Winter of Discontent

Proud rocker Grant Stays with his Glasgow Roots
by David Hamilton

Sunday Express, January 30, 1994

Love and Money's James Grant winces with embarrassment when he recalls one particularly naff stunt. It was when their record company Phonogram dumped three tons of snow outside Radio One to publicize the Glasgow band's last singe, "Winter." The song dented only the lower reaches of the Top 40. Shortly afterwards, Phonogram dumped Love and Money.

That was more than a year ago. Since then, reports of their demise have been greatly exaggerated. Grant is still crafting splendidly plaintive blues and rock, showcased on a brilliant new album, littledeath, out on Scottish label Iona Gold. The four-piece band--featuring Grant on guitar and lead vocals, Paul McGeechan on keyboards, Douglas McIntyre on bass and Gordon Wilson on drums--have also agreed to open Glasgow's prestigious Mayfest with a rare live gig.

Grant himself is currently at work in the studio he has built in his flat in the West End of Glasgow, writing the soundtrack of a movie to be made in Scotland. It is a far cry from the heady days of Los Angeles and New York, where the band's first two albums for Phonogram, All You Need Is Love and Money and Strange Kind of Love, were recorded. The second, produced by Steely Dan producer Gary Katz, moved 250,000 and went silver.


Grant, 30, fought hard for artistic control over the third album, Dogs In The Traffic. "It symbolized us looking for a direction while everyone else was whizzing past in the mainstream at speed," he said. And although he was delighted with the end product, it sold only 25,000. Phonogram wanted prime-time popsters, Grant refused to compromise. The relationship between artist and paymaster was over. The suits won.

He is philosophical about the parting. "They weren't all unhappy times," he said. "Phonogram were very supportive, but they wasted energy trying to put a square peg in a round hole. "I don't believe in compartmentalizing music. For me, there are two types of music--good and bad."

The Mayfest concert will be the first live date since five sell-outs at the Edinburgh Festival last year. Grant admits he finds it difficult to play live. "In the past, I was a lot more exuberant on stage and became a different person. Gradually that has fallen away and now I find it quite difficult and strenuous."

He says that he will never move south. "I'll always live here. Glasgow has as much to offer as anywhere for a musician. I can't help thinking something good is going to happen. For me, that is good news. I'm not normally known as the world's greatest optimist."

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