Scotland's success story of 1997, THE SUPERNATURALS have been quiet of late. That’s when they’re not rubbing shoulders with Robbie Williams and Tina Turner.
Words: Damien Love
‘If you think of Glasgow as a band network.‘ considers James MeColl. the voice of the Supernaturals. ‘we‘re like Strathblane.‘ Beside him. nursing a glass of water. keyboard player Ken McAlpine offers. ‘There‘s the big Glasgow Band Building. and we‘re like a wee shack down the road.’
The Supernaturals. at least as represented by the 40% of the group at this cafe table. are fond of the odd simile. Take. for example. the pros and cons of working with the machinery of a record label. as compared with the determinedly hands- on approach which characterised the group prior to their signing with Food Records in 1995.
McColl suggests we ‘think of the machine as a bicycle — bits of your bicycle you‘re very fond of. but bits continually give you problems. The crank-setting on my bike.‘ he elucidates. ‘is continually giving me problems. and I don‘t know what’s wrong with it. And that‘s maybe a little like a record company press officer. Whereas Andy Ross. the guy that signed us. he’s like the handlebars. who never give us any problems.‘
Bicycles are another recurring theme. It seems timely to ask whether the band ever considered trying a World Cup single; after all. for a while there. Scottish television companies seemed to find it impossible to show a montage of football highlights without playing a Supernaturals track in accompaniment.
44 THEIJST 11—25 Jun 1998
'They were using "Smile" on the Rangers’ 9 In A Row video which is unfortunate because most of us are Celtic supporters.’ James McColl
The Supernaturals: Glasgow smiles better
‘They wereusing "Smile" on the Rangers” 9 In A Row video.‘ points out the singer. ‘which was quite unfortunate because most of us are Celtic supporters. I‘m much more looking forward to the Tour de France. to be honest.‘
Odd things happen when you are the Supernaturals. Like. you'll be quietly rehearsing one day and the phone will go. and it‘s someone asking whether you'll fill in for Tina Turner‘s AWOL support band at Murrayfield. Then. after you agree that you‘ll do it so long as no-one outside the few dozen thousand people at the stadium ever finds otit. you pick tip a newspaper to read that Tina is your all- time hero. and you only played on condition that you met her. Which you didn't. because her security chased you away.
Or you‘ll find yourself on the edge of the carnival. supporting Robbie Williams in Europe during his strange post-Take That interim. ‘One night we were all sitting in this hotel in Milan.‘ McColl recalls. ‘and this really beautiful girl was trying to chat tip Robbie's bass-player. because if they couldn't get Robbie they‘d try and get their hands on his band. And the guy‘s completely sick of it. because he‘d been all over Europe doing this.
‘ller mum and dad were sitting across the room.
waiting for her to have a
one of his band. and then they'd take her home. One o‘clock in the morning. and she‘s saying to this bass player. “Pretend we go for a walk to the lift. and we make love in the lift . . Then she's saying to me. “You go talk to my father about Manchester United. Bonehead talked to my mother and father when Oasis were here“.’
Bikes. Tina Turner. Robbie Williams“ bass player — not the dark. edgy. arty sttiff of the classic rock interview. This is why the Supernaturals think they're in Strathblane - they’re not cool enough for Glasgow. ‘We’ve never really been seen as being cool enough.‘ sighs McAlpine. ‘Because we're not very cool. Why try and pretend‘?‘
The Supernaturals play East Kilbride Arts Centre on Thu 11, Milngavie Town Hall on Sat 13, and Word Up, Greenock on Wed 17 Jun.
liaison with either Robbie or ; some of us would like to be in
Bi mouth ;
Soun bites from your favourite
5 'I don't feel financially secure.’ 3 Mariah Carey drives us to horrible
‘ ‘I look at bands like Prodigy and
’I used to drive around in a van all day with the radio on. Then I'd get to the beach and do a bit of cleaning up in my bikini and these massive council work gloves. I was Madame Cbolet in The Wombles' swimsuit issue — removing dead seals was my speciality. I've always admired The Wombles and their philosophy of finding a use for everything.’
Catatonia’s Cerys Matthews in a less sober moment
think "jeez, what is that racket? Why does he cut his hair that way? What’s he got in his nose?" ’
Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ leader Dickie Barratt shows both his age and a mod/coin of taste
’Hey, man, I talk about the things that piss me off. White kids who talk like black rap stars. That pisses | me off. Why should I see that in my 1 life? Those Hanson guys kind of [ piss me off.’
Denis Leary on what pisses him off
'Yasser Arafat quotes my dad when he gives a speech. Some guy on the street in Indonesia plays Give Peace a Chance when he recognises me.’ Sean Lennon says the kind of things which would piss Mr Leary olf
’The Spice Girls are here to stay — see you at the stadiums!’ The blood runs cold
'Probably my first sexual ; experience was wearing me sister's i brownie skirt with nothing underneath and a belt.’
Ultrasound ’s ironically monikered Tiny Wood admits to the kind of stuff that really should remain a firm secret.
’I'm not fucking blokes, but I am a
bit more in touch with reality. ..
stockings sometimes, and if you feel like it, go for it.’
Jason Donovan continues the theme,
’I actually went out one night in ! drag. When I was about eighteen, I
wore full make-up, a fur coat, and
a pink dress.’
Too much, already Ian Brown