The Electrics: Does anyone speak Scottish? (Jun’02)
Glasgow’s Finest, an interview with Jimmy D and Sammy Horner
(S’n’O) So who are The Electrics? How did the band get together and what is the band’s history?
(Sammy) Well it actually started when Paul and I left another band….I had written a few songs and we recorded them in a little 8 track studio near Glasgow. We played a festival here in Scotland with a couple of mates (Davie the drummer and a guy called Alan Hewitt who could play everything!), and after that show the phone started ringing. We had no real big plans, but within 3 months we were touring in Portugal , Spain and France…and playing tons of University gigs…it was all a bit sudden really. We made another couple of cassette albums before being picked up by an independent label who wanted to go for it with us. We got screwed, but we managed to finish the album, and fortunately for us, although the label had went to the wall…the distribution company still wanted to pick up on the CD….so we toured for about 3 months to pay for the thing, but it got us on the map.
(S’n’O) “Reel’Folk’n’Rock’n’Roll” was to me exactly that. Were you happy with the CD? It came out in Germany only right? Did that pose a problem to a band based in Scotland?
(Jimmy D) The album didn’t end up “exactly” as we had imagined it, but overall, no too bad! I would have had more “EVERYTHING” in the mix if I could though! Yep, “Everything Louder Than Everything Else”, words to live by! We had our own idea for the album cover art also, but the record company went with the man in the kilt, cos they said it would appeal more to the German market! Generally, we didn’t like it at first, but it’s grown on us! Kinda like Leprosy! Hehehe! Nah, people seem to like it, so we are happy with that!
(Sammy) Yeah like Jim says we would have done some stuff differently, but that’s the deal when you work with producers…all in all I guess it’s OK, it’s got most of the elements we wanted, but next time, I think we can work on it ourselves and really crank it up. The band are much more raw live…we still have to capture that on a CD. In terms of Germany, no problem…we have made two other albums for German companies, and we have a large fan base there….very nice people, very good to us.
New stuff in the pipeline as we speak….well….new old stuff….we are gonna change the names of trad. songs to things like Killiecrankedup…Irish R-Overdrive….should be fun!
(S’n’O) On “Reel’Folk’n’Rock’n’Roll” there was a Violent Femmes cover and some Motorhead riff’s. Who would you list as your influences?
(Jimmy D) Sammy and I wrote the album together, so the influences are many and varied. Common ones are 70’sGlam and punk. Sam is a big fan of the Femmes, Steve Earle, Jason and The Scorchers, Pogues etc, whilst I’m a big fan of the Pistols/Ramones and more recently of Powerpop bands! I’ve added the punkier, rock edge to the bands sound on this album.
Sammy Loves the Femmes!…we have covered another of their songs on our third album and played some of their stuff live for years. I like hybrid stuff…country rock….cowpunk…anything that mixes up styles and sounds cool……..
(S’n’O) What makes a great Folk Rock song?
(Jimmy D) I think Sammy and I would both agree that no matter what kind of music it is, if it doesn’t have a good tune, than its a waste of time. Obviously there are genres where that is not the most important thing, but I mean from a “song” based point of view. That’s what made me drift away from a lot of the punk stuff I used to be heavily into. It just started to get faster and faster, and more tuneless and non-descript with every new release. Where’s the TUNES lads?
(Sammy) Good tunes…withoot a doot!
(S’n’O) How did the recent European tour go?
(Jimmy D) Tremendously well actually! The audience reaction was as wild as ever. With much dancing on tables, and conga lines around the halls etc. We also kept the record company happy, by selling out ALL of our CD’s at the shows. We had none left by the last gig! Demand outstripped supply in fact! Magic!
(Sammy) European tours are by and large …magic. It might be a cultural thing, (won’t bore you with the history of the Celts except to say the civilization spread over a good deal of Europe, not just Ireland and Scotland), but generally people in Europe are really into it…dancing from the first note…. USA tours were pretty good on the whole, but in some places it took a while to warm em up…… not that they were bad crowds…just took them a while to get it….. looking forward to the east coast this summer thou…. Surely they will get us big time!
(S’n’O) Have The Electrics and plans yet to follow up “Reel..”?
(Jimmy D) Yes indeed sir! Sammy and i have already started work on a new collection of traditional Irish/Scots songs, done in different styles. Some we have punked up, some we have done in an unlikely fashion too. This may well appear as the next Electrics album. We have also re-done a couple of our live standards too. Such as Killiecrankie, Irish Rover and Raggle Taggle Gypsy!
(S’n’O) I heard rumors of a US tour recently. Any more details?
(Jimmy D) Yeah…NJ July 27th….. Harrisburg PA 28th…… NYC…29th…..New Hampshire / Boston Aug 1-2.
(S’n’O) Any thoughts on the recent deaths of Dee Dee Ramone and John Entwistle?
(Jimmy) I was very sad to hear of Dee Dee’s passing, but not exactly surprised. I mean, what does it take for a fifty-year-old man to get off drugs? How many of his close friends does he have to see die of heroin overdoses etc. before he gets help and quits? People like Johnny Thunders, Sid Vicious etc? Its not like your average no-hoper junkie on the streets. He was a successful musician, who could have quit if he REALLY wanted too. Sad, and pointless way to go! I only heard about Entwistle today. I don’t even know how old he was, or what his health was like. Its a bit of a shocker too. I thought he was one of the healthy ones. And on the eve of a reunion tour too eh?
I’m sure old Keith Moon is setting up his drums as we speak…. It makes you wonder what’s going on, when someone like Keith Richards is still alive, even after all the debauchery he has put his body through. And now we have SIR Mick Jagger too eh? Does the queen even know who he is? Er, no, she doesn’t. Just don’t bend over when your knighting him Liz! Hehehehehe,,,!
(Sammy) Very sad about John…saw the who about a year ago and they were fantastic…John was an incredible bass man…. even have some signed artwork of his….great shame…..Sad about Dee Dee also…the Ramones really started something new and exciting…
(S’n’O) What do you think of the Pogues reforming? Did you make it to any gigs?
(Sammy) Never knew they broke up…..except in the teeth department!…Lets face it the Strummer years were not good ones….without Shane it ain’t the Pogues, and with the Popes it ain’t the Pogues….it can only be a good thing, but I will only turn up to gigs if Shane does…love the music, but not paying $50 to see them if Shane is too pissed to show….and that’s the thing…how can we know?…