To follow on from their debut album 'Loss' released
in October last year, the Mull Historical Society release
their new single 'Watching Xanadu' on 28 January. This
is the fourth single off the album, with previous releases
being 'Barcode Bypass', 'I Tried' and 'Animal Cannabus'.
Local hero, Colin MacIntyre, songwriter and inventor
of Mull Historical Society, was born and bred on the
island of Mull, just off Scotlands' west coast. Although
his early musical experiences are known to have consisted
of watching his uncle's covers band rehearsing and gigging
around the island, there's little doubt that much of
Colin's youth was mis-spent trawling through the archives
of Beach Boy records, Aztec Camera debuts and the entire
back-catalogue of Creation Records. His debut album,
'Loss' is testament to that, honouring as it does all
the tight, dizzily tuneful arrangements of Wilson and
the innocent vocal whirl of Frame and Fannies alike.
It's an album that's still rooted in first hand experience,
however, whether it's the monotony of working in a BT
call-centre or of musical awakenings:
"I can remember seeing all these guitars and just falling
in love with them," he recalls. "I can still see this
wallet full of song sheets about a foot high they used.
That's really how I got into music, through listening
to them playing these mainstream rock classics."
And BT Directory Enquiries? 2 numbers please?
"I love the language of BT," he explains. "There's this
scary corporate conviction to the company that you can't
help admiring, even if you find it goes against everything
you believe in. I've kept their mission statement and
every time it mentions BT I've changed it to Mull Historical
first non-listed band, Trax, is said to have comprised
of family and friends, playing the local town hall and
generally just larking around. His next band, 'The Lovesick
Zombies', a continuation of 'Trax' played Beatles, Bowie
and The Clash covers in Tobermory's old Distillery building
on Mull's harbour front using, as is the fashion for
any wannabe rock star, broom handles for mic stands.
A move to Glasgow and the appointment of a new mic stand
saw Colin knock about the employment ladder with the
same lack of discernible game plan that marred his work
on the field. A stint at BT, and the spare-time lure
of a four-track recorder eventually saw the birth of
"I wrote the song Mull Historical Society and thought
it was a good band name. I did have doubts whether it
was too long, but people seemed to like it. Smells Like
Marzipan never really meant anything and I always felt
a bit daft phoning people up saying 'Hi, this is Colin
from 7-11'. After a while, a name's just a name anyway."
Strangely enough, the song itself was based on a 'real'
Mull Historical Society, whose column in Mull's local
paper had inspired Colin originally.
"Mull Historical Society has definitely got an agenda,"
he explains somewhat cryptically. "As much as my family
has a history or tradition on Mull and I grew up there,
I don't want to be seen as parochial or twee. That's
not part of the plan. Anyway, almost everything I've
ever written has been in Glasgow. But people seemed
to be intrigued."
For Colin it's a piece of work that he feels accurately
represents the last 15 years - no mean achievement when
you consider two hundred and ninety odd songs lay on
the cutting room floor upon its completion. And how
does he feel the singles have so far?
"I didn't really know what to expect from Barcode -
I knew when I recorded it in the studio (having had
it on 4-track for a while) that it sounded on tape exactly
as it did in my head, so I was happy with it, but you
never can tell what other people will make of your stuff.
The chart position was fine....it had no video and no
advertising or real profile other than the press it
received of its own back - it was only really intended
to get record companies interested and make the music
media aware...which is exactly what it did - as opposed
to troubling Top of the Pops!"
Mull Historical Society release their new single 'Watching
Xanadu' on 28 January.
Crud's track by track interview with Colin McIntyre
Historical Society Bio
Crud Magazine© 2002