cynical and bloated after all these years: the plimptons interview;
The Plimptons have the dubious honour of being the first local band to earn Stringer’s heart after he moved to Glasgow for some bird he met off the internet in 2006 – and one of their members was the first person to ever recognise said bird as being a bird off the internet. Or something. It made me feel famous for about five minutes anyway. The band perform in support of fourth album, …Are Cynical and Bloated, on Saturday night at Stereo – I’m raging to be missing it, not least because there is a copy of the album included in your £6 entrance fee and it is a cracker.
Who’s in the band, and how did you get together?
There’s me (Martin), I play guitar and sometimes sing; Adam our actual singer; Cal our actual guitar player; Nora on keys; Joe on bass and Tommy on drums.
I met Adam walking the dog in Motherwell in 1999, and we started playing together shortly after… we were in a band called the Donor Party during that summer who didn’t really have any songs or play any gigs or rehearse, but we definitely existed, then we started the Plimptons as a 2-piece in December that year. We’ve been through about as many members as The Fall over the years, but it’s been pretty much the same folk for the past four or so years.
I met Tommy when we were both flogging insurance in a call centre, those were dark times. I met Cal when he asked us to play his 15th birthday party – he’s 21 now though so it’s not weird. I think Adam found Joe skulking about the Half Man Half Biscuit forum, and Nora was the only person who ever came to see us in Edinburgh.
I know that story seems so exciting and glamorous that it could describe the coming together of Marvel’s The Avengers… but I can assure you it’s a 100% true Rock Tale.
Three words to describe your music…
Homemade Lanarkshire Pop
As somebody brought up in Smalltown Central Scotland myself I’ve always appreciated the Plimptons’ lyrics above everything else. How important would you say your roots are in the music you make?
Massively. Motherwell is a shit town, but there are things that I love about it. It’s the kind of place you hate growing up, then when you get a bit older it’s easier to appreciate things about it… like that small-town camaraderie when you meet someone else from your town for the first time, there’s kind of a mutual recognition like “You grew up in a shit place too, well done turning out kind of ok”. We’ve almost certainly got the most Motherwell-based lyrics of any band ever, although The Just Joans probably come a close second. There’s definitely enough source material for an open-top bus tour of Motherwell based on our songs… it’d pretty much just be from my house to the pub and back though, now that I think about it.
What else influences you – both musically and otherwise?
Musically, I love They Might Be Giants, The Bonzo Dog Band, The Kinks, Pulp, Tom Waits and too many ’77-era punk bands to mention. When Adam and I first met the two bands we really had in common were Ramones and The Smiths, we actually tried to form a Smiths tribute band to start with. I’d just started on the guitar (I haven’t got better) and had no idea how difficult the band was to play, so we really just started writing our own stuff out of necessity.
As for non-musical influences, I’m profoundly influenced by the decline of later period Red Dwarf.
What releases/shows do you have planned at the moment?
We’re just about to release our fourth album The Plimptons Are Cynical and Bloated. We’re doing a launch gig at Stereo in Glasgow on 31 March. I’m really chuffed with the line up, we’ve got We Are The Physics, The Girobabies and Cracktown. Cracktown are from Hull and I consider them as the Plimptons’ ‘sister band’. You get a free copy of the album too – we’re gonna have a little market of stalls set up – and entry to our aftershow in the Flying Duck is free with your ticket… not bad for 6 quid these days. It kicks off at 7pm and the first band will be on straight away, we’ve got lots to pack in.
And what are you listening to at the moment?
When we were writing and recording the album I was listening to the Dead Milkmen a lot, and I think it might show. Other than that, been listening to the latest Tom Waits to death over the last few weeks and I love some of the stuff on the soundtrack to the new Muppets movie… you need stuff like that to get you through a mammoth postering session on a rainy Sunday in Glasgow. Rock n’ Roll!