That's a pretty long time.
It is a long time. Too long.
The new one is very different from the first one; it's a lot moodier, whereas the first one had more of a rock feel to it. Any particular reason why?
Well, I suppose James is developing as a songwriter, getting more mature as a songwriter. We wanted to do something that was really classy-sounding. I suppose when you go in with Gary Katz, you're going to get that kind of record anyway, the way he works.
How did you end up working with Katz?
Well, someone at the record company said, 'I can get you Gary Katz,' and we said, 'Don't be ridiculous! The guy's a legend.' We sent him tapes and he liked it. James went over to meet him and they got on quite well. He's really good and it was quite enjoyable. ood and it was a quite enjoyable experience. We've kept in touch with him. He's a personal friend now. But I don't think we'll do the next one with him; it just takes too long and it meant we had to basically live in America for seven or eight months, which I don't feel like doing that.
So that's why you recorded it in New York as opposed to England...
Yeah, he's married and he's got a young family, so he couldn't come away for that long.
How was working with him different as opposed to working with Tom Dowd or Taylor?
Gary is not a musical producer at all. The way he makes records, it's gonna take a long time. He's really kinda slow, it's not even that he's any more meticulous, although he's incredibly meticulous about the vocals. It's completely different, really. It was a strange experience, 'cause I've worked with a lot of producers. He's not musical at all; he couldn't tell you a C sharp from an F minor, you know, but he's got a good ear. He's really into guitars and vocals; he's not that into basses or drums.
Was it difficult recording the album so far from home?
Well, it was a bit of a strain--personal relationships.
How did the band get started?
James and Paul were in a band called Friends Again. James was the guitarist of Friends Again and he wanted to sing his own songs, be lead singer. They left Friends Again; James, Paul and Stuart--Stuart Kerr was the drummer--and formed Love and Money. I was engineering at the studio they were recording the demos in, and they asked me if I'd played bass before. They asked me to play in, kind of coaxed me out of retirement to join a band again.
What was the Chain Gang project?
Oh right--you heard of the Caterpillar factory? Caterpillar makes tractors and things. They had a factory in Glasgow and the American parent company were going to close it down, so the workers staged a work-in. They wanted to take over the factory themselves. They felt it was feasible. So someone had the idea of doing a benefit record for them, so we got together with quite a few people really--Pat Kane from Hue And Cry, Skins from Hipsway, J.C. Reed, I can't remember all the people involved, and we made a record called 'Makin' Tracks.' That was good fun.
Whatever became of that? Did they get to keep the factory?
Um, no they didn't. It closed down.
How do you all feel about remixes, because I know for the first album, you had quite a few, and this album, it's been straight singles.
Well, the fact that there were so many from the first album was a reflection on the production of the first album, which we weren't happy with really. The 'Candybar Express,' that was remixed...especially me, I was into Shep Pettibone. I was familiar with his work and thought it would be great for remixing that song. That was just sort of a thing you go through, I suppose. This one, it was conscious decision not to fuck with anything basically when we're really happy with the production. However, there's one or two songs that if they ever got to be singles, I feel that they would be presented better with a remix. But it's not something that's important.
For one of the earlier 12-inch, I think it was 'Candybar Express,' there one version that sounded like a totally different recording of it.
It was--that was the one that was done in the studio I worked in.
So that was supposed to be a demo version?
No, actually it was supposed to be a master, it was supposed to be a 1,000 copies, independent single thing, just released in Scotland, just as an experiment, something to do really, make a dance record. We were already signed to Phonogram at that point, and it was really a stop-gap thing just to keep us amused until we got a producer to record us for real. But when they heard it, they thought it was absolutely wonderful and thought that this was the way we should be going and more or less coaxed James into writing another two or three songs like it. Which, I mean, when the 'Candybar' came out....I know it's a good record and all that, but in a way, it's been a real...something we have to live down, you know.
It's been holding you back?
Yeah, I think so.
For the writing of the songs, how do you all do that? Do you write lyrics first or a tune?
James writes almost everything. We co-write. James, he certainly writes all the lyrics. We co-write some music.
When he writes, would you say they're about situations around him or does he just make them up?
No, I think a lot of it is personal experience and observation as well. Something like 'Walk The Last Mile' would be from personal experience, whereas 'Hahleluiah Man' would be more of an observation, sort of a narrative stance.
How do you decide what goes on an album and what becomes a B-side?
Um, are you familar with our B-sides?
Most of them, yeah.
It's not just our decision or just our producer's decision or the record company. All of us really have certain favorites. I think there were something like 15 or 16 songs available to record the second album, of which we started work on 12, and they were the ones that the producer likes that we liked. In fact, one of them had been released before: 'Shape of Things To Come.' It was a live b-side. I think it was the b-side of 'River of People,' an extra track on a 12." Gary particularly liked that song and wanted to do it again. It was funny though because one of his favorite tracks on the album is the song 'Scapegoat,' and he keeps calling people up in Britain, our manager and our manager in America, and saying it should be our single, and it's James and I's least favorite track. We wanted to leave it off the album in fact. We didn't like it at all.
The B-sides. They're really good fun. As opposed to spending nine months on 11 songs, we'll usually chop out two or three songs in two or three days for B-sides, and it's really good fun. It's spontaneous, which I think that will be the way the new album will go. It'll be much quicker.
How do you feel about making videos?
I don't like it as a format, as a medium. It's unfortunately necessary in the business. You can't do anything anymore. They're are exceptions, of course, but I think that almost all of them are boring. I'm not even that fond of our videos.
How many have you made at this point?
Is there any reason that 'Halleluiah Man' was shot in Japan?
