Primal Scream interview

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There’s been a lot of talk about the classic Primal Scream ‘Screamadelica’ album recently. The band are touring it round the UK this year but the overlooked follow up album was great as well. A fucked up rock n roll record it really stands the test of time. This feature captures the band triumphant from the release of ‘Screamadelica’ and looking back on its profound influence whilst readying their switch back to R’n’R.

This article was originally published in early 1994”¦”¦..Primal Scream were arguably the only bona-fide rock”˜n’roll stars that this country then had to offer, but drugs, failed detox and inter-band squabbling threatened to end their ascendance; not to mention Martin Duffy’s near fatal stabbing in the butt! They’ve survived and produced an album, Give Out But Don’t Give Up, that elevated you from everyday tedium. Innes Reekie spent a day with Bobby Gillespie and the band, and discovered the importance of the lifestyle in creating the music.

It’s been four years since Primal Scream altered the way in which we perceive modern music. Four years since a bunch of skinny Glaswegian refugees, whom the press continually derided with accusations of either C86-ist or some second rate MC5 leanings, produced the consummate indie-dance anthem in Loaded. Critical acclaim followed fast and furious, as did a clutch of classic singles like Come Together, Higher Than The Sun, Don’t Fight it, Feel It, and suddenly Primal Scream were the name to drop. Cool as fuck to be precise. But nobody was quite prepared for what followed. Screamadelica was an unprecedented voyage into the unknown, a giant leap into unchartered territories, a vast sprawling musical experiment where the only rules were that there were no rules. Almost peerless in its throwing off the conventional shackles of contemporary expectation, Screamadelica appeared to have reverted back to a primal state before absorbing every known musical style from there on in. Truly uninhibited, it thought nothing of fusing Exile-era Stones with Lee Perry dub-madness, the brain-drying psychedelia of The 13th Floor Elevators with spiritual gospel, or Southern melancholy with ambient house. Like its Paul Cannell designed sleeve, Screamadelica was a life-affirming, glorious burst of technicolor in an otherwise monochrome landscape. The public didn’t need the critics to tell them that this was a landmark in rock history, and justifiably it hit the spot in the album charts and went gold, picking up the Mercury Music Prize along the way. It may have taken some time but Primal Scream had arrived at last, kicking out the jams in fine style. ”˜Yeah, but it’s a one-off, a fortuitous accident,’ scoffed the cynics, ”˜they’ll never follow that.’ And for a while, it seemed that may be the case: the only thing keeping their public profile alive were the scores of column inches they ran up in the gossip papers. In reality, they toured Screamadelica around the world, but stories of the band on verge on self-destruction continued to filter back. Drugs, babes, failed detox, inter-band squabbling, it was all there. Were Primal Scream becoming a rock ”˜n’ roll nightmare, a band teetering precariously on the verge on self-immolation?

According to Bobby, “a lot of people want to see us fall flat on our face, they like nothing better than to see the working class fail. Sometimes I feel it’s like us with our swords and shields against the world,” he says resignedly.

But Primal Scream are back with a bang that would put Hiroshima to shame, and Rocks, the new single, signals a return to the classic rock ”˜n’ roll sounds of the past fused with a distinctly 90’s attitude. Rocks: it’s self-explanatory really, and no accident that Aerosmith’s ’76 classic album bore the same moniker”¦ while Exile On Main Street outlined the Stones’ intent with the album’s opener Rocks Off”¦and just for good measure The Heartbreakers’ nihilistic smack anthem Chinese Rocks. That’s not mere coincidence, they’re simply handy points of relevance as to where these revitalised, rock”˜n’roll boogie merchants are coming from. There’s already been accusations of exhuming the corpse of prime-time Stones banded about, but as Creation label boss Alan McGee quite rightly points out, “when did The Stones sound that good?” Exactly.

