……..as defined by William S Burroughs in his 1953 semi-autobiographical novel, Junky but lets not get too hi-brow about it. Friends, readers, insomniacs and people who have subscribed because Ive threatened violence I give you my piece on………
This post has been a long time coming. I find it hard to write about bands that I really, really love without sounding like a gushing buffoon but I really, really, really love these guys. One of the few bands I can listen to that make me well up within seconds of putting them on – thats in a good way not a nails-on-blackboard way – many, many bands out there can illicit that type of welling up from me (usually followed by some form of self-harm). Fuck it – them ‘Rollers can make me greet good and proper. I was a gibbering wreck at their comeback gig at Belladrum and could have quite happily gone home after it. (theres always the cliché of “I could die happy now” but Id already given death a go that year which made some of their songs that day even more emotional for me – right !! enough of that pish) Incidentally I didnt go home and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of that years Tartan Heart as usual ! Dont get me wrong – they rock and funk with the best of them (see Belly Up for instance) but when Willie and Tabs hit the right notes Im reduced to rubble !
When I discovered* The Lushrollers it was unkown to me Id been drinking fairly regularly with 2 members of the band for some time and all of them remain firm friends to this day. No surprise that it was The Old Market Bar where Id met them back in 2003. Thats where they formed back in 98 and as we all know up here in Inverness, noboby actually leaves The Market……..(*thats not discovered in a svengali sense – they were well established before I began stalking them) Theyd just released the eponymously titled second album, (which I bought in the bar and insisted that Willie, Robin and Derek signed it – wanker eh. Billy morrison offered to sign it too – he may have I must look it out agin) They had been the only Scottish band to have performed successful showcases at A2A 2001(Amsterdam), SXSW 2002 (Austin, Texas) and AMA 2002 (Nashville, Tennessee). (I have no idea what any of those are – ok SXSW yes but the other two could be car registrations for all I know)
I saw them play the Raigmore Hotel here in Inverness in either late 03 or early 04 – things are a little hazy from that time (thats not another story for another time) and managed to film them at the inaugural Tartan Heart Festival in 2004. This was a band that should have gone places !! Really ! Hell they even got heavy rotation on my DeveronFM playlist back in the day. I used to play Coldplay and look where they are now…….eh ? eh? Ill say no more !!
Go Away at Belladrum 04
Im really not going to gush on about the band as Im just not qualified to spout about their brilliance – I dont have the words available to me to describe the sublime harmonies of the Macaskill Brothers or Derek Urquharts many, many talents both behind and in front of the kit. The man they call Robin (Abbot) – he play bass, he play bass good, he play bass with many bands but this for me is where he comes into his own. Then theres young Marc Clement who as far as multitalented musicians from the Highlands go Marc is a multi, multi talented musician from the Highlands, another who can be found in a multitude of projects at any given time.
Ive nicked the blurb from one of their pages so here are the ‘Rollers in their own words so to speak………
“The Lush Rollers were formed in late 1997. The first live performance was some time in late January 1998 and the venue was legendary Old Market Bar in Inverness . Brothers Willie and Tabs MacAskill , who had been singing their own brand of Americana as a duo , teamed up with Robin Abbot on bass and Derek Urquhart on drums . The band soon began churning out songs thick and fast , all layered with four part harmonies .
Two Albums, a four track E.P. , Television appearances , numerous tours , ( including UK , Europe and The U.S. ) , and we fast forward to the summer of 2003 – Tabs MacAskill leaves the band . Due to some long standing personal problems of his , the other band members felt , they could no longer work with Tabs and he left by “mutual consent” to use a football phrase .
Gone to Ground at Bella 04
The Rollers carried on as a three piece and then eventually invited well known musician Marc Clement to join the band . They developed the sound down a more acoustic route and recorded some demo’s at Alan Harfield’s studio in Auldearn .( This demo included the song “My Disappearance” – regarded by some as the Lush Rollers finest composition – see the myspace link at the bottom of here )
Around 2007 the band agreed , that they had , taken things as far as they wanted to and , after ten years of work , it was decided they would take a break .
Sometime in 2009 , Willie MacAskill and a fully recovered Tabs MacAskill had begun singing together again as a duo . Of course the inevitable question of a Lush Rollers reunion surfaced soon after .
This became reality in the summer of 2010 when Wille , Tabs , Robin , Marc and Derek made , what turned out to be , a very emotional return to the stage together , at the Tartan Heart Belladrum Festival . This latest incarnation’s next outing was an all ticket Christmas Eve gig at the Ceol Mor music venue in Inverness . The Band , as of Nov/Dec 2010 started recording some new songs in Marc’s studio “
Now the mystery begins – not a lot been heard of them since then – lots of Willie and Tabs apperances but no full blown Lushrollers happenings. Im on the case but the buggers are being cagey about it. The other ongoing mystery is of course the name – The Lush Rollers, The Lushrollers or Lushrollers ?? Depends on which member of the band, which website you go to or even which CD cover you consult !! Me ? I like and use The Lushrollers cos I have it on good authority thats how it rolls !
If you are not aware of their existence then plesase please pease treat yourself today, tonight or tommorow and continue treating yourself after that initial period of treating as the treating has to be consistent – carry on treating. Go check them out – you wont be disapointed but if you are dont come greeting to me cos Ill be too busy having a good outpouring myself – Im a soppy bastard !!
There are 3 studio recordings available to add to your collections – they are available here
There are various places to find and enjoy them online
And finally heres a wee article by Radio Scotlands Tom Morton, published in the Glasgow Herald sometime in the last few years sometime at some point back then.
” You know a band is going to be troublesome when you have to stop the car, just in case you miss the rest of the mysteriously wonderful track crackling out of a bad radio. And you must, absolutley must find out who the hell is responsible for this tough, soaring alt-country . Clever lyrics too . Bastards. American, probably. Whiskeytown, maybe, before Ryan Adams stopped being Gram Parsons and started being Bruce Springsteen. So you go to the trouble of discovering this band, and you tell other people about them, and suddenly you notice that you’re not alone, that a lot of other people like them too. Influential people. They go to some record company shindig in Amsterdam, and take the place by storm . They get offered tours in the heartland of the homeland they yearn for, America , and you wonder what that’ll be like. “
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