Glasgow’s beloved Hue and Cry journeyed into the UK music charts and the lofty heights of 80s pop with classic records such as, ‘Labour of Love’ and albums ‘Seduced and Abandoned’ and ‘Remote’. Yet, the enduring talents of brothers Greg and Pat Kane have weaved their way well beyond that seminal decade to the present day, where they continue to release hugely applauded albums and perform live shows up and down the country. In amongst, what is a busy year of touring, Nicola Maule, chatted a little with Pat and Greg about those early days, their love of performing and what plans are in the mix for the not too distant future.
It’s great to see you lined up to play the last date in the Summer Nights series of concerts at Kelvingrove Bandstand in August. This will also be the 6th year of the festival – is this the first time playing at this venue and what can people expect from the show?
PK: Not the first time we played the bandstand – I used to do protest gigs there as a young man, and Greg I think played with a soft rock outfit called ‘Fast Licks’… the 80s, eh? This time, we’ll be bringing 35 years of songs – all our hits, beloved classics, irresistible covers and (decreed by law) ‘Mother Glasgow’.
Late Autumn, you then join the UK ‘80s Invasion’ tour with bands such as Sister Sledge, and Five Star. It will be the second time this year appearing in a line-up with other acts, who’s songs made a mark during that decade – in August you play alongside ABC, Go West and Midge Ure at ‘DunDee 80s’. Is audience expectation different for these ‘collective’ shows?
GK: The 80s were a golden age for Scottish bands. There were at least a dozen of us that were enjoying hit singles, selling hundreds of thousands of albums and playing in arenas all round the UK. But for me the stand out artists in the 80s were Prince, Terence Trent D’arby, Miles Davis, Paul Simon, Ian Dury and The Blockheads, Joe Jackson and Talking Heads. They all made iconic albums that decade which are still my favourited on my Spotify playlists.
The album, ‘Sign O’ The Times’ by Prince is just so good, a pretty high bar for us 80s guys. I really enjoy playing these multi-band lineups celebrating the 80s too. Give us bands the chance to play our songs in front of tens of thousands of people once again. They have stood the test of time well, very gratifying, makes me happy.
There is and has been for some years now a real nod to the 1980s whether that’s in fashion – bright colours, big patterns and even shoulder pads have apparently been making a comeback – and in TV series such as Stranger Things, Black Mirror and Deutschland 83. You released your first single, ‘Here Comes Everybody’ on the independent label Stampede Records in the heart of the decade – 1986. What did it feel like to make a record at that time and was there anything that influenced your music / song-writing as the decade progressed?
PK: We loved that record! A big groove extravaganza on the a-side, a plaintive piano vocal ballad on the b-side, along with a bonus track ‘The Successes of Monetarism’ (three minutes of silence!). All of our future career was there really – a love of R’n’B, jazz, funk and soul at one end, and just the two of us singing sensitive songs into the void, on the other. We were post ‘post-punks’ – not only liberated by post-punk to do, say and play anything we wanted, but also with ambitions to write pop classics. A great era, which we enjoyed to the max!
You perform a fantastic cover of Don Henley’s ‘Boys of Summer,’ which is shared on
your YouTube channel (HueandCryMusic) – do you find social media sites such as this a helpful way to connect with fans, old and new?
GK: We reach out to fans for input quite often via our social sites and the suggestion to cover ‘Boys of Summer’ was from a fan. That song was off Pat and I’s radar, but I think it’s one of the best versions I’ve heard. If it hadn’t been for that fan it wouldn’t have happened. So the communication we have with the people who like our music is so important to Pat and I and we pay as much attention as we can to what fans want and expect from us. We can’t always play all the songs everyone wants, but we try.
It’s nearly 2 years since your last record, ‘Pocketful of Stones’ was released, which was the first album of new material since 2012s ‘Hot Wire’. It’s quite a beautiful and poetic journey of storytelling – lots to connect with. Can you share a little of the backstory to the album?
PK: Thank you so much! It’s definitely a 50-something record – about fatherhood, political illusion (and disillusion), what it’s like to be an older man and how you never really settle your early traumas. There’s a moment of joy there when I sing with my daughter Ellie on a song called Let Her Go – but even that’s about realising that your child’s autonomy is what you’ve grown her up for, and that you have to ‘let her go’ somewhat (while NEVER doing so, of course!). It’s also the result of a coin-toss – a few years ago Greg wanted to do a New Orleans funk record, I wanted a sensitive ballad record… he won the toss for the last record. So this was my turn!
With your touring schedule as busy as it is this year, what is 2020 looking like – will there be another studio album to look forward to?
GK: Our touring schedule is very busy this year. In fact it’s gotten busier every year for the last decade and long may it continue. But it takes its toll. It’s much harder to multi-task nowadays, I seem to spend what free time I have resting in order to have the energy to go out on the road each time. But we have just lavished a lot of time and money on our personal studio in Glasgow and loaded it with iconic Roland drum machines, Moog synths, all sorts of weird and wonderful analogue musical gadgetry. So we’ll be step time sequencing very soon and hopefully you’ll hear the fruits of our endeavours next year. It’s going to be quite exciting going down this route of music making for the first time.
Hue and Cry are playing at the Kelvingrove Bandstand on 10th August – SOLD OUT and at the 80s Invasion Tour at the SSE Hydro on 6th November.
For other upcoming concert dates, news and all things Hue and Cry visit: