Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Way of the Vaselines

In the mid-1980s a little band from Bellshill, Scotland, were making beautiful, pure, perfect noise.

The Vaselines

Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee formed The Vaselines in 1986. Over 4 years the band released two short EPs (Son of a Gun, Dying For it), and one album (Dum-Dum). Then the band broke up on a rainy day in 1989.

Today's Track Teenage Superstars, from the Dying for It EP (53rd & 3rd, 1988)

Today's Quote is from Eugene Kelly:

The Vaselines were born out of the bored and very sick minds of Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee. They were later joined by Eugene’s brother Charles on drums and James Seenan on bass. We only wanted to have some fun. We were friends of Stephan from "The Pastels" and he introduced us to Sandy McClean with whom he had set up a label "53rd & 3rd." Stephan took us under his wing and produced our first two singles as we had no studio experience whatsoever. The first single was the first time we had ever been in a studio. We were camp and pretended to be sleazy and we were very drunk. Vaselines rehearsals involved meeting in the pub and talking about. James would often turn up and realise his bass was locked in a bar we used to drink in. Charlie turned up once without drum sticks and then constructed some from bamboo sticks, two nails and lots of tape. We soldiered on until 53rd & 3rd went bust. The band split the week the album was eventually released with help from Rough Trade. We were bored, had no money and sick of it. We hoped someone would get the joke. They did and we live on.

Dum-Dum LP (I want this on vinyl so bad):

Dum-Dum album

Frances and Eugene

The Vaselines

At the time, the Vaselines were known mainly inside their little town in Scotland. The band might have faded into obscurity, but Kurt Cobain loved them so, and credited Eugene and Frances as his "favourite songwriters in the whole world." Look for the songs Molly's Lips and Son of a Gun on the Nirvana album "Incesticide." Those are Vaselines songs.

Cobain invited them to open for his band in 1990 when the Nirvana played in Edinburgh, and the Vaselines said yes. Later, Eugene and Frances went on to form other bands; Eugenius (aka Captain America) and Suckle respectively. In 2006 the Vaselines played in London for one night to promote their solo projects. I'm glad they're still friends. Hopefully that won't be the end of the Vaselines because I love them.

Today's Tweevia Guess who Frances Bean Cobain was named after (a hint: it was not actress Frances Farmer).

Frances, Frances McKee. I love her music with every part of me...

Frances McKee