Lots of Zeros – Stoor interview

STOOR 1 Photo by Brian Hutton

Stoor played The Cool Cat Club in April and managed to sound even fresher than before, blowing a number of people away (writes Andy Wood). ‘Who the hell are they and where have they been hiding?’ was a question I was asked a number of times after their set followed by a plethora of compliments on just how much the individuals had enjoyed them.

Having spent a good few years in a state of hibernation Stoor, now a quartet rather than a trio, played a set of intricate but catchy songs, punchy and quirky and just such great fun to see. They are a pretty hard band to describe, there are so many wee things that make up the whole and the pleasure is in the little surprises. Stoor can be as pretty and melodic and as abrasive and tough as you like all in one song. And what songs they have as well.

You never know how long these things are going to last so we were pretty damn pleased with ourselves when they said they would be happy to play again for us. So before they vanish again into the twilight I’d thoroughly recommend that you catch them while you can.

Scott McKinlay, drummer extraordinaire kindly agreed to undertake the Manic Pop Thrills inquisition.

Please introduce yourself briefly and tell us what your role is in Stoor?

I’m Scott, I’m the drummer and self appointed spokesperson for the band. My main role is to embarrass the other 3!

What or who first got you into music?

Probably my dad, who was the second drummer in Stoor. I wasn’t a big music fan until punk happened, then I heard ‘Anarchy In The UK. That changed my life. I went from Johnny no mates to Johnny even less mates, but at least I wasn’t alone!

What was the first record you ever bought for yourself?

Can’t exactly remember, but it was either Bowie ‘Diamond Dogs’ or T.Rex ‘Slider’.

And the most recent?

I always like to buy a memento of the gigs I go to, so I bought the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion “Jack the Ripper” 12” single at the Classic Grand gig last night.

Have you ever played in any other bands apart from Stoor?

A few; Friction, All the Rage, Waiter Waiter, Boots for Dancing, Cattle, Interflora, Diddums and Stoor.

What was the first gig you attended?

By absolute chance, my first gig was David Bowie in the Caird Hall in Dundee in 1973. My friend’s sister had broken up with her boyfriend, had tickets and took us! And he came on wearing a dress!!!!!

And the most recent?

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Classic Grand, Glasgow, last night. The next one is Television in Glasgow next month, really looking forward to that.

Do you have a favourite all-time gig you’ve been to?

Far too many to name just one. Here’s a few though; David Bowie Dundee, 1973 & Glasgow Apollo 1978, Buzzcocks & Joy Division Dundee 1979, The Fall Buster Browns Edinburgh 1983, The Kinks Glenrothes 1994, Man or Astroman Dundee 1999(?), Frank Black & the Catholics Aberdeen 2003, Wire Lemon Tree Aberdeen 2004, LCD Soundsystem, 2007, The Hives Glasgow 2013, Television, Roundhouse, London 2013, and loads more which I can’t recall at the moment.

Dingy basements or outdoor festivals? Which do you prefer?

Absolutely, dingy basements. Small packed intimate gigs are way better. Festivals are not for music lovers! I went to T in the Park, last year, which was no fun. I saw one of the worst bands there that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a few bad ones, and they were The Script! If I’d had a machine gun I’d have gunned them down and happily taken the prison years just to rid the world of dross like that.

Favourite five records?

An impossible question, but off the top of my head, Television – Marquee Moon, Never Mind the Bollocks – Sex Pistols, Now I Got Worry – Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Defcon 54321 – Man or Astroman, Sparks – Exotic Creatures of the Deep, Hex Enduction Hour – The Fall, Pixies – Surfer Rosa, Nick Cave – Murder Ballads, PIL – Metal Box, The Monks – Black Monk Time. Sorry, that’s more than 5, but there are just so many great records.


What are your feelings in general about music videos? Any particular favourites or hated examples?

I’ve never watched a music video that’s made me want to buy a record. There’s been some serious money wasted on some really poor videos. I really liked the Beastie Boys Sabotage video, but I already had the record. Can’t think of any particular one that I hated, there are so many. Generally speaking the likelihood of any “major” recording artist producing a good video is pretty low.

What are your favourite films/television programmes?

I don’t watch much T.V., but some of the series like Battlestar Galactica, Breaking Bad, The Killing, Borgen and The Bridge have been excellent. Films are a bit like favorite gigs and music, too many too mention. Here’s some of my favourites, that I never tire of; The Good The Bad The Weird, Once Upon a Time in America, Cyborg She, Incendies, Lady Vengeance, Paris Trout, Come and See, True Romance, Kung Fu Hustle, Oldboy, Alien, The Orphanage (the Spanish one). I watch a lot of foreign films; they generally don’t have the hype that goes with UK or American films, so it’s up to you to find the good ones.

If someone made a film about Stoor who would you like to play you and why?

James Stewart; he’s good looking, suave and debonair, very similar to me really!!!!! Or Haruka Ayase, but that would be just weird!!!

What are your favourite books/authors?

I really like Michael Marshall Smith for a bit of sci fi, I read a lot of biographies, everyone from Hitler, to Pablo Escobar, Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung and Stalin; the more despotic the better. I liked the Millennium trilogy, the films were good, the books were better.

If your house caught fire what would be the first thing you tried to save once you knew your family were safe?

I’d probably die in the fire retrieving my drumkit, cd’s, cassettes, records and dvd’s!

Can we expect a new record any time soon?

Wellllll, I can’t say much at the moment, but we have an abundance of decent quality recordings, which we are thinking about releasing. Don’t hold your breath though. Either that or we’ll delete everything we’ve ever done, and start again.

You’ve played several gigs already this year after a period of hibernation. How has the reception been and do you enjoy playing live?

The reception we’ve had has been astonishing. We’re all a bit bemused by it to be honest. We love playing live, but we also know it won’t last. We’d like to play in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Perth and so on, but you have to be asked, and no one has yet, So……

Are you in danger of becoming prolific now?

Not a chance, once the last gig is out of the way, that’s it for a while (I think).

Anything else that you would like to add?

Lots of zero’s to the Stoor bank account, which currently stands at £14.60.

Here’s Andy’s March interview with Stoor.

Stoor play the Cool Cat Club at Beat Generator Live in Dundee on Saturday (24th May) with Book Group, Cancel The Astronauts and Marley Davidson. More info here.

(Top photo by Brian Hutton)