The forthcoming album, which contains three rockers, six ballads (“hipshakers and heartbreakers” Bobby likes to call them), and two astounding George Clinton collaborations, is a more diverse affair, utilising the services of Atlantic Records’ legendary house producer, Tom Dowd, Stones’ collaborator Jim Dickinson, Black Crowes producer George Drakoulias, and featuring the quite awesome pairing of the Memphis Horns and the Muscle Shoals rhythm section. Me, I’m sold on it already. It may be a gratuitous rollercoaster ride through the best of rock ”˜n’ roll’s back pages, but only a fool could deny music that so effortlessly elevates you from everyday tedium in such a glorious manner. Even so, some people take a lot of convincing and already there’s a huge split in the ranks on the rock hack front.

Never can I remember a particular album causing so many vociferous outbursts down the local. No-one’s prepared to sit on the fence, everyone’s got an opinion. So why is Give Out But Don’t Give Up provoking such an extreme reaction?

To put it bluntly, if you have even a passing interest in music then this album is important, purely by virtue of the fact that, love them or loathe them, Primal Scream are deserving of your attention. They are one of the few bands around today who actually matter and merit being discussed beyond the call of duty. They are quite possibly the only bona-fide rock”˜n’roll stars, in the time-honoured sense of the word, that this county has to offer, and certain individuals can’t sit easy with that. The biggest thorn in the side of their detractors is that Primal Scream basically used the dance medium to suit their own ends, and now, having tired of their dalliance, the band have once again reverted back to their rock ”˜n’ roll roots. The charge being that, in effect, the band are basically loathsome, retro-rock, dance traitors. Not surprisingly, Bobby doesn’t see it that way.

“Listen to Struttin’ and Don’t Give Up and listen to Jailbird, if you can’t dance to them man you ain’t alive. Funky Jam and Strutin’, I think they’re awesome man, totally trippy dance records, might not fit the standard idea of what a dance record should be, but big fuckin’ deal!”

Hold on, I’m jumpin’ the gun a bit here, let’s take this from the beginning, like about four hours prior to that last quote. Right, this is the sketch: I’m sitting in The Ship bar in Soho’s Wardour Street with The Scream’s publicist, Jeff Barrett, who’s keeping me up to date with the goings-on in Scream central. It appears that Bob’s been doing European phone interviews all day and he’s at the end of his tether. It’s been a constant barrage of Rolling Stones this, Rolling Stones that, and one foreigner was met with a fairly curt response, something along the likes of did he enjoy sexual relations with his mother, when he enquired about The Scream’s affiliations with narcotics.

“He was getting personal with me, so I got personal with him,” says Bobby by way of explanation.

Anyway, we’re sitting up the back of The Ship, having a drink or two, and generally just shootin’ the breeze, when suddenly the side door bursts opens and in bundle Primal Bob and keyboardist par-excellence Martin Duffy. Their arrival was akin to a mini-whirlwind and put me in my mind of the animated scene in The Great Rock ”˜n’ Roll Swindle, where the Pistols erupt out of the taxi in their rush to sign their recording contract outside Buck House. But this is The Ship after all, and no-one pays one blind bit of notice. This pub, situated next to the sight of the original Marquee club, has seen it all before. It was Hendrix’s local when he was in town; Rod the Mod drank here, and did The Stones and The Who, and throughout the 80’s it was home from home for the likes of Johnny Thunders and Hanoi Rocks. If pubs could talk, or write rather, then I’d put money on The Ship penning the definitive rock ”˜n’roll lifestyle. This is the sort of classic drinking environment that The Scream can appreciate, they can respect its history. That and the fact that it’s a mere stones-throw from their publicist’s office.

Bobby, painfully thin and anaemic, seems hyper, having spent the majority of today in what he describes as an “air-conditioned nightmare”, Sony’s offices, and asks if I’ve got any Temazepam, for medical purposes of course. He’s drinking fresh orange, while myself and Duffy hit the Grolsch with kamikaze abandon, an oversight on my part and one which was to prove to be my undoing later on that night, and the following morning for that matter.

