sex as a foreign language

awkward aural adventures

The Fratellis – Jon

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‘We really haven’t achieved anything yet, we’re just getting started, so it’s flattering to be compared to bands that have really meant something, but we haven’t earned it yet.’ So muses John Lawler (Jon Fratelli) of Glaswegian tunesmiths The Fratellis when asked if he feels part of a new wave of Scottish bands that have come to the fore over the last 2 years including Biffy Clyro, Glasvegas, The View and more. He is reflecting as the band pause before launching into a December headlining tour that will see the band sign off 2008 to a packed SECC crowd in Glasgow a few days before Christmas, and though his initial statement may seem dismissive of a Brit award winning band who this year released their second album and who’s doo doo de doo refrain from breakthrough single ‘Chelsea Dagger’ still reverberates along terraces the length and breadth of the nation, it is not that surprising of a man who takes most of his notes on how to be a band from that small beat combo from Liverpool, The Beatles.


Jon Fratelli is a man of outstanding impatience, not in a way that might cause you to seek other company, but in a heartfelt and earnest way. ‘I came into this late you know so I haven’t got time to be wasting, we haven’t achieved anything yet,’ he states, before citing the heyday of the 60s and 70s when the Stones and Beatles couldn’t get albums out fast enough as what he aspires to for The Fratellis. ‘It’s difficult because there wasn’t this machine around music which there is at the moment, but I would love to be able to get straight back into the studio. We played one of the Union Chapel gigs recently, and we played some new songs there, but there are some songs that are around that haven’t been played yet because that’s just not how they were written. I don’t think they’d work acoustically.’ The Union Chapel gig in question was one of the now famous Mencap Little Noise sessions that in the past included the likes of Biffy Clyro and secret appearances from Bono and The Edge amongst its line up. Whilst down in London the boys found the time to DJ at the opening of The Library, a new London venue run by their manager Tony McGill, ‘The Union Chapel gig was amazing, it’s really cool to see how some of the songs worked stripped down. Then something like the Library is completely different, it’s a cool little place, It was a fun way to finish off the night. It’s more of Tonys deal and obviously it’s down in London, so it takes a flight down, but if there’s a good night on I’ll make the trip.
Charity has been close to the bands hearts this autumn and they kicked off their winter tour with a Cancer Versus gig in Glasgow. It’s something that Jon enthuses about readily. ‘Well we got to see the first two Cancer Versus shows and this is the first time that they’ve gotten up to Scotland so it’s something that we’re very proud to be involved in as a band.’ It was a gig that saw the band join amongst others fellow Scottish rockers Sergeant who are supporting the band throughout the whole tour. When asked about support bands, and how and if he consumes new music Jon becomes a little coy. ‘We absolutely get to pick who comes on tour with us, it’s one of the best aspect. But in terms of seeking out new music, I struggle to get past the Beatles. They just nailed it so much, there’s so much going on, and I can still listen to it again and again and find new things that are going on. There’s so much bad new music. I just go back to the Beatles, they wrote the book. So that’s what I listen too.’
When it comes to forging their own new music though fans can rest assured that they have a only heard the beginnings of what Jon has planned for the band. ‘There’s new songs knocking around all the time,’ states Jon. The Fratellis second album, ‘Here We Stand’, is only 6 months old and follows on from their 2006 debut album ‘Costello Music’. However Jon sees no such repeat of this wait before fans get a taste of a third and even fourth album, both of which he hopes to get out in 2009. ‘It’s been a real relief having the second album out and being able to pick sets from both albums, you get a little sick of playing the same songs night in night out so it’s been a revelation to have that injection of songs. What I’ve noticed live between the first album and this tour is that we’ve become a lot heavier, which I think is just a knock on from playing together so much.’ This new heaviness is something that Jon hints at as a direction for the batch of songs that the band are currently knocking around rehearsals. Not that fans should expect to hear the new songs on the upcoming winter tour. ‘I don’t think we’ll be playing any of the new stuff on these dates, they’re not quite ready yet. This tour will be about the first two albums.’
Given the sort of sets the band have already been putting in this year that is no hardship for fans to endure, and with a full December tour, third single, ‘A Heady Tale’, out on December 22nd and the promise of not one but possibly two new albums in the new year Fratellis fans will be feeling that they are top of Santas Nice list this year.

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