Drinking Port – The Bad Books Interview

The last full weekend in March is shaping up to be a cracker what with Vic Godard returning to Scotland and all. Before Vic’s show in Dundee on the 25th, though I’ll be heading through to the capital to catch a cracking bill featuring MPT favourites Cancel The Astronauts, The Bad Books and Fuzzystar at Sneaky Pete’s the previous night. (More info)

I’ve raved a couple of times about The Bad Books’ performance at the Cancel The Astronauts single launch but I’m going yo do so again. Genuinely it was one of the most exciting performances I saw all of last year. So suffice to say that I’m really looking forward to the show. Ahead of the gig (tickets) the band (Graeme Anderson – guitar/vocals/megaphone/keys, Michael Morrison – guitar, Andrew Brodie – drums, Scott Finnigan – guitar/bass/vocals) took some time out to enliven some rather dull MPT questions!

MPT – Who are the Bad Books?

Michael: Four friends brought together from the ashes of all sorts. Edinburgh music legend Alex Fenton described us a ‘super group’, which I’m happy to go with.

MPT – You’ve all been in previous bands – what’s your collective rap sheet in that regard?

Michael: Are you calling us old? Yeah quite a few bands I guess. I was in Come On Gang! and Die! Bastard Monkey! Die! Die! Die!, Graeme was in The Kays Lavelle, Scott was in Five Day Hemmingway and The Kays Lavelle and Andrew was in Autosafari, the mighty Ego Breed and a shit load of other bands. And, of course, Graeme and I were also in Malcolm’s Cardigan.

Andrew: Is Mike calling me old?

Michael: Yes.

Graeme : Were you genuinely in a band called Die! Bastard Monkey! Die! Die! Die!???? That’s awful plus it has way too many exclamation marks!!!!!

Michael: True story. You know that tourist scam where people roam the streets with a drugged-up monkey, looking for eedgits to pose with it for a Polaroid? In my case the monkey actually died; too much morphine or something. From that I took a band name though, so every cloud…

MPT – Where did the name come from?

Michael: Graeme’s a teacher; he regularly puts people in his bad books.

Andrew: I’m permanently in his bad books. He gave me detention last week & a letter home to my wife. . . .

Graeme: Think you deserve it Andrew but The Bad Books does have a school connection as well as being ‘one of those phrases’ used as a bit of a telling off when i was younger from the folks.

MPT – How did you get started as a band?

Michael: Graeme had been asked to perform a wee solo acoustic set at Nobles one night. He gingerly asked me to join him on guitar in a ‘proper’ band. He already had Scott on-board and Andrew joined us 48 hours before show time. It was the best fun ever.

Andrew: It was a pretty interesting start to band life to hit the ground running like that. We followed up with another 2 or 3 gigs pretty quickly – at one stage I had genuinely played more gigs than we’d had rehearsals.

MPT – You last played a live show in September? What you been up to since?
Michael: Shit really? I thought that was in December? Oh wait, we had one on December but I had to pull out. Ah crap. As a band we’ve been squirrelled away to record, get some much needed practise under our belts and write quite a few new songs. Personally though, I’ve been writing Christmas songs, running and drinking port.

MPT – Where are you in terms of songs?

Michael: We write them and play them all ourselves. I read an article about a guy called Ed Sheeran who is apparently set to be huge thanks to his ‘incredible talent’. The article was written by his song writing mentor. What sort of chump needs a song writing mentor?

Graeme : We have about an albums worth together. There are loads more in the pipeline though!

MPT – How do you write songs as a band?

Michael: I’d love to say we all chip in, but it’s mainly Graeme that gets the bones of the beast together. Scott and I have contributed song ideas but Graeme’s got a really nice style of writing which suits the band, so I mainly try to spoil things with filthy guitar and Scott’s great at finding melodies and harmonies in the most circumspect of places. Likewise Andrew tries to destroy everything with his drums. It’s always the best bit when the drums come in: every song.

MPT – The six songs you played in September were quite varied – is this the result of an overall plan or just a happy accident?

Graeme: That’s very kind mike. The songs do have a bit of each of us in them though and think that’s what gives us such a varied sound. Most of my favourite bands have a bit of an unpredictability about them and i’d like to think that is something we offer.

Michael: That’s good to hear. Bands whose songs all sound the same should just nut up and form some kind of tribute act. Let’s call it a happy accident; we definitely don’t have an overall plan.

Graeme : Oh! I’ve kind of messed this one up by totally contradicting you Michael. Our plan is that we have no plan!

MPT – Do you have any plans for recording and releasing anything you’ve written so far?

Michael: Yes! Got a couple of songs near completion so they’ll be out and about quite soon I’m sure.

Graeme : Mike is our Brian Eno without the drug habit.

Michael: Or the male pattern baldness…

MPT – What are your plans for gigs in the immediate future and who will you be playing with?

Michael: Have you been on our Facebook page? We’re hosting a night at Sneaky Pete’s on 24th March, with our pals Fuzzystar and Cancel The Astronauts joining us. It’ll be bloody fantastic and I’m chuffed to see tickets already whizzing away. Seriously though, that’s a good Saturday night line-up and I’m being very modest. Other than that I’m not sure, if anyone wants to invite us to play we’ll usually be up for it.

Andrew: I want the gig to rehearsal ratio to tip back in favour of “gig”. So I say we get our new batch of songs finished & go on tour. It’s what the public want after all.

MPT – And plans for the rest of 2012?

Michael: Running, port, writing Christmas songs.

Andrew: The Bad Books Tour. And seeing if Mike actually runs anywhere.

Graeme: more gigs, a release (vinyl!!!!), chasing Mike.

MPT – And finally what’s the one question (and answer) you’d like to ask yourself (yes)?

Michael: If you could choose anyone to play the part of yourself in the upcoming biopic of your life, who would it be?

Good question Michael. I’d probably have to say John Cusack. Though he’s 20 years older than me, I think he has enough talent to make the age gap irrelevant on-screen.

Andrew: If John Cusack is playing Mike in the biopic of his life, who would play your role?

I’d have to say Joan Cusack. We’ve all been waiting for them to be re-united on screen since Grosse Pointe Blank. So let’s make it happen. Plus, the resemblance is startling…

Graeme : I’ll keep this theme going and say Dan Aykroyd as he is slightly chubby and a bit mad!

Andrew: So we are basically re-making Grosse Pointe Blank, but basing it on the life of Mike? I don’t think Minnie Driver can play Scott though. The beard would be an issue.

Michael: I’ll answer this one on Scott’s behalf. Minnie Driver.

Thanks to the Bad Books for their time. Now get along to the show on the 24th … (Tickets)