The noise level is such that my first few attempts to record this interview are largely drowned out by the general boisterousness in the bar. Eventually we decide it’s for the best to take a cab to the Primal Scream office down by Farrington tube. On arrival, we find their manager, Alex Nightingale, still hard at it. Duffy and I nip across the bar across the road, sneak in a couple of Jamesons, get the round in, then reinstate ourselves in the designated upstairs interview room. Bob eventually joins us once he’s tied up a few loose ends in the downstairs office. He seems drained, more so than usual, and yet he’s just mentioned to Duffy that they’ve got to join Thorb and Andrew Innes down the rehearsal rooms once they’re through with this. Is there no end to this rock ”˜n’ roll lark, it certainly requires dedication of no less than 150% that’s for sure. But at least their dedication is being noticed in certain corners. The style mag The Face, being a case in point. Their recent cover depicts Bobby in cool monochrome and the questioning statement ”“ The Last Great British Rock Star? The last person to get a similar portrayal was Nick Cave, when he was given The Only Dangerous Rock Star Left treatment. I asked Bobby if he ever felt he had to qualify these occasionally weighty explanations.

“What can you say about somethin’ like that,” he asks, shaking his head helplessly. “We just love playing our music. I dunno man, all that stuff just confuses me, the last great British rock ”˜n’ roll star to me was Georgie Best or Sid Vicious probably. I can’t even dream of competing with Sid Vicious.

“When that sort of thing’s said about you, you’re being set up and the image becomes more important than the music, whereas we really enjoy playing the music. I think that’s more the way it’s seen in the eyes of the media, but I don’t think it’s true of the people who come to the concerts. Obviously the way you look adds to it, so I’m not gonna be foolish enough to say that the way a singer or a group looks doesn’t add to the mystique or the mystery or the power of the music, of course it does. I mean, if Johnny Rotten had looked like a guy out of Uriah Heep you wouldnae have bought the records, would you? Or Sid Vicious, or Paul Weller or any of these guys; they’re great lookin’ guys, they dress really well, it’s really cool. Part of rock ‘n’ roll’s about image consciousness, but if you take Johnny Rotten or Paul Weller, they looked great. Weller still does, but there was a substance behind the clothes, behind the image. Do you know what I’m sayin’?”

Yeah, I do. Clothes do not maketh the man and all that and a well cool image doesn’t matter fuck if the music can’t substantiate it. Right?

“Right. See, if you come with us on tour, man, or just come to a couple of gigs, you’d be astonished by the soundchecks. They’re longer than the gigs. The band just play lots of songs that we love, you know. We play country sounds, soul songs, rock ”˜n’ roll songs and we even do John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme sometimes. We dig playin’ music.

That much as always been obvious. Even in the early days when the Scream weren’t particularly adept musicians, you could still tell they had the attitude and enthusiasm to spare. And while a lot of their aspirations were entirely admirable, somehow they never managed to pull it off completely. Saying that, their debut, Sonic Flower Groove, still thrills, and with a bit more cash and a sympathetic producer it may well have achieved ”˜classic’ status ”“ who knows, but one thing was clear, and Primal Scream knew it, they would one day make the world sit up and take notice. They did, with Screamadelica, but I always had the idea that Bobby would like to be remembered for making the ultimate rock ”˜n’ roll album. Does he think he’s any closer to doing so with Give Out But Don’t Give Up?

“We don’t think too much about it really, I’m confused as I ever was. Sometimes I feel really”¦” he trails off, his head in his hands.

Duffy, who until now has been receiving a running commentary on the Tranmere-Villa match, suddenly perks up.

“There’s a need to explain everything and that takes away from the essence of what it’s all about,” he states.

But don’t you think some things need to be explained? I ask. Bobby leaves me in no doubt that where The Scream are concerned, explanations aren’t on the agenda.

“No, nothing needs to be explained anymore,” he says, a touch agitatedly. “We don’t need to explain ourselves to anybody. The music says it all.”

Duffy continues, “Right, my younger brother, he’s into a lot of techno stuff and he doesn’t need a rock”˜n’roll mathematical table to work out what he’s into and what he isn’t. And I think that’s true of a lot of young kids listening to music and going to clubs, the last think they need is logarithms.”

So do you think musical stylistic barriers are genuinely becoming a thing of the past?

