It’s pretty common practise these days for bands to devote entire tours to revisiting a supposed classic album from their back catalogue on a notable anniversary. The Jazzateers can promise something a little more exclusive when they reform for a show at this year’s Glasgow Jazz Festival. They will play their debut album live for the first time – a mere 30 years after it was first released on Rough Trade Records.
The Jazzateers, arranged round the nucleus of guitarist Ian Burgoyne, bass player Keith Band and drummer Colin Auld, were the Glasgow band that got away. They formed in the early 1980s when interest in the Sound of Young Scotland was at its peak, signing to the city’s legendary Postcard Records and swiftly moving through a bossa nova period with singer Alison Gourlay to their country year fronted by Paul Quinn (who later formed Bourgie Bourgie with Burgoyne and Band) and on to a rockier incarnation featuring Grahame Skinner, aka Skin, who went on to front Hipsway. Despite their varying line-ups and sound, Burgoyne sees a common thread running through their time together.
“We always aspired to write good tunes,” he says. “It all comes back to the Velvet Underground for us. The Velvet Underground could play Sister Ray; they could also do something off their third album, a really quiet album. So I didn’t see it as that big a jump.”
It was the latter incarnation which recorded the self-titled album, but the group dispersed before they had a chance to mine it. Band eventually moved to New York and only recently returned to Scotland after two decades away. Burgoyne made contact with Auld for the first time since the demise of The Jazzateers and Skinner completes the line-up.
“Of all the versions, this version with Graham was certainly my favourite,” says Burgoyne. “That was the one where we had the most fun because there wasn’t a lot of pressure on us. We felt much freer when we started to turn it up a bit. We really enjoyed making that record. That’s what makes it exciting for us – we’re all discovering the album again together.”
The Jazzateers play Stereo on 27 June as part of the Glasgow Jazz Festival, with support from Vic Godard backed by the Independent Group. Rough 46 will be re-issued by Creeping Bent in September.