Washington DC, Artisphere Ballroom, Arlington VA

part of Chickfactor’s For The Love of Pop / 20th Anniversary celebrations.

also featuring Frankie Rose, Honey Bunch and Dot Dash.
doors: 7:30; show begins: 8pm.

$25 in advance, $27 day of show; 2-day pass $45 (also includes entrance to show on 7th at the same venue featuring Black Tambourine, Lilys, Fan Modine, Lorelei.

Tickets available here

Philadelphia. . .

Given the various Philly references on the album, it was too good an opportunity to miss the chance of playing in the city when I’m over for the Chickfactor shows.

I’m also really looking forward to be playing in the side chapel of the First Unitarian Church on 7th April. It has an amazing history and has been home to some great shows in recent years too.

Tickets are on sale from Friday 9th at 12 noon (EST) from Ticketfly

Chickfactor shows

I’m happy to officially announce (thought it hasn’t really been a secret) that I’m playing a couple of shows in the USA as part of Chickfactor‘s “For The Love of Pop” 20th Anniversary celebrations at the start of next month.

These will be my first solo shows in the US since 2008 – though the plan is to come back later in 2012 and do a more extensive run of shows.

This time it is just me plus guitar, but in keeping with the nature of the shows, the set will span the songs from when I first came across Gail and Chickfactor shortly after Belle and Sebastian released their first albums, through to more recent songs from my solo album. It is a real thrill to be playing with such a selection of great bands (and solo acts) and I’m looking forward to it greatly.

The first show is in DC at the Ballroom, Artisphere, Arlignton on the 6th April and also features me alongside Frankie Rose, Honey Bunch and Dot Dash. Tickets can be purchased for either the night on its own or as a pass for both the DC Chickfactor shows.

The second is in New York on the 12th April and features me, Honey Bunch, The Softies, The Pines and special guests. It is at the Bell House in Brooklyn and tickets are already on sale.

Hopefully see some of you there.

Super Hits of the Seventies

Last month I was in the studio with Marco and Stuart from the Wellgreen working up a version of the seventies’ classic, Rock Your Baby. It was part of this year’s WFMU Fund Raising Marathon and an album of 70s covers in the style of K-Tel curated by Michael Shelley. Other contributors include Yo La Tengo, Joe Pernice, The Minus Five and Amy Rigby/ Wreckless Eric.

Being a bit late to the story, the pledge drive has now reached its target but you can still donate / buy the album and help support both the station (or specifically Michael’s show).

In the meantime, here’s the specially created taster/ TV ad for the album:

and here’s a preview of our version of “Rock Your Baby”. . . if you like it, please donate!

Russian Red and The Vaselines

Earlier this year, I did some recording with the great Spanish singer, Russian Red, for an album called Fuerteventura, which she came to Glasgow to record with Tony Doogan.

Since it has been finished she has been around the world, playing around Europe as well as in the Far East, but so far hasn’t been to the UK. That all changes in January with 2 shows – one in Glasgow and one in London – at which Bob and I are joining some of her usual touring band members for the show.

The Glasgow show is at The Mitchell Theatre on Sunday 22nd January, The London one is the following night at The Union Chapel in Islington. Both are with Rachel Sermanni.

Here’s a clip about the making of the album:

After the London show, Bob and I are flying to Rome, for a series of four shows with the Vaselines. . more details to follow.

Scotsman interview

A lengthy article taken from the Scotsman of 22nd November with loads of background on the album, etc.

The first time he saw Beatles films on TV, Stevie Jackson wanted to be a pop musician – but he never craved the spotlight. He guitarist tells Fiona Shepherd what’s changed

WHEN Stevie Jackson was a teenager, someone told him that names ending in “son” were of Scandinavian origin. Jackson decided then that his debut solo album would be called Jackson Viking.

About ten years later, he was gigging in Europe and short on cash for the next round of drinks so he nipped outside, busked a version of The Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction and made the requisite beer money. One of his bandmates of the time coined the phrase I Can’t Get No Stevie Jackson, and Jackson slipped a new album title into his back pocket.

Several moons later, the title now has an album to go with it and the man best known as Belle & Sebastian’s guitarist, who describes himself as “one of nature’s sidemen,” is out on tour fronting his own band.

Jackson has made informal solo appearances many times over the years – he was first approached by Belle & Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch to join his new band while playing an open mic session at The Halt Bar in Glasgow – but as he notes, “there’s a big difference between doing the odd gig and actually having a record out, and your name being on the ticket.”

(I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson – also the name on the ticket – came together in increments over the last five years but has been brewing for some time. With the exception of band leader Murdoch, Jackson has contributed more songs to the Belle & Sebastian catalogue than anyone else – generally upbeat, witty and hooky tracks with a retro spin and a dusting of pop culture references. His own album is infused with a similar panache but it’s an eclectic collection.

