Portrait of the Artist As A Fan – Book Group interview

bg_210516_4538Book Group return to Dundee next Saturday (24th September) for their second Cool Cat Club show of the year this time supporting Kid Canaveral.

Ahead of the show Andy caught up with Graeme and Michael to talk over favourites.

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

M: I’m Michael – I play guitar in Book Group. G : I’m Graeme. I play guitar and make noises.

What or who first got you into music?

M: Listening to my parents’ records when I was small: Donovan, Elvis, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin. These people all seemed to be having a lot more fun than a typical 5-year old from the Borders, and I identified learning the guitar as a way of potentially entering their world.

G: I think the idea of it being ‘cool’ was probably my first thing. Although my folks never really had an interest in acts that I enjoyed, they always encouraged me to play instruments. That feeling of getting my first guitar was amazing. My dad is still waiting on me to learn The Shadows back catalogue!

 What was the first record you ever bought for yourself?

M: The first one I chose was The Bends, by Radiohead. My brother bought me it though. The first proper album I bought would have been 1977, by Ash.

G: Bad by Michael Jackson

And the most recent?

M: My Woman, by Angel Olsen.

G: Em, this has come at a bad time. Can’t Slow Down by Lionel Richie. Groucho’s gold!

Have you ever played in any other bands apart from Book Group?

M: Yeah loads. Had moderate success with Death Nuggets back around ‘97/98. Will have to release the masterworks in to the digital age one day.

G: Malcolm’s Cardigan and The Kays Lavelle. Though playing a melodica with a Broken Records / Shady Bard super group at the Westport was definitely a highlight.

 What was the first gig you attended?

M: Blur at the SECC, support by Super Furry Animals and The Warm Jets. It was their Blur-era tour, which was perfect for what I was in to at the time.

G: Runrig at the Caird Hall.

 And the most recent?

M: I had a ticket for Pinegrove the other week but had to ditch it as I was ill. Really wish I’d caught them.

G: Teenage Fanclub at the Liquid Rooms. They still have it!

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

M: Any Spook School gig.

G: Longpigs at Lucifer’s Mill is an early highlight. Recently, Sufjan Stevens at the Playhouse was pretty special.

Dingy basements or outdoor festivals? Which do you prefer?

M: The basements. For years I was quite claustrophobic so couldn’t really enjoy them, so now I really appreciate them. The sort of music I’m in to usually suits a small room anyway.

G: agree. Basements for me.

Favourite five records?

M: Pass.

G …the Dutchie!!! Mine change every time I think about this but Grant Lee Buffalo always feature. 1) Mighty Joe Moon by Grant Lee Buffalo 2) The Soft Bulletin by Flaming Lips 3) Listen Like Thieves by INXS 4) Pink Strat by Bahamas 5) Sudden Rush 7″ by Erlend Oye (awesome acoustic version on side b).

What are your feelings in general about music videos?

M: I have strong, positive feelings about them. I would love to make a lot more videos, with a lot of different people; but these things take time. We’ve been lucky so far.

G: love them but as long as it’s not people pretending to play instruments standing by a cliff or in a woodland area.

What are your favourite films/television programmes?

M: My favourite film is True Romance. I honestly think my favourite TV programme would have to be Neighbours. I watched it twice a day for years. There’s nothing I care about that much these days. When I moved away from home and had to work during the day (and therefore had to stop watching it), I pretty much gave up on TV.

G: Have loved The Walking Dead and looking forward to the next series. Mainly Box Sets – House of Cards and The Blacklist are recent ventures.

What are your favourite books/authors?

M: Am Holmes, Vonnegut, Wells Tower, Ben Marcus, Colson Whitehead, Augusten Burroughs, Zadie Smith, Mark Z Danielewski, Michael Cunningham, Dan Fante, David Sedaris. Too my favourite books to list.

G: He’s a well read man! I love Iain Banks, Mark Haddon and always have time for a touch of Philip Larkin (know he’s a poet but lovely, grumpy stuff). Currently exploring a touch of Ian Rankin.

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

M: My flatmates. They’re the best.

G: photo albums probably but I’d also grab a selection of vinyl. I have a handful at one end that is my emergency pile.

Book Group play Beat Generator Live on Saturday 24th for the Cool Cat Club with Kid Canaveral and Faiides. More info here. Tickets available £8 in advance from Groucho’s or online here. Doors at 8.

Here’s a Book Group oldie – but a goodie: