It had all of the makings of an ordinary Saturday morning in Detroit. The November chill was blowing the cold rain on the streets. I layed on my futon in the bedroom of my lower flat, cradling my hangover in typical fashion, although I knew it would be no average afternoon.
I was scheduled at noon to telephone France and interview Lloyd Cole, one of the most important songwriters to evolve from the 1980’s, and a performer that I have a great deal of admiration for.
A few days before, I sat down and tried to conjure up questions that not only would be interesting to the readers, but for Lloyd Cole as well.
I did not want to come across as some crass fanzine writer, so much as someone who appreciated the impact his lyrics made on my life personally. A lot of rough times were spent listening to songs such as, “Are You Ready to be Heart Broken”, From The Hip”, and “Perfect Blue. So when I picked up the phone and dialed France, I was not just interviewing a pop-star, so much as an old friend.
One I had yet to meet.
At 12:05 I make the call. I inform the reception desk at Lloyd’s hotel that I’m an American and I’m looking for Lloyd Cole. Upon that, they connected me to his room. A man with a heavy french accent answers.
So I ask for Lloyd Cole.
“Ah Monsieur Lloyd Cole.” He beckons “Lloyd? I’m just kidding. It’s me.”
Not knowing quite how to respond, I just laugh. I am struck by the generosity, with which he so easily lets me in. He talks a bit about the show the night before. His is a kind voice, a quiet demeanor, but very passionate, nonetheless.
“We played Bordeaux last night. It was one of the best shows we’ve ever done, which was a bit strange, because Bordeux is made up of all these very wealthy people. Not your ideal audience.”
In the mid-eighties Lloyd Cole headlined The Commotions. They quickly became very successful. Their music was a mesh of rock with a slight country twist. Sort of Velvet Underground goes to Scotland and starts a country and western band, if you will. However, their sound was their own.
In 1989, shortly after signing a new record deal with Capitol records, The Commotions disbanded. Cole felt it would give him the opportunity to go in different directions.
“It gave me the chance to find out what I might be better at,” says Cole.
Although they have been broken up a little over two years, he still writes most of his songs with former Commotions keyboard player, Blair Cowan. In fact the original three Commotions are the central core of his band on the current tour.
“We’re not reformed forever. We’re just together for this tour.”
With the onset of the “whole white boy funky thing” (ie. Primus and The Red Hot Chili Pe
“There’s no point in trying to follow trends. It’s better to try and start them. If you’ve been responsible for sort of an onset of a trend. “It’s kind of ridiculous to try and follow one,” says Cole.
Lloyd Cole’s new album, entitled “Don’t Get Weird On Me, Babe,” which coincidentally was to be the title of his first solo record, seems to expose a darker and more direct Lloyd Cole. Songs like “Buttery,””Tell Your Sister” and “Half of Everything,” explore a more sinister side of relationships than Lloyd has in the past.
“When you start out in a position like I did with a single like “Perfect Skin” it leaves you only one direction to go. I wanted to get away from that.” Cole says.
As for the upcoming show at St. Andrews, people will get a chance to see many sides of Lloyd Cole.
“It’s sort of a resume of the last seven years,” Cole said.
“Not like a Barry Manilow type medley?” I ask.
Cole laughs. “That would be fun to try and do. But no, it won’t be like that.”
Lloyd Cole will be performing at St. Andrews, Saturday Dec 14. Be there or be square. Or do both. But given a chance, you should come listen.
Published by A-M Publishing. Copyright 2004 A-M Publishing. Reproduction is prohibited.
Publication: Anti-matter magazine
Publication date: 31/12/91