As the front-man for the now defunct '80s jingle-janglers Friends Again and Love and Money, songwritter James Grant helped put Scottish pop on the map. Despite Love and Money's critical success, (and 250,000 sales of their second album Strange Kind Of Love, they split from their record company in 1993. Now, a once-disillusioned James is back with a Celtic-flavoured solo album, Sawdust in My Veins. It's not all about men in plaid skirts! he tells me.
Were you bitter about the way Love and Money split up?
Not really. I'm proud of the work we did, especially the Dogs In The Traffic album. It's tough to have artistic control when you're signed to a major record company. You have to compromise. But I don't blame the record company. If they invest £250,000 in you, they want a return. When we recorded our last album, Little Death, they said there weren't any singles on it. They didn't like it, so we released it independently.
So you don't think, "If I'd done this or that differently I'd be a star?"
No, I don't like looking back and thinking of what might have been. It's so negative - I'm just happy to be able to record music and put it out there. For me, it's not about driving a Rolls-Royce or going to parties although it's always nice to have a bit of cash. I was signing on a few years ago and wasn't pleasant. I still get Love and Money royalties--but not enough to retire on!
Were you happy being a pop star?
Nah, I never thought I was a pop star. Whenever I'd go on those kids' morning TV programmes, I'd always say the wrong thing and bring everyone down. I think they soon realised I didn't give snappy soundbites. I wouldn't sign for a major label now.There's too much compromise. Theyre always looking for commerciality when sometimes as an artist you're just looking to record a decent song.
The album's full of meloncholy ballads. Some people might accuse you of being miserable.
I don't mean to be miserable; it's just how the songs come out really. I didn't plan them that way. It's more a stream of consciousness, I suppose.
You worked with Capercailles' Donald Shaw on the album. Are you a fan?
To be honest, I didn't know know much about Celtic music before. When I was younger, I was prejudiced probably and thought it was was made by men in plaid skirts.
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