“I dunno,” says Bob, “but I want to see Aerosmith, right, and I told a lot of people I was goin’ and they’re thinkin’ ”˜that’s a really crazy, motherfuckin’ idea’, but all you do is dance all night. They’re on of the best dance bands in the world, Aerosmith. A lot of people wouldn’t consider them a dance band, but Sweet Emotion, that’s fuckin’ dirty, filthy, lowdown, fuckin’ groovy sexy dance music. Or it’s dirty, filthy, sexy rock ”˜n’ roll music that you can dance to, that’s a better way of putting it. What’s fucked is the fact that rock ”˜n’ roll has ceased to be dance music. When I was a kid my parents would play Martha and The Vandellas, The Stones, and they’d all be gettin’ drunk and they’d be dancin’, whereas with rock ”˜n’ roll records, people don’t dance to them anymore. Maybe they do, but it’s not considered dance music. Dance music’s considered to be a drum-machine driven, synthesised bass type thing, that’s peoples idea of what dance music should be, which is kinda sad I think. Don’t you think? Sugar Brown by The Stones, that’s a great dance record, so is (Get Up I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine by James Brown, or One Nation Under A Groove by Funkadelic, they’re all brilliant dance records. But you know all that.”

I agree, but I need you guys to spell it out, I’m basically the mediator between you and the readership.

“I know, I know, you’ve basically got us as the tail-end of doin’ a lot of interviews so we’re weary,” Bobby says by way of apology, “That’s what I was sayin’ to Jeff, the more we do the less we give, d’you understand that?”

“I think it’s sad that a lot of people who can determine which way music can go, decide to fuckin’ segregate it and put it in boxes,” says Duffy venomously. “It really makes me wonder if music’s actually important to them, ”˜cos there’s some good journalists and some shitty journalists, just like when there’s good bands and shitty bands. It’s sad that when it’s written about, some people actually believe all these little boxes they’re put into. It’s like fuckin’ Legoland or something.”

“If you want some indication of where our band’s comin’ from musically,” Bobby suddenly pipes up, “and about the way we look at things musically, I bought Pretty Vacant by the Sexy Pistols and I Feel Love by Donna Summer on the exact same day and that should tell you something about the attitude of our band. If you speak to Primal Scream about music, you’ll talk about a lot of different styles: you’ll talk about Miles Davis, you’ll talk about Prince Far-I, Lee Perry, Hank Williams, Al Green, James Carr, you know there’d be a lot of different shit in there, and it’s pretty varied but you can’t deny that music moves you. These people make records that can save your life, and they’ve saved mine on more then one occasion. Music should be in last place where there’s any segregation ”˜cos there’s so much segregation in society; yer Catholics, yer Protestants, yer men, yer women, yer homosexuals, yer straights, yer fuckin’ football teams. Music’s the only place where there are no frontiers apart from what you lack in your own imagination.”

“It’s good that you’re getting kids who are checking out rap and hip-hop,” he continues, finally on that famous motor-mouth Gillespie roll, “and they’re goin’ further and checkin’ out people like Gil Scott Heron, and then they’re goin’ beyond that and they’re hittin The Last Poets an’ shit an’ seein’ where it all came from. It’s that kind of passin’ on of information that’s really cool. If one person’s music can get someone into some other good shit, y’know, that’s what should be happenin’. Creedance Clearwater Revival are a really great band, so if anyone sees their greatest hits, buy it. You won’t be disappointed if your heart’s in the right place. What I’m sayin’ man is music’s there to be enjoyed. There’s good music and there’s bad music and that’s it. I know that’s a fuckin’ obvious thing to say, but I wanna turn people onto Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, George Clinton or Sly And The Family Stone. That album, There’s a Riot Goin’ On is the most modern record I’ve ever heard. That and Joe Gibbs & The Professionals’ African Dub Chapter Three. I can’t think of two more modern records than those two, and Riot was made in ’71, and the Dub album was made between ’75 and ’76. There’s just so much beautiful music out there, if only people got the chance to hear it.”

So, when I was talking about the ultimate rock ”˜n’ roll record earlier, you would say that phrase was obsolete and always has been. Music is so diverse and so multi-faceted that no one style should take precedence over another. It should be more about imagination than segregation.

