lundi 19 janvier 2015

« John, I'm really not a drug dealer ! »

Interview of ALAN MAIR, bass player for The Only Ones and The Beatstalkers. 

Lili Sygta and Alan Mair in Camden Town

«When I first came from Scotland, the first place I came to was Camden Town. A music area, lots of venues, lots of bands started here, lots of rehearsal and recording studios... less now... It was a bit of everything in Camden Town, not reserved, very funky. Of course I liked the idea that you can always get something off a back of a lorry. Alternative things suit me very well.

« I joined The Only Ones in 1976. They had been together for six months, looking for a bass player. I had played a couple times with them and I wasn't convinced. And then I had a recording of “Out There In The Night”. I could really hear Peter's voice and hear the lyrics. I just thought this is high quality writing, this is really from the heart ! So what took me into The Only Ones was Peter's writing. Which remains the reason why I've got carrying on now, because the new album is Peter's songs, they are as strong as the older material.

Alan Mair, Mike Kellie, Peter Perrett and John Perry 

« The first two albums were very organic, very good sounds, I guess because they've stood the test of time. The following in these other countries that we probably didn't have in the 70's is growing enough for us to be visiting and playing there. It's a gift, that's Peter always says ! Seeing the road with The Only Ones ! It feels very privileged that the music lasted and the people hold it so dear ! The places where we played, amazing receptions ! They probably never thought they would ever see us, so !

« That's kind of strange all the countries that we had be going to since we have reformed like Japan, Norway, Sweden, France. We go to countries we didn't go to in the 70's ! In the 70's that was mainly America, Britain and Holland.

Peter Perrett,John Perry and Alan Mair in Japan © Yasuhiro Uemae

« Although we did some gigs in 1981, we really did break up in 1980 in the middle of the American Tour. I left, so I went to Peter [Perrett] and Zena's hotel room [band manager and Peter's wife]. I said I've had enough... too many drugs !

You did too many drugs ?
No, I didn't ! But the rest of the band were into heavier drugs, so..

You were the dealer, hé ! You can tell us now !
... John [Perry] used to say « come on, you're secretly a drug dealer, aren't you ? ». I was like « John, where do you get that from ? » ... Because I had a house ! Even two years later, he asked me again and I said « John, I'm really not a drug dealer ! »

What are you activities during your spare time ?
I still write, I still play and I still have a studio at home where I spend most of my time. So I still have the desire to do an album on my own as well apart from The Only Ones... I think that's a kind of romance with computers! Whenever you've got computers you become a bit lazy and start playing bass on keyboards ! That's a kind of addiction with the computer, but if you add music to it, you can sit for days and days doing music !

So you've got your own addiction !
Still writing and playing music, yeah, rather than drugs! (laughs)

                                                     © Lili Sygta 2009/2015

Click to listen to Alan Mair about The Only Ones, David Bowie and Freddie Mercury: 

Click to listen to Alan Mair about his sixties scottish band The Beatstalkers:

Click to listen to Peter Perrett, John Perry, Mike Kellie and Alan Mair - The Only Ones in Liege:

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