Having rewed up their engines and opened the throttle on their debut album, PINK KROSS are burning rubber from the west coast of Scotland to the east coast of the US of A.
Words: Fiona Shepherd
Glaswegian go-go garage trio Pink Kross have just returned from their debut American tour. timed to coincide with the release of their debut album Chopper Flirt From V.I’. Hell. Like the slogan for popular confectionery bar Flyte. they‘re sorry it took so long. but if the music biz doesn’t always run to schedule. the world of DIY recording and touring certainly doesn‘t. Both projects have been a couple of years in the planning and now they‘ve been executed Pink Kross say they’re ‘I'inancially recovering for a while.‘
This is still a better report card than many Brit bands bring back from their notoriously gruelling attempts to ‘break the States'. llaving dreamed of playing US dates for long enough and knowing any trip would have to be totally self-organised and ﬁnanced. Pink Kross adopted the right approach — have a holiday while you‘re over there.
This meant they were able to do everything from paying tribute to their heroes The Ramones and The Lunachicks in .\'ew York to hanging out with bassist .lanie (“s relatives in Louisville. Kentucky. where her aunt had helped organise the gig.
‘lt was in an old strip bar.‘ says Jane. ‘.\le and Jude were out on this catwalk in front of We who was up on a drum platform. But it was an all ages show because they were in between licenses so they couldn’t sell beer.‘
Their other tour dates were in the equally contrasting (‘hicago and Bloomington. Indiana. aka siiialliown. l'SA. llowevcr. Pink Kross were able to find pockets of punka attitude in even the most conservative environments.
‘Bloomington had this amazing video shop I'ull
f of b-movies.' recalls Jude. 'Things like llershell
(‘ioi'don Lewis [director of cult (i()s gorel‘ests in
Pink Kross: glam, bam. thank you mams
which Pink Kross would have made excellent scream queens] and all these teen angst movies you can’t get over here.‘
Most of Pink Kross‘s reference points are glam. trashy and American. so their turbo-charged primal punk stomps were bound to translate transatlantically. although Jude is concerned about how much sense their songs make while whining past at great velocity.
‘We'rc going to consciously try to slow down.‘ she says. ‘because sometimes it‘s so fast that it just washes past people. We don‘t want to start doing ballads or anything but we‘re not close-iiiinded to doing some different things.‘
And with the colourful Pink Kross that also extends to their stage outfits. ‘We dressed up as superheroes for a couple of gigs. We‘re quite tigery at the moment.‘ Grrreat stuff.
Pink Kross' Chopper Chix From V.P. Hell! is out now on Teen-C Recordingz.
See pages 77—82 for Edinburgh Festival Music Previews
ROCK Snow Patrol
You probably think a band like Snow Patrol might have formed at university — Dundee University, say — during the first week of the first term of the three members first year, gone through some line-up changes, played live, sent demos out and netted a deal with the same label as Belle And Sebastian, with whom they shared a drummer for a while. But you'd be wrong, according to singer/guitarist Gary Lightbody.
’I just remember all these lights,’ he says. ’There were bright lights and a tunnel. There were big eyes staring at me and I woke up and l was in a band. I don’t know how it happened and even today I get these phone calls and there’s this hypnotic voice on the other end of the line saying "band practice, band practice".’
Lightbody claims most of his lyrics these days come from his increasingly bizarre dreams, ’cos I can’t be arsed writing about girls anymore to be honest. It’s boring, isn’t it? So we’re talking nonsense now instead.’
There are still remnants of their initial ’writing about girls’ phase to be found on their debut album Songs For Polar Bears, Polar Bear being the name the band initially used when they released their first Single ’Starfighter Pilot’, the annual release on Stow College’s Electric Honey Records.
’That was a big step for us,’ says Lightbody. ’It certainly helped us get the name across. It was just unfortunate that it was the wrong name.’
A Los Angeles-based band of the same name got shiny and so Northern Ireland’s Polar Bear became the soon- to-be-Glasgow-based Snow Patrol purveyors of fine gurtar noise With introspective bits and persuasive melodies which sound contemporary, Without bearing an obvrous resemblance to any of their peers.
’When we’re writing the musm the influences never come from outside,’ says bassist Mark McClelland 'It‘s always something in the mUSIC, a discordant note that sends us off in a different direction. I don't think, for me anyway, anything outside comes into it. Every song is a clean slate ’ (Fiona Shepherd)
Songs For Polar Bears is released on 37 Aug on Jeepster Recordings Snow Patrol: grin and bear it
6—13 Aug i998 THE usr 116