THEY are ‘brothers of pop’ – and now two beacons of the Scottish independent music stage join forces for a unique concert.
David Scott of The Pearlfishers and Duglas T Stewart of BMX Bandits will perform together and separately at Frets Gigs at the Strathaven Hotel near East Kilbride on October 7.
“We’re almost joined at the hip,” laughs David.
“We met around 1992 when our bands were on the same bill at the University of Strathclyde, and we’ve been friends ever since.
“I’m also a traveling BMX Bandit, having played on four of their albums. We connect on all sorts of things – our relationship is deeply rooted.
The off-the-beaten-track concert series has already hosted artists as diverse as Lloyd Cole and Altered Images, and the laid-back acoustic vibe really appeals to David, as he explains.
“Frets is the kind of place where you can write a love letter to your fans,” he says. “People who come are there because they just want to hear great music, in a different vibe – there’s always something special in the air at Frets.”
Having the chance to chat with fans during and after the gig is also part of the appeal and, says David, something that wouldn’t have happened when he and The Pearlfishers started 30 years ago.
He explains: “One of the big things that has changed in music is that it’s really a must now to meet the public after the concert.
David laughs: “In the old days you would never have dreamed of doing this, or going out and signing CDs – it was honestly something you could turn your nose up at. Now it’s really great to be able to chat with people who really mean something to the music they just heard. It is something positive. »
The Pearlfishers rose ‘from the ashes’ of David’s former band Hearts and Minds, which he founded in his hometown of Falkirk in the 1980s, when Scottish pop was exploding onto the global music scene.
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“A few years later, when our label collapsed, I licked my wounds and created my own,” he explains. “With some money from the publishing house and a grant from the Princes Trust, I created My Dark Star and released three EPs under the name The Pearlfishers. And next year will be the 30th anniversary of our debut album, Za Za’s Garden.
This record, with its mix of catchy pop melodies and thoughtful lyrics, was released on Iona Records – the next eight Pearlfishers albums were released on Marina, the German independent label that has been a huge supporter of Scottish music over the past 25 years.
“Our first album is out of print now,” David adds regretfully. “I really hope it gets re-released in time for the 30th anniversary.”
He pauses. “I mean, 30 years – sounds amazing, doesn’t it?” he smiles.
After around six years without touring, the band returned to live shows after their last album Love and Other Hopeless Things, in 2019.
“It was brilliant, we had a fantastic audience and the night at Oran Mor in Glasgow was one of the best we’ve ever played and we thought, my God, there are still people who want to come and see us” , adds David, who lives in Troon, with his wife, Margaret.
“With The Pearlfishers, we all do a lot of different things – the band isn’t the only thing in our professional lives, but it’s always the most important.”
David is also a regular radio host and Head of Business and Creative Studies at the University of the West of Scotland, where he is passionate about encouraging and supporting young people in entrepreneurship.
Along with his hopes for a 30th anniversary reprint of Za Za’s Garden, David is currently recording lead vocals for a new Pearlfishers record, also due out next year.
“I’m about 80% finished,” he says. “I caught Covid and couldn’t sing for six months so that delayed things.
“But it’s on track for next year. And if we could release Za Za’s Garden as well, that would be great.
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He adds, honestly: “For a long time, I couldn’t listen to this record – I don’t really know why. But when I finally did, I thought – it’s actually pretty good.
At Frets on October 7, he says the two bands will play a mix of old and new.
“Anyone who loves Pearlfishers and BMX Bandits will find something they’ll recognize and hopefully love at Frets,” he says.
“It’s a strange thing. I get – annoyed isn’t the right word, but frustrated, I guess – when people say, ‘oh, The Pearlfishers should have been huge.’
“I appreciate the sentiment, and maybe we haven’t been ‘huge’ in terms of massive record sales, but we’ve had sustained production for a very long time, and you can only do that. with meaningful music.The same goes for the BMX Bandits.
He adds, with a smile: “And actually, we’re delighted with how it turned out.”
The Pearfishers and BMX Bandits perform at Frets Concerts at the Strathaven Hotel on October 7, with support from The Hungry Beat Group (featuring members of The Bluebells, Josef K/Orange Juice, Aztec Camera and Article 58)
Tickets on fretsconcerts.com or here.