First single from new album ‘V for Vaselines’…
Cactus Club, Brugge – November 23, 2014
“We’re here to put hair on the bald heads“ deadpans Frances McKee at the start of The Vaselines’ last gig of their European tour in the beautiful city of Brugge. Frances (48) kept talking and joking and even swearing in Flemish until Eugene (49) reminded
her that they came to rock, which they did anyway. They exposed their golden formula with tons of flair and sense of humor: short shambling songs, kooky lyrics, addictive jingle jangle guitars and an irresistible high degree of poppiness.
Frances: “We’re here to put hair on the bald heads.”
Backed by a steaming young band with hair and a sharp garage rock drive the legendary Scottish duo played a ‘greatest hits’ set (including the three songs covered back then by that Seattle band). From the sexually provocative ‘Monsterpussy’ (on 1989 debut album ‘Dum-Dum’) to the foot stomping rhythm of ‘Poison Pen’ (from 2010 comeback LP ‘Sex with an X’) and the power pop rocker ‘High Tide, Low Tide’ (from this year’s ‘V for Vaselines’). The crowd loved it. Actually not many balds, Frances. I even spotted spectators in their twenties who knew all the words to the songs.
So the future is yours, Vaselines. Before and after the gig I tried to find out ‘something’ about that future, but also about the past and the present. Hello F for Frances, really thrilled to meet you…
Sadly enough I missed your gig in my hometown in Ghent in 2011. Do you remember that show or the city?
F: “Yes I do. It was a lovely big hall and my children came to it.”
You did quite some research on ‘Brugge’ and ‘Belgium’ for this night’s performance. Do you study every city and country you play?
F: “No. I had inside information on the idiosyncrasies of Flemish Belgium.”
(info: Belgium contains three ‘language’ regions. In ‘Flanders’ people speak Flemish/Dutch. In ‘Wallonia’ the language is French and then there’s also a tiny little German part.)
You’ve got a box of Belgian chocolates on stage, Frances. Any left by now?
F: “I forgot about them and they were actually from a fan from Rotterdam. The stingy Belgians are keeping the chocolate to themselves. I even waited outside the chocolate shop the next day but it wouldn’t open.”
Chocolates from… Rotterdam.
Your contagious enthousiasm and deadpan stories on stage made us all smile from ear to ear, except Eugene who only came to rock as he said. But rock is about having fun, right?
F: “Life is about having fun. ”
Ramones were an inspiration for new album ‘V for Vaselines’. True or not?
If that would be possible, what Vaselines song should you ask Ramones to cover?
F: “That would be difficult considering they have all passed to the other side but I think they might have liked One Lost Year.”
‘One Lost Year’ – Gabba Gabba Hey…
There’s a hilarious film noir inspired video for new single ‘Crazy Lady’. Who is she?
F: “She is every lady you have ever had. There is a Jane Eyre in every woman.”
Do you and Eugene already have another album/tour in mind? Or do we have to wait for another comeback?
F: “Please, one thing at a time. We both have other things to do besides The Vaselines, well I do anyway.”
So it’s not ‘once a musician, always a musician’?
Frances: “You won’t manage to pay the bills by only being a musician.”
What Vaselines song would be the one to sing under the shower in the morning?
F: “One Lost Year is good to sing in the style of a musical.”
Did The Vaselines ever covered a Nirvana song on stage?
The Nirvana connection. A blessing or a burden?
F: “A blessing.”
Why is that Eugene sang ‘Molly’s Lips’ with Nirvana at Reading festival 1991 and not you or both?
F: “Because I wasn’t there.”
Eugene Kelly and Kurt Cobain – Reading Festival (UK)1991…
Would you join Courtney Love’s band ‘Hole’ if she asked you?
F: “No, I hardly have enough time for The Vaselines, never mind moonlighting for another band. I have three kids and I teach yoga, enough already.”
Back in September you voted in favour of an independent Scotland. Why?
F: “Because it’s time that Scotland broke away from Westminster and conservative politics. There is no place for conservatism in Scotland.”
What about Prime Minister Cameron? Good or bad guy?
F: “He is a puppet on a string. An idiot.”
Are your children Vaselines fans?
F: “Sometimes, it depends how much money they want.”
Foo Fighters or (famous Scottish band) Primal Scream?
F: “Primal Scream for me. More interesting than Grohl’s band.”
What is your fav Christmas song?
F: “Merry Xmas/ War is over” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
What do you want Santa Claus to put in your shoe this year?
F: “A new computer. Mine is about to explode.”
What promise will you make on January 1, 2015?
F: “To tidy my boys’ room.”
Many thanks, Frances. Have fun…
Here’s ‘V for Vaselines’ in full…
(All gig pics: JL)