Well, all going to plan, I will finally drag myself out of the house to go to a gig for the first time this year on Saturday. And to be honest it looks like a cracker.
The first ever Human Don’t Be Angry band show will take place as part of the Margins Book and Music Festival at the Arches in Glasgow on Saturday (25th). Which would in itself be enough of a motivation to get moving – except support is coming from Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat, which pretty much makes it unmissable.
No official announcement of who is in the HDBA band besides Malcolm Middleton so far but tweets in recent weeks suggest that Paul Mellon (F.O. Machete and Martin John Henry band) is playing guitar and that Martin John Henry himself is learning bass lines for Saturday for an unspecified purpose!
Margins is being organised by Cargo Publishing so unsurprisingly it’s not just a music event but also features books. However the Friday night music line-up is nearly as stellar as Saturday featuring Roddy Woomble supported by Alasdair Roberts and Withered Hand.
Doug Johnstone meanwhle is reading from his new as yet unpublished novel ‘Hit and Run’ on Saturday at 1pm at a joint event with Helen Fitzgerald whilst other writers appearing at some point over the weekend are Louise Welsh, Chris Brookmyre, William McIllvanney, Allan Wilson, Graham Hunter and Sara Sheridan.
Courtesy of Mark Buckland at Cargo and Alistair Braidwood over at Scots Whay Hae! here’s a short interview with Mr Middleton about HDBA:
MB: Tell us about Human Don’t Be Angry.
MM: It’s just a new name to release music under. I was tired of the solo singy-songy stuff and fancied something new and fresh. I’d become a bit of a caricature of myself, or at least I thought I had, which is much worse. So time to move on for a while. I’ll go back to the song-writing at some point, but for now I’m enjoying the (mostly) instrumental music.
MB: So why do an album under a different name?
MM: It’s like wearing a disguise. I don’t feel tethered to having to write about the same subject matter, or from the usual point of view. I think if any musician releases 5 or so albums you can become a bit bogged down by worry and expectations. I wanted a clean slate, and to step out of myself for a bit.
MB: How would you say this differs from your usual music?
MM: It’s obviously still me, but I’m not singing about depression or death, or whining because I don’t know what’s going on. For the most part the music is lighter, but still somewhat subdued I guess. I’ve been bandying the words “upbeat” and “fun” around quite a lot…
MB: What can we expect from your Margins Festival show?
MM: Loud upbeat fun summer tunes. Jan Hammer meets Big Country. A shiny new enthusiastic and polished band. A balloon. And maybe an onstage smile.
MB: Are you planning a HDBA tour?
MM: Yes, the album comes out on the 16th April so I’ll be playing quite a bit. I’m happy playing guitar again and want to enjoy it as much as I can, before the old me takes over and gets the urge to write depressing songs again. I think I’d like to do another HDBA album before I go back to that though.
MB: Pick one song from the album that will make people realise what HDBA is all about.
MM: It’d probably be the opening song “The Missing Plutonium”. It says it all.
MB: What’s your take on the cultural scene in Scotland at present? Some writers have been talking about a golden age for lit- what does it feel like from your (musical) perspective?
MM: Ha, the question says it all. “Some writers have been talking about a golden age for lit”. Joking aside, it’s obviously a good thing if you’re into your culture and stuff 😉 Personally, I like music with guitar solos, films with explosions and cheap plot twists, and books about philosophy or hobbits.
There are still tickets available for Margins – try here.