POP SCOTCH: By Andrew Hutchinson
With a Best of Album in the shops and a UK tour on the horizon Del Amitri have plenty to shout about. Frontman Justin Currie talks about the band’s musical past, present and future…
LOVE them ot loathe them, few could dispute Del Amitri’s ability to stand the test of time in pop’s fickle climate.
While others have faded from the spotlight within a matter of months, the Glasweigan rockers have pursued their craft successfully for years.
The key to their longevity is simplicity. Del Amitri have clung to the same method which won them so many fans in the first place – writing lovingly nurtured songs backed by no-holds bared performances in the live arena.
You could say the latest offering, a 17-track release of all the band’s top forty hits spanning the last decade, is a tribute to their staying power and dogged determination to stick two fingers up in the face of their doubters.
We are the backroom boys of pop, says Currie proudly, We were always unfashionable. We never came from any music scene.
“But we are still enjoy writing songs and getting on with it, and if you can do that then there is no reason to stop.
The recently released Best Of album showcases the band’s best known songs from their four A&M studio albums. Always The Last To Know, Stone Cold Sober, Move Away Jimmy Blue and Not Where It’s At are included as well as the new single, Cry To Be Found.
Also featured is Nothing Ever Happens, the song which introduiced the world to Del Amitri when released in 1990.
The song, a downbeat spartan tale with a social conscience, peaked at number 11 in a nine week chart assault. Suddenly, the band was in everyone’s faces – on television, on the radio, in the papers and even in the teeny pop iconic mag Smash Hits.
Currie, now 33, reflects: I was very proud of that song at the time. It was very important that we had some kind of a hit at that stage early in our career. We were very lucky.
Overnight the band became one of pop’s hottest properties: I remember that we were playing to 100 people one night, then we appeared on Top Of The Pops and for the next gig, around 1,000 turned up, recalls Currie.
After the band’s platinum selling album Change Everything in 1992, came the million selling Twisted and with it Del Amitri’s next big chart success – the song Roll To Me, which reached the dizzy heights of number ten on the US Billboard charts.
It was the most played British song on American radio in 1995/96, says Currie proudly, But unfortunately the radio success did not translate into album sales over there.
Del Amitri’s success is rooted in Currie’s heartlfelt lyrics, which put ieveryday events into a wider, more universal context. Close family, friends and life itself serve as his song writing inspiration.
Move Away Jimmy Blue was written about a family who lived in a small village near Leicester where I lived for a while, he said, There were always accused for everything that went wrong. But if they lived in the big city they would have been just another family, says Currie, And Stone Cold Sober is about working in a nightclub in the late 1980s and the anger I felt that people were enjoying themselves all the time, and not doing their bit to get rid of the Thatcher Government.
Del Amitri enjoyed exposure again this summer after Don’t Come Home Too Soon was chosen as Scotland’s official World Cup anthem. Although initially penned as a labour of love, Currie now has mixed feelings about it.
I had written a song about Scotland going to the World Cup about five months before they being approached to do something. It was a love song rather than anything, he says, In an ideal world I would have been more than happy for someone else to use it, but there was a lot of pressure for us to record it ourselves, so I gave in.
So what’s next? Well after the tour we’re going to put some new material together for a new album in the New Year, says Currie. I have already written about ten songs but I’m not sure they are good enough. We hope to put some demo tapes together in the New Year.
So does that mean these boy-next-door rockers are here to stay? I’m not so sure about that, laughs Currie, But I think we will be hanging around for a while yet.
Submitted by Andrew Hutchinson