Back in the Frame

Happy in his own skin, RODDY FRAME has stopped looking at the world through Aztec Camera and is being guided by the North Star. Words: Alastair Mabbott

It was the first time Roddy l’rame had been out of a record deal since he was sixteen. llis contract with \N’arner Brothers was history and Fl't's‘tmtiu. Aztec (Tamera‘s final album for the label. remained almost entirely unpromoted. Frame had been planning to drop out of sight fora hit. take time out in Thailand to begin with. and then . . . who knows‘.’ It might be refreshing. he thought. to go for a period without music. But even as he ga/ed out over the South (‘hina Sea and tried to convince himself that such a thing might be possible. he felt his destiny tugging at his trunks.

‘l was on the beach and within a week I was getting ideas for songs.‘ he says. 'lt came home to me really profoundly then that . . . you know that Bruce Springsteen thing. “I‘m a prisoner of rock ‘n' roll"? Well. I‘m a prisoner of mainstream indie pop; that‘s the kind of vibe that was going on.‘

In a move that seems so natural that you wonder why he didn’t do it before. Frame has. for the first time. released his new album. The Nor/Ii Slur. under his own name rather than that of .-\/.tcc (Tamera. ‘Basically. it's just in line with all the other changes that took place.’ he explains. referring to his move to the indie label lndependientc. ‘And also kicking into my thirties. I couldn‘t see any reason not to do it. and if I was going to do it I felt I should do it now.‘

For The .=\"nrt/i Slur he managed to resist. for once. the multiplicity of opportunities made possible by technology and went back to basics by recording an album which had ‘the same guys in the same room playing from start to finish. It’s got a limited palette of sounds.’ lle‘s gone through such a phase of radical streamlining before. after [lie/i /.(lII(/. Htm/ Rum. when he cleared the jam chords out of his songs and started focusing on the groove —- which is still where his heads at. But now. instead of trying to etnulate Alexander ()'.\'cal. he's made what he calls ‘a white— boy guitar record' with more inspiration from Springsteen and Bob Dylan than .limmy .lam and Terry Lewis.

'I feel the trend among my friends is that whole kind of post-modern, deconstructing- everything, delighting-in- artifice feeling that's been running for the past ten years has run its course.’ Roddy Frame

Roddy Frame: dancing to his own rhythm and under his own name

The North Star captures qualities of vintage l’rame: the windswept lyricism of the incurable romantic; graceful rockers that Bryan Adams couldn‘t write if he lived to he l()(); an ability to tap into the healing properties of music. It sounds as though lirame is sending out a message of solace to an audience of fellow thirtysomethings for whom his voice has been a companion all their adult lives. He aired most of the new songs live at Flux during the Edinburgh Fringe l‘estival. and was rewarded with an attentive audience that really seemed to want to hear them.

‘I think people of a certain age. we‘re ironied out.‘ he says. ‘I feel the trend among my friends is that whole kind of post-modern. deconstructing- everything. delighting-in-artifice feeling that's been running through everything for the past ten years has run its course. At this point. personally anyway. I‘m looking for some sort of sincerity. I think this albums almost entirely an irony-free zone.‘

'l'hat 'almost entirely‘ turns out to he a reference to a topical line about men being from Mars and women from \"enus delivered in lirame‘s most winning way. and with a mischievous post-modern twinkle.

Roddy Frame plays Glasgow Old Fruitmarket, Mon 23 Nov.

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Big mo uth

The column that let's it all hang out.

'We're fucked, we’re far too old. Everyone’s old in pop now and it’s really bad. That’s why there's so many miserable records - 35-year- olds moaning about being 35. Like Radiohead. Non-specific misery. We prefer specific.’

Luke Haines of the un feasibly cheery Auteurs and the happy go lucky, laugh a minute Black Box Recorder reveals to Spin how he likes his misery straight up.

’I want to be like Madonna and last for ever. I won’t burn out though I am worried about getting bored. I want to have something left to experience when I get older. Imagine of being bored of going out by the time you’re eighteen. That would be awful.’

Billie Piper, just turned sixteen and with a Number One sing/e under her belt already, contemplates reaching the ripe old age of eighteen in Gear.

'To be honest, it happens so often that I'll only pick 'em up if they’re Tommy Hilfiger. They’re big, brash and loud, and I can give them to my brothers. So, if you're thinking of throwing some, make sure they‘re clean.’

Cerys Matthews of Catatonia tel/s :'—0 readers of her preferences in case any of them should want to throw their grundies at her.

'You've got to be full-on until you don't like it anymore. Because at my time now, there’s not a day to waste.’

Robert Plant of led Zeppelin informs Time Out that he has no intent/On of dilly dallying before he has to cliinl) the stairway to heaven Groan.

‘The whole thing is a dance y'know. lt's silly and then it’s dumb; it’s the same circle. It’s the same snake eating it’s tail to find out what it's ass tastes like.’

Beck gives NME a taste of his mind

t9 Nov—3 Dec 1998 TllELIST49