Death Becomes Them

Craig McLean talks to Love and Money's James Grant, currently preparing for the band's five-night residency at the Fringe Club..

The List, August 27, 1993

James Grant does not like showers because they are "too ephemeral." Only baths offer the endurance of the soak, the wallow, the deep, lasting effect. Ditto his music. James Grant has been having a lot of problems with his bath recently, dicky plumbing and all that. Ditto his music.

Correction. The problem lies with the plumbers, not the plumbing. They cost too much, understand too little, are crude and artless. James Grant and Love and Money, an intricate tangle of piping and pumps if there ever was one, have suffered at the hands of some of the worst tradesmen in modern pop history.

"The only way I can work within the music business now is if I have total artistic control. Over everything," declares an emphatic Grant. A familiar refrain, but one that Love and Money are more qualified than most to utter. Over three albums and six years with Phonogram Records, they found their creative vision blurred and Grant's incisive songwriting blunted by a record company who patently did not have a scooby. Singles they wanted, hit singles. So James Grant wrote "Papa Death." Much gnashing and wailing of teeth. Much dropping of band.

So James Grant wrote littledeath. This time, in burgeoning Glasgow label Iona, he has found an emphatic home for a mellow album (due in November) whose title in French, petit mort, refers to orgasms. But, "as they're my words, I'd like it to mean like a kind of catharsis. Much of my writing is about catharsis."

We'd noticed.

"Oh really? That's very perspicacious of you! But that's the general vibe of it. I don't want to sound hippy-dippy, but I like the organic nature of the words--it sounds like it could be a place, if you like. The other thing is now I can be as grim as I like now, now that the record company's out of the way."

That burden so traumatized Grant that for the release of 1991's Dogs In The Traffic, Love and Money's third and last for the major label, his band played only three or four concerts. This year, Love and Money played their first gig in two years at the Ferry during Mayfest. Now, fresh new deal having been inked, Grant has gone all gung-ho and lined up five gigs. In a row. Playing new stuff. Hang on to your hats. Grant's hanging on to his. "I think maybe I'll have three double whiskies before I go on. But I'm looking forward to it," he testifies. "I feel a lot looser..."

Must be the Radox.

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