Posted in Bands We've Chatted With

Joe Black from Washington Irving

I’m in love with the song SiSi. The reference wasn’t there for me directly, but I recognized it as a nickname for a famous personage. How did the 19th century Elizabeth of Austria become the inspiration for a song?

” I went to a museum in Austria when I was a youngster and remember seeing a quote from a worried courtier who asked her one day “Why does your majesty always look so hunted?” and I thought it was a good question. She’s a really interesting person and I thought her story deserved an airing again. I like singing about dead people’s troubles.”

Could you explain (I’m sure for the umpteenth time) the band name origin; otherwise I’ll keep imagining that it is a statement of literary intent. Toying with band name ideas ourselves– I once thought William Ashbless would be clever.

“William Ashbless is a keeper. Chris and I decided on the name and we didn’t really know anything about him. I thought it was a made up name at first. A character in Catch 22 signs his name that name, we were both reading the book at the same time and we wanted a name and it seemed to fit. I had no idea what a great guy the real WI seems to have been! We’ve almost overtaken him on google listings mind so soon WE will be the real WI! And I wonder what he’d make of that if we could go back in time and explain the internet and rock music to him.”

What was the last show you’ve been to as a fan? Could you give us a mini review? Given the distance, we have to live voyeuristically.

“The distance between us all as people or between me and you? I’m not sure where you are and I don’t
think you know where I am but who can measure really. I went to the National the other day and I enjoyed it but I was quite drunk and got in a bit of a fight.”

Could you cite some past Scottish bands you still hold close to your heart and share a few current ones that have captured your imagination?

“We all like Belle and Sebastian, Mogwai, The Phantom Band and lots of others. The current ones we love are John Knox Sex Club (I know we’re biased), Withered Hand (if you can claim him for Scotland),Over the Wall and Three Blind Wolves plus lots more.”

We’ve had a nice little interview arc. French Wives, The Seventeenth Century and now you. If I were to categorize the bands we like, you’d all likely fall into the same folder. What would you label that folder?

“French Wives and Seventeenth Century are both good bands and I think a lot of people have put us in the same pile. I don’t think it’s our job to describe our music though let alone other people’s music. It’s bad enough making it! That’s your job I think and we’d all be pleased if you came up with a genre like post-dub-step-monotonous-wandering blues or some such tiddle taddle because that’d make good reading and we can worry about the listening another time.”

Having listened to ‘Abbey Gallop’, ‘Little Wanderer, Head Thee Home’, the ‘let’s give it to Kowalskiy’ demo, and the Land of the Rising Sun contribution, I’m left wanting more. When can we expect the first full length? Can you reveal any little secrets about it?

“Glad you liked them! We’re going in to do our first full length album before the end of the year, then releasing it in  the spring. We actually can’t wait. I think it’s going to be very different from our previous releases. We rented a studio recently out in the highlands for a few days and worked on a lot of the new songs and I think from then on the idea of the album and what we’re trying to do with it have been really solid in our heads. We’re going out on tour with an amazing band called Other Lives at the end of October as a warm up for going in to the studio. So if anyone wants a sneak preview of the songs, head down to a show!

25th Captain’s Rest, Glasgow

26th Westgarth Social Club, Middlesburgh

27th Nation of Shopkeepers, Leeds

28th Puzzle Inn, Sowerby Bridge    (Headline Show)”

Any thoughts as to the next historical figure you’d like to write a song about?

“Chap named Tom who had various and amusing adventures at sea.”




Musically 'living' in Scotland

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