“Aye, that’s the thing about this word ultimate, society’s got this competitive thing, all this bitchiness, and it’s all just bullshit. Just do your own thing and say what you’ve gotta say. There’s no such thing as ”˜the ultimate record’. That’s juts like sayin’ that you’ve met the ultimate woman, or had the ultimate fuck or you’ve seen the ultimate film. There isn’t any such thing as that about. I don’t ever think there’s anything that definite except maybe death. Even tonight, I don’t know what’s gonna happen next. Getting’ a bit existential here Mr Gillespie,” he laughs.

So, do you still have a dream? “A dream, dream”¦ och, I dunno. We’ve made a record that we love, that should be enough. We loved Screamadelica as well, but we love the new record, it’s a bit different but it had to be different. If you think about every record ”˜is this the ultimate record?’, you canne think like that. I think you’ve got the make the best record you can make at that time. You can’t really spend too much time, because you’re caught up in this whirlwind of being in Primal Scream. It’s like stepping onto an express train and once you get on it, man, you canne get off. When Screamadelica came out, people were saying, ”˜what the fuck are they up to?’, and I think basically it’ll be the same with this one. I think basically it’s the sort of record that people aren’t gonna get. They’re not gonna get it for another three years. When Exile came out, nobody got it. We just canne wait to get on stage and play these songs.”

The Screamadelica tour was renowned for its excess and rock ”˜n’ roll behaviour, at points almost reaching the legendary highs and lows of Rober Frank’s rockumentary of The Stones’ ”˜72 American tour, Cocksucker Blues. How important would you say the lifestyle is to making these records?

“I guess you’ve got to get out and get involved to be able to experience things and write about things.”

“If you’re in a band,” continues Duffy, “you get the chance to travel the world a couple of times. You’re with your makes and you’re playing music you love and not everyone can do that. But everyone’s got a lifestyle. I mean, there’s rockin’ lifestyles out there on the street, you don’t need to be in a band to be a rock ”˜n’ roll star. They’re just walkin’ down there now, you can see them.

“Johnny Thunders had to have some knowledge of a heroin lifestyle to write a song like Chinese Rocks, you know,” Bobby adds, “and it’s a pretty good account of a heroin addict’s life. I don’t think many bands these days could have written a song like that. That’s a song of experience, but so is All The King’s Horses by Aretha Franklin, and she sings it with such vulnerability. It’s so sad, she’s obviously been through a lot of bad relationships and had a broken heart. It’s so mournful. There’s no way she could have sung that song if she hadn’t had the life experience.”

Since Creation accepted Sony’s offer to buy 49% of the company, the financial security offered by such a deal has allowed The Scream the absolute freedom to go ahead and record the album they’ve always threatened to make. With a budget which allowed them to work with some of the world’s best and most revered musicians and producers in the world, and in some of the best studios from Memphis to Los Angeles, The Scream were finally following the footsteps of a rock ”˜n’ roll legend. But with the groundwork over, and The Scream’s reputation for partying hard not exactly being a secret, things could quite easily spin out of control again. Following Screamadelica, it’s been said that drugs nearly broke up the band, although that’s never been completely qualified. But a backstage rider that was said to have comprised heroin, speed, coke, ecstasy and methadone suggested they were playing an increasingly dangerous game. When I asked Bobby if he ever sees Primal Scream as some kind of mad rollercoaster ride in danger of flying off the tracks at any given moment, he remains understandably tight-lipped on the subject. After all, we both know I’m talking about drugs.

“We have our bad times, yeah,” he says cautiously. “We’ve gone through a lot of crazy shit in the last three years, but we’re still here and we’re still making music and we’re just about to get out on the road again. No matter what shit we’ve had to cope with, we’ve come through it and over-ridden it. Some people who were with us three years ago are no longer with us. I ain’t sayin’ nothin’ man, ”˜cos there’s heavy shit involved, but we’re still here. I can’t be specific with you because it indirectly involves me, and it doesn’t, so I can’t really say ”˜cos it’s not fair to hedge around things. There’s just some things I can’t talk about.”

