Teenage dreams

It’s been 20 years since Scottish indie poppers Teenage Fanclub released their first album. Mogwai guitarist Stuart Braithwaite remembers it well . . .

‘I was only about 14 when A Catholic Education came out, and I was a big fan. It’s just a really great guitar record. At that age, I didn’t really buy records. I just used to wait on my sister to buy albums then listen to hers. I remember listening to it on the way to see Nirvana play at the Calton Studios in Edinburgh. I sneaked in, I was underage. I think my pal drove me, and he had the tape in the car.

The first time I saw Teenage Fanclub play was supporting Sonic Youth at the Barrowlands, but I really remember seeing them play at Reading in 1991. That was pretty awesome. It was the same year as The Year Punk Broke, the Sonic Youth live film, filmed at Reading that same weekend. Around the time Teenage Fanclub first came out, there was a really sort of ‘unified’ sound. Lots of bands were into Big Star, Neil Young and The Beach Boys. There was a real tunefulness going through a lot of the Scottish bands. They were maybe the best known of those bands.

Teenage Fanclub were a really important band for me as a teenager. I remember ‘Everything Flows’ from A Catholic Education standing out. I still really like it. It’s probably my favourite Teenage Fanclub song that or ‘Dumb Dumb Dumb’ from Howdy [released in 2000], I love that. I think it’s really beautiful. Sometimes in rehearsals with Mogwai, we used to play ‘Everything Flows’, with Barry on drums. Well, I wouldn’t actually say play. More like murder. Murder, dismember, and flush down the toilet. But we used to have a bash at it. I’m still really fond of their music now, but I was especially into it then because they bridged the gap between all these American bands that I was listening to like Sonic Youth, Mudhoney and Dinosaur Jr. But

they were from Lanarkshire, where I’m from. It gives you a lot of belief when you see bands making music and going all over the world. And I liked the fact that they didn’t take anything too seriously. The fact Sonic Youth took Teenage Fanclub under their wing, and Nirvana covered Vaselines songs it strengthened the idea that the musical world isn’t as big as the real world. Especially when you’re young, that’s really important. You don’t want to feel stuck in a wee corner. It’s that feeling that anyone can do it.

If Teenage Fanclub have done well, it’s because the music was really, really good, but also because they look like a band having a good time. That’s infectious. You go and see them and it looks like they’re enjoying it. That makes a big difference. They’re also really great singers. It’s quite uncommon to have a band with so many people who sing so well. I went to see them last year with my friend David Jack. They played in Motherwell, which is pretty close to where they’re from and I’m from. They played a lot of the new songs, it was really great, a good atmosphere. I wouldn’t describe this as a comeback, because I don’t know if they ever really stopped. A comeback makes me think of Elvis or something. They’re probably just taking a bit more time over things as the years go on. I suppose once you’ve proven that people aren’t going to forget about you if you take more than a year to make a record then you can take as long as you want. People are always gonna be interested in what they’ve got to do.’ (Interview by Claire Sawers)

02 ABC, Glasgow, 2 Jun; HMV Picture House, Edinburgh, 3 Jun. Their new album, Shadows is out Mon 31 May on PeMa, see review, page 74.

✽✽ Small Black and Washed Out with Dam Mantle Georgia dream-pop kid, Ernest Greene (above) will play his own gloriously woozy synth stuff, before being joined on stage by his friends, the Long Island bedroom surfy-synth lords, Small Black. See preview, page 72. Stereo, Glasgow, Fri 28 May. (Rock & Pop) ✽✽ Oneohtrix Point Never and Tomutonttu Spaced out hypnagogic synth odysseys from Daniel Lopatin, who supported Fuck Buttons last week in Brooklyn. Glasgow School of Art, Sat 29 May. (Rock & Pop) ✽✽ The Wee Chill A handbag sized festival, now with added outdoor shows, featuring DJs Twitch & Wilkes and The Ray Summers, amongst others. See profile, page 24. Sat 29 May, Queen’s Park Glasshouse, Glasgow. (Rock & Pop) ✽✽ Teenage Fanclub and Veronica Falls See preview, left and Exposure, page 73. 02 ABC, Glasgow, Wed 2 Jun; HMV Picture House, Thu 3 Jun. (Rock & Pop) ✽✽ Kid Canaveral Ah, the Scots do love a catchy chorus, as these pop kids prove. Free Tuesday night indie whimsy. Bloc, Glasgow, Tue 8 Jun. (Rock & Pop) ✽✽ Kenny Rogers The man, the legend, is bringing his love to town. See Five Reasons, page 81. Playhouse, Edinburgh, Thu 10 Jun. (Rock & Pop) ✽✽ Peggy Sue The Brighton blues-folk trio are coming, expect multiple harmonies, jangling guitars and hopefullly their cover of The Clash’s ‘Guns of Brixton’ too. Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, Wed 2 Jun; Stereo, Glasgow, Thu 3 Jun. (Rock & Pop) 27 May–10 June 2010 THE LIST 71