Duglas T. Stewart Of the BMX BANDITS Interview

Interview by James Edmond (Scotland Calling! (Scottish Music Network)) on the 14th of August 1998

The BMX Bandits are still going strong after 13 years. There have been numerous changes in the line up and a few label changes. Duglas is still the only original member of the legionary Pretty Flowers & BMX Bandits left over the last few years.

The Bandits have been doing projects of their own out with The Bandits. Anywhere you seem to look on the Glasgow Indie scene someone related from the Bandits at sometime is now featured somewhere! With the names that people respect around Glasgow like Teenage Fanclub and Eugenous, and not to forget Sean Dickson from The Soup Dragons, now with High Fidelity. Also if you check back The BMX Bandits family tree, most of the members of the above band featured somewhere down the road.

Duglas T. Stewart has been there from the word go. He has done quite a bit of producing and co-writing songs for other bands. Duglas has worked on the Mark Radcliff show, also The Fred McAuley Show on BBC Radio Scotland. Also not to forget his solo album Frankenstein which features a host of friends? At this present time Duglas is working on a new music show for the BBC Scotland, entitled Beat Room, which he will co-present. I meet up with Duglas at the BBC studios for a chat and interview. So here is what Duglas T. Stewart had to say.


Duglas T. Stewart speaks to Scotland Calling! (Scottish Music Network)

James: – What have you been doing for the last year?

Duglas:- For the last year myself and all the other members of the BMX Bandits, which has been my main group for 13 years now, have done occasional things together like one off recordings, but we have all been concentrating on our own individual projects. Francis has his own Record label and playing with the Radio Sweethearts. Michelle has been working on Future Pilot which features Cornershop and others. I have been concentrating on a few things, co-producing a cover versions album with Brian Carol, Denis Weber with David Scott of The Pearlfishers, and doing a serious of concerts celebrating the music of Serge Gainsbourgh, best known for J’taime. No.1 banned by the BBC. But he in fact wrote 500 songs which is a magnificent body of work. I have also been getting quite involved in broadcasting, I am music correspondent for Fred McAuley radio show and recently the BBC started filming a new Scottish based music TV show called the Beat Room and I am the music consultant for that, i.e. most of the things that happen on it musically are up to me to sort out and I am also one of the presenters. It is series of 80 shows so it’s a pretty big project. We started filming on Monday and did two shows and then we filmed again last night. We will be filming until at least January so it a fairly big thing. We also visited America with the BMX Bandits, going to both coasts, it was a really short trip, but successful cause we have a good friendly record company in America bringing out our records now so that was an exciting trip as well. The other thing I have been doing is being a daddy. You know so much to do so little time. But I need it like that it stops me getting me getting pulled into doing stuff all the time.

James: – Are the BMX Bandits still there?

Duglas: – We are still there; we will probably make a new record sometime next year. We are just taking time out to do some other things. I co-wrote a song with David Scott, it is great being able to write with different people. Writing with David or Eugene or Norman is a new experience.

James: – How do you feel about the music scene up here in Scotland now?

Duglas: – I think it is the healthiest that it has ever been. The music industry is supposedly in crisis. Ironically Scottish music has never been more exciting. I really mean that! It’s not the sort of thing that I would normally say. The last time it peaked was probably 1986-87, it’s better than that! In the early 1990’s Teenage Fanclub where really successful and you got a lot of bands getting signed to major labels, but it was a lot of bands sounding like Teenage Fanclub. Now what you have is Teenage Fanclub sounding like Teenage Fanclub plus allot of other groups who have got really diverse sounds, who don’t all sound exactly the same. The volume of bands added to the diversity is what leads me to say it’s the healthiest it has ever been. The BBC commissioned the new show to come from here rather than Manchester or London because I think they are aware that something pretty special is happening right here just now.

James: – The last time we met up, you were doing a lot of drama and things are you still doing as much now?

Duglas:- It’s funny presenting and all that and even I think a lot bands do not really communicate with the audience, but I just naturally do that by being in plays and the like, I learned to be a performer from a different prospective I guess that’s why I got invited into presenting and contributing to TV and radio. A lot of groups can’t talk, perhaps one to one they are not very comfortable however that wasn’t a problem for me. I isn’t going to do a Sting, I don’t think and cross over, I enjoy acting but music is my first passion. If someone asked me to take over from Rolph on Animal Hospital I would consider it because it might be well paid, however I only really went to broadcasting to be involved something I am passionate about like music.

James: – Where you involved in any other groups apart from BMX Bandits and Pretty Flowers?

Duglas: – I was on the edges of other groups I gave Teenage Fanclub their name, co-wrote one of the songs on the first album (un credited). I have also co-written or done backing vocals on other peoples albums. From the Bandits I lot of other groups emerged I was always there I don’t mean that in a bad way. Groups like Teenage Fanclub, Superstar, Eugene’s and The Soup Dragons passed through the BMX Bandits.

James: – The BMX Bandits like other Scottish groups seem to have done well in Japan. Do you have an explanation for this?

Duglas: – I keep trying to work it out, I guess or perhaps it’s just wishful thinking, I think it’s to do with a lot of groups that have been successful in the NME, Melody Maker and the British scene. They look really good and they say clever things. They look really good on paper but when you listen to them they don’t sound that good. But in Japan a lot of people don’t understand English therefore they don’t get bombarded with the NME etc. The first thing they hear is the music and the like the way it sounds. The music I make isn’t from the head it’s from the heart. I don’t try to make some sort of intellectual statement. It is more about emotion.

I would just like to thank Duglas for taking time out to speak to myself and wish him all the best for the Beat Room. By James Edmond.

Taken from Scotland Calling (Scottish Music Network)

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