The Guinea Pig Is On His Own – STOOR interview

20150509_stoor225729 I’m not sure what else to say about STOOR after Mike and I both raved ecstatically over their wonderful debut album earlier this year. We are both of the opinion (and quite often don’t see things the same way on these things) that it’s a definite contender for one of the best albums of 2015.The world hasn’t quite came around to this uncontroversial viewpoint as of yet but I’m convinced it will. Or else.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, regular, and even occasional readers, of this blog will be well aware that we love STOOR, both live and on record and believe you should as well. Both the record and the live shows are great fun, full of energy and intensity and with brilliant catchy tunes. They don’t play live very often so you’d be daft not to catch them play as they have a tendency to disappear from time to time. Anyway, as we’ve interviewed them a couple of times we thought we’d throw down the dreaded ‘Artist as a Fan’ questions which, after a bit of prodding, they settled on some answers.

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

“I’m Stef and I am the bassist and singer of the band.”

“I’m Davie and I’ll hazard a guess that I’m supposed to be playing rhythm guitar. But that’s debatable.”

“Ross Matheson, guitarist and writer of instrumentals which get spoilt once Stef writes lyrics for them.”

Scott- “I hit things.”

What or who first got you into music?

Stef – “A friend and I decided to start a band while at school because we bunked together and bought the Kinks songbook while learning to play the guitar.”

Davie – “Watching TV as a 9 year old kid got me into music. Initially it was themes to old 70’s TV programmes – Man in a Suitcase, New Avengers, The Professionals and the likes. Then came movie soundtracks, things by Ennio Morricone were phenomenal. Then came Madness and the Ska movement of the late 70’s early 80’s and I was on my way.”

Ross – “Two older brothers so was exposed to punk at a very young age.”

Scott – “David Bowie”.

What was the first record you ever bought for yourself?

Stef – “It was a K-tel or Ronco greatest hits of 1974 from Woolies in the Ferry. However, the first single I bought was ‘Do the Standing Still’ by the Table as up til then I taped any songs on my Dad’s stereogram.

Davie – “First single was ‘Atomic’ by Blondie and first album was Blondie Greatest Hits. See a theme here?”


Ross – “I remember asking my older brother Keith to go and buy me ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’. Also a vague memory of an Alvin Stardust single.”

Scott– “‘Diamond Dogs’ – Bowie.”

And the most recent?

Stef – “I downloaded Marc Sens doing a cover of ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ and on vinyl I bought ‘Focus III’ from a second hand shop in Keswick. “

Davie – “Tommy and Quadrophenia on vinyl.”

Ross – “The last record I bought was from Kill Pretty who we played with in Manchester and they came up to play our album launch.”

Scott – “Cardiacs Guns on vinyl.”


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

Stef – “Yes. The first band (playing The Kinks songbook and morphing into punk) was Members Only, followed by Spot and the Kittens. I was then in a punk/ska band that started off as Friction then became All the Rage where I first met Scott. Next I was in Waiter Waiter as a trio with Scott and Ali Hart. This then briefly developed into another band Cattle.”

Davie – “No.”

Ross – “I had a stint in Spare Snare from around 1999 to 2002.”

What was the first gig you attended?

Stef – “Queen at the Caird Hall when ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ had been no.1 for thirty odd years.”

Davie – “Better Backwards in Fat Sams in the late 80s.”

Ross – “The Sirens around 1980 in Wick, they were my brothers band.”

And the most recent?

Stef – “Outwith Stoor gigs it was Wire at the Arches in Glasgow.”

Davie – “John Mayall. Rather bad it was too.”

Ross – “Television touting Marquee Moon in Glasgow.”

Scott – “Left Lane Cruiser in Edinburgh, dirty, sweaty & heavy!”

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

Stef – “Any of the punk/new wave gigs of the late 70s but I have an especially rose tinted memory of seeing the Buzzcocks at the Ambassadors on the Cleppie [Pub on Clepington Road, Dundee] doing their first tour after Howard Devoto had left.”

Davie – “Muse A.E.C.C. or New Fads Edinburgh Playhouse.”

Ross – “See answer for first gig.”

Dingy basements or outdoor festivals? Which do you prefer?

Stef – “Dingy basements as the queues at the bar and toilet are civilised or non-existent.”

Davie – “Both. Dingy Basements for their intimacy and stadiums for their sheer over the topness.”

Ross – “Dingy basements every time.”


Favourite five records?

Stef – “That is an unfair question that goes against the human rights of any music lover: to have to choose or differentiate between any of those songs or albums that you have invested time, emotion, early hours havering with likeminded droogs and lovers, cried yourself to sleep or passed out to.”

Davie – “The Prince – Madness
Heroes- David Bowie
Behind Blue Eyes- The Who
Ecstasy of Gold – Ennio Morricone
Songs of Scott Walker
These will probably change next week.”

Ross – “Television Marquee Moon, Pere Ubu Modern Dance, JSBX Now I Got Worry, Taxi Driver soundtrack, Magazine The Correct Use of Soap.”

Scott – “This week! The Creepers-Sleeper, Captain Beefheart Safe as Milk, Burning Spear Farover, Introducing the Sonics, Kraftwerk Autobahn.”

What are your feelings in general about music videos?

Stef – “To be honest I haven’t watched a great many. I suppose it can be like a favourite book that is turned into a film and they go and cast some actor who looks and behaves nothing like what your imagination had created when you read it. Then gradually you lose that which you had to what is now a fixed image. Nevertheless we are considering doing a video or two, more to reflect the music rather than to promote it. We’re just not in a hurry.”

Davie – “Hit and miss, could be good, evocative, controversial, thought provoking but most are crap.”

Ross – “If it’s from a band I like then I probably don’t mind them, but in general I think it’s just a marketing tool.”

What are your favourite films/television programmes?

Stef – “See question on songs. However, anything by Tarkovsky, Bela Tar, Powell and Pressburger, Anthony Mann Westerns, the early Hammer films, Fellini, the Alien franchise to name but a few. On television at the moment I am enjoying most HBO American imports as well as The Walking Dead.”

Davie – “Vast, varied, Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Spooks, Dr Who, Friday night on BBC4, Mock The Week, Blacklist, Blackadder, Dangerrrmouse, Jamie and the Magic Torch.”

Ross – “Too many to name but because I grew up watching horror movies have to mention Night of the Demon and TV programme would have to be 60s Avengers with Diana Rigg.”


What are your favourite books/authors?

Stef – “Again see above but I will always read anything by Pynchon, Philip K.Dick, China Mieville.”

Davie – “Favourite authors are Conan Doyle, John Buchan, Neal Stephenson, Chris Carter. Favourite books Last Train to Memphis , My Life in Movies, 39 Steps, Dear Boy.”

Ross – “Too many again but near the top would be Paul Auster something like The New York Trilogy.”

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

Stef – “The cat. I’m afraid the guinea pig is on his own.”

Davie – “Vox AC30 but I’d probably burn to death trying to lift it.”

Ross – “My Rickenbacker.”

STOOR support Vic Godard and Subway Sect at The Cool Cat Club, Beat Generator Live! on Sunday 15 November.

They then support The Rezillos at the same venue on Sunday 27 December.


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