A couple EP's and one LP does not normally make a band's reputation, but in the case of the Vaselines, it was more than enough. The Glasgow duo is about to drop its second compilation in 17 years, Enter the Vaselines (Sub Pop), a definitive summation of their short but sweet career.
The two core members, Frances McKee and Eugene Kelly, gave us a behind-the-scenes look at the songs you'll find on the 2XCD release, available now.
Frances McKee's Tracks:
“Rory Rides Me Raw”
Thus is the most obvious, really. I did have a very old bike. I bought it with money I earned from one of our first shows. It cost 30 quid and the brakes didn't work. The saddle was, ahem, pretty hard and I had no gears. But I loved Rory more than Eugene. It was a very satisfying ride. The song came from that. I think Eugene was jealous. Too bad.
“The Day I Was A Horse”
The September weekend is like the last spell of good weather before winter wraps its icy fingers around us. What better way to celebrate than to take acid and take a boat to a little island off the west coast of Scotland. It is only 10 miles in circumference, but I do believe we were rooted to an old shed directly opposite the police station. Good harmless fun prevailed while Eugene became a horse.
We were always trying to cut our alcohol intake. This song was a salute to our efforts. We probably had a hangover writing it.
“Dying For the Blues”
The album, Dum-Dum, was looking really short. We did not have any more songs left in the bucket so Jamie, our engineer, came up with the idea of dying for the blues. I was really pleased with it and it became one of my favorites. We never played it live until last week, for a charity show
Eugene Kelly's Tracks:
“Son Of A Gun” the first song on the second disc really sticks in my memory. It was our first gig and it was in Bristol, England supporting the Pastels.
We traveled by train and i was late as I'd been to collect my guitar from a repair shop and had to run along the station platform with images of “A Hard Days Night” in my head.
We wandered in Bristol after the soundcheck looking for food and found a fish and chip shop that sold faggot and chips. We didn't investigate what this meaty mystery dish tasted like.
I don't recall if we were nervous but it's likely. I'd definitely partaken of a few ales.
I do recall that we went down much better than we'd anticipated.
“Molly's Lips” was inspired by a Scottish actress named Molly Weir. She was famous in Britain for a series of adverts for Flash floor cleaner and in Scotland more so for her television show Tea Time Tales. A five minute programme before the news where she'd tell stories of her childhood. The song was us imagining that she was our grandmother or auntie. It's an innocent song but lots of people think it has sleazy undertones.
“Lovecraft” is a song that was mostly written in the studio. We had the riff and an idea for the word. The title was inspired by my brother Charlie's love of H.P.Lovecraft Jamie Watson ,the producer suggested we fill out the track by adding lot's of weird noises on all the strange instruments he had around the studio. Someone strummed the open strings of an upright piano, someone plucked the strings on the tail piece of a Gretsch country gentleman. There was a small African hand instrument used also while Charlie played percussion. We were all in the live room together battering away at our individual instruments for the duration of the song. One take was all it took.
“Bitch” and “No Hope”: These two stick in my memory as being linked as they were worked on at the same time. Frances an lived in Glasgow but the album was being recorded in Edinburgh, an hour's train journey away. We'd put down all the backing tracks with Charle and James and it was then up to Frances and I with Jamie Watson to record any guitar overdubs and vocal. The vocals were left to the end so Frances and I would be writing the lyrics on the train to the studio or in a cafe waiting for the train. This may be the reason why both these songs are so dark and miserable as it was a cold December when we'd be travelling back and forward to Edinburgh.