Who would live in a house like this? Gavin Fri­day takes us round his Killiney pad,

So says Gavin Fri­day of his of­ten dif­fi­cult re­la­tion­ship with his late fa­ther. That vis­ceral hon­esty also per­vades his new al­bum, catholic, his first since 1995. A gre­gar­i­ous, frank Fri­day takes Tony Clayton-Lea in to his Killiney home

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Front Page -

GAVIN Fri­day’s Killiney liv­ing room looks over a vista that is jus­ti­fi­ably re­garded as the Sor­rento of Ire­land, yet in my pe­riph­eral vi­sion, just be­hind the singer, I no­tice a Fran­cis Ba­con litho­graph of some warped, pos­si­bly cruel vi­sion of hu­man­ity. How re­as­sur­ing to know that lit­tle has changed in Fri­day’s world; beau­ti­ful, reclu­sive south Co Dublin is home to a man who has no prob­lem de­scrib­ing him­self as “an arty fucker”.

Fri­day is back in the game again with a new al­bum, the serene, poised and el­e­gant

catholic (the lower case is de­lib­er­ate), his first full re­lease since 1995’s in-your-groin

Shag To­bacco. In truth, he has never re­ally been away – he shoe­horned him­self in to a dizzy­ing ar­ray of artis­tic ac­tiv­i­ties. Look­ing as fit as a fid­dle (fol­low­ing a se­ri­ous back prob­lem that kept him grounded for sev­eral months), he is in smart, gre­gar­i­ous form, sur­rounded by art that ranges from work by his long­time friend (and for­mer Vir­gin Prune band ag­i­ta­tor) Guggi to pieces by Damien Hirst, Lou Reed and Andy Warhol. He is also sur­rounded by art-memoirs that dis­play a touch­ing re­gard for his ori­gins and his cre­ative touch­stones: fam­ily por­traits, im­ages of rock and pop icons, and a Cedar­wood Grove street sign (“res­cued from a skip,” he says, which proves you can take the man out of Bal­ly­mun/Glas­nevin but not vice versa).

“ Shag To­bacco was re­leased when Brit­pop started, and I thought I was back in the early ’70s with Slade and Ge­ordie. On the other hand, around that time were Tricky, Por­tishead, Björk, Nick Cave and Mas­sive At­tack, which I found to be more mu­si­cally in­ter­est­ing. And then in Amer­ica grunge was such a big thing.”

Fri­day has never both­ered with be­ing in kil­ter with most things (“I’ve al­ways been like that”), but he was be­com­ing bored with what was go­ing on post-Shag. He could also sense the record com­pa­nies chang­ing. “I re­call I walked in to the record com­pany of­fices and the framed pic­tures of Tom Waits were be­ing re­placed by im­ages of boy bands. And then in 1998, on the same day, Is­land Records dropped me, Waits, Tricky and Mar­i­anne Faith­full. At least I was in good com­pany.”hip? Our first big cul­tural huge­ness was

River­dance; you couldn’t re­ally have put U2 in to any bracket be­cause by the mid ’90s they had been around for al­most 20 years. And then af­ter River­dance came suc­cess­ful boy bands, girl bands.”

A cre­ative self-de­fence mech­a­nism kicked in, and Fri­day ef­fec­tively went un­der­ground, scor­ing movies (in­clud­ing The Boxer, The Name of the Fa­ther, Get Rich

or Die Tryin’ – three ven­tures with di­rec­tor Jim Sheri­dan), throw­ing him­self into theatre ( Peter and the Wolf, Shake­speare, one-man shows), ra­dio ( Emer­ald Germs, a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Pa­trick McCabe) and acting ( Break­fast on Pluto).

Come 2006-2007, with his mar­riage in dis­ar­ray and the knowl­edge that his fa­ther would not live long, he knew he had enough to throw him­self back in to writ­ing songs of sub­stance. He also knew he wanted to play live again, sing his own songs again. “When you’re on a con­veyer belt, which I was from ’88 to ’96, it was all about Gavin Fri­day, and what you’re writ­ing about is not real life.”

He wanted, he says, to go back to ba­sics, to “make a record like you had just signed to Rough Trade in 1979”. And be­cause he’s known for col­lab­o­rat­ing with “names”, he wanted this to be a com­pletely solo ef­fort. The work­ing re­la­tion­ship with his pre­vi­ous mu­si­cal part­ner, Mau­rice Seezer, he says,

He could see the me­dia chang­ing, too. “So-called great mag­a­zines of the ’80s, early ’90s, sud­denly be­came very tabloid­friendly, be­cause they knew pic­tures of Patsy Ken­sit and Liam Gal­lagher could sell thou­sands of copies.

“Also around that time, Ire­land was sud­denly hip – but what sort of Ire­land was

“I re­call I walked in to the record com­pany of­fices and the framed pic­tures of Tom Waits were be­ing re­placed by im­ages of boy bands. And then in 1998, on the same day, Is­land Records dropped me, Waits, Tricky and Mar­i­anne Faith­full. At least I was in good com­pany”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.