In addition to their previously announced Brooklyn gig with Belle and Sebastian, Teenage Fanclub have now added 14 more shows in the US and Canada. Ticket links are below. You can also download The Fannies’ new album ‘Shadows’ through the Dear Scotland shop:
Norman Blake spoke with The Onion recently and set his ipod to shuffle. This is what came up:
The shuffler: Norman Blake, singer-guitarist of veteran Scottish pop outfit Teenage Fanclub. Since forming the band in 1989 and playing on classics like 1991’s Bandwagonesque and 1997’s Songs From Northern Britain, Blake has also collaborated, both solo and with the group, with everyone from the Pastels to Jad Fair to former Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci frontman Euros Childs, with whom Blake currently plays in the duo Jonny In Edinburgh. Teenage Fanclub’s 10th full-length, Shadows, is out this month on Merge Records.
Honeybus – How Long
NB: I don’t know if Honeybus was popular in the U.S. It was this British ’60s pop group. It had a big hit with a song called “I Can’t Let Maggie Go.” [Sings.] “She flies like a bird in the sky…” They had a couple of hits over here. This song is on my iPod because I do a bit of work with [Creation Records co-founder] Joe Foster of Rev-Ola Records, and he reissues lots of stuff like this. One of the things we remastered recently is a collection of Honeybus singles. “How Long” is on it, and it’s a really fantastic pop song. I’m not even entirely sure if it was a big hit in the UK, but it’s so incredible. They were fronted by a guy called Pete Dello, and he went on to make his own records. With a lot of these lost classics, I can almost see why they weren’t so popular or successful. They might have only a couple of decent songs. But Honeybus was really fabulous. It’s almost like The Left Banke or one of those things. But you can tell Honeybus is English. There’s just something about it. It has this kind of pastoral aspect, you know? There are also elements of groups like The Creation in there, but they’re more of a pop band. The Creation had a little more of an edge.
AVC: Have you always been into ’60s music?
NB: The first music I was really into was punk rock, because that’s what was happening when I was a young teenager. I loved that. But when I got a little bit older, the Postcard groups came along in Glasgow, and they totally opened my eyes to music. The one depressing thing about the post-punk period was the idea that all the music made before 1977 was irrelevant, which was clearly nonsense. But when you’re young and easily influenced, you may listen to that kind of idea. So along came Orange Juice and said, “The Buzzcocks are amazing. Punk rock is amazing. But so is Al Green and Love and The Seeds and The 13th Floor Elevators.” That’s how I discovered that music, because Orange Juice came along and said it was okay to listen to it. I would go and track down all the bands they always talked about.
AVC: What was it like being in the middle of the Postcard scene as it was happening?
NB: It was amazing. We were asked to play last year with Edwyn Collins. We did a couple of other shows with him, old Orange Juice songs, and it was great. When I first started a band, Orange Juice was the template. I wanted my band to be like them. It was the greatest band around, for me. It was great to see those bands back then: I saw Aztec Camera, Josef K, and later The Pastels, which I ended up joining. That was really the start of the Glasgow music scene.
Jonathan Richman, “That Summer Feeling”
NB: I love Jonathan Richman. I love everything he’s done. “That Summer Feeling” is one of those incredible songs. The lyrics—“When the teenage car gets the cop down on it, when the flat of the land has got the crop down on it, when the catamaran has got the top down on it”—just unbelievably brilliant, you know? The last time I saw Jonathan was about six months ago, and he just gets better and better. I’ve got this little story: A friend of mine was promoting a show of Jonathan’s, and he came up to me and said, “You’ll never guess what Jonathan Richman’s rider was.” I said, “I don’t know, what was it?” And he said, “The rider was: a glass of tap water onstage at the side of the microphone. That was it.” [Laughs.] It had to be tap water.
AVC: Do you keep up with his newer albums?
NB: Oh yeah. A more recent Jonathan song I love is “My Baby Love Love Loves Me.” He did it live the last time he was in Glasgow, and he had everyone in the room singing for 10 minutes. There were 300 people in this room worshipping at the temple of Jonathan.
Interview with Norman Blake by Jason Heller, June 15, 2010, Full interview here.
More at www.teenagefanclub.com/
Buy the new album from the Dear Scotland Shop:
Teenage Fanclub – Live at Reading 1992
Photo Credit: Mauricio Melo