ROCK Mark Lanegan Glasgow: gZ,Thu 15 Oct
Screaming Trees vocalist and sometime solo artist Mark Lanegan gives a transatlantic cough. 'Excuse me, I gotta quit smoking,’ he says in a rare bout of unconditional communication.
Coming from a man who lived the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle before he actually got into rock 'n' roll, this seems a bit rich. However, in the past year or so he has kicked the other traditional vices of drink and drugs, and his tobacco habit is all that remains to be shelved.
Although now living in California, lanegan grew up in Washington State where as a teenager he first entered a cycle of drink and drug abuse, punctuated by spells in prison and drying-out periods. He formed Screaming Trees with the Conner brothers, the Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy of alternative rock and together they became the rootsy romantics of the Seattle garage scene. Lanegan has carried through the country and roots influences on his three solo albums, including Scraps At
Mark Lanegan: walks the walk and sings the songs; not overly keen on talking the talk
Midnight, the current collaboration with ex-Dinosaur Jr man Mike Johnson, parts of which sound like a spaghetti western soundtrack.
In addition to touring without his fellow Trees for the first time, Lanegan has also started on new solo material, a covers project and is lending his bourbon- soaked vocal skills to supergroup Tuatara - an instrumental side-project for REM’s Peter Buck and Pearl Jam's Mike McCready who have evidently decided they don’t want to be exclusively instrumental.
It is surely no accident that this flurry of activity coincides with a long-term period of sobriety, not that you'll get Lanegan to make any more than an oblique connection.
'l'm more interested in working now than I have been in the past,’ drawls rock’s most taciturn man. ’I haven’t made a lot of records in the past ten years so I'm just enjoying being creative before I croak . . . or [referring to the slim likelihood of giving up smoking] my voice becomes high and boyish,’ he deadpans, before taking a well-earned rest from all this arduous talking business. (Fiona Shepherd)
ROCK Boo Radleys
Boo Radleys: offering a Sice of life
Usually, it's a key sign that a band are at the fag end of their lifespan when one of their number checks out and does a solo album. Which, to some, is
46 THE LIST 8—22 Oct 1998
how it seemed when 800 Radleys lead man Sice released First Fruits in 1996 under the Eggman moniker. Cracking though it was, rumours of the Liverpool band's death were complete cobblers.
’Around the time, I was feeling a bit out of the limelight,’ recalls the Sice boy. ’I just wanted to prove to myself that I could write songs, and when I ended up having this tape finished, I was really surprised that Creation just said. "go and do this solo album", so I just did it.’
FOrtunately for fans of the band, they are continumg to do it collectively, and as their album titles suggests, in no small measure. The new one, Kingsize follows a pattern.
'We've always made grand statements with our album titles — Giant Steps and C’mon Kids and Wake Up,’ insists Sice. ‘Kingsize kind of fits in with that. Apart from that, it was getting to a late stage and the artwork was done and we badly needed a title.’
A grand name is one thing but you need the big songs to match it. Titles such as ’Ivlonument For A Dead Century’, 'The Future Is Now', 'Jimmy Webb Is God’, suggest it. And then
there’s the first Single from Kingsize, ’Free Huey'. Surely not a tribute to the mulleted madness of Mr Lewis and his News? Well, no. The song actually harks back to the Black Panthers.
’Martin (Carr, songwriter) was reading a lot at the time when he wrote the song,’ states Sice. 'The black community in Oakland was suffering a lot under the local police force, being attacked rather than protected by them, so they took up the thing in the American constitution about the right to bear arms. The "Free Huey" thing comes from this guy Huey Newton who was stopped on a dark country road and it ended up with both Huey and a policeman being shot and Newton got three years. The image of the Panthers was about guns and stuff but they also promoted a lot of education'
Something which Sice clearly believes the record-buying public requues at this moment. ’I try to remain pl‘lllOSOpthal about it (the charts), but you can’t ignore it. I watch MTV and find it deeply uneXCIting/
(Brian Donaldson) ea Kingsize is out on Creation on Mon 79 Oct.
The Montrose Avenue
Glasgow: King Tut’s, Thu 15 Oct; Edinburgh: Venue, Wed I4 Oct
Inspiration comes in many forms. Some people find it in drugs, some in drink and others in the small details of everyday life. The producers of Montrose Avenue’s debut album Thirty Days Out found that fear and humiliation worked best to inspire the band to reach for perfection.
’We were doing one song and every time I fucked up, I had to remove an item of clothing,’ explains drummer Matt. '80 there I was, sitting at my drums with my shirt tucked between my legs and then a sock on my cock
'At one point, they (producers Ian Richardson and Nick Coler) gaffer- taped me to a pole and refused to let me go until I got the vocal right,’ cuts in Scott, one of three singers who share the band's distinctive harmonies. ‘My arms are still hairless from the experience. But then the whole time was mayhem.’
No-one said that there wasn’t a price to pay for your art and the respective members of the Avenue, as no-one is calling them yet, have got off remarkably lightly given what they got in return. Thirty Days Out boasts a rocky dozen songs that press the buttons marked ’bitter', 'sweet’, ’raucous’, 'upbeat', ‘jangling’ and 'melody-driven’. Sometimes they press the buttons one at a time and sometimes the whole lot get punched at the same time. Bands like The Byrds, The Beach Boys and Crosby, Stills and Nash are the most obvious influences, something that the band are the first to mention.
'It’s like, what are we supposed to do?’ demands the lead guitarist Paul. 'I know some critics keep mentioning The Byrds and Crosby, Stills and Nash, but do they think they are catching us out? We’re not about to deny these things are in our record collections People who buy records With actual money don't think in terms of "retro" or "modern". You look through most music fans' record collections and you'll see REM, Asian Dub Foundation and All Saints next to each other.’ (Jonathan Trew)
I Thirty Days Out is released on Columbia on Mon 74 Oct.
Montrose Avenue: taking the high road