They don’t get mobbed in the streets and your gran probably likes them. TRAVIS
may not be very rock’n’roll but they are the purest of pop bands. And what the hell’s wrong with that? Words: Mark Robertson
16 THE LIST 28 Feb—14 Mar 2002
. don‘t understand. This doesn‘t make sense. Travis are boring. Travis are dull and worst of all. Travis are nice. lieeugh. Weird. We need nice pop stars like we need a hole in the head. do we not‘.’ Travis seem completely inept at the whole rock‘n‘roll game. They are seemingly unable to get thrown out of Browns. the Ivy or the (iroucho; they‘re apparently disinterested in developing serious drug habits and won‘t even entertain the idea of getting caught shagging supermodels. children or animals. And as for lighting spirit. not once have they lowered themselves to get embroiled in any tabloid slap fights with other bands in the music press. And still they are among the most popular acts in the land. So what‘s going on‘.’ At ﬁrst ponder. Travis don‘t feel very famous. Sure. my mum might know their name and my sister might think the wee singer fella is kinda cute but
they‘re not that famous. are they? Two multi-million selling albums. a clutch of
Brit Awards. headliners at Glastonbury. T in the Park and Gig on the Green may count for something. But most tellingly for me perhaps. is that they‘re happy to ﬂy me over to Dublin for 45 minutes in their company. You do the math.
When I finally tracked the foursome down. it‘s in a huge luxury hotel on the outskirts of Dublin where they ﬂew in for a few hours to perform on Ireland‘s televisual cornerstone of variety entertainment. The lure Late Show. The plan is to drop in. run through new single ‘Flowers In The Window" and be back in London for teatime.
Sporting dungarees. stripy work shirt and skip cap. vocalist. frontrnan and chief songwriter Fran Healy could pass himself off as a bewildered redneck petrol pump attendant from some obscure 2111 movie while Neil Primrose‘s liner coilfeured Shakespearean goatee is more Romeo and Juliet than Page and Plant.
With his serpent-like red and black striped scarf. army regulation ﬂak jacket and tinted blue shades. guitarist Andy Dunlop is the only one with any portents to rock star swagger. That is until his opening gambit across the room is one bernoaning the state of the cheese (‘stinky‘) laid out on the lunch buffet.
As the interview commences. Healy curls up in front of me like a bothy cat. ashtray and ciggie in hand. If this is one of Britain‘s biggest pop stars he‘s not very good at showing it. Healy reveals that he is in fact a man with a very serious mission.
‘I want to create perfect pop.‘ he declares. Like any good missionary. he has a grand statement of intent. ‘The only plan is that we try and write something that is absolutely. intoxicatingly melodic with lyrics that actually mean something. Something that has some kind of basic poetry that you would understand if you were two years old or eighty or anything in between.‘
So that‘s the idea. That‘s what Travis do. In some kind of pop stealth
bomber they sneak in under cover of darkness and carpet bomb the hearts of
vulnerable teens. frazzled twentysornethings. career girls and toddlers alike with affable. accessible guitar pop. Captain of these raids is Fran.
Yet. while they may have become a household name and the soundtrack to many lives they‘re not exactly being mobbed in the street and fending off endless autograph hunters. ‘That‘s why the album was called The Invisible Bum]. because we had done really. really well and still nae cunt knew who the fuck we were.‘ Healy says. ‘ln the street. all you hear is the “sssss” of Travis as in “look. there‘s that wee bloke out of Travis" and you go “fuck. what was that?”
And that is the extent of their fame. Despite having already sold out four nights at Glasgow‘s SECC this month. they can happily enjoy life unpestered. ()nly bassist Dougie Payne might have more trouble. his wife being actress Kelly Macdonald. which may add up to double the chance of media intrusions.
‘lts bizarre that we can boast about anonymity btrt 4().()()() people are gonna be coming to the SliCC.‘ says Healy. ‘That‘s nice because people will have a good time. And I‘m more than happy with that as I don‘t want people going through my fucking bins. I don‘t want paparazzi fuckers peeking through the curtains at
"'53. UN 7" Ht