For the latest Scots Whay Hae! podcast, Ian and Ali headed down Leith Walk to pay a visit to the very welcoming Boda Bar and talk to someone who is not only one of the most important figures in Scottish music over the last two decades, but also one of the nicest people you could hope to meet. You’ll see by the photo that I’m talking about Mr Vic Galloway, and since I know he’ll be cringing at that last sentence, I’ll move quickly on.
The reason for talking to the man, as if we needed one, was to discuss his book Songs In The Key Of Fife, where Vic looks at the phenomenon of the music scene which came out of the East Neuk of Fife in the mid-1990s to make it, for a while, one of the most musically influential places on Earth (Madstruther…anyone…? Please yourselves).
Coming from the village of Kingsbarns, and knowing not only the music but the people who made it, he is the perfect person to tell the ‘intertwining stories’ of those who were there. This includes The Beta Band, King Creosote, KT Tunstall and James Yorkston, as you would expect, but also The Pictish Trail, Lone Pigeon, Pip Dylan, The Aliens, and, collectively, all things Fence.
You can read my full review from last year here, but this is an extract which gives you a sense of what Vic has achieved:
“What Galloway does is put the music, and the perceived success and failure of those who made it, into context. He offers some possible answers as to why King Creosote is better known than Lone Pigeon or Pip Dylan, or why The Beta Band weren’t the global superstars that everyone expected them to be. It is a book which is about the author searching for answers as much as anything else, and what shines throughout is that Galloway not only loves this music, but the musicians as well. He really cares about what happens, and what has happened, to everyone on these pages, and when he implores his readers to “now search out the recordings and see these guys perform live…” at the end of the book, you know that is his ultimate reason for writing it, to continue to spread the word.”
But, Songs In The Key Of Fife proves to be just a starting point for our chat as Vic talks about his own musical influences, the all pervading attitude of ‘Punk’, the current music scene, almost namesake Vincent Gallo, the importance of independent record labels, championing the under dog, and making music in your pants, before Ali forces him to answer five questions despite the pain they obviously cause. Although the final podcast is just over an hour, we could easily have recorded the whole evening (although some of the chat was definitely ‘off the record’) and proceedings were only brought to an end by the need for Scots Whay Hae! to return west.
Further details about Vic’s Radio Scotland show, with previous episodes and the live sessions, can be found here. One of the bands he recommends to us are Prides, and as a wee extra here they are performing Out Of The Blue on a recent Vic Galloway Session: