Sunday, 13 April 2014

Teenage Fanclub - Thirteen

When I was thirteen my dad handed a demo tape I'd made on an old four-track recorder to Andy Macpherson, the owner of a local recording studio called Revolution - housed in an inconspicuous, ivy-covered building on a busy main road near a high school. This led to me spending a lot of time hanging out there on the weekends, lending a hand during sessions, observing the recording/mixing process, making cups of tea for bands and engineers, running out for groceries, walking dogs and occasionally being asked for my opinion on how something sounded. It was a pretty amazing experience for a school kid, head over heels in love with music.

Of the bands I met during this period I remember Teenage Fanclub, who were making their fourth studio album Thirteen (Creation Records, 1993) the most vividly. This was because they were Scottish and I'd lived in Glasgow for a while as a kid and because, like me, they loved football. I remember them excitedly playing football games on a computer while producer/engineer Andy Macpherson tweaked mixes in the adjacent control room. They were a chilled out bunch of guys who sloped around the studio and didn't mind having me around. There were piles of their CD's on hand for inspiration and reference. I remember browsing through the CD stacks, wondering what the obscure sounding bands they championed might sound like. They'd just finished touring with Nirvana at the time - a pretty big deal then and now. I don't remember them talking about it, Nirvana were one of my favourite bands so I'm sure I must have pestered them for stories - maybe I was too shy or maybe what happened on the road was too explicit for my young ears.

I'm still fond of Thirteen, not just because I like the songs or because I was there - the album reminds me of a moment in time when anything seemed possible. All you needed were good songs, a healthy dose of passion and some like-minded pals to form a band with, start a revolution and conquer the world.

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