The gravity of their narcotics involvement was summed up by guitarist Andrew Innes’s dismissive one word response, “lightweight”, after hearing the combination of drugs that killed River Phoenix. Innes is also the enigmatic band member who holed up with Hollywood Madame Heidi Fleiss in L.A over the festive period, for reasons known only to himself. On a lighter note, Innes became the toast of the famed Chateau Marmont hotel after being told by a Hungarian guest that tradition requires guests to sweep out the old year whilst totally naked. Not being one to miss an opportunity, he promptly ordered a broom from room service and did the honours in front of an assembled throng of disbelieving guests in reception, then returned to his room only to find himself locked out and keyless!

But there have been dark moments, very dark moments. Towards the end of July, Tom Dowd was preparing a mix of the album at Ardent Studios in Memphis, giving the band a few days to do as they pleased. Gillespie, Innes, their bass player and tour manager chose to venture further south to New Orleans, while Duffy and Throb decided to check out the New Music Seminar in New York. On the day they were all supposed to reconvene back at Ardent, Down began to receive a number of garbled messages from New York to the effect that Duffy had been shot in a bar. Nobody knew what the hell was going on, nobody to this day actually knows what happened. Only that he’d been stabbed as opposed to shot.

“I don’t remember being stabbed, but probably 4,000 people a day don’t remember being stabbed,” Duffy says matter-of-factly, “but basically, if you go to a doctor and he examines you and tells you what’s happened to you, you believe him. I’ve had worse things happen to me.”

“See that story about him,” Bobby continues, “there’s wilder stories than that goin’ about. Robert thought he’d been shot, man. Daffy was sittin’ jammin’ with Dr John’s band, four of them sittin’ ”˜round the piano, and the bar-guy said to Robert ”˜is that guy your friend, look at him, he’s bleedin’. So he took him into the toilets and removed his clothing and Robert goes ”˜look at his butt, he’s been shot’, because of the size of the hole and the blackness of his skin and all this purple and blue and crimson round about it.”

Were you not even aware anything had happened?

“I was aware of it,” Duffy recalls, “but I’ve still been in worse situations. Everyone gets in accidents, right, and I don’t really have a good memory, but I’ve been in loads of situations, not particularly like that but worse situations than that, situations where I could have died a lot easier. Maybe I’ve got all those angels dodgin’ around me, but that’s the sort of accident that could happen to anybody, no matter what street you’re on or what city you’re in. It’s no big deal. Well, it’s a big deal to me. It fuckin’ shook me up, but it’s fuck all compared to what could have happened.”

“It missed his kidney by quarter of an inch,” Bob continues. “They were pullin’ bits of metal out his body on the operating table in New York City, right, and Duff’s lyin’ there absolutely fuckin’ wasted, and he woke up with three of four cops wantin’ to question him while the surgeon’s still pullin’ bits of metal out his body.”

Duffy just seems to be the kind of guy who things happen to. Apart from that unfortunate accident, he’s already undergone a throat operation this year, he once fell backwards off a cliff, and his exploits have recently come to attention of one Jim Rose, who reckons the boy’s a natural for his circus. But all that aside, it’s Duffy’s quite awesome musical talent that will see him through. He’s already being acknowledged by living legends.

“He’s a top rock ”˜n’ roller, but he’s got a country soul,” says Bobby in a tone somewhere between massive respect and fatherly pride, “He’s got a style that nobody has had in this country since Nicky Hopkins. Jim Dickinson, right, he’s a great pianist, he played with Aretha Franklin and The Stones, these kind of people, and he’s sayin’ to me, ”˜that Duffy’s such a great player, man, ”˜cos there’s these things that piano players always want to play, and he never plays them’, and that’s a real tribute comin’ from Jim Dickinson.”

“Yeah, that makes me feel good,” says Duffy, “that’ll keep me going for about ten years. But still, look at that really cool jazz guy, Chet Baker, he went for years and years and then he fell out of a window and died,” he concludes, eerily accentuating his own shaky mortality.

