no Go-Betweens reunion
Ericsson Sound Affects, #14 Dec.91/Jan.92
Vickers? That question was asked in SA #3 almost exactly three years
ago. I interviewed Go-Betweens this glowing pop smoke, and they
revealed that ex-bassist Robert Vickers had become a mystic. It
had gone so far that he didn't even write letters to his Mum...
Now he's back in the spotlight again. As a member of Lloyd Cole's
band! But more important is his contribution in re-uniting the two
main persons from Go-Betweens, Robert Forster and Grant McLennan.
These two gentlemen of pop, with more pop hits in their pockets
than you and I have coins, are support acts to Lloyd during his
world tour, a pop journey which will reach its final destination
in New York on December 21st.
Well, the word gentlemen can be questioned - how could you be so
bloody stupid as to disband Go-Betweens? What was it that really
you know, 12 years is a long time together and most marriages only
last 7 years, so... I am actually surprised that we stayed together
as long as we did, considering the chemistry between the members",
In other words, it basically means that he himself is a lovesick
prankster and Robert a philosopher with some schizophrenic assets.
group had become like a big old house, the air wasn't fresh and
it felt right to leave the castle."
we couldn't reach any further", Robert adds. "We had done six albums
(five brilliant and "Send Me A Lullaby"), Velvet Underground did
four - I think that's a good comparison. I loved the group and the
work, but the feeling arose that we should quit."
An idea which turned into reality. Robert and Grant parted ways,
multiinstrumentalist Amanda Brown, very talented, mythologically
beautiful, as well as loyal drummer Lindy Morrison disappeared into
an archtic coldness. The warmth from Forster/McLennan's love songs
no longer present. Another dumped bassist to archive away. A bitter
Robert and Grant's respective solo albums, "Danger In The Past"
and "Watershed", didn't manage to reach the same lyrical pop heights
as Go-Betweens did for more than a decade. Same goes for the moniker
Jack Frost, McLennan and Steve Kilbey (of The Church) in disguise.
They were so good at disguising themselves that the talent that
they had previously displayed on their own were completely covered
by a complex mess. Nor does it make you any happier when Grant points
out that this shall not be seen as a Go-Betweens reunion.
just two old friends playing together."
since we have laid low with touring we now get the chance to perform
all these fantastic songs that we've written", Robert comments.
"People should see it more as if Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson
toured together. Or John Fogerty and Lou Reed. Two brilliant songwriters."
Baez and Joni Mitchell", Grant adds.
The artistic integrity is pointed out. Neither of the gentlemen
want to be limited by a group. As always, the SONGS are the central
things. Nothing is more important. The change of style is marginal.
Grant is content to work with guitar, bass, drums, violin, cembalo,
trumpet and accordion (he forgot vibraphone and saxophone).
won't start doing dance music or heavy metal - I write songs, it's
as simple as that".
Which Go-Betweens album do you think is the best one? Robert?
favourite album is the one we never recorded in 1979. Robert had
all these excellent songs and we were supposed to do an album, but
instead we went to England. It would have been a LP filled with
songs like 'People Say' - it was Robert's pop phase"
Where are the rest? Well, apart from Vickers I am told that Amanda
and Lindy have written songs together, which are described as "modern
pop". In early '92 the first record will be released. Tim Mustafa
(early drummer...) works as a pharmaceut and has also got a major
part in a sun lotion movie. According to just as reliable sources
the last bassist John Willsteed will be in ET 2.
you believe in reincarnation?", Grant asks suddenly.
No, I answer coldly. What do you hope to get out of that imagination?
I have a wish to return as myself. But in a woman's body..."
The day before this chat Forster/McLennan did a slightly too long
acoustic set at Daily's. It didn't help matters that they performed
the best solo songs and a few Go-Betweens classics, among them "People
Say". It didn't take off until a certain Lloyd Cole join them for
"Rock'n'roll Friend". Completely spontaneous of course and it's
that kind of surprises that make an ordinary live performance better.
Lloyd then brings his own band on stage and without Robert/Grant
we get to hear "Perfect Skin" and "Weeping Wine".
It's even more entertaining when the evening's headliners, Traste
Lindens Kvintett, featuring Sweden's 2nd biggest Go-Betweens fan
Peter Axman as ringmaster, finish their tour at the venue. But now
In spite of very clear sound both Forster/McLennan and Lloyd Cole
became a half-yawn and a more unenergetic bassist than Robert Vickers
must be hard to find. I've seen statues who have been more loose.
Quick guide to Go-Betweens: Buy "Liberty Belle And The Black Diamond
Express" and "Tallulah".