ROCK Gene Edinburgh: The Venue, Mon 15 Mar.
Gene have been dealt some cruel blows by the compulsive mythologising of the pop industry. They are fey say the critics, they steal from The Smiths, and, oh most wounding barb, they are a bit crap.
Yet anyone who has ever seen Gene live can testify that Steve Mason's bludgeoning guitar work is not played with a limp wrist, anyone with an open mind or ear must admit that the band have more in common with The Small Faces or The Jam than Morrissey and Marr and, as for being crap, the only other band in recent times to have been so unfairly dismissed are Bis.
Gene have always sounded urgent and defiant, and the new album, Revelations, is their most aggressive work to date. Even the recent single, 'As Good As It Gets’, essentially a defeatist anthem, sounds vital and alive. Ask Martin Rossiter how Gene feel as they prepare to re-enter the pop playground where they've had their lunch money stolen so many times and he replies without hesitation: ’Stiff. We're like four
Commie as you are: Gene
greyhounds and the rabbit's about to fly past.‘
Certainly, the lyrics have taken on a new social relevance. Where previously, Rossiter sang of suicide ('For The Dead') or nights on the town ('Be My Light Be My Guide'), his writing has taken an overtly political turn, betraying the utter disillusionment of this Labour activist. ‘Mayday', for instance, talks about Bevan spinning in his grave.
'The new songs range from violent slashers to let's-fall- in-lovers,’ says Rossiter. 'But, yes, the political thing is definitely there. I still believe that there is a socialist party hidden deep within the bowels of the Labour Party. I still believe in the democracy of the Party, I still believe in the grass roots membership. I'm just trying to fight socialism's corner in my own pathetic little way.‘
But doesn't Rozzer worry that all this has a touch of the dreaded Red Wedges, a dose of the horrid Chumbawambas about it?
'If you‘ve got an opinion, there’s certainly no reason to be scared of it,’ he parries. 'I feel a responsibility to say what I see. Art has always reflected the times and occasionally led the times. I’d like, at least, to do the former.‘ (Peter Ross)
Cinderella’, is an aural aphrodisiac
Croon prince: Lynden David Hall
Lynden David Hall
Glasgow: King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Wed 10 Mar. Sexrness IS a quality inherent in pop stardom. There’s something about getting paid pots of cash for playing the goitar that turns even the ugliest of fret-wankers into an Adonis With an amp. Just ask Bonehead
One 24-year-old South London soul boy, however, is a different kettle of pheromones. Recently nominated for Best British Male at the Brit Awards, Lynden DaVid Hall is a man who oozes sex appeal which has nothing to do With his increasing celebrity. True, he’s undeniably handsome in a smouldering, moody kinda way, but it's his mu5ic which really hits the spot.
The album Medicine 4 My Pain, featuring "to hit Single 'Sexy
concocted from the sauCiest s0ul and the filthiest funk, which smacks of Prince hanging out in Brixton. Hall likes this comparison.
'Prince was the first person I was into in a big way,’ he murmurs 'But I’m also into peOple as varied as lvlarvm Gaye, Sly Stone, Santana and Bob Dylan ~ anyone who's got soul. Joni Mitchell has as much soul as Al Green in my eyes.’
Bizarrely, Hall only got into inuSIC eight years ago Uninterested in school and lacking any direction in life, he was Surprised and delighted to discover, while skivmg in a music lesson, that he had a natural gift for the guitar.
Since then, he hasn’t looked back, and his forthcoming Glasgow gig promises to be a dreamy, steamy affair. Prepare to swoon. (Nicola Dawes)
preview MUSIC Personal Stereo
This issue: Howard Jones
Last thing you listened to before you left the house?
Madonna’s Ray Of Light.
What was the last album/single that you bought?
Garbage’s ’Version 20'.
Tell us about a great new band you've discovered?
DBA -— a fantastic mix of club dance language and song structure.
Album that‘s an unrecognized classic? Scott Walker's Tilt.
Record or artist that first made you want to make music?
Roxy Music’s Blood, Sweat And Tears. Song you wish you'd written?
’Give Peace A Chance’.
As a teenager, which pop star posters did you have on your bedroom wall? Jimi Hendrix, Keith Emerson and The Beatles.
In the film of your life, what's playing over the closing credits?
Erik Satie's ’Les Trois Gymnopedies’. Which of your own songs is your favourite and which do you like the least?
'No One Is To Blame’ is my favourite. That song means completely different things to different people. I track I like the least is ’Human’s Lib’ from the first album. ldon’t agree with the lyrics anymore.
Name a band that has influenced you that people would be surprised by? The Who.
Name a non-musical influence on your music?
Who would be on your dream Top Of The Pops?
T-Rex, The Rolling Stones, Prodigy, The Nice, Conor Reeves, The Move and Frank Sinatra.
What do you sing in the shower? Frank Sinatra's 'It Was A Very Good Year’.
What do you listen to when you're getting ready to go out?
Stevie Wonder’s 'Superstition'.
Who would you be on Stars In Their Eyes?
at Howard Jones plays 92, Glasgow, Sat 73 Mar, Liquid Room, Edinburgh, Sun 74 Mar.
4—18 Mar 1999 THE U8T39