Well, again the standard of scripts you get, from directors in Britain anyway, is usually diabolical. That was the best of a bad bunch of about six or seven video scripts. The main thing that it had going for it was that we got to go to Tokyo.
How do you feel about touring? Is it rough on you?
Yeah, it is a bit rough. It's good fun, but it's very draining.
How would describe your live show? Is it the same as it was a few years ago or has it changed?
Our first gig, there were 12 people in the band. Yeah, horn section, backing vocals, percussion. The last person to go was the percussionist; there's only five of us, so it's a lot rockier than it was before.
Do you still do covers and b-sides in your show, or has that been dropped?
We do b-sides, yeah. A lot of people prefer some of the b-sides to some of the tracks from the album.
Originally, I'm told, there was a different name for the second album?
Oh yeah, that's right. Man, you have done your research.
Well, I'm sort of a fan.
It was going to be called From Sunset Boulevard to Chateau Lait, and I'm personally quite glad it's not. I prefer the name Strange Kind of Love.
Any reason that it was changed?
It's a line from 'Up Escalator,' and 'Chateau Lait' is French for 'Castle', which is a district in Glasgow where James comes from, which is why he wrote that line. The reason it was changed because while we were recording, I think it was Prefab Sprout released a record called From Langly Park to Memphis, and there was a line also in an Aztec Camera song, 'From Westwood to Hollywood,' and we thought it would be a bit cringy.
Just a few miscelaneous questions. Recently you all put out a song, 'Rosemary,' as a live track. At the beginning of it, he says it was from an EP which I was unfamiliar with, so I was curious what that was.
There was a magazine in Scotland called Cut, and they gave away in the first issue--it was going all over England after a few issues in Scotland, so in the first British issue, they gave away a free 7" single with four tracks on it, which sounds horrible. Four tracks on a 7" piece of plastic sounds like shit. But the songs are quite good. We quite like the songs again, which are four completely different songs on there. You'd be curious to hear it if you're a fan, I'm sure you'd find it very interesting.
There's a song called 'Rosemary,' which was recorded in 1984. That was one of the first demos that Love and Money did. And then there's a song called 'Love to Lose,' which is like a Prince thing or something. Then there's a song called 'Trash,' which is, I don't know, like Was (Not Was ) or something, and then there's a Country and Western song with accordion and pedal steel in it called 'Rocks In My Heart.'
In 'Jocelyn Square,' there's a line that refers to an 'Endyminion hour' and I was curious what that meant?
It's not endyminon, it's (HARD TO FIGURE OUT WHAT HE'S SAYING--peel an onion?), and I don't know what it means either (laughs)
Any reason for changing the band's logo?
Yeah, we thought it was a bit naff, we thought it was a bit brash for what we were trying to do. We wanted something quite classy on the sleeve to reflect the music obviously. It sounded different and it wouldn't look right any more. I prefer it.
Have there been any ideas yet about the next album?
Yeah, quite a few. We've started; James has written quite a lot of songs, and we've all been writing for it. I think it's going to be two extremes really. There's going to be a lot of acoustic stuff on it, and also a lot of edgier, rockier stuff on it. And we want to do it in about half the time that it took to do the last one. And we'd like to do quite a bit of it in Glasgow. Producer, I don't know who, but I think someone who's more of an engineer than a producer, 'cause what we're not going to do this time we're going to try to not demo the songs this time.
It was difficult for us, because we spent a lot of, not time but we put a lot of effort and sweated blood over our demos, and they sounded really really great, so they were going to take a bit of a beating when it got to the master stage, no matter how good it was, because the feel was so good on them. They playing was a bit out of time and what have you, but the feel was really excellent on it. It was ridiculous, even after three or four months of recording with Gary, we were still puting on the demos on cassette, and saying, 'Can we not try to get it to sound like this?' So we're going to try and avoid that this time. Maybe James will just sing and play the songs on acoustic guitar or something, so that the first time we go to the studio to record it, it'll be for real, and it will keep that spontaneous feel.
How's the reception been in America so far for this tour?
Not bad, you know. Ok; not great. The people who have been coming to the gigs, they have been enjoying it, but there's not been enough of them and we've been playing in some strage places. You get to them and people say, 'what the hell are you playing in this club for?'
How long have you been here so far?
Two weeks today. The last gig is the 25th of May in Chicago.
What sort of equipment do you use?
James plays a Schecter guitar and he's got a Gibson ESP347 and a Washburn acoustic and a dobro. Paul uses a whole bunch of keyboards--Ensoniq EPS sampler, Roland D1000 piano module, an NKB70 piano module, and a super GX. I've got a Musicman precision bass and a new Washburn acoustic bass, which is lovely.
Recording in New York, do you think that affected how the album came out?
Nah, not really. I hate reading these interviews where people go, 'yeah man, we like recording in New York for the edge.' I think that's bullshit. Unless you go to someplace like Nashville, and you want the record to sound like the place, I don't think it matters where you record it really.
Since you've do some producing of yourselves, are you intersted in producing your albums yourselves in the future?
Well, I think that the next one will be a step towards that in just getting an engineer/co-producer, but we'll never go in and do it completely ourselves. It could be that depending on how much clout the next person that we end up working with for the next one, if the guy's content to take just an engineering credit, then the next one will be produced by Love and Money. If it's someone with a bit more of a reputation, then it might have to say 'produced by them' or 'produced by them and us.' But personally, I've produced some things myself in the past and after I'm too old for this or this doesn't happen anymore or whatever, I'll probably go back to producing.
What happened with Stuart Kerr?
He just left, you know. He just wasn't into it anymore, and he's now in a band called Texas and doing very well.