King Creosote: Pete Harvey made a spectacularly bad job – which in my mind is a spectacularly good job – of selling me this record. It was like, 'I'll let you hear it, but it won't be your thing'. He had all these caveats. And I was like, 'Okay, I've heard The Leg, and I remember Dawn of the Replicants, because we sold their stuff in the fence shop way back when, and that was madder than a box of frogs...' So I thought, 'Well, this could be an almighty clash of weird'. But when I played it, there was a real skiffle element that was pretty surprising – it's got a harder-edged Skuobhie Dubh Orchestra thing going on. I didn't see that coming. And for the album to be so tuneful as well. I was like, 'This is great – what's Pete on about?' But then of course, if he'd said, 'You're going to love this record', I'd have been instantly suspicious. So it was a spectacular bit of selling; of anti-marketing. I'm all for that. Paul Vickers [The Leg: lyrics, vocals]: What did Pete actually say? Was he like, 'Listen to this, it's a load of shit?' KC: Yeah, I was like, 'I suppose I better trawl through this thing...' [Laughs] And then – wow. PV: This album's a bit like going on holiday. 'Polynesian Snuff' is a peak because you're in the mountains there, and then the last one, [Benny Hill honky tonk orgy] 'Straggler On The Run', is like a knees-up-in-the-ski-lodge kind of thing. Also, it sounds like I'm being a total wanker when I say this, because it's the sort of thing that Sting would say, but I wrote some of the lyrics when I was on holiday in Tuscany. [Hilarity] What's the significance of the dynamite-packed “Mad Apple” on the artwork, other than the literal greengrocer / vegetable reading? PV: What came first, the aubergine or the bomb? Well, I suppose there's a weird bit of a concept on The Greengrocer, because I seemed to be writing about food quite a lot – there's a lot of that going on in the record. I think it's about getting older, actually. You go through different stages, don't you? There was a point, when I was younger, that I felt more insect. More insect-y. Whereas now, I'm starting to feel more like, you know. A cabbage. You're biodegrading as we speak? PV: Exactly. And it also reminds me that on Dan's CV, if he has any blank spaces, he always puts that he worked at The Laughing Cabbage. It's an imaginary place. That sounds like a good place to work. So yeah, The Greengrocer feels a bit like a shop, and you can buy stuff there, and it's good hardy stuff. But it feeds into the idea of the mundaneness of work and having to work again, after a long life of fannying around. Because that's quite a shock, and I think that's sort of affected me, so I'm obsessed with the idea. I think our second album, Itchy Grumble [SL, 2010] was partly about that as well – 'Just get down the hole and work', you know? Get down the mine. Of course, it's still all going on in your head, all the creative stuff, but you're confined to a shop, or a place. You have to sell vegetables. You can't just have fun. That's life in a nutshell. Well, in an aubergine. PV: God, it was painful. I think it was painful for our audience as well. And that was a shame in a way, because at that point we were doing well in Edinburgh, our home town – we sort of had a local following. I'd never had that before. The Replicants were from Galashiels, but we only played in Galashiels once, and even that was an absolute disaster. I ended up sleeping in a bin. So it was nice with The Leg, to feel that we were doing really well in Edinburgh, as an Edinburgh band. And then we sort of committed self-destruct by writing our next album on-stage. It's an amazing album, but I remember being at that sound-check at [Edinburgh's] Cabaret Voltaire, and thinking, 'Oh my God, this is absolutely awful'. Really awful. It felt like I was singing over completely random noise. Which I was. ENDS
Sunday, 25 January 2015
ARE YOU BEING SERVED? A Potted Guide to The Greengrocer.