Glasgow’s The Vaselines are back with a new album on Sub Pop, ‘Sex With an X’, and a major North America tour that includes gigs next month in Washington DC with Teenage Fanclub and in Mexico with Belle and Sebastian. Full tour dates and tickets links are below:
Eugene Kelly recently spoke with The Quietus about the new album, why they broke up and why the time is right for a reunion.
You and Frances used to go out, so who came up with such a personal title as Sex With An X for the album?
EK: My flatmate, Carey Lander from Camera Obscura, came up with that. We had a title for one of the songs called ‘Kissing With A K’ and I told her that we were struggling with a title and she suggested ‘Sex With An X’. I told Francis about it and she told her husband and they both thought it was a great idea. I was like, ‘No I’ve got to think of something else’, because it didn’t feel right. But now I’m happy. It’s a good title.
When you listen back to the songs you and Frances made in your youth, how do they make you feel? Quite proud, or do they make you cringe?
EK: A bit of both. It’s almost like you’ve heard them so many times that you don’t feel anything really. They exist and they’re always there and you play them and you enjoy playing them. There aren’t many that make me cringe. The only one that I didn’t really enjoy singing when we played it live last year was ‘Teenage Superstar’ because it’s sung from the perspective of a young person, being snotty to their parents. I just thought, ‘God, I can’t sing that. I’m a middle-aged bloke’. I thought pretending to be that character was beyond my acting skills.
When the band broke up your relationship broke up as well, didn’t it?
EK: Yeah, that’s kind of was what happened. We broke up and we thought that we could continue. But I wasn’t happy to write songs, and I just thought it wasn’t right to continue. We got back together about 18 months after that to do the Nirvana show in Edinburgh. I don’t know why we didn’t continue after that. It was probably best to let it go. I think musically we just thought we’d done all we could do. We didn’t have a record company. It just all fell apart naturally. We never thought that we were a band on the cusp of stardom or anything. We knew our limitations and we knew the music that we made was never going to be in the charts and bands like ours were never going to get major record deal, even though some of our contemporaries, like the Soup Dragons, were getting signed to labels. We just didn’t think that anybody would be interested, or be sniffing round.
Do you think you were a bit naïve in that sense?
EK: Yeah, we had no idea how the music business worked. We were totally outside it. We didn’t know who to turn to and say, ‘We want to continue the band’. We didn’t know how to do it. We were in our own wee bubble really.
So did you regroup because you felt like there was some unfinished business?
EK: I suppose there’s a bit of that. The band is more well-known now than it ever was 20 years ago. There’s an audience out there who would like to see us play. So we wanna go and meet them. Nothing really happened with our solo careers, we put out records but we weren’t expecting anything great to happen to them. We thought the Vaselines time is now.
Buy Sex With an X in the Dear Scotland Shop
Eugene and Nirvana – Molly’s Lips
The Vaselines – Sex with an X
The Vaselines – EPK
Photo Credit: Phil Sharp