Commotionless Lloyd Cole will be playing dates in California, New Zealand, Australia and France this autumn before heading to Glasgow to join King Creosote, The View, The Bluebells, Deacon Blue and more at the final Homecoming event of the year at the SECC. Full details below.

Homecoming Live – The Final Fling is said to be the last event of Scotland’s Homecoming celebrations. Homecoming Live gigs will also take place at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut and the Clyde Auditorium over the weekend of 26th – 30th November. The full line up for the SECC gig is: Deacon Blue, Lloyd Cole, Hue and Cry, Midge Ure, The Bluebells, James Grant, Kevin McDermott, Tommy Reilly, The Vaselines, Idlewild, The View, The Law and King Creosote.

Tickets go on sale on Friday here.

The full listing of Lloyd’s tour dates is below. Earlier this year he was interviewed in Melbourne by Kylie Northover of The Age to promote his latest release ‘Cleaning Out The Ashtrays’, a four volume, 59 song collection of b-sides, album outtakes, and alternate mixes from 1989 through 2006.

When most of his Top 40 peers were wearing eyeliner and brandishing keytars in the 1980s, Lloyd Cole was scruffy, brooding and creating angst-filled, literary pop.

Cole was lead singer of the Commotions from 1984 until the group disbanded in 1989, and is considered a big influence on the likes of Belle and Sebastian and Camera Obscura.

After moving to New York in 1989, he recorded solo albums and collaborated with artists such as Robert Quine and Matthew Sweet, but it’s his latest release that has his legion of fans most excited.

Cole has been doing some spring cleaning, and has released a four-disc box set, Cleaning Out the Ashtrays, of 59 tracks – B-sides, album out-takes, alternative mixes, covers and songs that just didn’t make the cut back in the day.

“It fulfils several functions for me,” Cole explains.

“It’s what my hardcore fans have been asking for, for the past 10 years, and also, I don’t like being out of print. The concept of the single over the years with major labels was that you have a single and then they stick one, two or three songs on the B-sides and then they delete them a few months later – all the work you’ve put into something is just sitting in some vault.”

And Cole had 20 years’ worth.

“It added up to quite a few songs, and I wanted to get them back in print.”

Could it also have something to do with Cole’s announcement a few years ago that he had “given up songwriting”?

“In the late 1990s, when I was with Universal Records, I did take a look at the way I was doing things and realised I didn’t like it. I was getting paid to make albums and therefore I had to be creative,” Cole explains.

“I thought, ‘Screw this, I’m not going to do it’. I made a conscious effort not to sit down at the piano and write a song. Instead, I only wrote when ideas came to me. So I write less these days; I don’t sit down in the morning worrying about whether I’m going to be creative today or not. I also think it’s very natural for people around my age to dry up. I’m closer to 50 than 40.”

Surely, the songwriter who managed to name-check Norman Mailer in a ballad can’t be out of ideas?

“I just don’t expect to be great all the time,” Cole says.

“If you look at a lot of great artists, people who have worked over 20, 30 years, very, very few have been brilliant for that entire time – they have brief flashes of brilliance. Like Bob Dylan; 1964-67 was fantastic, then the next five years weren’t so good, then, 1974, ’75, ’76 was great.”

Luckily then, Cole has released Cleaning Out the Ashtrays to satisfy his fans while he waits for new inspiration. He still plays acoustic gigs regularly. And yes, he says, he still plays his “older” material.

“The show is just me and a guitar, so it’s almost like folk-singing,” he says. “Although it could also be like a stand-up comedian, especially if you play guitar like I do.”

The Age

Cleaning Out the Ashtrays is out now and can be purchased from the Lloyd Cole shop.


Camera Obscura’s reply to Lloyd (not playing Homecoming Live).