“I quite enjoy modern R&B records and there’s one song called Just, Just So To The Point that was self-consciously trying to do something in that style,” he says. “With some of the other tunes, it’s more about getting the players in a room and seeing what happens. I like the spontaneity, I like to just get people together and hit ‘record’ so hopefully it has got a liveliness about it. When I’m making records, I like it to be quite fast. Don’t let the band learn it too well.”

Taking the informal, collaborative approach, he managed one day in the studio with two of his favourite musicians, Pastels drummer Katrina Mitchell and composer/ pianist Bill Wells, but came unstuck when he tried to repeat the trick with the same players. “Could I get them together in the same room again? No. It was just too hard. I should have booked people three months in advance, instead of saying ‘let’s get together one day’. That didn’t work.”

In contrast, Jackson worked with artist Nicola Atkinson on a couple of formal commissions, working to a deadline. One of the album’s most reflective numbers, Bird’s Eye View, came from this collaboration, inspired by the Abbey View housing project in Dunfermline, where Atkinson is artist-in-residence.

But most of the songs came out of a weekly musical kickabout with friends, singer/guitarist Roy Moller (the inspiration for the Jackson-penned B&S song Roy Walker) and drummer Gary Thom, collectively known as The Company. For the first time in years, Jackson was playing music for the sheer enjoyment of it. “I felt like a teenager again,” he says.

Jackson was given his first guitar in his early teens but he had been working up to this momentous occasion for some time. “I knew when I was seven years old that I’d end up doing this,” he says. “There was a season of Beatles films on telly and from that point on, that was it. It was inevitable that I would get a guitar. And before I had a guitar I had a badminton racket and I would play that.”

Jackson would provide the backing for the singsongs at family parties (on guitar, not badminton racket). At the same time, he was devouring the pop music of the day. His first album was The Police’s Regatta de Blanc and he also cites Madness, Abba, OMD, Depeche Mode and ABC – all great melodic pop bands. We spend a few minutes gushing over the brilliance of the Dave Edmunds’ hit Girls Talk, written by Elvis Costello (of whom Jackson can do a mean impersonation).

In his mid-teens he got together with a friend from school and they spent several years playing bar gigs and anticipating pop stardom. One of the sunniest songs on the album, Richie Now, celebrates this time from a nostalgic perspective.

“When you’re 14, 15 and you get together and start making a noise, it is the world opening up,” says Jackson. “You have that indestructible feeling when you’re young. But your ambitions when you are 13 are different when you’re 25. By that time, your ambition isn’t to be a star anymore, it’s to make a living doing music. Me and Rick stopped playing together when we were 22 because I think in our heads we thought, ‘we’ve not made it and we’re 22, so we should grow up and get a job’.”

Jackson came out of self-imposed musical retirement a couple of years later and joined a local band called The Moondials after hearing their singer busking on Glasgow’s Buchanan Street. “I’d been to a job interview which was unsuccessful, but bizarrely – and this shows you how serious I was about the job interview – I had a harmonica in my pocket, so I started playing along with him.” Again, the natural sideman thing.

Despite remembering this time fondly, by the time the band split Jackson was considering retirement again. When Stuart Murdoch showed up looking for a guitarist, he was a reluctant recruit. “But we made the record [Belle & Sebastian’s debut album Tigermilk] and it came out so good that we never talked about it again,” he recalls. “The ball was rolling just at the point when I really wanted to retire. I mean, 22 was old but 26 was just getting a bit embarrassing. Back then, I didn’t even want to be photographed because I felt too old.”

For the first couple of whirlwind years, everything was rosy in the Belles camp but this was followed by what Jackson describes as “five years of dysfunction” which he attributes to sudden, unexpected success, the big age gap between band members and those differing ambitions he has talked about. “But I don’t like putting a negative vibe on it because obviously, we produced a lot of good work.”

After the storming came the norming and performing, and the group has been a steady unit for the past ten years, secure enough for members to go off and do their own projects, such as Murdoch’s God Help The Girl.

“I’ve learned from Belle & Sebastian, Stuart Murdoch in particular,” says Jackson.

“He told me an important lesson. It’s not about blasting people in the face, it’s about drawing people in. And he is a genius at that. He can just stand there with his guitar and his words, and everyone goes quiet and starts listening.

“That’s a skill. So that’s the next challenge, taking it out.”

King Tut’s reviews

Some nice reviews of the King Tut’s show in The Herald and The Scotsman . . .good to end the tour on a high. Thanks to everyone who came out to the shows – it was an adventure we hope to repeat some time, some where: hopefully in 2012.

And for those who weren’t there – here’s a nice bit of audience footage of ‘Richie Now’ we found on YouTube: thanks, Geomck. . .

Daddy Was A Mod In The RAF

Coming soon on 7″ and download from Barne Society Records is this collaboration between me, Roy Moller and Marco and Stuart from The Wellgreen, trading as The Store Keys.

Details on how and where to buy it coming soon – here’s a preview in the meantime: