Fresh from playing their biggest UK tour to date last month, Idlewild are set to release their final single “A Modern Way of Letting Go” off their gold-selling (in the UK) LP “The Remote Part”. They set off on their last tour of the UK for some time at the end of this month which sees the live introduction of the ensemble that Idlewild had become. The new lineup includes new bass player Gavin Fox and guitarist Allan Stewart. I catch up with Allan to see how he's coping with his new-found stardom….
“Not too bad really. It hasn't been that different for me since I've already been playing with the band for a bit. I had originally played in a band that supported them, and they asked me to provide a little bit of live guitar for them. We had been collaborating for a bit now, and so it seemed like a natural progression (to be a full-time member). Gavin's just joined us for practice, and he's a mate of the band anyway. Apart from that it's been good. I still find interviews a bit weird 'cos I had never really done any before.”
What are your musical influences, past and present?
“Well, my dad played a lot of folk when I was younger, so I grew up listening to a lot of that. I love a lot of blues, Sabbath, Husker Du, Nirvana, all that West Coast grunge shit. There's a lot of good underground stuff as well. I think The Coral are very good.”
To someone who has never heard Idlewild before, how would you describe your music?
“That's one of the questions I get asked that I find hard to answer. Don't know really, I think our music is quite hard to pin down. Probably some form of rock. Roddy (Idlewild's frontman) would probably answer that better than me.”
What's been your favourite gig with Idlewild so far?
“I really enjoyed playing in Europe, especially the small clubs. We played in this tiny club in Paris one time, and it was brilliant. In fact I prefer playing smaller clubs than large stadiums. There was this surprise gig we did at the 13th Note (now called the Barfly) up in Glasgow that was really good.”
You're about to set off to Australia and America where “The Remote Part” is set to be released in March. Looking forward to your tour?
“Australia is going to be very hectic. It's really hot at the moment out there and the flight takes ages. And I'm not flying first class! America is going to be just as bad, spending six weeks playing small clubs in the middle of nowhere. I enjoy playing, but I'll be glad when it finishes. Its just the lifestyle deprives you of sleep.”
“The Remote Part” has been selling well. What are your favourite moments from the album?
“I like “Century After Century” because it's dark but there's also a wee bit of happiness in it. I love the poem by Edwin Morgan on “Remote Part/Scottish Fictional”, that song's got a massive build-up. And everyone in the band agreed that “A Modern Way of Letting Go” should be the next single.”
Idlewild's new single sees the band return to their rockier past. Do you think Idlewild are due a return to their punk roots?
“I don't think the single is any indication of the future direction of the band. We've only got a little bit of the album finished; we're going to write some more of it on tour so I can't really say what it's going to sound like yet.”
Can you confirm any summer festival slots?
“We'll be doing Reading, we haven't played there for a while. We played a few last year; Glastonbury, T in the Park and V2002. I really liked Glastonbury, the weather was great, and it was very relaxing the whole weekend. But I don't know if we're playing this year.”
And so I left him to pack for his tour. It's been quite a year for Idlewild, with band members coming and going, but they've come good when it mattered. Now with two introductions to the Idlewild family they can only get better. A new year, a new beginning. Bring on 2003!