60 Seconds with... Before he jumped in his limo, we grabbed a minute and chucked a dozen questions at guitarist with Orange Juice, Edwyn Collins and International Rescue...
GT: Do you still practise? GT: Who was your first influence to take up the guitar?
SS: Mick Ronson. I saw Bowie live at Bridlington Spa on 28th June 1973. The sound that came from Ronson’s Les Paul was otherworldly. Also, I felt I had an affinity with Mick because we both worked as Council gardeners.
GT: What was the first guitar you really lusted after?
SS: It’s a close run thing - Dave Hill’s Super Yob or a Johnson Gumby (Luthier Rick Johnson made Bowie’s guitarist Earl Slick a guitar shaped like Gumby, the infamous green clay ‘cartoon’ character).
GT: What was the best gig you ever did?
SS: The most memorable was Orange Juice’s final gig. It was at a benefit for the Miners at Brixton Academy. Edwyn decided he’d had enough and announced this was the last ever Orange Juice show. The entire front row of Postcarders (fans of Orange Juice and their label, Postcard Records) sobbed relentlessly.
GT: And your worst playing nightmare?
SS: I loved playing all Edwyn’s songs live but I could never master the timing in If You Could Love Me. I used to do a James Kirk and turn my volume off for the riff.
GT: What’s the most important musical lesson you ever learnt?
SS: Never argue with (Orange Juice producer) Dennis Bovell. SS: I don’t practice scales but I play every day as I still use my old Yamaha acoustic to write.
GT: Do you have a pre-gig warm-up routine?
SS: No. Dennis Bovell once reprimanded a drummer for using practice pads in the dressing room for about an hour before we went on stage. He said, “It’s like masturbating before making love.”
GT: If you could put together a fantasy band with you in it, who would the other players be (dead or alive)?
SS: Keith Moon, Sid Vicious, Frank Zappa and Elvis Presley.
I couldn’t master the timing in If You Could Love Me, so I’d turn my volume off.
GT: Who’s the single greatest guitarist that’s ever lived?
SS: Jeff Beck!
GT: Is there a solo you really wish you had played?
SS: Width Of A Circle from The Man Who Sold The World.
GT: What’s the solo/song of your own that you’re most proud of?
SS: I like all the songs and guitars on IRs new album No Country For Old Men
GT: What would you most like to be remembered for?
SS: Not being able to master the riff in If You Could Love Me.
GT: What are you up to at the moment (gigs, tours, albums, new gear)?
SS: International Rescue are planning some shows to promote our album No Country For Old Men. Ideally, we would like to alternate our gigs by doing some acoustic unplugged shows mixed with no-holds-barred electric shows with feedback in abundance.
Stephen Skinner of International Rescue and more