S mack the beach up
Texas may be back with a new album of relaxed pop called
The Hush, but SHARLEEN SPITERI makes quite a racket when her band are criticised. Come on feel the noise. Words: Peter Ross
SHARLEEN SPITERI ONCE SANG THAT SHE didn‘t want a lover. now she wants you to have sex to the sound of her voice.
‘I like a bit of baby-making to my music. that‘s what I like.‘ she grins. ‘The odds are that. if you sell four million albums. there must be some people shagging to your music.‘
You‘re safe enough talking to Spiteri about the aphrodisiac effects of her soulful. sensual sound. After all. Texas are admirers of Prince. Al Green and Chic — three purveyors of tunes so horny you can catch a social disease by listening without a condom. But. if the singer thinks you‘re having a go at her band. if she suspects you‘re hinting that they might be a teensy. weensy wee bit bland. then she‘ll call you on it before you can say “The Corrs‘.
But that‘s cool. You‘ll like Spiteri when she‘s angry. You‘ll see something of the real Sharleen — the straight—talking. tall-walking Glasgow girl who has kept her Clydeside intolerance for bullshit. People call her a fake. but she‘s as real and rooted as the Finnieston Crane. Speaking with her on a break in recording during Top ()f The Pops. the conversation is marked by conflict. Still. it‘s a refreshingly upfront experience. a chance to ask the hard questions and get the stone-cold answers. It begins. exotically enough. on the beach.
The photo-shoot for current single ‘In Our Lifetime‘ finds Spiteri bathing in the Miami
surf in a shipwrecked-is—the-new-sex kind of
way. Suggestions that these shots are pretty raunchy. however. meet with a counter— interrogation. ‘Why are they raunchy‘." she demands.
Well. they are undeniably sexy shots.
‘Yeah. I know they‘re sexy. But you tell me why you think they‘re sexy‘."
I guess they‘re in a long tradition of sexy beach shots.
‘Yeah. but what would you think if Pamela Anderson was naked and watching the tide wash over her arse'." she snaps. 'l)o you think that‘s going to be sexy'.’ What‘s the important thing in those pictures‘.’ The important thing is you using your imagination. There‘s absolutely nothing there that‘s giving you any information about anything. I‘m completely fully clothed. Sex isn‘t about what you see. it‘s what you don‘t see that makes something
sexy. It‘s in your eyes. not in the size of your
breasts. That‘s the way I‘ve always done photographs. I‘ve always tried to do it really. really tastefully.‘
'You don't buy credibility. I think the people who said that are cynical fucks. Real people, real record buyers don't care!
So. are you comfortable with the idea of using your good looks to sell the music‘.’
‘()f course I am! But that is such a condescending thing to say. My looks don‘t sell the Texas records. they help sell them. I‘ve always looked this way. and they didn‘t at one point help sell our records.‘
Yeah. okay but . . .
‘No. but I just want to point that out.‘ she breaks in. ‘If you don‘t have a good record. you don‘t have anything. You could look like Cindy Crawford and you‘re still not going to sell it.‘
This is true and. happily. The Hush is a good album which should easily sell as much as its predecessor. the career-resurrecting White ()2: Blmule. Kicking off with ‘In Our Lifetime‘. it progresses through twelve tracks including next single ‘Summer Son‘ (‘ABBA doing Blondie as reworked by Giorgio Moroder.‘ according to Spiteri). Two tracks — ‘Move In‘ and the title track — see Texas working again with Manc production duo Mark Rae and Steve Christian who contributed to ‘Good Advice‘ on ll’hite ()n Blmzde. “The Hush‘ first appeared last year on Rae and Christian‘s critically acclaimed Northern .S‘ulphurit‘ Soul album.
Rae and Christian are not Texas‘s only collaborators. They worked with lidinburgh DJs The Soul Renegades on “You‘ll Never Know‘ for The Acid House soundtrack and. to the amazement of many. let New York hip hop dons the Wu-Tang Clan loose on ‘Say What You Want‘.
‘A lot of people were cynical about that. thinking "Oh my God. Texas and the Wu-Tang Clan‘.’ What‘s this all about‘."‘.‘ says Spiteri. ‘But 1 really enjoyed it. The Wu-Tang Clan. are just really good. true people.‘
There is definitely a credibility gap between the bands Texas admire and work with. and the way they themselves are perceived.
‘We‘ve never been interested in being trendy or cool.‘ says Spiteri. 'All I know is that we‘ve been doing this for ten years and there‘s a lot of people who came out at the same time who were supercool. supertrendy. Where are they now‘.’
But the Wu-Tang Clan get praised to the heavens. while you get lumped in with Simply Red.
‘But we‘ve never been a band who have made music for the wrong reasons.‘ she counters. ‘We do it very truly and I think that‘s a lot cooler than anything else you can say for other bands. Lump me in with whoever you want. but I won‘t play the game.‘
Well. it has been suggested that you only work with such well- respected people to buy yourself credibility.
‘You don‘t buy credibility.‘ Spiteri snaps in tones so vitriolic that it feels like I‘m about to become a black eyed boy. ‘We had sold four million albums by the time we worked with the Wu-Tang Clan. People couldn‘t give a fuck. Real people. real record buyers don‘t care. It‘s not even on the album. it didn‘t even come out in America. We did it f‘or fun. not to sell records. We don‘t do it for any of the wrong reasons that a lot of people do these things for. So. [just think that the people who said that are cynical fucks. I really think that it‘s a real shame for them. because they obviously have no true love of music.‘
As John Lydon and Barry Manilow once told us. anger is an energy and passion is always in fashion. Looked at like thaLTexas might just be the wildest. hippest old kids on the block. They mean it. man.
The Hush is released on Mercury, Mon 10 May. Texas play Barrowland. Glasgow, Sun 30 May as part of BBC Music Live. Call the ticket hotline on 0141 287 5000.
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