Monday, March 27, 2006

A bit of fun with The Valves

Once asked what the name of The Valves' new album was, bassist Pada Scott quipped, "Can't Stand The Rezillos Either." Which is ironic, seeing how The Valves were often mining the same territory as their fellow Auld Reekie residents: setting clever, tongue-in-cheek lyrics against a hyper, infectious, guitar backdrop. (Interestingly enough, the riff from The Valves "For Adolf's Only" is quite similar to The Rezillos' "I Can't Stand My Baby." Anyway . . .)

Singer Dee Robot (nee Dave Roberston) was the man behind the group's witty turn of phrases. And what was his songwriting muse? Shitty lyrics, of course. "I was asked if I'd be interested in joining a band (Angel Easy) on vocals," Robot said in this interview, "as their rhythm guitarist/singer couldn't do two things at once. I agreed, but when I saw the texts that I had to sing, I threw-up and asked if I could maybe write my own lyrics. Basically, I'd never really written a song in my life, so when I got the chance, I just went crazy."

During their short career, Robot and The Valves churned out their share of smile-inducing couplets: "We could go drinking with all the stars/But there's no atmosphere in them out-of-space bars" from "Robot Love"; "Fighting alligators isn't half the fun it used to be/I was wish there was more to life than swinging through those stupid trees" from "Tarzan Of The King's Road.

The Valves ultimately signed with Bruce Findlay's Zoom Records. Their "Robot Love/For Adolf's Only" was the first-ever single released by the label and sold 15,000 copies. Marginal success then followed -- a second single, a mini-tour of Sweden, a move to Albion Records -- before Robot put down his pen and the band called it quits.

Hear it for yourself. Download: "Don't Mean Nothin' At All" by The Valves.