Norman Blake – Does Rock’n’Roll Kill Braincells?

Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake takes the test


What’s the secret message scratched into the vinyl on the original 1991 pressing of ‘Bandwagonesque’?
“‘Nothing’s final till it’s vinyl.’ We were talking with a couple of different record labels about securing a deal. We were just about to sign with Alan McGee to Creation and a fellow got in touch with us and said, ‘Look, we can still do this deal, because nothing’s final till it’s vinyl.’ And we thought that was amusing.”


Who said “If I wasn’t in [my band], I’d be in [your band]” about one of your former bands?
“Is it Kurt Cobain’s BMX Bandits reference? The band Kurt really loved was The Vaselines. We actually toured with Nirvana on the ‘Nevermind’ tour, which was pretty exciting. He may well be quoted as saying that, but I’m not sure he ever did!”

What colour socks are you wearing on the front of NME, January 4, 1992?
“Oh. Fucking hell. I’m going to go for red.”
Correct. Why have you got your trousers around your ankles?
“I think the photographer suggested we should take our trousers down and I was like, ‘Oh, what the hell, why not?’ It was a long-held ambition of mine to appear on the front of NME with my trousers
around my ankles.”

What now-defunct Formula One team car appears on the front artwork of Teenage Fanclub’s 1995 album ‘Grand Prix’?
“I don’t know a great deal about Formula One racing but I do know it was a Simtek car. We got to sit in it. It’s not often you get to do that so you’re going to remember that kind of detail, aren’t you?”

You’ve formed a band called Jonny with Euros Childs from Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci and have released a self-titled album and are off on tour. Spell Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci…
“That’s easy. G-O-R-K-Y-S Z-Y-G-O-T-I-C M-Y-N-C-I.”
“I’d have been in trouble if I’d have got that one wrong.”


Who said, “Teenage Fanclub are the second best band in the world”?
“Liam Gallagher. We were in the same studio. They were downstairs mixing ‘Be Here Now’. Liam invited us down for a drink and a playback. He got us all a drink, played the album full blast and was doing air guitar to Noel’s guitar parts. That’s when he said, ‘Teenage Fanclub – second best band in the world to Oasis.’ He was a good host.”

You appeared on The Word in January 1992. Name the other two bands who also featured that night.
“I haven’t got a clue.”
Wrong. Definition Of Sound and Mega City 4
“I have no recollection of that at all.”

What score did NME give Teenage Fanclub’s 2010 album ‘Shadows’?
“I’m going to hopefully go for a seven!”
“We’re happy with a seven. That’s a result!”

You feature in Upside Down: The Creation Records Story. Name any of the bands Alan McGee has played with.
“The Laughing Apple. And Biff Bang Pow!.”
Correct. Also The Chemical Pilot

The cast of Glee recently covered which Madonna song that you have also covered?
“‘Like A Virgin’. I think I heard it on the radio the other day and I didn’t recognise the version. It must have been them.”

Total Score – 9/10
“That’s not bad! I thought my memory was about average, but I’ve proved it wrong!”

This article originally appeared in the June 4th issue of NME

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