Hits To The Head Tour
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* Policy is subject to change
This event is all ages.
$39.50 – General Admission Floor
$39.50 – Reserved Balcony
*plus applicable service fees
For an additional $60.00, you can opt in to upgrade your experience to include access to the exclusive Telegraph Room before, during and after the show! Please note all Telegraph Room upgrades are subject to availability.
Join us at The Den one hour before doors for food & drinks!
All doors & show times subject to change.
Are you ready for the hyperbole? I’m supposed to tell you about how this era-defining band sold millions of LPs that all sounded like Best Ofs. That this is the best of those songs which made a generation feel sexy and alive with a blend of dance floor euphoria, electrifying guitars and an easy, erudite lyrical wistfulness. Man, I’m from Glasgow. This is a bit of a beamer. If my friends ever read this, I’ll get such a slagging. That they ricocheted around the planet playing to millions of people, winning Brit Awards, Mercuries, Grammy nominations, spearheading a renaissance in British bands, gaining red carpet fans like Kanye West, Hedi Slimane, Nile Rodgers, Marr, Gaga, Hanks, Dogg and Bowie, collaborating with icons like Jane Birkin, Daft Punk, Sparks, Justice and Debbie Harry along the way. That they developed a visual aesthetic that was as sharp and wiry as their melodies. Fuck.
It all seems a bit absurd. Especially when I think of how it all started. It was just me and Bob in the kitchen where I was a chef and he was a dishwasher, talking about what we’d do if we had a band. Having a laugh. Playing each other music we loved. Listen to that line in Famous Blue Raincoat. My brother, my killer? It’s so personal, yet universal. What about that Gina X song we were dancing to the other night? I love it. Yes, let’s make people dance. Play that Magnetic Fields song again. The one about the Lower East Side. Do you think people could think of Glasgow the way we think of New York when we hear this? I love how heavy this Shellac song is. Yes, but it’s bloke’s music. I’m sick of gigs where it’s a bunch of blokes nodding their heads. Most of our friends are women. Why can’t we make music for them? Let’s make them dance. Haha, imagine if we said we wanted to make music for girls to dance to? That’s funny.
It did seem funny. Thrilling. This imaginary band that was whatever we wanted it to be. My pal Mick Cooke gave me his old bass, but Bob said he was a painter, not a musician. Same thing I said. Sort of. Look, I’ll show you. There you go. It’s just two notes, but it’s a bassline. You’re now a musician. No I’m not. You just played music, so you are by definition… We never settled this one, but we did think it might be a laugh to actually get a band together.
We played with Michael and Charlie, but they went off to join Dino and Jason in V Twin. We needed a drummer. There was a party at Jo and Celia’s flat above Canton Express on Sauchiehall Street. A few of us chipped in and bought a litre of vodka. Put it down, turned around and it was gone. Who nicked the vodka? There was this weird looking wee guy on the other side of the room carrying it like a trophy. Words flew. Before fists followed, I said I don’t suppose you play drums do you? Yes. Just moved over from Munich. Right, Bob, we’re meeting this guy Nick at his flat tomorrow. He’s a drummer. What, the dick who pinched the vodka? No, he seems alright…
He was. It was good. He had an irrepressible enthusiasm and was a great musician, but did lie about being a drummer. Wanted to play standing up like Mo. Couldn’t play sitting down either. The songs started coming. Fast. Darts of Pleasure. Tell Her Tonight. Our pal Paul heard we were up to something. Wanted to play guitar. It was a laugh, but he wasn’t quite as good on guitar as Nick was on the drums. Paul, you’re an amazing drummer. Maybe you should… Bob went off to get a carry out and when he came back they’d swapped. Suddenly it sounded like a band. Not just any old band, but very… real.
Then jump to now. The end of 2021. We’re doing this album and I’m thinking about how to tell you why we would. I’ve always wanted to make a best of. They were such a big part of my life growing up. My parents didn’t have a huge record collection. They didn’t have every Bowie LP, they had Changes. The Red and Blue Beatles. Rolled Gold. For them, it was what they wanted to listen to. The best bits. The Hits. That’s the point of this record: the hits to the head, hits to the heart, hits to the feet as they hit the dancefloor. For me those records were an introduction, a doorway into the artist’s world. It was more, though. For the artists, it was a retrospective. A way to understand the progression of ideas with the perspective of the long term. An indication of where the future may be taking them. Like going to see a retrospective in the Tate, you could see the curve of development without the distraction of every detail.
Aye. 2020. All that shit. I rebuilt the studio in that old house South of Glasgow during the first lockdown. We felt pretty scattered, but were sending each other ideas and in spring 2021, got together to play again when the restrictions were lifted. But something wasn’t right. Paul said he just couldn’t do it anymore. At first we felt devastated. He was there through so much. We’ve been friends for way longer than FF were together and it felt like such a shock, but when he explained how he was feeling and where his life was, we understood. He will always be our friend. He’s one of the best guys you could know.
Suddenly there was an empty drum stool. Literally. The four of us sat in a room without Paul and it felt weird to say Does anyone know any good drummers? What about Audrey? Audrey Tait? From Hector Bizerk? She’s incredible. Do you think she might be up for it? Julian gave her a call and she came down that evening. We played and immediately, it was electric. The same, but different. Damn, she’s a great drummer, but also a good laugh and smart.
We recorded Billy Goodbye and Curious in that Old House a couple of months ago. Stuart Price came in and mixed it with some great post production ideas. After all this, there’s a great thrill of anticipation to be putting something new into the world again. I can’t wait for people to hear it. It also feels right to be on this record, because the point of a retrospective like this is to understand the past, how it leads to the present and points to the future.
I know you’re not supposed to write your own bio as an artist, but the one that had been written didn’t feel personal and this feels like a personal record. There is so much of us in it. The least I could do is pull my pen out and tell some of our story. I still feel a bit embarrassed about that first paragraph where I talk about how great we are, but I’ll probably leave it in. Our old friend Martin Clark got a solitary tattoo on his forearm years ago that simply reads “Why Not”. No question mark. I loved that. Still do. It kind of became our motto for the band. Form a band with Bob? Why Not. Play this old jailhouse? Why Not. Slow the song down halfway through? Why Not. Record in the old town hall? Why Not. Write the bio? Why Not. Release Hits To The Head? Why Not.
Aye, Why Not.