In honor of this Scottish celebration…let us not forget to rock out. Here are a few videos that have special meaning to me and each band has roots in Scotland.
1. Gun – “Shame on You” First band up is Gun. A big stadium band in the 80s/90s. They broke through in the US with “Better Days” – this particular video gives you a feel of their stadium days. They wrote a lot of fantastic songs. Funny enough when I saw them they played a Metallica cover…and sounded just as heavy. It was a treat. One of the Gizzi’s is now the lead singer in El Presidente (another Scottish band that rocks).
2. Shamen – “Ebeneezer Goode” I fell head over heels with the Shamen during the European dance era of the early 90s. I will never forget just being entranced by MTV Europe when I visited while this was the trend…such fun music (even though it was a bit forgettable).
3. Simple Minds – “See The Lights” I have a ton of SMinds stories, but I’ll leave you with this. There is more than one reason that Jim Kerr has always done so well with the ladies. There are a lot of things I like about this band and this video displays many of them: it makes me think of the Scottish countryside, the sound of Charlie’s guitar, and watching Jim’s dramatics always puts a smile on my face.
4. Primal Scream – “Jailbird” (live) Primal Scream are at their best live; I hope I can experience that once before I die. No list would be complete without their inclusion.
They say you should learn something new every day…today I learned that Billy Boyd (one of the Hobbits) has a band, Beecake. I doubt if they become one of my Featured Bands, but they played a gig for charity recently. (Maybe I’ll learn something more substantial as the day moves on.)
Next up is a feature on Emma Pollock (I’m telling you guys you should pick up her new album) from The Independent. She explains why it was important to release her new music on a different label than Chemikal Underground, which she co-founded with her fellow Delgados. And speaking of Chemikal Underground, they’ve received a grant from the Scottish Music Futures Fund along with several other labels and music-related companies. I admire how Scotland is such a fierce little country – this effort is a great way to protect their own with jobs and at the same time help to grow Scottish music that deserves recognition.
On to pop culture…whether you have read any Ian Rankin novels or not, I think you will enjoy this piece from The List. Rankin is usually a good interview with little insights into culture and how it affects his writing as well as his day-to-day life.
And if all this is making you consider planning a break to Scotland to experience it for yourself, you might want to pick up the The Rough Guide to the World. The book hails Glasgow as “Europe’s secret capital of rock music”. Who can argue that? If you decide to grab some music while you’re there then you’ll want to check out this guide to second hand shops. I’ve always wanted to celebrate Hogmanay in Edinburgh - it’s just been announced that this year’s performers are Calvin Harris, Kasabian and Idlewild.