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ian mcnabb interview in promotion of the icicle works' blind album

'interview' with ian mcnabb 1988

Icicle Works Promo Photo for Blind, 1939 Ford Hello, this is Ian McNabb from the Icicle Works. I'd like to say hello to all the people at RCA/BMG. A few people have a few questions to ask about our new album Blind, and I'm going to answer them. Ahem. [In sort of maniacial voice] Hahah. Kiss off!

"Kiss Off" intro bit.

I think that in America people have always had a little bit of difficulty understanding what it is exactly we do. Because the first LP we had out over there was like whispy and sort of psychedelic. And then the second LP that came out over there was actually our third British LP, by which time we'd changed style quite dramatically. And the main song off that one, where America was concerned, was called "Understanding Jane." But the rest of the album didn't really have a great deal to do with that type of sound. On this album, it's been changed slightly for the American market. A couple have gone missing, and a couple have been substituted, and the overall effect does seem to be one pretty straightforward rock-and-roll, R&B type group. So if people want to put that tag on it, that's fine. I think it will probably help us get a little further in America if people can put one tag on us.

"High Time"

Before Echo and the Bunnymen, which was like the first kind of Liverpool band that I ever noticed, I didn't think it was possible to get a record deal if you came from Liverpool. And then when all that stuff sprung up in the early 80s we realized that we could get a deal. Before that every band that came out of Liverpool from about 1971 to 1979 had either been classed as Beatles soundalikes or just...jokes, you know. But we had to kill of the Beatles thing because down in London it was just like if you're from Liverpool then you were like a Beatles soundalike. I think there was like a baptism by fire with the punk explosion of 1976-77. And then everybody from Liverpool somehow started to sound like mid-sixties American rock bands, notably bands like the Velvet Underground and the Doors, so that sort of ended the Beatles thing, and we had to pretend sometimes that we didn't come from Liverpool.

"Starry Blue Eyed Wonder"

I dunno, I kind of really wanted to do an album that was sort of minimalistic with no reverb on it, not a great deal of production, because we always make records with a big sort of reverby sound. And I just thought we'd take a chance and leave the reverb off. Thus people, because Prince does that, people have sort of compared that...also because its called "Kiss Off" and he had one called "Kiss." So, I dunno, I don't think it sounds like Prince. I think that the backing track may sound a bit like him, but then again a lot people do, don't they?

"Kiss Off"

I always get criticized because the kind of influences that I have usually are way from the past, thus the shock with the "Kiss Off" tack because that only sounds like it was made five years ago instead of fifteen. But generally, I mean, I like so many types of music...I'm a vinyl junkie...the one thing that I do require from all kinds of music that I listen is that it's well-performed and that the songs are good. I can listen to any act be they, you know, from Bon Jovi to the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, provided that what they're doing has got good songs to it and good arrangements. My obvious heroes are the same kind of heroes probably that everybody who's going to be listening to this interview—People like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Randy Newman, Tom Waits, people like that. To me they're like the singular greatest songwriters of the twentieth century. And that's the kind of thing that I require, you know.

"Stood Before St. Peter"

The first two records—we released one in England called "Love is a Wonderful Colour" and one in America called "Whisper to a Scream"—were both top-20 hits. I'd always wanted that kind of success ever since I started a band, not particularly just this band. And when we did that, it was a huge anticlimax to me. I realized it that wasn't simply financial reward and fame and, you know, all the things that go with it that I wanted. I wanted complete satisfaction from the music that I was making. We've always gone the way we wanted. We've never deliberately tried to be obscure or not sell records, but it's always been very important that it's been done our way and not somebody else's.

"Little Girl Lost"

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