Friday, September 4, 2009

- Sean Dickson and JP take a walk around Bellshill, Lanarkshire

One of the great things about being a teenager is that at some point you'll inevitably try and dress like a pop star. So it was with me and this band. The Soup Dragons formed in Bellshill, near Glasgow, in 1985. Sean Dickson (vocals, lead guitar), Jim McCulloch (guitar, second voice) and Sushil K. Dade (bass) were joined by drummer, Ross A. Sinclair, who left the group after their first album, This Is Our Art, and was replaced by Paul Quinn. Most of their songs were written by Dickson, while some were co-written with McCulloch.

The band signed to Subway Records in early 1986 and their first single, The Sun in the Sky EP, although the band's big breakthrough came with their second single for Subway, Whole Wide World, which reached #2 on the UK Independent Chart in 1986. The band were signed by former Wham! co-manager Jaz Summers' label Raw TV and scored indie hits during 1987 and 1988. Over the course of these singles, they gradually developed a more complex rock guitar sound, culminating in This Is Our Art, and the group were now signed to major label Sire Records. However, after the one single taken from the album Kingdom Chairs had failed to chart, the band were unceremoniously dropped and returned to Raw TV.

In the year following This Is Our Art, their sound underwent a change from an indie rock sound, to the prevailing zeitgeist, i.e. the rock-dance crossover baggy sound, with the release of the album Lovegod. This change echoed that of fellow Scottish band Primal Scream, clearly influenced by the rise of the acid house rave scene in the UK. By 1990, they had not only recruited a 17-year-old me as a fan but also released their most successful hit single in the UK, I'm Free, (see above) an up-tempo cover of a Rolling Stones song with an added overdub by reggae star Junior Reid.

Subsequent albums continued the rock-dance crossover sound. In 1992 they enjoyed their biggest U.S. hit with Divine Thing. The band split in 1995 with Quinn joining fellow Bellshill band, Teenage Fanclub. Sushil K. Dade formed the experimental post rock band Future Pilot A.K.A., and singer Sean Dickson formed The High Fidelity. Jim McCulloch joined fellow Glaswegians Superstar, and has since formed musical collective Green Peppers,  writing and recording with Isobel Campbell.

Sean Dickson is now based in London, DJing under the name of HI-FI Sean and writing and producing songs for Glasgow based electro group The Record Playerz. Indeed, he is presumably the HI-FI Sean who has added this clip to YouTube. In this video, he accompanies JP around his childhood haunts in Bellshill (pronounced Bells-hill), two miles north of Motherwell.

Download this clip, if you wish.


Andrew Sherman said...

That was great!

MattR said...

Watching that clip really makes me remember how much I miss John. That Sheena Easton story: brilliant.

entrailicus said...

Andrew: Yeah, pretty special stuff.

Matt: The Sheena Easton anecdote is a belter, I love the wat he's so nonchalant about it.

Who was John Peel?

The philosophy of this blog is a celebration of music in the spirit of the late John Peel. For those of you who want to learn more, click here.

Fades in Slowly RSS

Fades in Slowly