Let’s not dwell on the downside, after all The Scream are seasoned party people, and who better to party with than the grandmaster of funk himself, Mr George Clinton. Clinton, who said of The Scream, “I had a ball”¦ I love ”˜em, they rock their asses off”, remixed three of the album tracks, but on hearing the funked-out groove of Funky Jam, many have doubted The Scream’s involvement, claiming it to be purely P-Funk track. This sort of cynicism gets right up Bob’s nose, and let’s set the record straight. Who exactly played on it?

“Mr Duffy, Mr Innes, Mr Young, Mr Hood, Mr Hawkins, Denise, right, is that enough?” asks Bob. “Thing is, people aren’t aware of how well these guys can actually play. People don’t actually realise how good the players are, they don’t understand that Duffy is good enough to play with George Clinton, and so is Robert and Andrew and Denise. All these cats play on that record.”

Okay, point taken, The Scream can get fucked up, they can cry you a river in the melancholic balladeering stakes, but most of all, they can still rock with the best of them. Rocks is a sleazy, trashy, druggy, sexy teen-anthem, devoid of any moral stance. It’s all out there if you want it, in any city, in any town and Rocks is its soundtrack, destined to be sung the nation over at parties, at clubs, at closing time, in fact at any old time. The basic message as Wayne once said is “party on folks. P-A-R-T-Y!!!”

PRIMAL SCREAM–Rocks
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With the content of Rocks being sleaze, junk, hookers etc”¦ would you ever reverse your stance in the same way as Even Dando did, with drugs, in order to maintain a commercially viable profile?

“No, we would never do that, we just do what we wanna do.”

And rock ”˜n’ roll has always been pretty decadent and in many cases totally immoral anyway. Wouldn’t you agree?

“Yeah, it’s never been very moral. rock”˜n’roll at its best is sinless, it’s sin-free. With country music and soul music, although the ballads are kinda guilty sounding, we do songs like that as well, ”˜cos you do feel pretty bad, kinda bluesy, and there’s a kinda introspection lyrically, and I guess mood-wise too. But let’s get back to rock ”˜n’ roll, take Brown Sugar, Whole Lotta of Shakin’ Goin’ On, Good Golly Miss Molly, these are all sinless songs. Rocks is a sinless song, and that’s not something you could go back on, how could we? If I feel sorry about anything it’s not because of any drugs I’ve ever taken, it might be because of things I’ve done while bein’ wasted, but I don’t feel sorry about anything as far as narcotics are concerned. I might feel sorry about the way I’ve treated certain people in my life”¦ enough of this Catholic guilt shit! Rocks is a sin-free record and that’s the great thing about rock ”˜n’ roll. I think it’s a also a humorous song as well, it says ”˜ain’t no use in prayin’, that’s the way it’s stayin’, you know, if you wanna go down town and get wasted or whatever, you gotta get down town and get wasted or whatever, you gotta get down there and do it, don’t you? It’s a party song, let’s get drunk, let’s get fucked, have a dance and have a good time. Rock ”˜n’ roll’s got nothin’ to do with Christianity, it doesn’t recognise morals.”

It’s at this point that we decide to call it a day. Duffy and I are caned, incapable of coherent speech, but Bob’s still going. He’s on his favourite subject, music, his very lifeblood. He’s got belief in its healing powers, its spiritual powers, and its unparalleled power of communication. Bobby Gillespie is a believer.

As I head towards Kentish Town for the night and they bundle into a taxi for a midnight rehearsal, a ridiculous quote from Harry Connick Jr. keeps coming into my mind. He said, “If I played rock ”˜n’ roll I’d be revered as the greatest rock”˜n’roll musician in the world. It’s music that requires very little knowledge and not much skill.”

I allowed myself to laugh at the incongruousness of it all, but at the same time we should consider ourselves fortunate that Harry chose cod, lounge-lizard jazz and we have a band like The Scream, whose very existence makes a mockery of such ill-informed patronising statements.
I Love Rock”˜n’Roll said Joan Jett and The Blackhearts. They had the right idea and so do The Scream. And this is only the beginning.

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21 comments on “Primal Scream interview”

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