Singh something simple
Long-time indie outsiders CORNERSHOP have turned themselves into the hip kids on the block. How did they do that?
Words: Damien Love
When David Byrne ended his last European tour at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall a while back. attentive audience members tnay have picked tip on the prc-show tape. an aural display of rigorously relaxed. shifting good-time grooves. like vodka and honey dripping down from the speakers. What in the hell was it. we wondered. figuring we‘d never get the chance to find out. In fact. a month or so down the line. it transpired that Byrne was treating our ears to an advance tape of the latest album to be released Stateside on his Luaka Bop label: When I Was Born For The Seventh Time. the strongest and most consistent statement yet from those long-serving watchers on the periphery. Cornershop.
Formed a decade ago in Preston, Lancashire — by 'l‘jinder Singh.vocalist. guitarist. scratcher and all round. sleeves-rolled-up co-worker in the co-op shop — Cornershop initially made their mark amalgamating traditional elements of Asian music — harmonium. dholki and sitar — with racket fields of abrasive. feedbacking electric guitar. Wrapping the tourist’s perception of what Asian life in Britain was like in sheets of angry white noise — figure the statement out for yourself.
‘Wc don‘t like to shove anything down people’s throats.‘ 'l‘jinder points out. ‘We were doing a lot of different things when we first started out. stuff that‘s only been picked up on five years after it happened. The whole Asian Underground scene is based upon what we were doing five years ago. Like. when we started. in our first interviews. we stated that Bhangra was commercial and we wanted nothing to do with it — nowadays if anyone from that scene says that. it‘s seen as revolutionary. So there’s certainly a few things we haven‘t been credited with.’
The Cornershop sound evolved over the course of
critically acclaimed singles releases and two albums: Hold On It Hurts and Woman's Gotta Have It. In the meantime. in the guise of their more technologically minded side-proje’ct/alter—ego Clinton. Cornershop slowly started infecting themselves with the funk.
. Seventh Time. then. was the mother river into
‘The whole sound of the album is very . . . optimistic. Very upbeat. And very righteous. Righteous in the vocals, righteous in the heats.’
Cornershop: Tjinder goes for the burns
which all the tributaries fed. Released back in the
balmy days of summer. the album is a hazy party of
Io'ose—limbed pop. butter-dripping hip hop. country rock and hijacked Beatles with a guest list including Allen Ginsberg. Dr. Octagon. Justin Warfield and Tarnation yodeller. Paula Frazer. A good-time album ifever there was.
‘The whole sound of the album.‘ agrees 'l‘jinder Singh. ‘is very . . . optimistic. Very upbeat. And very righteous. Righteous in the vocals. righteous in the beats . . . Just good music. good elements of music. different influences. You know —- rather than just sticking to the one element. I think there’s too many groups just ripping off the Beatles these days and not putting their own bent on things. And that’s criminal. it’s really sad. I mean. it’s I998 — if people can’t be imaginative these days. that’s just really sad. A lot of bands are allowed to get away with it — but theyjust shouldn’t be allowed.‘
Cornershop were last sighted in these parts playing support to Teenage Fanclub. and the exact nature of their forthcoming shows is a little difficult to predict. In the past they have staged head-spinning nights of entirely acoustic. traditional-sounding material. real extended raga stuff sung entirely in Punjabi. Equally. the night could turn out to be like a hip-hopping Friday night down the ageless yottlhclub. Most likely. though. the material on display will range far and wide. the only unifying factor being that righteous groove.
Cornershop play Glasgow: Garage. Sun 22 Feb: Edinburgh: Jaffa Cake. Mon 23 Feb.
That old mouth/foot interface comes into play again.
’I banned all girlfriends and wives from our tours so Jon wouldn’t have any encouragement. Mikey already had his beautiful 16-year- old German girlfriend Natalie wafting around like hot food under a beggar’s nose.’
Boy George tells of the lengths he went to to ensure that his boyfriend Jon saved all his loving for him.
‘I can run around naked with a toothbrush stuck up my arse — it’s my house.’
Noel Gallagher tel/s 60 of the potential benefits of home ownership. ‘I spent my days sleeping and having sex. Me and my girlfriend were into golden showers; we used to spend all our time pissing on each other, but we couldn't afford a rubber sheet. So we just used to turn the damn mattress over. My landlady used to think l was great until I moved out and she got to smell the place.’
II/arrui Cuccuri/llo, guitarist with Duran Duran, introduces himself to Vox magazine Presumably he can now afford to buy a whole new bed after each water sports session.
lim Kerr of Simple Minds anticipates the view of the beach at Nice come the summer season
'When everybody around me is partying, I have to disappear. I’ve had to reconstruct my lifestyle, think about who I hang with. I used to hang 24 hours a day with Primal Scream. To be honest, now the only way I can see them is to spend half an hour once a month with them in a coffee shop.’
Alan McGee, ("rent/on supremo, reveals the Secret to keeping your nose clean
’I was just shit at it, man. If you have a choice, then just do what you do best. If you can crack safes, crack ’em. If you can do art, do it.‘ Goldie explains what influenced his career to turn from crime to gold- l)edec ked drum ’n’ bass superstar.
20 Feb—S Mar 1998 THE LIST 41