Glasgow band Travis have discovered a record deal at the end of the rainbow. Could a pot
of gold be out of the question? ‘-.‘~\.':rds: Eddie Gibb Photograph: Andy Wilsher
\\'llll.li (‘l'Tli GLASGOW popsters Bis generated a lot of attention as the first un— signed band to perform on Top Of The Pops. 'l‘ravis were managing a similar feat on Jools Holland‘s rather adult-orientated Later show. Both bands are now with label. and as Bis prepare to perform to squealing girlie fans in white knee-high socks in Japan. Travis are finishing off a support slot on the .\lansun tour before releasing their new single ‘lflo Girls‘ in early April.
After slogging away for six years. mostly under the rather unpromising name of Glass ()nion. Travis are suddenly in a position to become oxernight sensations. So why now"? ‘I don't know why you stay in a band for years but I did.‘ says 33—year-old singer and songwriter Francis llealy. He is a believer in 8 THE LIST . - y -:
what he calls the ‘stupid factor’ — what you or l might describe as dumb luck.
But there are other reasons too. such as the fact that Travis write proper songs with a fashionably 70s retro-rock tinge. The band have been compared. inaccurately. to Radiohead. but for my money they sound as if they‘ve been listening to The Faces. with llealy‘s vocal range incorporating an impressive Rod Stewart honk. .\'ot deliberately so. says l-lealy. who tries to avoid picking up influences from other records. ‘The reason my voice is so powerful is because I have to sing over such a racket.‘ he adds.
They were thrilled by the prospect of
working at Bearsville Studios in tip-state .\'ew York where Bob Dylan and the Band ttsed to cut records. indicating at least a basic awareness of their music heritage. The fact that their first independently released EP in October contained a track called 'All I Wanna Do Is Rock' — a riposte to the Stones' ‘lt‘s Only Rock ‘n‘ Roll‘ — suggests they may not always take that heritage seriously.
However. it‘s clear that Travis. who take their name from the Harry Dean Stanton character in the movie l’urt’s. Texas. are
focused on success. A series of impressive live shows. together with an album recorded before Christmas under the experienced eye of veteran British pop producer Steve Lillywhite. suggest they could go the distance. Travis are the first signing to lndependiente. the new label founded by ex—Go! Discs boss Andy .‘vlacdonald. who shaped the careers of The Beautiful South and Portishead. and helped reposition Paul Weller as the Modfather. \lacdonald has pedigree chums. it seems.
The current Travis line-up. in existence for about a year. comprises three former Glasgow School of Art students and an ex-pint puller from the city's Horseshoe Bar. Though the music scene was flourishing in the city. they decided to move to London to be near the music industry action. Anyway. their stripped— down guitar sound is rather out of step with Glasgow‘s current predilection for lo-fi artiness with keyboards and recorders. 'l‘m partial to a bit of lo-fi.‘ says llealy. ‘but we want to be hi-fi.‘
U16 Girls is released on 1 Apr on Independiente with an album to follow in Jun. Travis play at King Tut's on 29 Mar.