Idlewild continue to evolve

EMMA LEE Scottish rockers Idlewild are back with a new line-up and a new album after a three-year break. Emma Lee spoke to guitarist Allan Stewart as the band prepare for a UK tour calling at Norwich on April 19.


“We do not fit into any pigeonhole,” says Idlewild guitarist Allan Stewart, describing the band's style.

“No one comes in and says: 'play C, G and E'. It's a bit of a jigsaw puzzle and you put it together.”

“A lot of different ideas are thrown around by different people.

“My guitar style is different and it pulls the sound in different directions,” he says.

Stewart has become a permanent member of the band after having played live with them for several years and being a long-standing friend.

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He says that the band's new album Warnings/Promises shows how they continue to evolve.

“The single [Love Steals Us From Loneliness] is probably the most immediate song from the record and it's probably not representative of the record. It's not as immediate as [previous album] The Remote Part – there's a lot of stuff going on. You get better at playing, listen to different stuff, which can pull you in a different direction. There's new influences in this,” he says.

“When I first saw the band it was a noise with a melody. The fans have stuck with us. They are interested in the people in the band,” he says.

Bassist Gavin Fox has also been recruited to the band following the departure of original member Bob Fairfoull, joining singer Roddy Woomble, guitarist Rod Jones and drummer Colin Newton.

The band burst on to the music scene in an ear-splitting squall of guitar feedback in the mid 1990s.

The latest album was recorded in LA – in a studio which has seen a host of legendary names pass through.

“We spent eight weeks over there,” says Stewart.

“The studio had a lot of history. Van Halen, the Doors and Led Zeppelin recorded there. There was a lot of heritage and the environment affects you.

“LA is very surreal because it's so bizarre. There are lots of deluded people expecting everything to happen for them.

“There's such a difference between the rich and the poor and there's no real in-between. You notice people you recognise, but personally I'm not star struck,” he says.

The band were also invited on a stadium tour of the States with one of Stewart's heroes – Pearl Jam.

“It was amazing. It's just great to go on tour with a band I was a fan of when I was 18. They treated us so well – we talked to them a lot. They played two-hour sets every night and looked so relaxed in front of 30,000 people.

“I played onstage with them doing a Neil Young cover on the last night of the tour,” he says.

The band has also recently experimented with playing an acoustic tour, which he says has gave favourite songs a new dimension.

“I had never played anything like that before. The audience did not know what to expect, nor did we,” he said.

“You could hear the words and we had a violin, which added to it. We may do some more gigs like that, but in April we will be back to our loud selves.

He says he's looking forward to getting out on the road.

“I love touring. There's times when it's a bit tiring. Everyone's got their favourite part and I enjoy travelling. You're always in a different town and meeting new people,” he says.

t Idlewild play Norwich UEA on Tuesday April 19. Support comes from hotly-tipped Franz Ferdinand labelmates Sons and Daughters. Box office: 01603 508050 or visit

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