understand. It’s probably not that much fun to hear

F about, so you want to channel it into a


simpler form.‘

Her denial that she’s fatalistic at heart is less than fully committed. Thinking

in the long-term. she says like, her

lifetime she‘s an optimist. But in the short term. to save herself more disappointment. she’s learned to have no faith in the system and no confidence about anything concerning

her own career. in the wider scheme of , things. Mann is ‘teetering on the edge

of facing unwelcome hard tmths' about the human race. but only teetering. She

; hasn’t gone right over the edge yet.

‘Yeah . . . imagine the bitter person

7 that I would have to become ifl : actually believed a statement like “God : just made people too dumb". That

would be really sad. I don‘t know ifl could argue against it, necessarily. but I

wouldn't want to be the person to come

out and say it.‘

Aimee Mann plays The Garage.

Glasgow on Sun I 9.


Bat] Scotland



Late blooer

luka Bloom: self-invented

Many people dream of a new identity, but few actually go the extra mile and bring such a transformation about. That is precisely what the disaffected Irish folk singer Barry Moore did, however, when he took his flagging career by the scruff of the neck, and shook it into a new existence as Luka Bloom.

The younger brother of Christy Moore, he began singing on the Irish folk circuit, but even at school his interests did not lie in the tradition. His first influences were American singer-songwriters like James Taylor and Neil Young, but the folk clubs provided his only outlet.

‘l was listening to The Clash and singing in folk clubs, which was very weird, but it wasn’t until the late 80s that I eventually got it together. I had been working very hard on my songs, and had reached a point where I felt

that I needed to be heard, but as long

as I was still perceived asa struggling singer in Dublin, it was difficult for anything to happen, so I needed to do

38 The List l7-.‘~(l .\'m um

something very dramatic.’

He uprooted to New York, and adopted the name Luka Bloom, which he describes as ‘totally pretentious’ rather than redolent of any Joycean

echoes (‘Basically, I wanted a name

that was easy to remember, but it has as much literary significance as Bono, Sting or The Edge’). Musically, though, the change was momentous, and a different, more powerful artist emerged.

‘I’m living in Dublin again now, but i couldn’t have done any of it if I hadn’t gone to New York. I changed so much as a person there, and I needed to be in a place where what I was creating would be cultivated and nourished, rather than suppressed in some way. Musically, I’m very much affected by my environment, and my ears are always open to new challenges.’ (Kenny Mathieson)

luka Bloom is part of The Celtic Swing Tour at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Wed 29.