Sunday, August 24, 2008

Scrotum Poles, The - 1980 - Revelation

Scrotum Poles, The - 1980 - Revelation
When Colin Smith and I borrowed an old battered guitar from Dave the Barman at Dundee College of Education in 1978, the Scrotum Poles was born. Colin got the name from the book “The Choirboys” and we set about mastering the few chords we needed to write a song as other people’s songs were way too difficult. The first, “This is Love” was E A and G (a bit tricky that one). Quickly followed by “Pillars” and “Victims of Vietnam” all essentially the same chords with the wonderful addition of Aminor – the best chord in the world.
Auchmithie Calling (1979) was a tape only release (only 100 made) with the addition in the band of Steve Grimmond, Matho and Ronnie Lawson. The band split soon after – over “technical differences” – none of us could play particularly well but after a Troggs style “dubba dubba dubba cha” argument with Matho and a “I can’t believe you didn’t plug the guitar in” moment with Ronnie Lawson, the trio went on to be joined by Glen Connell on drums.
The band wrote and recorded prolifically, mostly on two track tapes and simple mics, and some reputation was built up around Dundee. “Pick the Cats Eyes Out” – our first good song – was written by Colin to a set of lyrics on the back of a “Bread Poultice and the Running Sores” song list, and the band played to a Thompson Twins crowd, an Exploited crowd (don’t ask but we were covered in gob and our set list was set on fire....) and headlined in bars, colleges and Beach Halls around the county.
We raised about five hundred quid from friends to do the single Revelation (1980) and at the Ship Inn in Broughty Ferry, Dundee, we squabbled over what songs would be on the single, and, in typical democratic fashion we each chose a track and tried to knock them down to two. We failed, adding a last track, “Radio Tay” at the last moment when we were in Wilf Smarties’ studio in Edinburgh. We wrote the words for it in the studio.
Colin travelled down driving overnight with Ricky Ross of Deacon Blue to get it mixed in London, and we were so poor that we got the sleeve photocopied and stuck them together in my mum’s kitchen.
The single was quite well received, Rough Trade took a hundred, Pinnacle, Revolver and the other one took about fifty each and we sold a few hundred through local shops and at gigs. Fast records in Edinburgh wouldn’t take any because they thought it was a bit “amateurish”.
The band were beginning to take a more serious tone by then and the pop songs went in favour of the darker, more difficult stuff. Tensions began to surface between the band members and the band split up after a very well attended and emotional final gig at the Tayside Bar, Dundee. Last song ever played was “Memories” and there was no encore.
And what of now? Our singles are being sold for between £80 and $200 on ebay, people are writing nice things about us in forums all over the world. Just a little band who were not that bad.
Craig Methven 2006

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