Codeine Velvet Club is the new project of Jon Lawler from The Fratellis and the classically-trained, multi-instrumentalist, burlesque influenced Lou Hickey. Together with a cracking band that includes one of Scotland’s Greatest Ever Drummers, Ross McFarlane, they liken themselves to “John Barry playing with a rock’n’roll band”.
Sophie Stratford spoke with Jon Lawler last year:
What can we expect from Codeine Velvet Club compared to The Fratellis?
To me it’s totally different. We’re somewhat what others will be. Codeine Velvet Club are a bit smarter dressed I suppose, but there’s got to be more than that. The band has definitely taken on a life of its own that I didn’t expect. When we played our first show in Glasgow I got a bit of a shock at how different the live show panned out from what I’d imagined it would be. I can’t think of anyone coming to see us and being underwhelmed, we could see the confusion in people’s faces the first night we played and I guess nobody was sure what to expect. At the end when you see that difference is what makes it all worthwhile.
What’s the best thing about being on tour?
It’s just like being a 12 year old. It’s a ridiculous way to live your life, just travelling around on a bus with your friends and all you have to do is a play a show at night. Not a day goes by when I haven’t laughed about it, whether I’m having good days or bad days. At least once a day I just like to stop and think it’s pretty hilarious, especially on tour.
What artists would you love to perform with?
God plenty but I’m really lucky that since The Fratelli’s I’ve had a chance to play with loads of people, even heroes of my dad. I always watch us performing on YouTube it still makes me laugh that we did those things. I remember when we supported The Police, when they did the tour of the States, these things always come up again if you wait around long enough for them.
Full interview at Indie Music Finds, November 11, 2009
For Lawler Codeine Velvet Club offers a respite from the whirlwind of touring, recording and non-stop promo that enveloped The Fratellis after their debut album, ‘Costello Music’, reached Number 2 in the UK album charts in 2006, buoyed by a string of anthemic singles spearheaded by the raunchy crowd-pleasers – and now classic 21st century radio staples – ‘Chelsea Dagger’ and ‘Henrietta’.
When the promotional commitments for the group’s second album, ‘Here We Stand’, ended in March this year with a tour of Australia and Japan, it was agreed that, bar a couple of festival shows this summer, the Glasgow three-piece should take a well-earned breather.
Jon celebrated the start of his sabbatical by taking his family and friends on a beach holiday abroad. Restless and itching to get back to work, he flew home after just a few days. It was on his return that he seized on the opportunity to help write a track for Lou Hickey’s album, a project funded by a grant from the Scottish Arts Council. ‘Vanity Kills’, as it came to be titled, emerged as a swaying, jazzy, big-band duet, tinged with noir-ish menace and shades of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood’s waspish 1960s guy-gal duelling.
Band website: www.codeinevelvetclub.com
Codeine Velvet Club – Hollywood
Codeine Velvet Club – I Am The Resurrection (Live)
Photo Credit: Highland Cow
Confirmed SXSW gigs are listed below and will be updated if more shows are added.