There are a number of things you may know, or think
you know, about Scot pop gems the Cosmic Rough Riders.
Their geographic roots stem from Glasgow's ramshackle
inner city, but they don't exactly sound that way. There's
little doubt however that they look like it, thankfully
being a good deal easier on the ear than the easel.
They're the gentle glistening psychedelic jewel in Alan
McGee's new crown and possibly to Poptones what
Teenagae Fanclub were to Creation. Going
on these vague guidelines though they are almost certainly
much better than you expect them to be.
Catching them onstage, as Crud does for the first time
playing to a packed and jovial audience clearly on the
same sunshine drip as the band at the University
of London Union on a brief UK tour, they don't look
even loosely like the underdogs they've previously painted
themselves out to be at all. Confident, buzzing, strong,
shimmering and more willing to throw exaggerated and
largely indistinguishable rock shapes than sink cross-legged
into the communal trance that their image suggests.
Note perfect and satisfyingly translucent they use all
the space the box venue offers to lift the contents
of their fine debut album 'Enjoy The Melodic Sunshine'
(and find fault with that title if you can) onto a plain
that there just isn't enough room for on a tiny shiny
disc. From the crisp tender crust of early, 'Document'-era
REM, the craning acoustics of The Byrds,
innocent boy-next-door Beatles pop trim and of course
the ultra-violet Beach Boys rays, songs such as lead
call 'Revolution (In The Summertime)', 'Melanie',
'The Pain Inside' and their clearest moment of hippie
weakness 'Glastonbury Revisited' leave their pollen
lingering in the air for some time after.
We join pint-sized, lolloping-haired front man Danny
the morning after, over a faltering mobile line en-route
to the next gig in Bangor, the seeds of the previous
evening's aftershow festivities firmly sown in his head.
Give or take at least two tunnels and a generally unwilling
bugger of a signal we find him by and large happy about
the London gig, the tour and life in general.
Crud: So, little over a year ago you had no
deal and nobody knew your name. Quite a change in the
"I'll tell you how surreal it all is. I had never been
out of the UK before I signed with Poptones. I'd never
been on a plane. This year alone I've been to 19 countries
and been on over 40 planes. I've made four videos. I've
been on about 30 TV shows worldwide, done numerous interviews,
hundreds of live radio sessions, been filmed by MTV
in Japan. The list is fucking endless! And we've had
a good slagging on the singles page in NME, just like
any other good band has. That's when you know you're
good, when they say you're shite. It really is a fucking
backhanded compliment. So we know we're on the right
Crud: Your life been stuck on fast forward then?
"I never thought it'd happen this quick, I was quite
happy for us to be doing little albums on our own, and
maybe by album number seven we might start to earn a
living. But having got a manager and the deal with Poptones
we kind of got the leap to album number seven almost
overnight. It's all to do with good solid hard work.
Loads of bands will talk about it and talk about it
and 2 years later they've done fuck all. We've done
147 gigs this year, tonight will be 148. We're just
about to get a silver disc for the album in the UK,
so it's working."
Crud: But you're not exactly what would be labeled
trendy, who's buying the records?
"What I've done is just follow my nose. I've really
just done that, not listened to what people say is trendy.
I've picked out the kind of music that I like, I think,
like you probably think, everybody thinks they've got
good taste. I just thought if I can please myself and
make an album with the band that I would want to buy
myself and maybe likeminded people would buy it too.
I haven't really given a shit about making money or
anything like that. I think there's so much cynicism
in the music press at the moment, people are trying
to tell me that certain bands are the fucking future
of rock n roll. But they're not doing anything new,
they're as retro as we are. It's all water off a ducks
back to me, I can't be bothered doing stuff to please
other people. I do it to please myself."
Crud: So you're quite happy not actually bringing
on a revolution?
"I got into music as a child because I loved it, it
was entertainment. I just feel like I want to entertain
people. I don't want to save their lives, I just want
to do what comes natural. And the music I'm making is
the natural kind of music for me to make. It's like
if you run a sponge under water, you hold it under a
tap and the water goes in the top end of the sponge,
you turn the tap off and squeeze the sponge it doesn't
just come straight out the other end. I feel kind of
like the sponge and I'm taking in all these influences
and when I squeeze them back out they're in a different
order but they also take a bit of me with them."
Crud: You draw quite heavily on those influences
then, because you don't sound like you come from the
rough end of Glasgow?
"Music is about escapism. If you lived in Castlemilk
in Glasgow where we live, as child growing up it's quite
a hard life, it's difficult, it's a hard area, the people
are tough. There's unemployment, drugs. I mean, you'd
walk past the bookies and want to put on a football
coupon and there's a guy trying to sell you heroin at
the door. And I would rather have my mind transported
somewhere else through music. Actually that's a title
we're thinking on for the next album, it's being considered,
Crud: But while you don't sound like you're from
the rough end of Glasgow, you've said yourself that
you might look it.
"Yeah, well I don't know. Some pictures make us look
worse than others, but y'know I never got into music
to be a pin up on anyone's wall. I got into it because
I love music and I don't give a fuck about all that
other stuff, it means shit man. How many superficial
and crap bands have been hiding behind a bit of make-up
and a nice suit. It's fucking shite, it says nothing
about music. If they want that why don't they go buy
a fucking fashion magazine and give us all peace. I
have no problems with myself! I'm me and I'm happy with
Crud: You might not be part of any real discernable
'scene', but don't you think that on the stairway of
escapist acoustic pop your ascending star has just passed
Teenage Fanclub's descending one?
"I don't know, I don't think we sound as much like them
as some people do. I know for a fact, I've spoken to
Norman (Blake) on a few occasions about this, and he
doesn't think we sound like Teenage Fanclub. But y'know,
Teenage Fanclub are basically a complete carbon copy
of Big Star, there's loads of Teenage Fanclubs, they're
an out and out blatant copy. If you want to draw a line
from us it's not to Teenage Fanclub, it's the people
that influence Teenage Fanclub. If they hadn't existed
this band would still sound exactly the same. And if
you really want to know who I fucking rip off then it's
REM and The Beach Boys. I really love REM, they're my
favourite band of all time. And the great thing for
us is that they fucking love us too! They've all got
the album and have dropped us messages saying they love
it. For me, when they say that, the Gods have spoken.
It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks."
If you are in the Strathclyde
area looking for a little luxury then these luxury Boutique
hotels might be worth a looky. Alternatively, for all
you bohemian cheapskates who like a bevvy or two it
may be worth checking out these cheaper b&bs in the
West End and in Glasgow
James Berry for Crud Magazine© 2001